“(People) don't even have time to self-reflect,” the supply teacher with the Rainbow District School Board said.
“They don't do any critical thinking because when they have that spare moment in time where they have nothing going on, they just reach into their pocket. They just solve their boredom with their cellphone.”
It was that observation that led Cameron to self-publish his first novel, "The Second Lives of Honest Men".
While people now have to reach for their cellphones to connect to the Internet, in the dystopian future created by Cameron, it's possible to surf the web through contact lenses.
Amid this backdrop, a history professor at the twilight of his career is about to have his position cut because almost nobody studies the subject anymore.
One of his few students, however, is an extraordinarily brilliant young man, and the two develop a friendship.
Fast-forward five years, and this young man has developed the technology to put the Internet directly into people's minds. At the last minute, he thinks better of commercializing his work.
With the help of his old professor, the young man — who has also developed time-travel technology — jumps back in time and brings Abraham Lincoln to the present.
“The concept I came up with is, who is the last man who had a truly unbesmirched moral compass, at least as far as history is concerned?” Cameron said.
“They find the means to bring Abraham Lincoln from the past to the future to become the new moral compass.”
The author said he's done a bit of writing here and there, but had never attempted to pen a novel before. He said it took him about seven weeks to write the first draft, and “that was a pleasure.”
Then he had a group of beta readers — family and friends and a few local university professors — review the manuscript and point out character flaws and plot holes before he handed it over to a professional line editor.
“I kind of always knew I wanted to write a book, but I didn't see the point of writing something if it was just for my own pleasure,” Cameron said.
“If I ever had the idea to write something that I was thought was a little bit marketable or other people would enjoy, I thought I'd write that. It wasn't until the last year I finally came up with the idea for that.”
Cameron has a number of promotional events lined up for "The Second Lives of Honest Men". He's holding a book signing from 5-7 p.m. on Jan. 13 at Fromagerie Elgin and another at Coles on Jan. 25 (times yet to be finalized).
The author is also holding a reading at Greater Sudbury Public Library's Main Branch at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 5 and another at the library's South Branch at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11.
"The Second Lives of Honest Men" is available at both Old Rock locations, Black Cat, Twisted Doll, Fromagerie Elgin, Printworks Ink in Espanola, Stewart's General Store in Webbwood and the General Store in Nairn Centre.
It's also available online at www.amazon.ca and Cameron's website, www.JohnRCameron.com.
Ten signed copies of the book are also being given away at www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/73765-the-second-lives-of-honest-men.