Delighted to say that my new sci-fi novel Soundings is now on general release in the wild (and not so wild) and on the shelves. So it’s a good time to give you a little overview of how it came to fruition & what you can expect.
Synopsis (Back Cover Teaser)
What becomes of a deep space explorer once a long-settled land is reached?
Astronaut Linien Primae arrives on Aesop, a human colony 4000 years in the making.
For most arrivals, conforming to the leisure classes is a way of life, all watched over and entertained by Cybernet’s Neural Swarm.
But a society of docile unquestioning citizens makes for a sickly sort of equality.
It’s too much like voluntary servitude for Linien… and he wants none of it.
What Genre is it?
This is sci-fi of the old school variety. Space exploration is used as a backdrop to explain our own life journeys… but without aliens, dragons or other fantasy stuff.
The book is based in the distant future but with a strong grasp on reality.
What are the Themes?
The main theme of the book is Equality – what it means to be ‘an equal’ in society.
As you can guess from the back cover blurb above, a stagnant society where everybody belongs to the leisure classes may make everyone equal, but it doesn’t mean the society is working. The system may function but it’s hardly liberating.
Additional sub-themes look at connectivity in life, and questioning just how social our digital lives could/should become.
What was the Book’s Genesis?
Soundings was in fact meant to be my first sci-fi novel, but as I began researching it I realized there were 3 major stories to be told, each with a defined theme of their own.
So, I planned out the full trilogy, along with giving Soundings its own themes & events. These were quite clearly set when I started writing both of the earlier books, Terra Swarm & Erebus.
The books were set out as follows:
- Terra Swarm – The search for habitable planets (theme: liberty)
- Erebus – Terra formation of a newly/recently settled planet (theme: fraternity, or death)
- Soundings – Terra normalization; Bringing normality to a long-established new settlement (theme: equality). This involves the normalization of work, lifestyles, societal strata, politics, etc.
… or as Linien put it, “Swarming, forming, norming.”
Each of the books stand on their own right as stories. Though Soundings answers some elements that were left open in the earlier stories that formed little threads across the trilogy.
And just to add to the complexity of what I was doing, each book was written in a slightly different style to mirror the progress of the main characters Linien Primae and AED (triple-C computer aboard the Spirit of Eden).
Whats Up With That Cover?
You’ll have to read the book to find out! Trust me, the front & back cover have a bearing on the story.
One of my big regrets about ebooks/kindle versions is that some of this book cover design is lost (as I’ve pined about before re: old vinyl LP covers).
Admittedly, the digital versions often presents a JPEG version of the front cover, which goes some of the way.
I guess I just love that new book smell.
Is There More to Follow in the Series?
I have concepts set out for another trilogy, with 3 big themes and a whole bunch of sub-themes and plots. This new trilogy will also augment some of the worlds and events that have happened in the first three Terrasodes.
And Finally a P.S. of Sorts: Easter Egg Time
In writing the trilogy I liked to put several little Easter Eggs in the text, structure, and format of the final books. These were little ideas to give your brain a tickle at different times in the book.
Sometimes I used quite obvious techniques (e.g. using a dialogue phrase as a cue by different characters). Other times it was complex (e.g. 154).
I hope folk enjoy looking/finding these – they are exactly the type of nuances I love spotting in books myself or seeing in well-structured screenplays and films. They also make re-reading a volume all the more enlightening on each read.
There is one very special Easter Egg in the paperback version of Soundings which ties in with the story.
When you find it, I do hope it makes you smile and have a bit of a think about why I put it in there.
I’ll send a signed copy of the Soundings to whomever finds it first (leave a comment here or email me at rod[at]squidinky.com if you spot it).