”If you’ve live in the Philadelphia area and have watched NBC10 on TV in the last 25 years, you’ve seen most likely Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz sweeping his arm over satellite images and telling you whether you’ll need an umbrella.”
That was the opening line from Jewish Exponent news reporter Jesse Bernstein introducing the popular Philly TV weatherman Glenn Schwartz and his new cli-fi novel titled “The Weathermaker,” a book I recently reviewed on this blog.
The book details the exploits of a character named Neil Stephenson, a Jewish TV weatherman in Baltimore, whose power to control the weather presents him with pressing moral questions. The novel is getting a lot of media attention now nationwide, with a camera crew from The Weather Channel network travelling to Philadelphia to interview Schwartz for a future broadcast about his job — and his new novel.
When Jesse Bernstein at the Jewish Exponent, a weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, asked Schwartz how he feels Neil Stephenson’s Judaism shapes him as a character in the novel, the first-time novelist explained how he created the character.
”He may not have been brought up in a strict religious atmosphere, but he was exposed to (and appreciated) the morality and ethics taught in Judaism,” Schwartz shared. “A recognition that God has the ultimate control, and that we should use our talents for good, not just personal satisfaction. He is not just using his gift to become famous or get rich, but wants to know how to use it. That’s why he seeks out a rabbi for advice and counsel.”
When asked if novelists can make the subject of climate change interesting, Schwartz had a ready answer and didn’t miss a beat.
“This is where it becomes important to me,” he told the Exponent. “There are lots of great books on climate change, written by experts, but they are all nonfiction. Their readers already accept the science (probably a large percentage of them). [However, as a novelist,] I want to reach the broadest audience possible.”
Movies such as “Mad Max” and “Waterworld” deal with future worlds that are severely impacted by climate change, but the science itself is never addressed, he added, noting: “The most recent movie I could think of that deals with climate change was “The Day After Tomorrow”, but that was 15 years ago. And the science in that was pretty bad. In my novel, I have tried to get the science as right, and current as possible.”
When asked what kind of readers he is trying to reach, the avuncular and bow-tie wearing TV weather guy said: “First, I want them to be entertained by an interesting story about an interesting subject. And for people with a variety of views on climate to read the book. But I also would like some of the more skeptical readers to open their minds to how the science has evolved in recent years. And for everyone to realize that there could be a time when we become desperate to ‘fix’ the climate, and how dangerous that could be.”
If “The Weathermaker” is a success, will Schwartz try his hand at a second novel?
”I’ve always enjoyed writing, and trying to explain science in ways the general public can understand and enjoy,” he replied, implying that there could very well be more weather-related novels under his umbrella.