It’s nice to think that we are carried forward by something called ‘Progress’. Better technology to make our lives easier, better living standards caused by eternal economic growth and more personal freedom to say and do as we please. These three trends have really carried Europe and the United States of America, ie The West, forward for the last two hundred years or so. There have been times of great suffering and struggle along the way but it was all for a good reason; we learnt our lessons and reached the Civilisation we have today. But what happens if this trend stopped and even started to reverse.

‘Island on Fire’ is a story set in a near future West where the economy and living standards have crashed and those two pillars of stability and continuity, the United States of America and Europe, have turned against each other. And that old, tried and tested method for resolving difficult problems, government tyranny followed by war, is thrust upon the UK.

What makes this scenario so interesting are the moral dilemmas it presents for the individual. Do you subjugate your own values, lose your own humanity to survive? If you do make a personal stand against the bad guys, there is always a story to tell. For me, probably the most shocking aspect of World War Two is not the destruction wrought by armies and air-forces but the actions of large numbers of civilians, who did not just turn a blind eye but also voluntarily assisted in the suffering of millions of others. Although by the end of the century, normal service seemed to be restored with new technology to distract us. History was over. But the West still seems to love a good war, especially if it is overseas and far away against a country that is easy to obliterate. But just recently war seems to be getting closer to home and not quite so easy. Live by the sword.. as they say.

The West may well end up going the same way as the Roman Empire. And we may end up asking .. what has the West ever done for us? It’s given us Progress; a belief that it would never end.

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