STAFF REPORT – The Johann Fust Library Foundation will present a series entitled: Island Booknotes 2021: Live Stream. The first virtual event will feature author Fred Rich. He will speak about his latest novel, Escape from Extinction: An Eco-Genetic Novel. The program will be presented live online on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m. For a link to the event, visit JFLFBG.org.
“Escape from Extinction” is an updating of the Prometheus/Frankenstein story for the age of genetics. In Michael Crichton’s 1990 Jurassic Park, the intersection of avarice and scientific hubris gave us man-eating velociraptors. In Escape from Extinction, the monster is an empathetic and charming Neanderthal boy, who many think presents the same threat to humanity as Crichton’s dinosaurs. The characters and the country grapple with the mystery of Neanderthal extinction, the history of eugenics, and the broader question of whether life, nature, and evolution can or should be brought under human control. In Frankenstein, the monster destroys its creator. Escape from Extinction raises the question of whether the “monster” might instead have the power to redeem its creator and his species.
As a partner at the New York law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, Fred Rich was recognized as “the pre-eminent project finance lawyer in the world.” And then, in 2014, having reached the peak of his profession, he abruptly announced to his surprised partners and clients that he was switching careers. To banking, perhaps? Politics? No, to be an author. And therein lies a story.
Today, Mr. Rich – who does a two-month writing retreat each year here on Boca Grande – is an author who says his writing, both fiction and non-fiction, is meant to probe contemporary political and moral issues from a fresh perspective.
“Escape from Extinction” is available at the library and for purchase at the Library Foundation Office. Call Bobbie Marquis at 964-0211 to make arrangements to purchase a copy.