Happy Publication day to John Meaney and the final book in the Ragnarok trilogy, Resonance. John has written about creating the world and writing the trilogy for us below.
Imagine you’re an ant. What does your world look like? Feel like? Taste like? What do you make of the vibrations caused by those bipedal giants as they go about their unknowable business?
More… You are a hive creature. Among your kind, in your nest-city, you inhabit a semiotic richness of chemicals, of molecular messages whose meanings blaze in your awareness. At times they dominate your perceptions, to the exclusion of other signals.
Or imagine yourself to be a tiny, bounded human who lives in a universe dominated by perceptions such as this: mortgage payments, work-eat-sleep-work, commuting among the multitude, pub night, time to watch EastEnders. Someone whose mind remains caught in a web of social constructs, who forgets to remember this: ant-messages are made of real molecules, but the context they dominate is tiny.
Perhaps it is time to be a hero and a seeker – though you are one already, simply by living – and look up to the stars, because the following is literally true: you are a pattern within a visible universe that’s 13,700,000,000 years old, while the “edge” is more than triple that distance away in lightyears; you are a conglomerate of some 6,000,000,000,000 cells, each virtually a creature in its own right (and you’re ten percent bacteria, which is perfectly OK); the atoms that comprise you now are not the ones you consisted of a decade ago. You are mortal and the universe is vast.
And if you happen to be a storyteller, just how restrictive do you want your setting to be? How tiny the tale’s duration? How narrow the ideas? Or conversely, how broad the vista?
Cue Ragnarok, while remembering it’s not just me, not just this trilogy. Science fiction is the only form of tale to recognise where we really live, which is simply this: the cosmos.
And hey, we might as well have fun. Athletics in its highest form is also a form of play. This is spiritual parkour: free running for the mind. Which do you want: press-ups or epoch-spanning imaginings? (Feel free to go for both.)
Absorption’s prologue promised a great far-future confrontation, when protagonists you don’t yet know awaken in crystal bodies on the moon, and stare up at Orion (there’s no constellation called Gollancz!) to see one of the stars now red, a sign that a million years have passed since their original lives. Resonance, I hope, delivers a Ragnarok to be proud of: a single, great galaxy-spanning battle when the forces of resurrected humanity and their allies fight the darkness as it ends its journey, a voyage that began the other side of a cosmic void one hundred and fifty million lightyears across.
For humanity, the story begins in the Viking age (strictly, the preceding years), and plays out in Bletchley Park and other twentieth-century settings, and most prominently among the Pilots of the twenty-seventh century. There are other human stories, though not all the participants are of our species.
I’ve done my best to recreate those earlier times and places, and to extrapolate the future. To put myself in the mind of a female Jewish physicist in a time of real darkness, or a Norse seeress to whom trance states seem real, or a young Pilot growing up in a human world where quickglass rooms morph at command, all the while dreaming of the city-world called Labyrinth in a golden continuum no ordinary human can experience.
I did my research to bring the various times to life, and there’s a web of connections among the time lines: some thematic, some cause-and-effect; some obvious, some subtle. Like James Clavell’s, my stories span generations, and you never know (unless you really pay attention) who’s the ancestor or descendant of whom.
Every second spent writing it was joy.
It took 13.7 billion years of cosmic history for the Ragnarok trilogy and you, most wonderful reader, to come into existence. Let your imagination fly!
Let’s leave the nest together…
Resonance is available now where all good books are sold.