Courting Chaos: Local author explores and gives context to commotion

Peninsula Premier Admin

Lawrence Samuels is always thinking, wondering, imagining. A great fan of English author, journalist, and critic the late George Orwell — think “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four” — Samuels explores extreme control or the lack of it, chaos, and dystopian social science forces that confound and control human life. And then he writes about it.

His first book, “In Defense of Chaos: The Chaology of Politics, Economics, and Human Action” (2013), champions the dynamics of chaos, reminding that, without it, nothing would exist — good, bad, or jury’s still out.

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“Chaos is a means of doing something you’ve never done before. We’re uncomfortable with the chaotic,” he said, “but if we keep going back to it, we create order. Order is nothing but repetition. People need to accept this effort in order to do what we’ve never done before.”

Samuels has a propensity to look at things inside out, upside down, and backward, which enables him to better know, to understand, to make something of it. In 2015, he published “Killing History: The False Left-Right Political Spectrum and the Battle between the Free Left and the Statist Left” a tome, which took nearly seven years to write.

“I had books stacked so high up for research,” he said, “I had to pair it down. Sometimes I’d pay $400 to $500 a book just to be sure a concept was true. I even bought books just for a single-page reference. What it all came down to is that almost everything about the political spectrum is dead wrong.”

Samuels was on a roll. Just over a year ago, he published, “We are Them: The Apocalypse Syndrome,” a dystopian novel that explores a small community, post “otherworldly explosion,” as citizens strive to make sense of a sudden and complete absence of order.

His newly released novel, “We are Them: The War Years,” continues the saga. Set in Salinas, circa 2050, the story starts with a couple who begin to realize the discord in their relationship is nothing compared to the chaos of their community, which seems to be beyond resolve.

“There’s a lot of mystery going on. But, as the protagonists start to see things more clearly,” said Samuels, “they begin to realize that America is the terrorist, against which the whole world is fighting. While it’s hard to get their heads around being the bad guys, it’s even harder to figure out what to do about it.”

Samuels loves movies and books, loves exploring stories that confound, stories where characters are confronted with an impossible situation. Whether they’re fearful or brave, resourceful or bewildered, he wants to see how they go about solving their problems. Therein lies the story.

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“I love to conceive of strange characters in a strange situation, and see how they handle it,” he said. “I try to relate to humanity, to explore how they deal with fear and the unknown. I delve into what people do when they don’t understand what’s going on, when they don’t want to be involved, but they are.”

Samuels’ books are for minds that like to wander to the outer reaches of life as we know it, only to find that fiction just might be closer to fact than we imagine. The storyline behind “We Are Them” is chaotic and confusing. Which is the point.

Becoming an author

As an undergrad at Cal State Fullerton, Samuels gained writing experience exploring and explaining other people’s situations while working as a journalist for the Orange County Register. The more articles he wrote on deadline, the more he realized he wanted to take the time to write a full-length work. While he never lost sight of his goal, the practicalities of life intervened.

He married Jane Heider Samuels, who’d earned her MBA from USC and had become a programmer for Edwards Laboratory. Once she was expecting their first of two sons, she wanted to move to Carmel to live near her parents. He, who had established a typesetting graphics firm, took longer to relocate, waiting two years to sell a high-resolution company at the dawning of the digital age.

Once he came to Carmel, Samuels got his real estate license and went largely into property rentals. Today, the couple is retired, their sons are in their 30s, and they are enjoying a grandchild. Yet there is nothing retiring about researching and writing dystopian novels. Particularly since Samuels is already well into writing his third novel in what will be a “We Are Them” trilogy.

“I’ve promised my readers I would do a trilogy,” he said. “I’m always reading, exploring, trying to figure out how things work or don’t work. I really appreciate complex stories written simply. It seems my readers do, as well.”

L.K. Samuels’s books are available via Amazon.com.

Contributed by local news sources

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