I meant to write another post much earlier than this but I have been pleasantly distracted by working on my new book. In fact, everything has been going really well with it. I have finished the first draft and I am now working in the second. This is the phase where I do all the editing and flesh out the story with detail and character development. As with all my previous books, it also involves a certain amount of research, even more so because this book is a step into the genre of Science Fiction. I have written before about how many of the Science Fiction books that I have read recently really are not ‘science fiction’. This is because in many cases the story rests on very little science. Most of them have been futurists books, by which I mean that they are set in the future and the writer just assumes that their readers are going to accept spaceships, robots, alien life, and all the other popular motifs of ‘science fiction’ without any explanation or reference to an underpinning science. Some people can indeed do just that but as a reader, I expect a little more from a writer.
When it comes to Science Fiction I really do not mind if a writer offers a hypothesis and then runs with it, to speak, as long as there is some logic to the said idea and the story rests upon it. I certainly do not take exception to leaps in their logic if they are based on intuition and add something to the story as well. Michael Crichton did that with more than one of his books and they were still enjoyable reads. In many respects what I call futurism could also be referred to as lazy science fiction simply because, for whatever reason, the author has not bothered to do the research to support their ideas; even the ones that they have borrowed from other writers, spaceships traveling faster than the speed of light for example.
There are no spaceships in my new book but there is a time machine. Now, according to current thinking in physics travel back in time is not possible. There are several reasons for this and they are not limited to the classic time travel paradox of someone going back in time and being killed before they were born. It just appears that our universe functions in such a way as to make traveling back in time impossible, at least at the moment. This did not deter me from developing an idea of time travel and then setting it out in the story. It includes one glaring stretch of logic involving an elementary particle, a gluon, being able to remain stable for much longer than they actually can. That is my intuitive leap in logic, I admit it, however, as this book relies on people from the future being able to visit the past then I had to come up with something. In fact, I wanted to come up with a tenable theory of time travel even if it was not, to all intents and purposes, currently possible to do it.
One of the reasons for this is because the characters in the book come from a future some time beyond our present day. Their society is not ours. It has developed from what we currently know but it has also gone a traumatic transition into a civilisation that utilises a resource-based economy. It exists in a human world where nations, party politics, and state institutionalised religions no longer have a role to play. Science and reason are the cornerstones of their civilisation. People do not work for an abstract concept such as money, they work to achieve life-long personal development and the benefit of their city, the polis. This is not the Western World projected as a galaxy-wide civilisation then.
Of course, there has to be a reason why people from the future would want to expend so much time and energy to visit the past. My time travelers are not interested in human history but rather in discovering how life survives and thrives after a mass extinction event. Such a thing has occurred in their time and they are trying to help the flora and fauna in their world not only recover but be able to live harmoniously alongside the new human civilisation. It is understood that the fate of the planet is very closely linked to the fate of humanity and these people want to ensure that they do not push the natural world, and themselves, into another mass extinction event.
Of course, this new world is not a paradise, the book might prove a rather boring read if the human condition did not still harbour some of the more objectionable qualities that make for a good technical thriller. No, there are still some people who hunger after money or rather the illusion of power that it brings. There are also people who still denigrate women, unfortunately. And there is also someone from a vestige of the old world who wants to see their city thrive at the cost of the new civilisation. This gives rise to murder, a manhunt through time, and encounters with one of my favourite groups of animals, the dinosaurs.
I cannot help but think that it was the inclusion of the dinosaurs in this book that made it so much fun to write! On my fifth birthday, or so I remember it, I received my first book on dinosaurs and I have been captivated by them ever since. When the idea of writing a novel about them was suggested by a friend I leapt at the opportunity. I had wanted to write a book about dinosaurs for a long time but I also wanted to do something new. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created the first lost world version with his book ‘The Lost World’, which is quite apt, and it has been copied many times over. Michael Crichton managed to be original with ‘Jurassic Park’. I hope that people will find this version of the idea of humans meeting dinosaurs equally original. I have spent a lot of time refreshing my knowledge of dinosaurs, I am very much an amateur Palaeontologist so that I can present them as accurately as our current knowledge allows. Psychopathic human obsessed dinosaurs might be good for the movies but they are a long way from what the real things probably were like. Dinosaurs were animals and not monsters after all and that is how I have depicted them. This does not mean that there are not a few exciting encounters between the two, there most definitely is, just that most of these incidents occur more by chance than by the pursuit of a bloodlust.
The name of my new book is ‘Mesozoic’ after the geological era in which dinosaurs first appeared and then became extinct. The story is spread across the whole of it thanks to the time travel machine that I invented, even if it only exists within the pages of the book. I hope to have the book finished and ready for publishing by spring. Until then here is the cover that I have recently finished. It is simple, dramatic, and expresses a lot about the story contained in the book that it will front.