The Wave was written to answer a question Arlene Goldbard is often asked: You say we are on the cusp of a paradigm shift, a radical change in worldview that will thrust art and culture onto center stage. What does that mean? How will the world be different?
The Wave is speculative fiction. In 2023, a young journalist, Rebecca Price, writes a series of articles describing an emergent cultural change that has been gathering force over the previous decade (even longer, some of her informants say). She draws on a range of examples unfolding in New York City where she lives. “The Wave,” her name for theZeitgeist—the rising spirit of the times—catches on, entering common usage. In 2033, she is asked by an editor to revisit her findings and report again. The text includes notes to her editor, excerpts from the 2023 series, and new material she writes in 2033. The characters and stories are designed to draw in readers who may not be inclined to explore the same ideas in nonfiction form.
The author’s hope is that a glimpse of this possible world will spark other social imaginations: that readers will be inspired to add to the collective dream of a future worth pursuing, one that can override the dystopian self-discouragement that has become our daily fare.