Scott Brody’s The ORG straddles the line between fiction and activism, at once both a gripping political thriller and a clarion call to action against an existential threat to the planet. The ORG takes place in a world far more advanced along the path of climate change. Readers are immersed in a world struggling with the repercussions of a climate gone awry: famine, drought, and destructive weather becoming the norm.
While The ORG might be a radical interpretation of our real world, you’ll find both the issues and political powers in play hauntingly familiar. The eerie parallel of an authoritarian government seeking to control the narrative of a self-destructive course toward irrevocable climate catastrophe pitted against an almost cultish adversary seeking to save the Earth is all too recognizable.
Make no mistake; these similarities are entirely intentional. At his heart, Scott Brody has always been, first and foremost, an activist. Cutting his teeth in the anti-war protests of the ‘60s, Brody went on to run for Congress representing the US Labor Party in 1976. The ORG is a natural extension of that lifelong commitment to actively seeking to change the world for the better.
It may seem curious for Brody to use fiction as a vehicle for activism, but there is sound reasoning behind this choice. In the ‘70s, protests over the war in Vietnam had a real, tangible immediacy. Television footage, for the first time, brought war to American living rooms. Unlike the carefully crafted footage of previous wars, Americans were forced to immerse themselves in the horrors and brutality of warfare daily.
What climate change lacks is this immersive reality. Unfortunately, by Brody’s estimation, by the time the horrors of climate change become fully realized, we will be on an inextricable course toward ecological disaster. Using fiction as a medium allows Brody to bring the same immediacy to the dangers of climate change that he experienced regarding war during the Vietnam era.
This narrative vehicle provides the emotional connection readers need to understand the menace our changing climate represents in a way a fact-laden scientific report simply cannot.
A report does not convey what it is truly like to suffer from food insecurity because crops wither in the fields. A report does not convey what it is like to have your home threatened to be engulfed permanently under the ocean due to rising sea levels. A report does not convey the desperation that drives protestors into the streets. For that, we need a story that brings to life the people struggling daily in that world, and that is precisely what Brody provides.
On a positive note, Brody is motivated by the belief that it is not too late for us to act. That was a driving force in the creation of The ORG – that it might move readers and translate to real action. However, it also stands as a clear warning of what our continued indifference or inaction may cost us. It is fortunate for readers that Brody has managed to weave these themes into a gripping, exciting tale that will cause no few nights of insomnia as it’s hard to put this compelling read down.