Today I have a Guest Post for you from the author of The Eden Paradox, Barry Kirwan.
A murder… a new planet mankind desperately needs… a thousand-year old conspiracy… What really awaits us on Eden? In a world beset by political turmoil, environmental collapse, and a predatory new religion, a recently discovered planet, Eden, is our last hope. But two missions have failed to return. Blake Alexander and his crew lead the final attempt to bring back good news. Meanwhile back on Earth, Micah Sanderson evades assassins, and tries to work out who he can trust as he struggles in a race against time to unravel the Eden Paradox.
Why I wrote the Eden Paradox
I’ve always loved Science Fiction. When I moved to Paris, I joined a writers group as a way to meet people and make friends. I got caught up in a short story which featured a four-person crew landing on Eden, the first habitable planet we could get to, and managing to upset an indigenous alien species they didn’t even know was there, and promptly getting killed in the process. I took it to a workshop in Paris, run by Michael C Curtis (fiction editor of Atlantic Fiction). Most of the twelve participants hated the story with a vengeance, e.g. this is the worst first line ever written. Michael noted that although they hated the story, they talked about the characters as if they were real people they knew. Keep the characters, he said, and change the story. So that’s what I did.
I read up on Fermi’s paradox – why, if there are logically many habitable planets in the galaxy, haven’t we encountered serious evidence of extra-terrestrial visitors? There are several obvious answers – the galaxy is really vast, so nobody’s found us yet; they found us but we’re not interesting; the galaxy is very old, and civilisations may have come and gone and we might be in a ‘dead patch’; etc. So, to me, there were four questions framing my story:
1. Why haven’t we met alien life yet?
2. When we do, will aliens be friendly or hostile?
3. Will they be smarter than us?
4. Will we survive the experience?
I figured, what if there is civilisation, but it is very far away. What are the chances they are friendly? And if they’re not friendly, could we puny humans do them any damage? Well, yes, I thought, because the laws of physics suggest that nuclear weapons and possibly nanotech invasion would be nasty for most (corporeal) organisms, no matter how far advanced. So, how would they avoid these defences if they wanted to invade? Inside help, I thought, and there I had the makings of a story which has ended up a trilogy in four parts (okay, so it is a tetralogy, or quadrology if you prefer).
As I worked on it, and particularly as I got into the second book, I got more and more interested in alien intelligence, how different and more advanced it could be – not easy to conceptualise, obviously, but worth some effort. Why would it be more advanced? Well, if you think about galactic timescales and travelling distances, and times for any alien society to rise, mature, stagnate and fall, chances are good that there will be species some millions of years ahead of us on the evolutionary scale. So, Star Trek, where humans are pretty much top dog, is a nice idea, but, statistically speaking, unlikely.
The Eden Saga isn’t just about aliens and space ships; far from it. It’s about humanity, and what could happen if we suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a far superior civilisation – would we cope? Could we adapt fast enough? To me these are important questions, because the answers reveal things about ourselves, and because one day, as we see further into the galaxy, we’ll find something, or more likely something will find us. Then it won’t be fiction anymore. I believe we should think ahead…
So, the answers to the four questions, according to the series, are:
1. We already have, a long time ago, and they’re due back
2. Mainly hostile or at best utilitarian; altruism is not that common an alien value
3. Mostly, some by a long way
4. Well, for this one, you have to read the series…
In the first book, the Eden Paradox, we find out that aliens visited us a thousand years ago, and are coming back, and that they left one or two behind to mind the store. The fate of humanity rests in the hands of two men, Micah on Earth, and Blake on Eden, the nearest habitable world, but they only have a short time to figure it all out before the aliens arrive.
People have said The Eden Paradox is not like normal science fiction, that it is more like a thriller set in the near future. Personally, I hope it remains fiction for a very long time, and that we can hide under the galactic radar for another few centuries before advanced aliens come a-knocking.
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0982369840/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738
Thanks for reading.