Bleak Horizons was a collection of short stories published in January 2017. The idea behind the collection was to paint an image of some of the futures that mankind might face in its quest to survive and prosper in the chaotic universe we inhabit.
All of the stories have their own inspirations, mostly coming from news around the scientific community. The seeds of imagination can sprout from anywhere, and I wanted this blog to give a view into the science behind the fiction. Read on and see where the stories came from.
Dogs and Men
Dogs and Men was written after thinking about the aftermath of a suddenly started and quickly finished nuclear war. The immediate concern would, of course, be food and water, but I tried to think of other important things; medicine and electricity. Whereas most post-apocalyptic writings deal with the former issues, I felt compelled to write regarding the latter. I soon came to realise that even the most easily treated health issue would soon become a lot deadlier without basic medication. Because of this, I created one of my characters to be a diabetic. By focusing on an easily controlled medical issue, I felt it would really bring to life how much we would all struggle when torn from everything we take for granted.
The Big Bang is always an interesting theory to think about; an explosion of pure energy seemingly from nowhere. If it happened before, then can it happen again? In the face of power of this magnitude, would there be anything we, or anyone else, could do?
Void Walker follows an advanced race and their attempts to preserve life from such an energy blast, if such a thing would even be possible.
This story revolves around the premise of living in a computer simulation. I’ve read a lot of articles about this, and even Elon Musk has said he believes we are inside of one. There is certainly a lot of debate both ways on the subject, and I doubt we will ever find a definitive answer. What I found most interesting is the idea that we may not even know we are in a simulation. We could be being studied right now, with natural disasters such as hurricanes, meteor strikes, and famines being coordinated to see how an intelligent population would react.
E.A.R.T.H features a man facing possible interference from these invisible witnesses, and the view of events from outside of the simulation.
Housing, food, water, and utilities are the essentials of modern society, but what if you only had a finite amount to serve a population? PopLim explores this vision, in which parts of Europe have amalgamated to pool their resources, but can only serve a certain amount of population. The hard questions start to come in when you have to think about how you can restrict the population, and how do you punish those that disobey?
The Last Astronaut
The Last Astronaut deals with the idea of mega-structures, and the possible idea that we are living in a ‘galactic backwater’. The idea of the mega-structure came from an interesting story which has done the round in the press several times over the last few months. A far away star was witnessed, and it appeared that something was blotting out the light around it.
Naturally, the idea of an alien mega-structure is an intriguing one. What if there are great civilizations out there, building structures far surpassing anything we could imagine? And what if these structures break down? Surely nothing is infallible? This is what I explored in The Last Astronaut, wondering what we could do in an encounter with such a colossal object, if anything…
So there it is, the science behind the fiction. Perhaps you’ve been inspired by a particular story? Why not share it below and possibly inspire others.
Bleak Horizons is now available on Amazon, for £1.99/$1.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.