Author of the Post-Apocalyptic trilogy; The Judas Syndrome wants to scare your children into change with a new picture book.
“The guns reminded me this was just an attempt to punch holes in the darkness that enveloped us now.”This quote was taken from book one of Michael Poeltl’s dystopian trilogy, The Judas Syndrome. It’s easy to recognize the dark themes which accompany many of his fictional works once you’ve read more than one. In book three of the series, another candid notion leaks into the storyline suggesting; “Life is a gift, and should be cherished, lived and experienced. Though experience often reveals itself as pain in this world, it is still purposeful, it still has its place in the evolution of our spirit.” In another, stand-alone book from the author: Her Past’s Present, this quote appears: “In such a person, sadness breeds purpose; finding inspiration in the darkness and oftentimes, I believe, they will impress a hell onto their own lives in order to re-create it, that others might suffer the experience from the comfort of their armchairs.”
Poeltl has a way of getting into your head with his novels and, as a trained illustrator, has taken a shot at a children’s book in the same genre as his popular Judas Syndrome trilogy: Post-Apocalyptic / Dystopian fiction.
“There needs to be more awareness focused on our environmental crisis,” Poeltl says, “and though my own daughter is learning about what she can do in school to prevent an end to our way of life, she isn’t being shown that end.”
So, Poeltl decided to show her, and every other kid out there just how bleak the world will become if they don’t take action now. “We all have a favourite book from when we were kids which held a hard lesson. I remember mine.” Poeltl explains. “With this book, I wanted to revisit that classic fairy-tale type ending where things don’t go right. Trauma, I’ve found, is an excellent trigger for change.”
The story, entitled An Angry Earth, has been treated as a children’s book with pen and ink illustrations gracing every page. Poeltl admits it is his favourite medium to work in when illustrating. Images of sea turtles being speared and their shells drilled to produce an inky black liquid allowed Poeltl to use his learned interpretive illustration techniques while getting his point across with some straightforward text.
The book is dedicated to his daughter and nieces who – Poeltl says – will experience the negative effects of global climate change the rest of their lives if nothing is done to stop it. Then, a short, yet enticing history of the world turtle begins the book. Poeltl interprets the world turtle as a metaphor, indicating the world is alive. The overwhelming message is that there are consequences for your actions, as well as your inactions as explained through an 11-year-old boy who is tasked to write down each terrible plight upon the world as it happens.
Pick up the book, and if you’d rather not, pick up some garbage. Poeltl hopes An Angry Earth sparks engagement with his audience. “Some evenings and lunch hours I will take a few bags and walk the shoreline or a park or forest picking up trash of all manner,” Poeltl says. “It’s not enough to count on others to do what needs to be done. We all have to pitch in. Be the change you want to see in the world. Be an example for your children. It’s the most serious topic of our time. I’m not a cynic, I’m a realist employing a pessimist’s lesson to encourage positive action.”
An Angry Earth is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.
Find Michael Poeltl’s Author Profile showcasing all of his books, a blog and photos from previous works.