This is a whole new departure for me – a Science Fiction novel. It’s a genre that I’ve been reading ever since my teens, when the likes of Arthur C Clarke and Isaac Asimov hooked me almost immediately, followed by the likes of Larry Niven and Frederik Pohl. More recently, there’s been Iain M Banks (RIP), Alastair Reynolds and William Gibson – and there is no way that No Direction Home is in that sort of class, but I’ve enjoyed writing it, all the same.
It’s set in interstellar space, aboard a starship that is travelling towards Delta Pavonis (a star just under twenty light years away) on a journey that will take over three hundred years, with two thousand colonists aboard, frozen in cryogenic chambers – there are no wormholes in space or warp drives, or even alien monsters, unless you count the central character, who is not fully human. Vinter is a clone, given cyborg augmentation while being ‘grown’ and with a set of memories that belong to the man who should have been aboard but who was confined to a wheelchair following a terrorist bomb incident. (And, yes, I know I used the name Vinter for The Cromwell Exercise, but as that book has long since been consigned to history, I decided to use it here instead.)
Without giving too much away, the plot involves Vinter having to deal with two sets of conflicting memories that he has been given at different stages in his ‘growth’, as well as, ultimately, fighting another clone of himself; he also has to come to terms with the fact that the wife and daughter that he remembers vividly are still on Earth. Worse than that, he is aware that he – this version of himself – never actually knew them at all… In many ways, the novel is less a SF/action story than exploring the reactions of someone who realises that he is an artificial construct who is essentially alone in his universe and probably always will be.
I like it, anyway… But now I’ve decided to try and find an agent, because, hopefully, I can do more than simply self-publishing it in ebook format. Worth a try, anyway?