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Taking Very Unethical Actions

Bob Zeidman
Bob Zeidman Author Interview

Animal Lab follows a group of rats that can suddenly think and act for themselves as they try to build a society in a world that no longer includes humans. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I’ve loved George Orwell’s Animal Farm since I read it as a teenager. It was such an easy read yet conveyed important concepts about society both intellectually and emotionally. I’m concerned about the directions our society is going and always thought back to the warnings of Animal Farm, but these days the issues are somewhat different. I’d been thinking about writing an updated version for a few years, but wasn’t sure I could pull it off. During the COVID pandemic, I had more time to think, so I started outlining a book, then filling in the details, and found myself falling in love with it. I don’t know if I can make a difference in the way that Orwell did, but I figured I needed to try.

As the rats grow in intelligence and start building their society, there are some major shifts in their personalities. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I believe that with a few exceptions, most leaders and influential people believe that what they do is for the common good. Or at least they rationalize it that way. It’s too easy in a novel to have an obvious good guy and obvious bad guy. It’s more interesting to see how people evolve and how good people can come to believe that they must achieve their goals by any means necessary, which can include taking very unethical actions.

I wanted all the animals to start out sympathetic. When a baby is born, without any preconceived notions, it is innocent and lovable. In the same way, the animals in the lab were born on a single day and started out innocent. I wanted the reader to see their growth and the decisions they made. This also acts as a warning that good people can do bad things, so we must judge people by their actions, not by their talk and certainly not by their charm.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

As in my previous novel Good Intentions, I want to show that bad results can come from good people who think they are doing good things. I want to provoke the majority of Americans—moderates of all political, social, and religious beliefs—to not blindly follow extremist leaders and extremist ideologies simply because they appear “fair” and “just.” I want people to recognize that “wokeness” suppresses free speech, that “social justice” attempts to right wrongs by forcing other wrongs, “equity” tries to counter prejudices with different prejudices, and that “even-handedness” is often a way to elevate bad ideologies while demoting good ones. These simplistic concepts are easy to endorse because they don’t require discriminating thought. Doing the right thing actually is hard work, but is absolutely necessary for society to survive and be righteous.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working on a nonfiction book about creating and running a successful business. I’ve started about a dozen businesses, several of which have been very successful. I’ve learned some important lessons and want to share them with others.

​Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

One day, the animals at a research lab wake up with the abilities of rational thought and communication. And the humans are gone. They realize they must organize into a society with rules, rights, and responsibilities. They heard about a farm in England where the animals created a socialist society that eventually failed. They are determined to succeed, so they create a democratic republic. But can they keep it?
Animal Lab is an allegorical novel by Bob Zeidman. It is a warning about the possible coming collapse of American society and along with it, American principles, values, and freedoms—torches that have lit the path for the advancement of the human condition for over two centuries and that must not be allowed to be extinguished.

Animal Lab

On day one, the humans are gone.

A testing lab full of animals is left to fend for themselves when their humans suddenly vanish. The animals develop a new self-awareness; they start to think and act for themselves, and together they form a society in the absence of human oppression.

Rizzo, Cagney and Billie, three rats, bring together the animals of the lab to form a new nation, a constitutional democratic republic. Representatives are elected, and the government starts to form laws upon which to build their nation. Progress is forming and animals take on a new, wholesome way of life. Though peace cannot last forever, politics clash, murders run rampant, and crime is a new concept our characters are forced to face.

In Animal Lab author Bob Zeidman creates a world dominated by animals that represent the struggles we see in society today. This novel will engage readers in a philosophical discussion about American politics and how society can be viewed as a whole. Readers will find this book to be riveting and educational. The gradual development of the characters’ personalities as they form their nation and become more independent and free-thinking is captivating.

Billie and Cagney, two of the main characters in the story, are great examples. The two rats have been in an on-and-off-again relationship, but as they develop their rational thinking, through reading philosophical books, they quickly become inseparable. One of Zeidman’s characters remarks that they have practically become one person/animal. Though, as we get to the end of the book, we see Billie is no longer the shy little rat she once was; she turns into a domineering leader who controls and manipulates not only her partner but also the nation of animals in the lab. Cagney’s personality is mellow compared to Billie’s. But we can see how committed he is to Billie and would do anything for her, which leads him down an uncomfortable, immoral road.

Animal Lab is a quick read that packs an amazing amount of action and drama into the pages. Fans of political fiction and satirical fiction will enjoy this poignant novel. There are a few sensitive topics like the animals’ murders that could be upsetting to sensitive readers, but the overall theme of societal downfall and rebuilding will keep readers engaged. It has an uncanny resemblance to George Orwell’s Animal Farm so readers that enjoyed that novel will find this one a worthy read as well.

Pages: 149 | ASIN : B09HHMW3BB

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