The Children of the Future is the debut novel of Cornish Young Adult / Adult fiction writer Paul. A. Moran
The book follows protagonists John Angel and his teenage daughter on a journey of speculative sci-fi and paranormal magical realism, across the beautiful landscapes of present day Cornwall.
The Children of The Future - Plot Synopsis
John Angel and his daughter Alice arrrive at a Gathering of the mysterious Agency somewhere in Essex. Everyone at the Agency is telepathic and uses thought-talk to communicate. They also have a range of thought controlled machines.
Angel works for the Agency as a recruiter of children and young adults who are telepathic but have been overlooked in the forgotten care sector. He is one of many recruiters engaged in finding children being born with advanced neural structures, as part of a project called Bright Child. The project is the establishment of a secret psychic school for all adolescents with advanced brain structures, throughout the Country. Angel is at the Gathering to attend a lecture and meet up with other Agency members.
Alice is there to receive a special book and to be inducted into the Bright Child project. The book uses a mind-machine interface to communicate with it's owner. It is a training manual in the form of an interactive game that teaches children to develop their telepathy, psychic powers and paranormal skills; while at the same time leading to further rapid neural development. It is the Agency's intention to get the recruiters to roll-out the new book nationwide in a massive expansion of the Bright Child project.
While at the Gathering Angel learns about a new recruitment method using the book, and also some disturbing news regarding tragic past events and the Agency. Due to a problem with production, Angel is only given one book to distribute. Alice is introduced to a group of children with similar ESP knowledge to herself, who have also been given the book. Alice learns about Rogues who use their powers negatively and for personal gain, and what can happen to children with advanced neural networks who are not guided.
On their return home to Cornwall and the resumption of everyday life, strange events start to occur, initially to Angel and then to Alice as well. Angel is plagued by weird lucid dreams displaying the past. Both experience a series of ghostly encounters and haunting apparitions, and a mysterious figure who occasionally appears when least expected. With each encounter unknowing to them, they are being guided into an uncertain, darker future. Angel and Alice both try to discover who or what is behind all the strange occurences.
At work Angel has been assigned a group of three young teenage siblings in care. They have been identified as Bright Child candidates using the Agency's big data algorithm, and he must distribute a copy of the new book to one of them. As he gets to know and assess them, Angel observes as the children confront their ghosts of the past. In doing so Angel is forced to confront his own. Angel only has one book to distribute and must make a choice who to give it to. Which one is a Bright Child? Events occur which relieve him from having to make a choice. Angel ensures that Alice befriends the children in care and helps the new Bright Child learn rapidly from her book.
Alice and her new psychic friends are addicted to the Book and through experimenting, quickly advance beyond the initial lessons. Groups of children with the book from around the Country, start to connect and develop their skills and awareness, way further than what was planned or expected by the Agency. They keep their knowledge secret from the adults and the Agency.
Meanwhile, the Agency has been developing it's own secret agenda in its battle against the Rogues for thought control. It has developed a series of mind-interfaced machines, including a ghost materialiser connected to a psychic medium and remote-viewing drones for mass Rogue observation. Whilst visiting an Agency member in Bristol, Angel discovers that the real reason behind the psychic school is to create an army of thought warriors for a predicted Mind War against the Rogues.
As events unfold, the questions on everyone's minds for varying reasons are, 'Who is responsible for the past? Is the past determining the present? Who is shaping the future? Who is really in control?
The adults believe they are educating the children, the Agency believes it can control the present and the future through collective thought and action to fight the Rogues; but the system is broken and the Rogues still control everything.
The Children with the book, believe they have the power with all their new found skills to change everything and make the World as they want it to be ... and they are determined to make it happen.
Outside of this dystopian contemporary present, higher powers are also influencing events, which all the characters gradually become aware of, in a series of ghostly revelations.
As the lifepaths of each of the characters become more entangled, events ensure that they are all dragged deeper down the rabbit hole, to an inevitable convergence and thrilling climax of conflict.
When one of the teenage girls and her book is taken by a Rogue, both the adults and teenagers are forced to communicate honestly with each other, in order to find and rescue her. They realise that the immediate future can only be determined positively, through their collective collaborative actions. There is a final twist at the end of the book, which alters the timeline perspective of many of the protagonists.
The novel explores existence, relationships, connectivity, thought processes and communication. It questions and challenges existing structures, roles and rules from the perspective of both adults and the adolescents. The book sensitively tackles darker problem areas of young adult experience, such as all types of abuse, bullying, abandonment and disconnection, suicide and death, and shows how these can be overcome through positive thought, action, experience and knowledge ...
The novel is essentially a roadtrip around various real-
life locations across Cornwall. It explores many of the magical, mythical and mysterious settings that can be found in the ancient landscape. The characterisations are fictional though based on experiences and events.
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