Interview on Le Dernier temps
Le Dernier Temps : a novel out of the ordinary?
-) Jean, how did you get the idea to write such a story ?
I wrote « Le Dernier Temps » after seeing Richard Attenborough’s film « Gandhi ». I was very impressed by a scene, a historical one, where Hindus and Muslims stand up to the police and do not respond to their blows. I wondered if a non-violent attitude was still possible in our world.
-) And is it?
Studies show that while non-violence does not work every time, it is still more effective than violence.
-) Mmm. That takes a lot of courage. Tell us about this amazing cover.
I was contacted by an internationally known airbrush painter, and I let you see on his website what an airbrush painter is. His name is JJ Vitiello. The man and woman on the cover are from one of his paintings that won the Mona Lisa Prize. This international art prize was awarded in 2019 by the Academia Italia in Arte nel mondo associazione culturale, within the framework of the diffusion of knowledge, the defence and the affirmation of Art and Human Rights.
Seduced by my novel « Les Secrets de la maison de France », JJ Vitiello, who has become a friend, offered his work as a cover for the novel. This artist has been invited to the World Expo in Dubai in 2022.
-) This sculpture of a man and a woman back to back merging their thoughts is impressive. Why don’t you sum up the story for us ?
The Wanderers, a nomadic people from the Earth’s diaspora, return to their host land, which has since been transformed into an industrial base. An anthropologist is sent to investigate their intentions. His meeting with a young native girl challenges his convictions. He discovers a community that is different from all those he has studied up to now. Non-violent, poetic, the Wanderers have been practising for generations to expand their consciousness and are able to read minds. But their world has changed and the Wanderers are now unwanted.
-) Too much? Is your novel violent ?
There is violence, yes. But there is also a lot of sweetness in this story. The anthropologist will discover new extra-sensory experiences. Her forbidden romance, in view of her principles, will open her up to unexpected emotions and journeys.
-) Do you think that humans could evolve and develop new abilities ?
This is already happening. Look at how our bodies adapt to our environment over time. Our size, our skin colour, our eyes, everything differs. The human species is plural. And we continue to evolve. Physically, intellectually, psychically.
-) Towards better ?
I hope so. To something else anyway. In this respect, I deeply believe that we can influence our future, our evolution, our capacities. But we do have to want it.
-) Well, I hope so too. We’ll see. In any case, humans do not change. Rare minerals, big companies, colossal interests, mercenaries… and, on the other side, a people, the Wanderers, who are hostages of it. Above all, this is a story of today that you have told.
You are right. The choice of a dystopia, of a futuristic world, is a pretext. The rights of peoples to self-determination, to be different, to live in a world where economic interests are not king, are the battles of today.
-) Your novel is not angelic. It is even extremely hard in some passages. Are you without illusion ?
I am uncompromising. I am not so naive as to underestimate the weight of economic interests and malice. But I don’t want to accept it.
-) To the point of being the one who gets screwed at the end ?
Maybe. Maybe not.
-) You also played with genres. Your novel confines to the saga, the tale, the poem… and the romance !
You know that I am an incurable romantic. I took great pleasure in writing the personality of Phéelle, a young girl full of joy, dance, sweetness… with a deep intelligence.
-) Finally, is it Science-Fiction or not ?
Yes and no. One of my proudest achievements as an author is to have brought people who never read science fiction to this book and have been dazzled. Another is to have been compared to authors I love like Isaac Asimov. However, it is absolutely not Science-Fiction of the spaceship type and so on. At the limit, one could say that it is a novel of anticipation.