At the moment, patiently awaiting the first view of the new book. While we wait, I thought I’d make a few comments about why I wrote ‘War Over Dust’. Actually, why I wrote that and its predecessor ‘Blood Red Dust’ and will write the one yet to come in this trilogy.
Science fiction attracts writers with something to say about the future. It appeals to readers with an interest in those speculative futures.
We inhabit a world beset with problems, largely of our own making. As a writer, I foresee certain outcomes resulting from our poor choices. As a father, I fear what the future will deliver for my daughter. Our children have their lives before them and our responsibility must be to ensure the future we bequeath is as beneficial as possible, surely?
There are several pressing issues making the world an ever more uncertain place.
Foremost is population growth. Oh, I know several scientists have tried to debunk the overpopulation threat. But the simple fact is that the more people we create, the more resources we use, the more energy we consume and the more pollutants we produce. Even with advances in technology, these are inevitable consequences of our burgeoning population. As a species, we’re simply too successful. Nature has a habit of curbing excess populations by brutal means. But we have a choice, as rational, forward thinking sentients, about how we deal with our overindulgence. We can choose to control our breeding, difficult as that will be, or we can let nature take its course and impose its own, inevitably violent, solution. It really is up to us.
Another serious issue is global climate change. We’re attempting technical solutions to our voracious energy use, but vested interest, ignorance, prejudice, and the greed of certain sectors of Big Business combine to form formidable barriers to real progress. With Trump in the White House, and weak-willed or bribed politicians of many nations unwilling to take the necessary radical action, we’ll soon reach the tipping point from which there’s no going back. What that will do to the environment is utterly unknown. We can speculate: all serious surmise promises a future of extremes, disruption, droughts, floods and the loss of many staple crops.
There’s the growing problem of extremism, both religious and cultural, that allows disadvantaged individuals and even states to justify (in their minds) the use of indiscriminate violence to promote their frequently nihilistic aims. As long as religion remains subject to interpretation, which it always will, there will be those adherents who will find ways to distort originally philanthropic messages into creeds of hate and destruction. And whilst we continue to give tradition and custom more reverence than it deserves, there will be those who will use such excuses to perpetrate cruel and unjust acts on those they see as under their control.
These three examples of current trends are what most motivated me to put pen to paper and devise a story around the potential outcomes. I accept there are many good people, many positive scientists, many activists working to counter the ill effects of these problems: I wish them well and even join them in various optimistic activities. But the reality is that the world is clearly descending into a right wing, racially and culturally polarised, crisis that is most likely to result in chaos, conflict, and war.
My books use these trends and their outcomes as vehicles to tell their stories. But I’ve no wish to preach to people (although my early years were characterised by proselytising prose, which I later realised is hardly the best way to entertain readers!), so I use the issues only as motivators for my characters. And I think first of story. Conflict is always more engaging than consensus; it’s why newspapers and the media in general concentrate on bad news rather than good. So, I place my players in difficult situations and make them work to solve their problems.
Readers pay hard-earned cash, spend precious time reading, and give their undivided attention to the words of writers, and it’s our responsibility to provide value for money, a reward for their time, and respect for their attention. I try to do all these things with my stories.
So, I say to you: Enjoy! There are layers to my novels that let readers get what they want from the text, whether that’s adventure, romance, philosophy, warning, or all of these aspects. Please, enjoy: it’s why I write.