WE comes out in January. It’s my first science fiction novel, set not very far into the future – say the second half of this century, so that all the technology is still recognisable and plausible and hasn’t transformed into substitute magic. Inter-stellar travel is not possible. The action takes place on a tiny moon on the edge of the solar system, where gravity is one-tenth that of Earth and the average surface temperature is about forty degrees above absolute zero.
Just think about that for a moment.
The sky above the moon is dominated by a giant planet, as big as two fists held together at arm’s length. On Earth, you can cover the moon with the tip of a finger. The forces on that planet are massive – winds of hundreds of thousands of miles an hour, an ocean deep enough to drown the Earth and hot enough, at its lower levels, to poach it. But you can’t reach it and it can’t reach you. it’s just up there, looking down on you. The sun is so distant it appears to be the size of a bright star.
(All this is for real, by the way. The planet is based on Neptune and the moon on Triton, though I don’t use those names in the book.)
It takes years to get here. The costs are enormous. In the low gravity the human body sheds most of its weight-bearing muscle and the bones become brittle. Once here – do you ever think you’re going back? So why come here in the first place?
That’s what the novel is about.