Sunday, 20 May 2012

Behind the Eden Paradox Trilogy

On May 22nd The Eden Paradox gets featured on Kindle Nation Daily, so I decided to dust off my very first blog back in early 2011, and update it as to what lies behind the concept of the Eden Trilogy, and why I wrote the novels. I can sum it up in four questions:

1. Why haven't we met alien life yet?
2. When we do, will aliens be friendly or hostile?
3. Will they be smarter than us?
4. Will we survive the experience?

I've always loved Science Fiction, and I'd intended to write another SF novel called The Games, but got caught up in a short story that featured a four man crew landing on Eden, and managing to upset an indigenous alien species they didn't even know was there, and getting killed in the process. I took it to a workshop in Paris in summer 2006, headed by Michael C Curtis (fiction editor of Atlantic Fiction). Some people hated the story, some loved it, but they all liked the characters, and Michael advised keeping the characters and changing the story. That's what I did...

I read up on Fermi's paradox - why, if there are logically many habitable planets in the galaxy, haven't we encountered serious evidence of extraterrestrial visitors? Several obvious answers - the galaxy is really vast, so nobody's found us yet; they found us but we're not interesting; the galaxy is very old, and civilisations may have come and gone and we might be in a 'dead patch'; etc.

So, I figured, what if there is civilisation, but it is very far away, and we're not that exciting a prospect, except that an alien life form has gotten interested in us. What are the chances they are friendly? And if they're not friendly, could we puny humans do them any damage? Well, yes, I thought, because the laws of physics suggest that nuclear weapons and possibly nanotech invasion would be nasty for most (corporeal) organisms, no matter how far advanced. So how would they avoid these? Inside help, I thought, and there I had the makings of a story which has ended up a trilogy.

As I worked on it, and particularly as I got into the second book (Eden's Trial), I got more and more interested in alien intelligence, how different and more advanced it could be - not easy to conceptualise, obviously, but worth some effort. Why would it be more advanced? Well, if you think about galactic timescales and traveling distances, and times for any alien society to rise, mature, stagnate and fall, chances are even that there will be species some millions of years ahead of us on the evolutionary scale. So, Star Trek, where humans are pretty much top dog, is a nice idea, but...

The Eden Saga isn't just about aliens and space ships; far from it. It's about humanity, and what could happen if we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a far superior civilisation - would we cope? Could we adapt fast enough? To me these are important questions, because the answers reveal things about ourselves, and because one day, as we see further into the galaxy, we'll find something, or something will find us. Then it won't be fiction anymore. I believe we should think ahead...

It has been immense fun, and sales have ticked along with the occasional spike and foray into the top 10 SciFi ebooks on Amazon, and some great feedback both from Scifi enthusiasts and non-SF readers alike, which keeps me going as I plough ahead with the finale, Eden's Revenge. I won't say too much about it, other than that even if humanity isn't the smartest kid on the alien 'block', we're going to play a pivotal role in a war which could end all life in our galaxy. At the start of the series, in The Eden Paradox, almost no alien races have heard of us. By the end of Eden's Revenge, that's definitely going to change. 

So, the answers to the above questions, according to the books are:

1. We already have, a long time ago, and they're due back
2. Mainly hostile or at best utilitarian; altruism is not that common an alien value
3. Mostly, some by a long way
4. Well, for this one, you have to read the books...

The Eden Paradox is available as paperback and ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ampichellis, and Waterstones UK

Eden's Trial is available in ebook format from Amazon, paperback Fall 2012

Eden's Revenge is due out in ebook format for Xmas 2012

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