Philosophy and a Talking Tree: Peter Hardy on his New Novels
Nolan Pakulski Contributing Writer
Professor Peter Hardy, Associate Professor of Mathematics, has published a trilogy of novels that explore modern issues, possible futures for mankind, and some of the greater mysteries of life, which all revolve around a talking tree.
Released on Dec. 1st, 2018, the novels are centered around the existence of the sentient tree named Thorn who lives on Blueberry Hill and the two main protagonists, Paxton and his friend Tucker. The series takes place over the course of two weeks in 1999, just before the turn of the millenium. During this time, Paxton and Tucker speak with the ancient, hundred year old tree, and cover all kinds of topics.
The genre would be “mind, body spirit,” Hardy said. The novels go into new problems such as climate change and its eminence in modern society and the very near future. The protagonists discussion doesn’t end there, however, as they also grapple with ancient questions regarding death, God, and reincarnation. The three beings that gather at the top of Blueberry Hill are all related some way as they explore what their pasts lives were.
Hardy expressed that by exploring their pasts, they might be able to figure out possible futures and how they can try to save the world. Each chapter of the novels start with a poem that the meaning of will be discerned through reading the chapter. Hardy did try to incorporate his works into one of the courses he teaches, but he said that “it’s hard to teach out of your own book,” because students are reluctant to really discuss it. But Hardy says, “If you’re thinking, I’m doing my job.”
The idea for the novels began while Professor Hardy was in college. “It’s been something percolating since college” Hardy said. The novels draw their inspiration from the real world and contemplated “the Buddhist idea that all life is sentient.” The idea “percolated for ten years” were first thought of by Hardy while he and friend went hiking in college. On these hikes Hardy said, “around 1995 [ I ] put pen to paper”. Hardy says it took around 20 years to finish the original book which was around 1000 pages. Hardy then broke it up into three different books.
The novels are unique in many respects. The physical books themselves have original art on the covers, done by Hardy’s daughter Zoe. The novels are also unique for their multimedia experience as each novel in the trilogy has a corresponding CD of original music to to accompany it. When purchasing the music, Hardy says it’s better not to buy online.
Professor Hardy has also, very recently, finished the first book in a new trilogy called The Square. The Square takes place in a dystopian future in which The Wall has been built and the rise of a far right society known as The Republic. The Wall in the universe of the The Square has a section off portion of Texas where immigrants and people associated with liberalism go that it called The Square. The plot in The Square sees Paxton and Tucker attempting to escape The Square with a prophet who can save mankind. They will also see what The Republic is really like. As of yet there is no release date for this new segment of the Thorn universe.
Hardy’s books are currently available at Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers in downtown Farmington, the University store, the Barnes and Noble website, and Amazon.com.