Why Now and Why This?
By Mannah Pierce
There was nothing unexpected about what the doctor was saying. I knew it was melanoma and I knew that once melanoma started spreading it killed. They had evidence that it had spread to three locations. I had one to three years.
I was one month clear of my fifty-five birthday so I could take four-fifths of my teacher’s pension. Sixteen years’ service translated into a war chest of twenty-four thousand pounds. Half of that would be for ‘being sick’ expenses: taxis; lawyers; equipment; other stuff I did not want to think about.
The other half was for the bucket list. Others’ lists are long. Mine was short. Get one of my stories published. There was no time to do the round of publishers and wait for the rejection letters. Neither was there time for me to acquire all the skills I would need to self-publish independently. I decided to pay.
Next decision was which story. There were many to choose from. There is a cardboard box of spiral-bound notebooks from my teens and twenties. There is another with print outs from my first ever word processor. Then there are the 5¼ inch floppy disks, the 3½ inch floppy disks and the CD-ROMS. More recently there was the ever-expanding folder called ‘Scribble’ on every PC I have every owned.
I decided on my most recent creation. Unlike the others, it had been conceived as a book and written for readers rather than myself. Two months later, in April 2015, Cast Adrift was published. The bucket list was complete but the urge remained. I paid for the sequel, Foothold, to be published in August 2015 and the third in the series, Homeward, is in the works. Some terminally ill people travel. Others run marathons. I write books.
Why Science Fiction? My answer is that I write my stories and other people pigeonhole them. I did love reading Science Fiction when I was young: Hugh Walters; Robert A. Heinlein; Cordwainer Smith. On the other hand, I loved reading anything I could find. I am sure the same can be said for many isolated children growing up during the 1960s and 1970s. In a world before the internet, when television was two black and white channels, there was an everlasting stream of amazing, wonderful, incredible books.
Writing Science Fiction offers me freedom; the chance to create my own world. It is also a huge challenge. Is my creation convincing enough that readers will suspend disbelief? Is the science convincing without being strident? Are my characters real enough that people will care about them?
So this is what I do. I write my books and I pay for them to be published. Maybe people will read them. Maybe they won’t. At least my imaginary world, which I have loved for decades, will not die with me.
About the Book
Cast Adrift is the first part of a science fiction saga set in an interstellar world of the far future where Earth is merely a myth. Ean is queen of the Willow, a small ship with a Traditional crew who live in space and trade between the stars. Suddenly Tre, the laid back crew enforcer, is demanding that they dash to one system to pick up cabin boys and then divert to another to recruit an adolescent who is utterly unsuited to spacer life. Who is Jax? What is Rae? Why is the most powerful individual in Known Space interested in Kip? Most importantly, what is Tre up to?
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