Professor Adam Young, world-renowned ecologist (and “worthy successor to David Attenborough” as frequently described by the BBC), was doing another book signing in London today. Unlike the previous events, it was not because he’d written a new scientific text or a new collection of essays on nature. This time, it was to commemorate the release of his first novel.
Ostensibly meant for young adults, the book had captured the imaginations of young and old alike. It was a fantasy novel, filled with supernatural and magical elements, with more than a fair share of real-world ecological information mixed in. The fanciful story captivated the children, and it was full of subtle nuances that drew in adults. More than one reviewer had declared the novel to be full of life lessons that would benefit people of all ages.
“’The Demon Above, and the Angel Below’: This story of two celestial beings, a demon and an angel, who fell in love with the Earth and then with each other, is a magical tale that will leave you laughing, crying, and then running out the door to save the Earth as well,” Gabriel said distastefully, reading a blurb from the novel’s back cover. “This is utterly unfair. What about us?” He indicated himself and the demon prince at his side. “We did the same thing.”
“Not in the same order,” Aziraphale pointed out.
“Maybe he’ll portray you two in a better light in the sequel,” Crowley added with a smirk.
The shorter demon frowned. “How much of what really happened do you think he’ll include?” Beelzebub asked. “Izz he going to write about the Truce or the actual Ineffable Plan?”
Crowley shrugged. “He already implied what being on Earth does to celestial beings in the first book. I wouldn’t be surprised if he flat-out says it in the next one.”
“The humans knowing so much…it makes me uncomfortable,” Gabriel admitted.
“They think it’s just a story,” said Aziraphale. “A fantasy novel. I wouldn’t worry.”
“You’re just mad because of how he wrote your character.” Then Crowley grinned. “But hey, look on the bright side – you can’t possibly come off any worse in the sequel.”
Gabriel glared at him, but the line snaking up to the author’s table was moving again. Now that they were closer, they could hear some of the questions being addressed to the writer, as well as his responses.
“Professor Young, what do you think is the most important thing we should take from your stories?” asked a woman whose book he was signing.
“Taking care of the Earth, because it’s our home and the only one we have?” asked the little girl at her side.
“Hmm. That’s very important, of course, and it is something I feel very strongly about. But it’s not the most important thing,” he replied, leaning forward in a most conspiratory manner. “Do you want to know what it is?”
The child’s eyes widened, as if she was about to be told an incredible secret. “What is it?”
“The most important thing we all need to know is that we don’t have to be defined by where we came from, or what other people think we should be. Free will and choice are two of the most wonderful gifts we have. And everybody on Earth, absolutely everyone, has these gifts right now. Our lives are full of choices; so we should always be sure we’re making the right ones.” He paused for a moment, reaching down to rub the ears of the small dog in his lap. “How old are you?”
“Eleven next Tuesday!”
“Ah,” he said, nodding. “Eleven’s a good age, and it’s the age I was when I made my most important choice ever. One that I had to get right. And I did.” He smiled. “You see, when I was eleven years old, I decided that I wanted to save the world.”