Europa Deep is out now in ebook, paperback and hardback.

EUROPA DEEP is out, now, in Kindle ebook, hardback, and paperback. Here’s a selection of links where you can read more about it or buy it. Note that the ebook is exclusive to Amazon, but the hardback and paperback are not. 

Amazon UK (ebook, paperback, hardback

Amazon US - (ebook, paperback, hardback)  

Barnes and Noble - (paperback, hardback)

The isbn's are  978-986-06770-4-1 (Paperback) and  978-986-06770-5-8 (Hardback) in case you want to visit other sites.
 The best prices and shipping, however, are almost always with the big online companies.

If you read Europa Deep and you like it—or even if you don’t!—do consider leaving a written review if you have the opportunity. The more reviews I have, the more likely that readers new to my books will take a chance on them.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to write a few words about the book and how it came into existence.

In the past, I’ve sometimes written novels in just a few weeks. But EUROPA DEEP took far longer to complete than any other. 

The title of the first working draft was Europa Door, and it was intended to be hard sf, but with a touch of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. Europa Deep, however, is not that book-not by a very, very long shot. 

Why? Well, sometimes, you start writing a book, then realise it isn’t working. This is not unusual: most working writers have books that started out one way, then either became something entirely different or got put to one side-usually forever. 

So I completely revised the outline, abandoning a two-thirds completed first draft, and started a mostly-new draft of Europa Door—now called Europa Deep—and got about two-thirds into that before it, too, was abandoned. Again, for reasons too complicated and perhaps too personal to really make any sense, it wasn’t working.

Then I started on a brand new third draft—even while some part of me wondered if I was better of just junking the whole thing. 

By now, any hint of horror, cosmic or otherwise, was long gone. I put together another outline and felt much more satisfied with it.

As it turned out, the third version was the one: it felt right in a way the others hadn’t. What it also had was an idea I hadn’t seen before. 

I should stop here and say just because I haven’t seen a particular idea done before doesn’t mean it hasn’t, in fact, been done before. Probably, it has. But if it feels new to me, then that’s the impetus I need to complete a novel. 

SF of the type I write is often defined by specific tropes—for example, interstellar civilisations linked by spaceships travelling at faster-than-light speeds. There are any number of writers who’ve brought, and continue to bring, something new and fresh to these tropes, but in Europa Deep, I wanted to subvert them and come at the idea of interstellar travel and communication from a completely different angle. Why should the focus always be on meatsacks in tin cans—living, embodied humans transported from interstellar point A to interstellar point B inside pressurised spaceships at faster than light speed?

In Europa Deep, I’ve tried to suggest an alternative approach. I can’t say any more than that without risking spoilers. But whether I’ve succeeded is something you, the reader, will have to tell me.

At the same time, I also wanted to write a story full of action and intrigue. The story is set almost a century from now, at a point where humanity is just beginning to expand into the outer solar system. Cassie White, the protagonist, is an ‘Opt’—meaning, her genetics have been optimised prior to her birth. It’s a gift that quickly becomes a burden. She, and the crew of the deep space exploration vessel, the Veles, must discover the fate of an expedition that went missing beneath the ice of Jupiter’s moon Europa, where lies, or so it’s long been speculated, a vast ocean of liquid salt water. 

I started on the first draft in 2020 and only finished the final draft a few months ago. Despite all the time and trouble it took to get to the finished article, it feels completely worth it. 

I hope you enjoy the heck out of it. 


Researching Europa Deep

 As I mentioned last time, I have a new book coming out later this year: Europa Deep.

It's a brand-new story set in the early 22nd Century. An expedition is sent to Jupiter to discover the fate of a previous expedition that disappeared under mysterious circumstances while exploring the vast oceans under the ice of Europa. Or rather, the vast oceans that current scientific speculation suggests may exist under the ice of that moon.

It is, by far, one of the hardest books I've written, certainly in terms of the amount of research involved. While I consider myself a science fiction writer, I can't unfortunately claim any great scientific literacy—although, I should add, neither can a great many other writers. If I need to know or understand something in order to write a particular story, I need to spend time getting to know that subject as best I can.

In this case (obviously) I had to spend quite some time reading up on the subject of Europa and Jupiter, with particular attention to the intense radiation that bathes the entire Jovian system. I also had to bone up on deep sea diving, regarding which I knew precisely nothing. 

It doesn't matter how much research you do, though, because there will always be someone out there who judges you entirely by a single, minor incorrect detail. I was reminded of this recently when I came across the following exchange on Facebook between an author, posting about Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and one of his followers. It's a friends-limited post, so I'll leave their names out of it. 

Follower: I just couldn't get over them having a Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 locomotive operating on the Park Avenue Viaduct. The clearances and weight limitations make that impossible.

Author of post: …That was your problem?

In case you weren't aware, the film is about a battle between someone called Sky Captain and giant robots invading an alternate, retro-futuristic New York. Yet, at least one viewer considered this the least believable element of that film. 

This is partly because the film had intersected with that viewer's particular area of expertise and knowledge. And when they found that wanting, somehow, giant robots rampaging through New York became unbelievable.

It's not always the pernickety stuff that knocks people out of a story. I remember, years ago, seeing Kirsty Wark interview Iain Banks, and I almost certainly misremember the conversation. But, as I remember, Wark suggested that Banks must have spent time walking a particular area of coastline in order to write about it so vividly.

On the contrary, Banks replied, he made it up. He'd never been there. That, he said, is what writers do: make stuff up. 

Wark (or so I remember) seemed taken aback by this. Writers? Making stuff up? 

And Banks is a man who famously hated doing research. Of course he made up a description of a piece of coastline in one of his novels. 

Still: one of the standard things you can do to avoid too many acrimonious emails or reviews complaining that you got the precise gauge of ammunition wrong in a gunfight between two radioactive multidimensional lizards, and hence have no idea what you're doing, is to write a disclaimer. 

It might say something like any mistakes made in the science behind this story are entirely the author's own. And I'm probably, given the complexity of background detail in Europa Deep, going to have to put something very like that in. 

One of my favourite disclaimers is at the start of John Varley's Steel Beach. It's a sequel to other novels in his Eight Worlds series but, as he notes in the disclaimer, he wasn't willing to reread the previous volumes before he wrote this one: so don't bother him, he wrote, if you spot any inconsistencies. 

Such small slips of detail about train gauges and models or whatever—if you can even call them slip—mostly don't bother me in the least (with one exception: fictional novelists in movies writing shatteringly insightful prose without seeming effort. I mean, come on.) Fiction, after all, requires the suspension of disbelief, the very human ability to accept something clearly untrue for the purpose of enjoying a story. 

Star Trek often featured aliens who were nothing more than actors with knobbly-looking foreheads. This isn't because the people writing the episodes believe this is what aliens might actually look like: it's because portraying something truly alien week after week would be either impossible, deeply impractical, or incredibly expensive. Such shows, therefore, presumably so long as they have historically accurate trains, ask of the viewer that they suspend their disbelief and accept the actors as stand-ins for the truly alien.

In some science fiction, you can suggest that something might be true, one day. Or you can speculate that science might evolve to the level where a particular impossible thing becomes possible. That's my go-to disclaimer, too, for at least some of the stuff I write. 

Anyway, right here, right now, I absolutely guarantee you that I'll have fucked something up with the research in Europa Deep. And, actually, I don't mind hearing about it. Just so long as you don't expect me to apologise for it, because I won't.


Writing a sequel to Echogenesis

 These days, if you want to find out what I'm up to, you either have to sign up to my monthly newsletter, follow me on Twitter or sign up to my Patreon--all of which are perfectly good and valid things to do. But even though I don't keep this blog quite as regularly as I do, it does nonetheless serve a useful purpose, which is to give me a publicly and freely accessible platform to communicate with whomever might be interested in hearing what I'm up to. 

A lot has changed over the past couple of years. Independent publishing is, slowly, becoming a viable career. An at times unpredictable one, as is any freelance career, but a career nonetheless. 

The highlight of my writing, since my last book for Tor UK, has been Echogenesis. It's easily the most successful book I've yet written. The follow-up, Proxy, didn't do quite so well, but even that's been useful since the success or failure of a particular story helps you figure out what it is audiences actually respond to. 

I didn't intend to write any sequels to Echogenesis. I rarely read series myself, mostly preferring standalone stories. In that respect, I've slowly come to realise, I'm something of an outlier. A lot of people prefer series. Or at least, claim to. 

A few weeks back I finished a more-or-less final draft of a novel called Europa Deep. That'll probably come out around September. I'll talk more about it in a later post. More recently, I started taking notes for what I'm hoping will be two sequels to Echogenesis. The second volume is tentatively titled Aranyani. No title for the third yet. 

My hope is to write these relatively quickly, and be able to release the first sequel some time next year. I'm not a fast writer, though, so no guarantees on that front.