BY DANIEL DURRANT
In a world driven by steam and power-hungry Industrialists, can one man change the course of history?
Edward Rankine, inventor and engineer aboard the battle-cruiser Dominator, has devised an ingenious plan to open the frozen Northwest Passage.
Believing he is performing a service for the benefit of mankind, Edward is appalled to discover there is a saboteur in his midst.
Working with a crew of ‘Jacks and Jills’, mechanically enhanced humans sentenced to a life of servitude, Edward is forced to battle on the icebound waters of the northern seas.
Not only does Edward have a mutiny on his hands, but he must also find a way to save the passengers aboard the Dominator, possibly abandoning his own noble ambition in the process.
Will Edward’s plan succeed in the face of adversity, or in failing to clear the Northwest Passage will he stumble upon something greater?
The Double-Edged Sword
At the risk of sounding cynical, I do believe that everything has two sides; even the marvelous experience of being published can be something of a double-edged sword. Amongst the joys of seeing my work in print was the realization that my loved ones would read my novel. It was a nice feeling until I stopped to think that through. They’re actually going to read it, properly. They’ll pay attention.
Now I guess for many writers the fear would revolve around the risk of negative feedback, which is a bit silly when you think about it. You’d have a pretty mean family if they told you it was rubbish. No matter what they really think, they’ll smile, congratulate you on your talent and open the champagne. I have very nice family and friends, so that didn’t concern me. Instead, I was wondering what impression they would get of me, precisely?
Of course, this won’t be an issue for some. If your work is a treatise on cottage garden design, the risk of causing offence is minimal. If your novel is a heart-warming tale of children enjoying summer adventures, you’re probably safe. If, on the other hand, your novel goes to some dark and / or sexual territory, you start to get a rather uneasy feeling not unlike the one when you go to the dentist knowing you haven’t been brushing your teeth enough.
It’s manageable at first, but it escalates. Male friends are always fine; they grin and tell me the disturbing bits were brilliant. Female friends are mostly fine; they smile and jokingly tell me I must be mental to have dreamt it up.
Then an ex-girlfriend read it. She told me (honestly, I think) that she really enjoyed it, but at the same time I got a look that seemed to say, “Ooohhhh. It all makes sense now.”
All of which led me to hand a copy of ‘Climate Change’ to my sister with the caveat: “Look, don’t read too much into it, okay? It’s just a story.” By the time my mother picked it up, I was seriously considering adding some kind of advisory sticker to the front cover: “The author is not mentally disturbed. The scenes featured in this work do not reflect his real-world views, beliefs, or attitudes to women”.
That might sound paranoid, but when your mother sits down with a cup of tea to read a novel that includes prostitutes clad in animal skins providing opium-enhanced sex, you do start to wonder if you shouldn’t have chosen an alternative way to illustrate how amoral your fictional society has become.
Still, it’s done now. They’ve all read it, and it turned out okay. For everyone that has nodded at me with a salacious smile, another has commented on the strength of Charlotte (the main female character). So despite my fears, the balance seems to have come through.
I still haven’t banished my fears completely though, which is why if we should ever meet, I shall probably talk like this:
“Hi, I’m Daniel… Yes, really glad to hear you enjoyed Climate Change… Don’t look at me like that. I’m normal, I swear!”
Daniel Durrant is a new author writing mainly in the horror and science fiction genres. His short stories have been published in anthologies in the UK and USA, and he is currently working on his first full-length novel. He lives on the Norfolk Coast in England.