Lazy or cloak and dagger sci-fi and The Safest Moon!

Newsletter – November 2022

At last, we’ll soon be heading back into space! It seems a long time since I uploaded The Big G as a free giveaway to blaze the trail, and yet the second full-length novel, due to be published next month, is set before the events on Ganymede and was mostly written before as well! So, what happened? Why did I suddenly write two more short stories set on Earth? It’s almost like that period, too long ago for most of you to remember, when the cash-strapped BBC realised that the writers of Doctor Who had run out of ways to pretend that the local quarry looked like an alien planet, and they decided to sell us the idea that the TARDIS was out of order, leaving the Doctor temporarily marooned on Earth in the era of flared trousers and shirts with big collars. My excuse for spending so long Earth-bound? I guess I just wanted to get the backstory out of the way, even if I never intended it to be essential reading.

Having said all that, I sometimes wonder if space isn’t the lazy option for science fiction writers. You don’t have to rack your brains trying to imagine what will have changed. You just say: Look, it’s space! You colonise it with your domes and towers and funky spaceships and then get on with the story. Setting things back on Earth, we seem forced to choose between everyone being miserable in their dystopian (and what always used to be post-holocaust) worlds or seeing our descendants like tiny, almost irrelevant ants in fantastic, overwhelming cityscapes, with ‘cars’ criss-crossing each other high in the air between the monstruous silver skyscrapers – almost like being in Qatar for the (soccer) World Cup! Might there not be a third way, where growth and consumption are more sensible, and everything isn’t so shiny?

Instead of answering that question, I propose the opposite: an escapist journey to icy Enceladus, regarded by some as The Safest Moon. And this month I’ll be sending out some advanced review copies!

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