Regeneration, the third and final book of the ®Evolution sequence, is about to drop in North America. Given that it’s been out in the UK for the past eight months, I’ve already done a lot of public meditating on what it’s ‘like’ to have completed the trilogy (short answer: I don’t really know what it’s like. To what can you compare it?). Now I’m thinking about the internationalist dimension. One of the things that I’ve found fascinating, and often surprising, over the past few years is the different ways in which the books have been received and understood in different countries and communities. Continue reading
There are three books on my desk as I write this, stacked neatly one atop the other. They’re to the left of my laptop, just in my eyeline. I placed them there yesterday in a moment of pride, as well as expectation that they would be a useful prompt for the writing I need to do today; but I’m beginning to suspect that their presence may not be entirely helpful. There’s a tension about them I didn’t expect, a suspensefulness despite their familiarity. They are the books of the ®Evolution: Gemsigns, Binary and Regeneration. They’re my books: I wrote them, and these are my precious first edition trade copies, with which I will never part. Continue reading
Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Stephanie Saulter?
She’s Jamaican-born, American-educated, a Londoner by choice. A good cook and a bad singer. Possessor of a career that’s had at least as much to do with what could be learned as what could be earned. The person who never ends up seeing the films that everyone else is talking about, because she stayed home and read a book.
Your novel Binary is due to be published in the US by Quercus in May 2015. It’s the second in your ®Evolution series – how would you introduce the series to a new reader, and what can fans expect from book two?
The ®Evolution trilogy is set in a London of the near future, around a hundred years after a technologically-caused pandemic known as the Syndrome came close to wiping out the entire human species. Genetic engineering of embryos eventually provided immunity and prevented extinction, but with some babies it was taken further, creating a servant class of genetically modified humans known as gems. This continued for generations, until the indenture system was abolished and gems were acknowledged to have at least some of the rights of other humans. The first book, Gemsigns, takes place against the backdrop of the upheaval that follows this decision. The gemtechs are trying to overturn it and reclaim the people they think of as their property; those people are living in freedom for the first time, and fighting to preserve it; there are progressives who want to help them, and religious extremists who want to wipe them out; the norm majority are conflicted, fearful and easily manipulated. It’s an explosive mix. Events pivot around the gems’ charismatic leader, Aryel Morningstar – a woman whose origins and abilities are shrouded in mystery, and who is loved and feared in equal measure. Continue reading
Here are just a handful of interesting titles coming out soon (and a couple not-so-soon) from Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus. We’re really living in a new golden age of fiction, if you ask me…
Mandore, Rajasthan, 769 AD: Ravindra-Raj, the evil sorcerer-king, devises a deadly secret ritual, where he and his seven queens will burn on his pyre, and he will rise again with the powers of Ravana, demon-king of the epic Ramayana. But things go wrong when one queen, the beautiful, spirited Darya, escapes with the help of Aram Dhoop, the court poet.
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, 2010: At the site of ancient Mandore, teenagers Vikram, Amanjit, Deepika and Rasita meet and realize that the deathless king and his ghostly brides are hunting them down. As vicious forces from the past come alive, they need to unlock truths that have been hidden for centuries, and fight an ancient battle… one more time.
It began with the Tokyo Alert – men, women and children collapsing on the street, gasping through blackened lips for the world’s most vital resource: air.
Man-made pollution has poisoned the oceans and eaten through a crucial link in the planet’s life-support system. The seas that recycle the world’s air have reached saturation point and the supply is running out, fast.
Now a breakaway group of men and women from corrupt institutions in America and Russia must work together to find a solution before Environmental war destroys the Earth completely.
This edition of The Last Gasp is a rewritten version of the 1983 novel. (This means the novel is as old as I am… Which, strangely, makes me want to read it more.) It would be really interesting to do a comparison of the two versions.
Over a year has passed since Clancy and the gang managed to escape from the hell that was the City. Pursued by the ruthless leader of Infinity – the corporation behind the mass murders of thousands of ‘lower class’ citizens – they’ve been on the run ever since; constantly looking over their shoulders.
Despite this, they have forged a new life working the land on an abandoned smallholding on the other side of the mountains. Hidden there, they are as close to happy as they can be.
Until strange things start to happen in the valley: too many unlucky coincidences convince them that another power is rising against them, and there are many questions to be answered: what is the shadow maker? And who – or what – has begun to howl in the night?
Zavcka Klist has reinvented herself: no longer the ruthless gemtech enforcer determined to keep the gems they created enslaved, she’s now all about transparency and sharing the fruits of Bel’Natur’s research to help gems and norms alike.
Neither Aryel Morningstar nor Dr. Eli Walker are convinced that Klist or Bel’Natur can have changed so dramatically, but the gems have problems that only a gemtech can solve. In exchange for their help, digital savant Herran agrees to work on Klist’s latest project: reviving the science that drove mankind to the brink of extinction.
Then confiscated genestock disappears from a secure government facility, and the more DI Varsi investigates, the closer she comes to the dark heart of Bel’Natur and what Zavcka Klist is really after-not to mention the secrets of Aryel Morningstar’s own past…
The gillungs – waterbreathing, genetically modified humans – are thriving. They’ve colonised riverbanks and ports long since abandoned to the rising seas and the demand for their high-efficiency technologies is growing fast.
But as demand grows, so do fears about their impact on both norm businesses and the natural environment.
Then, a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their colony on the Thames, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. But was it an accident, or was it sabotage?
DCI Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, but her investigations are compromised by family ties. And now there is a new threat: Zavcka Klist is about to be released from prison – and she wants her company back.
I had, by any definition, an unusual childhood – I grew up in what was then a fairly remote corner of rural Jamaica, beautiful but quite isolated, in a resolutely free-thinking, non-conformist family. I have seven siblings so I wasn’t exactly lonely; but being the eldest, a voracious reader and not particularly gregarious, I never really felt I fitted in to the neighbourhood. Books were my escape hatch, my window into different times and places and worlds. They were how I worked out who I was, what I was interested in, what lay beyond the horizon.
The power of story to capture your imagination and alter your thinking and take you somewhere else had a profound effect on who I grew up to be, long before I became a writer of stories myself. And because so many stories celebrate the outsider, the loner, the person who is always second to the right of everyone else, I think they helped to reassure me that being a bit odd and a bit different was okay. You can be the hero of your own life, and it doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s life. I learned that early, and I learned it from books. Continue reading