Site of PLC Project

I don't believe there is any such thing as time. I believe that time is a human construct to measure change. A clock–from a grandfather clock to an atomic clock–uses a rate of change as a measurement that we call time. If I'm right it's silly to think that you can go back and forward in time. You can't. Once you change something, you can change it again, but you can't unchange it. Until entropy sets in in some far distance future change is our one constant; it is relentless. Even an apparent constant, the rotation of the earth, is subject to minute changes with every spin, which clocks must account for by their creators fiddling with their mechanism.

So one of my main concerns in my fiction is the relentlessness of change, in particular how change affects a small New England town that I call Darby and its people. I first came to this idea of change in the early 1970s. My state of New Hampshire and neighboring Vermont were undergoing tumultuous changes bought on by the coming of the interstate highway, which gave our states the urban benefits and urban problems of Boston and New York. No place ever stays the same: a place changes for the better or for the worse. However, the change can be so leisurely that the inhabitants of a place can readily adapt. It's this idea of change that I have been testing over and over again in my Darby novels.

PLC (Paradise Lots Covenant) is the brain child of H.C. Wentworth, whose identity, by the way, supplies a big plot point in Howard Elman's Farewell. The vision behind the company can be summed up in its motto, "connecting tradition to technology." PLC views Darby as an experiment. To save the town from melding into a dull suburb of nearby Keene the company is planning a huge development that includes a new structure to replace the Darby's condemned town hall, a shopping mall, condos, and the big attraction, a gambling casino on the shores of the Connecticut River. The site for this project is the former county farm property on River Road. The locale is easy to picture in my mind, because I see it often; the fictional site is based on the former Cheshire County Farm and jail in my hometown of Westmoreland, New Hampshire. By the way, the former jail in Westmoreland, abandoned at this writing in 2015, is a wonderful example of Brutalist architecture that shames even the drearier buildings of Soviet era Russia.

The company's name, Paradise Lots Covenant, is of course a play on Milton's poem Paradise Lost. I thought Paradise Lots was an appropriate name for a 21st century real estate development company whose motto is "connecting tradition to technology."

Will PLC follow through with its plan? Will town voters oppose and crush the idea or embrace it with the company promise of lowered property taxes and jobs? With the conclusion (maybe) of the Darby Chronicles with book seven, Howard Elman's Farewell, the question remains open.