The Crash: a new book for Solaris

Posted: June 25, 2012 in Fiction
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Last week, some of you might have seen an announcement from Solaris concerning my second book to be published by them. This is another of the projects I’ve been alluding to on this blog and Twitter over the last few months, but have not been able to speak about. Typically, the news broke when I was eyeball deep in anime moppets and monsters, editing SFX‘s anime special edition. I still am, in fact, editing the magazine, but I’ve a few fleeting minutes to blog about the book now and tell you a little more about it.

First up, here’s what Jonathan Oliver had to say at the Solaris website and When Gravity Fails, their editor’s blog

Unalloyed greed, markets dictating the will of humanity – when The Crash comes, nothing will be left standing.

In a topical science-fiction take on the world’s current economic woes, breakthrough author Guy Haley envisages a society in utter thrall to commerce, which must constantly expand to sustain itself. When a mission to the stars begins to go wrong, the fragility of human society and progress is exposed.

The Crash is due for release in July 2013, it is Haley’s second book for Solaris.

His first, Champion of Mars, was released in May this year and was described by SF legend Stephen Baxter as “a novel with an ambition on the scale of Olympus Mons itself, and it delivers. Recommended.

“Guy Haley’s SF invokes in me the same excitement I had when reading Ray Bradbury, Robert Silverberg and Arthur C. Clarke’s works for the first time,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris. “His fiction is packed full of ideas while maintaining a very human voice. Haley’s work is complex, exciting and vastly entertaining and I’m delighted to welcome him back to the Solaris fold.”

The Market rules all, plotting the rise and fall of fortunes without human intervention. Mankind, trapped by a rigid hierarchy of wealth, bends to its every whim. To function, the Market must expand without end. The Earth is finite, and cannot hold it, and so a bold venture to the stars is begun, offering a rare chance at freedom to a select few people.

But when the colony fleet is sabotaged, a small group finds itself marooned upon the tidally locked world of Nychthemeron, a world where one hemisphere is bathed in perpetual daylight, the other hidden by eternal night. Isolated and beset, the stricken colony members must fight for survival on the hostile planet, while secrets about both the nature of their shipwreck and Nychthemeron itself threaten to tear their fragile society apart.

I have a big old thing for colony SF. I enjoy following bands of plucky frontier types struggling to survive on alien worlds, and I absolutely love colony ship gone wrong scenarios. The tougher the odds the better. In this loose category I’d include the Deathworld Trilogy by Harry Harrison, Grass by Sheri Tepper, some of Neal Asher’s books, Non-stop by Brian Aldiss, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, the Colsec trilogy by Douglas Hill (ah, good old Douglas Hill), Aliens, Avatar (still not seen it thought), Aliens, Pandorum, Red Fang by Philip Palmer… You get the idea, there are loads more. I looked at the theme of man’s expansion into space a little in Champion of Mars, but this is more of a BIG SF take on the concept – weird alien life, interstellar travel, exotic worlds, the works.

The Crash is ostensibly a standalone novel, and naturally a part of it will deal with the way I fear Earth might be heading – overpopulated, environmentally degraded, impoverished, with a small, new aristocracy who are fabulous wealthy, and the rest of us struggling to survive.

It’s also inspired by this famous quote by Kenneth Boulding: “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” And by the concept of “Spaceship Earth.”

However, don’t expect hundreds of pages setting out what I think is wrong with modern capitalism. Most of the story is about the fight to stay alive on an alien planet with limited resources. Ultimately, I want to develop a space opera series set in this universe, charting a future history where scattered groups of human beings shipwrecked on numerous worlds take differing routes to survive, and how the very diverse range of cultures these circumstances create eventually come into contact – and conflict – with one another. All very exciting, but I need to finish the first one before all that.

What’s your favourite colony story? Let me know!

  1. Very partial to the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson…

    Looking forward to The Crash!

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