2028 - the story

The premise of a gentle disaster - flowers losing their color in the year 2028 - inspired a story that provides visions of the future as it is perceived in different cultures and regions of our world.

It all begins when might-have-been biologist Calder chances upon a first grey violet in Florida and is offered a wildcard role in a quickly assembled task force. His quest to find out more about the graying brings him in contact with Maya, a data-miner in war-struck Israel whose survival strategy of blocking all memories and emotions starts to crumble as the graying draws her out of her cocooned life.

Maya puts her hopes in Calder, much in contrast to June, a German simulation expert who refuses to help him at first. A victim of the earlier global economic crash, June now is forced to live in a social home and flees from reality by logging into cyber simulations of the past - an option that is out of reach for Njeri, impoverished mother of five, who lives in the ruthless slums of Kenya and works in a flower factory that is already affected by the graying.

The appearance of the first gray flowers is contrasted by the flash-forward dystopic tale of the Gribbles Brothers, who roam the new American wilderness of abandoned shopping centers in a world where coloured flowers are nothing but a memory.

Other main characters include: Olivia, the liberal daughter of an Australian garbage-billionaire who still believes she can make the world a better place; Sal, a climate refugee from the Fijis who dreams of easy money by winning a contest to find the first gray flower in Australia; and Ru Yi, an English teacher in China whose life seems to be graying along with the flowers.

Envisioning the effects of global change on a personal level, and exploring the visible and invisible connections of seemingly unrelated individuals, these stories lead to a culturally diverse forecast of how our world might look in twenty years.

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