BIRTH OF THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK
by Brian Herbert
Copyright ©2014 by DreamStar, Inc.
I did not have a title yet when I began assembling ideas for a novel that would eventually be published as THE LITTLE GREEN BOOK OF CHAIRMAN RAHMA. In recent years there had been a great deal of publicity about large-scale environmental abuses to forests, water systems, and wetlands committed by a whole host of careless businesses, including developers, logging companies, and even furniture makers, all going into the woods and taking what they needed or tearing down entire forests, destroying magnificent old-grown trees.
But at the same time, I had also noticed examples of left-wing urban and county planning departments ignoring the rights of small property owners, declaring their existing homes non-conforming or identifying wetlands on their acreage and making the property unbuildable, even if the wetlands and ponds were manmade, and not natural. I also came to the opinion that immense, predatory corporations should not automatically include smaller corporations that were all over this country—but I saw all corporations being painted with the same brush in the press, lambasted without noticing the differences between companies. All corporations were not bad just because they were incorporated.
Seeing abuses on both sides of the environmental issue, I began with a plot about a man whose property rights had been trampled on by vociferous, left-wing radicals who unfairly influenced the planning department of a small suburban city. The story was going to be about his revenge against the left-wing perpetrators, the ones responsible for taking away his right to enjoy and develop a piece property that he had worked a lifetime to earn.
But this plot turned out to be overly simplistic, and besides, I didn’t want my main character to be a disenfranchised, bitter property owner, or any kind of a right-wing extremist—the sort who might blow up government buildings and kill innocent people. So, I flipped it. Now my hero became an extremist with the opposite belief system, asserting that the welfare of trees and animals were more important than human beings. Taking this man’s world-view to an extreme, I made him the leader of a street movement against greedy corporations and governments, a movement that grows into a war, in which he actually succeeds in toppling every government in North America and South America.
I named him Chairman Rahma Popal, and the new government he forms is the Green States of America, a utopia in which the environment reigns supreme. Humans are forced to live in densely-populated reservations for humans, and are not allowed to go outside these confines without special permission, which is hardly ever given. Outside these crowded population centers, restoration crews work the land, destroying old factories and other environmental blights, and spreading fast-growing seeds that regenerate the great forests.
But it is a fascist green state, with the rules enforced by eco-police, men and women wearing green uniforms, with shiny green helmets and jackboots. They are Eco-Nazis, the Green Gestapo, and people who do not follow the environmental rules are loaded aboard death trains and taken out into the wilderness, where they are killed, and their bodies are recycled back into the earth.
It is a utopia, unless you have to live under its rules. . . .
BRIAN HERBERT has written numerous novels, including Man of Two Worlds, with Frank Herbert, The Race for God, and Sudanna, Sudanna. In 2003, he published Dreamer of Dune, a Hugo Award-nominated biography of his father.