(Courtesy: TED.com) Imagine you're a shipwrecked sailor adrift in the enormous Pacific. You can choose one of three directions and save yourself and your shipmates – but each choice comes with a fearful consequence too. How do you choose? In telling the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker shows how fear propels imagination, as it forces us to imagine the possible futures and how to cope with them.
In Karen Thompson Walker's 2012 book The Age of Miracles, a young girl and her family awake one morning to discover that the rotation of the Earth has suddenly begun to slow, stretching the length of the 24-hour day and throwing the natural world into disarray. It's a big, speculative book, but at heart, it's a simple human drama, told through the eyes of an observant adolescent girl.
A former book editor at Simon & Schuster, Walker worked on the novel for three years, an hour each morning before work. Fun fact: The Age of Miracles was published on June 21, 2012 – the longest day of the year. Since then, the bestselling, much-awarded book has been translated into 29 languages.