This is the first book in a science fiction trilogy (the Colony series) about a habitable planet, in another universe, known as Tellus. However, the books were written in reverse order - for reasons that need not detain us here - and so this one, Colony Creation, is actually the last to be composed. But I needed to write this book in order to explain the existence of the other two and, given my knowledge of and preoccupation with the growing environmental crisis on our planet, it stood to reason that the early colonists on Tellus would be refugees from a dying planet: ours.
Now, it will be objected, I am sure, that my depiction of a mid-to-late twenty-first century Earth is grossly overdrawn and exaggerated. To which I can only reply that I certainly hope so! But, as well as trying to compose a readable and credible story set in a very different place and time, I deliberately set out (as the English say) to 'over-egg the pudding' as far as my dying Terra (Earth) was concerned. For I am one of those who hold hard to the view that, unless there are radical changes very soon in our (Humanity's) relationship with this planet, we are heading toward a potentially irrecoverable disaster.
Researching and writing this book therefore caused me many sleepless nights as one worrying thing piled on top of another and the odds began to shorten (in my mind at least) as to whether we, Homo sapiens ('wise man' indeed!), could really avert the coming crisis. So, reading sections of this book will require plenty of fortitude and a strong constitution, dear reader, as well as an unquenchable belief in the improvability of humankind in order for you to get through it all. But, that said, I also hold fast to the view that we are an extraordinarily clever species in many respects - particularly in science and engineering - and that the looming disaster can most definitely be avoided if we can only get our act together. And although all the colonists (and my) hopes were based on establishing a better homeworld there on Tellus, this is obviously a story aimed very firmly at us on Earth and in the here and now - a call to action no less.
For, despite the general premise of this book, I do not agree with those siren voices calling for us to leave this planet behind (sub-text - because we have more or less ruined it) and to start afresh somewhere else. I don't like the fatalism implicit in that view or the implied elitism either for who will decide who is to be 'saved' and on what criteria? One day very far off, intergalactic travel and even colonisation may become commonplace, and as a long-term aspiration that is both defensible and (who knows?) even achievable in time, but to talk of quitting our planet now, in the midst of a deepening environmental crisis, is both thoroughly irresponsible (it's simply unfeasible and a waste of money and resources) and morally indefensible (it's thoroughly undemocratic and elitist). Furthermore, it will only serve as an unnecessary distraction from the pressing task in hand - to work together to save our beautiful blue-green planet, the only one we definitely have: Terra (Gaia if you prefer) or plain old Mother Earth.
"This book has such an authentic ring to it...immediately engaging, informed and entertaining as well as making you think. Not one of those shoddy 'Hollywood/Disney' ( which also have their place)versions of Arthur."
Amazon reviewer re Hero for A Dark Age: Arthur
"...fast pace, plenty of action, a mounting crisis eventually resolved in a fire-fight - all good stuff, but all based on an astonishing premise that I don't think anyone has ever used before: a world without speech. I found myself trying to imagine how people would communicate in such a world and how soon it would descend into chaos. Lots of ideas fizzing around in here and a wonderful vehicle for film or television adaptation..."
Amazon reviewer re Lost for Words