In his first published work, “The I,” Sequim grad James Countryman, 23, takes an old apocalyptic tale through a high-concept science fiction journey.
He’s reimagined the Book of Revelation 1,000 years in the future to follow Dias, a genetically altered homeless orphan seeking revenge on the society in the floating island of Calypso. The world has shifted into a popularity-based economy where tokens are earned for people’s social stature and traded for food, shelter and clothing.
Countryman, a self-proclaimed Christian, said the story takes place after the Rapture and Tribulation, and Earth has settled into a utopian society where the Antichrist leads the world.
“Many characters and settings in the book match up with a post-rapture scenario; however, many artistic liberties are taken as well,” Countryman said.
“It talks a lot about social reform and our future as a society, something I think many independent readers will identify with and understand.”
He developed the idea at age 17 and said he’s read through Revelation more than 30 times.
“I have always been curious about Revelation, the power of the human spirit, and the battle waged in our minds,” he said. “Many of the characters represent facets of my own personality and people I have met throughout my short life. They are exaggerations of the people I see shaping our world every day.”
“The I” is a illustrated novel of sorts in the vein of “The Wizard of Oz” and “Alice in Wonderland.”
Countryman incorporates his drawings into the text on every page.
His style stems from his love for Japanese comic books, or Manga, but he says he tries not to hold onto that style and tries to go in his own direction.
Before moving to Virginia six months ago with his family, Countryman said he designed concert posters and worked on comics for independent comic group YourMomComics. Along with writing, he is a freelance graphic designer on the East Coast and plans to write and draw two more books as a follow-up to “The I.” One is a sequel and the other a prequel. His dream would be to adapt an animated show or film and a video game from his work.
Completing the book, Countryman said, has been a trial.
“I think the only reason I completed this is because God wanted me to complete it even though I didn’t understand the purpose at the time,” he said.
Countryman says “The I” has a target audience of ages 15-30 and people don’t need to be familiar with the biblical Book of Revelations.
“You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy this book,” he said. “It doesn’t have that kind of overtone to it.”