Titles for novels often cause authors difficulty. Ideally, we want to give potential readers clues about content, theme, style, and storyline. Not easy with only a few words available. The best titles become obvious choices once a book’s been read, so this series is largely for those who’ve yet to read the books featured.
Why is this book titled ‘An Excess Of…’?
The novel, an eco-thriller adventure set against the background of climate change, is published by Fantastic Books Publishing. I placed it 10 years into the future to look at potential changes we might be experiencing by then. Some of those changes have already happened.
I’ve known for some years a fundamental cause of the coming emergency is our overconsumption of products and services. Many people still don’t see the climate issue as an emergency, but I’ve been involved with climate change since joining Greenpeace early in the 1980s, I also belong to Friends of the Earth, and follow Carbon Brief, and I regularly gather information from a hundred other sources. I’m convinced by the evidence.
My first concern when writing fiction is the story. I want to entertain, stimulate, inform, and move readers, so I start by creating empathetic characters. Then I let this trusted and known group of new friends take the story to the end I have in mind. Sometimes the dears rebel and take me to a different place, but that’s fine, as long as the story still tells the same tale. Storytelling is the heart of fiction. And speculative fiction often uses story to depict possible imagined futures.
So, for ‘An Excess Of…’ I researched the issues underlying the crisis, invented and got to know my band of characters, and dropped them into a situation where survival was challenging. A shipwreck and their resultant arrival on a desert island provided the tough situation my characters first had to face.
The mix of individuals and their location let me explore the effects of overconsumption from the start. Their ship sank in a storm in the early hours, so they escaped imminent death wearing only night attire. That led to talk about fashion and its excesses. My main protagonist is a photographic model with a PhD. An intelligent, confident, and beautiful woman, often exposed to view, develops strategies to protect herself from exploitation. Common sense and her pragmatic outlook made her into a natural leader on the island. The other characters, mostly men and women with fixed moral views formed through religious affiliations, are less practical but also open to an excess of false hope and expectation.
Excess is the root of our current emergency. Overpopulation by humanity, often driven by culture and/or poverty; overconsumption of resources, mainly driven by the capitalist tenet of constant growth underlying the world’s financial systems; overuse of fossil fuels, generally motivated by the perceived need for speed and status, and encouraged by a fossil fuel industry well aware of the destructive nature of their products for decades; and, perhaps most notably, an extraordinary amount of complacency by billions of citizens but especially displayed by most politicians and the CEOs of industry and commerce, are just a few of these many excesses. And these are all alluded to in conversations on the island, among serious conflicts, petty squabbles, fights for food and shelter, developing relationships, desire and passion, and dreams of a return to civilisation. Hence, ‘An Excess Of…’.
If I’ve aroused your curiosity, you’ll find a little more detail here. But if you’re intrigued enough to plunge into reading the book straight away, you’ll find it here. Enjoy! And if you do, please consider writing a brief review so other potential readers have an idea of what you think. Thank you.