Survive is out today. As you might have noticed, I don’t indulge in lots of self-promotion but I thought that you might be interested to read a little of the background to the story.
It all started with my novel Freefall. In it, I created a place called the Alysom Caves, as well as Ballantyne Alysom, the intrepid explorer who found them. I used the caves as a setting for the climax of the story.
Then, in the period that followed Freefall, I wondered if I couldn’t use the caves for another story, the character of Alysom also seemed too good to waste. He could be an Indiana Jones for the space age, I could imagine him having all kinds of adventures as he explored the Galaxy.
In my head, I set up an imaginary magazine called Galactographic!, the heir to National Geographic, a magazine dedicated to chronicling the discoveries that would be made by Alysom and his ilk.
I envisaged it as a receptacle for all the backstories that I had written about my worlds of the future, a source of reference to the inhabitants of the times, as NG is now. Alysom was its founder, I could keep myself busy writing his exploits.
However, other projects took priority. I forgot about Alysom for a while, but then I had an idea. I could write about how Alysom discovered the caves and how they came to be named after him. It would make a great start to the magazine.
I think it was a news item on the television that gave me something else to consider, roughly speaking it was about how we don’t really know what anyone from the past was like, only how they appear in history. And that history is inevitably biased.
Alysom didn’t need to be the benevolent genius that everyone who was viewing him from hundreds of years later thought he was? Maybe he just had a good publicist. As Shakespeare said,
I realised that the quotation could work both ways, especially as you moved further and further away from the memory of anyone’s life. Legends grow over time and attitudes change. A man might be remembered for one bad thing just as easily as for one good one. I could tell the real story of Ballantyne Alysom’s life, it might not be the one that had survived in the history books.
Now I was getting somewhere. I had my main character, a location and a possible truth to tell. I needed to flesh the story out. I decided that it would be fun to reveal that Alysom was not as wonderful as history suggested.
All I had to do was explain how he unjustly came to get the credit.
The lies he had told to make history revere him.
And the story of those he had to trample on the way.
Survive is the result.
What no man has seen before.
Ballantyne Alysom is Galactographic! Magazine’s intrepid explorer.
Davis Jansen is the cameraman he takes on his latest and most dangerous expedition.
When things go terribly wrong, the survivors of the group are stranded on an unexplored planet.
Surrounded by danger, they will need to work together to stand any chance of ever going home.
In the days that follow, as the group is riven by argument, Davis sees the real Alysom, the man behind the carefully constructed public face.
He comes to realise that he is being forced to make a choice.
The question he must face: does everyone need to know the real story?
Which version will they believe?
Can the truth Survive?
What about the story itself? One beta reader said
Wow. Awesome concept, fast-paced and something very different.
Survive came alive from the first page, and really took on a life of its own.
Now it’s time to let it out into the world and see what everyone else makes of it.
I’ll be back tomorrow, with another #OpenBook blog hop. See you then.