Well, hello again!
Those few of you who have chosen to follow this blog will, quite likely, have thought of this eventuality….. And here it is!
At first, in trying to “be Canadian, buy Canadian”, I self-published via Trafford publishing, in Vancouver.
When I got the first copy, it turned out to be visually substandard, with a very dull cover, clumsy looking graphic, and not-so-great paper.
I was quite upset, but eventually I got a beautiful version, with my son Nigel Harry’s graphic (above), published to my satisfaction via “CreateSpace”, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, in 2005.
Incidentally, Amazon closed “CreateSpace” in 2018: the book however is still available from “Kindle Direct Publishing” (KDP) and it looks just like the photograph above.
I have not read it since the time of publishing with CreateSpace and had forgotten much of the detail, so rereading it now proved to be interesting and a real pleasure.
Unsurprisingly, I am delighted with it.
Not only is it well-written: it is well composed, with all the plot “angles” covered, all surprising twists explained and no non-sequiturs.
As often happens (as professional editors will tell you) in spite of 7 “rounds” of editing back in 2002 – 2005, in this reading I found 8 correctable errors in 253 pages – a missing comma, a transposed “a”, an absent apostrophe, and the like.
However nothing truly embarrassing turned up: the errors, such as they are, do not render reading difficult, or detract from the thoroughly enjoyable story.
I will of course re-edit it and expunge those errors from future printings, but the current version is close to perfect and I doubt that any reader will notice those small errors.
I am particularly pleased with it because all my scientific predictions have turned out to be correct.
We’re starting to talk about fusion/ion drives, faster than light travel and gravity waves on the one hand and on the other, our world is now consumed with guilt and apprehension regarding climate change, pollution, pandemics, loss of life among the whales, war, zero population growth, genetic damage, micro-plastics, etc. etc.
So now I can’t resist the urge to invite those of you who have not seen the book, to have a look at it.
But be warned!
Writing the way I do, I seem to lecture and pontificate at times: the language is archaic and heavy in spots, but it fits the characters and situations and it’s all in fun.
The English is quite good, but the writing style and vocabulary are a little bit ancient.
Of course that isn’t surprising, since I wrote it at age 60: most of my vocabulary and syntax came from pre-1950s works by Dickens, Poe, Tennyson, Irving, Herman Melville, Conan Doyle, Orwell, Aldous Huxley and their ilk.
XCRATH! is interesting, in that the extra-terrestrial, alien society which the humans find on their new planet has achieved the goals to which we on earth now aspire: anti-sexist inclusivity (reminiscent, in a way, of Sawyer’s Neanderthals), eco-conservation, true democracy, antiprejudice, female supremacy and egalitarianism.
The ideas and “happenings” in the novel are quite distinct from those of my many gurus, AC Clarke and C J Cherryh, Asimov and Heinlein, Niven and Card, Frank Herbert and that lot, but the philosophy expresses many of their ideas.
I’m sure that Toronto’s Margaret Atwood and Robert J Sawyer, for both of whom I have great respect, would approve my take on sociology (I am closer to Sawyer than to Atwood), but of course “XCRATH” is a “poor boy”, compared with that section of the competition!
Note that you will get a much prettier book from Amazon.com (now “KDP”, for “Kindle Direct Publishing), than you will from Amazon.ca, which carries the Trafford version.
Of course I’d like to send you, all and each, a copy for free, but since I don’t charge for the website, I can’t afford it (!).
I do hope that some of you will have a look at this book.
By the way, Chapter 9 (“WARP”) begins with explanations of faster than light travel, warp speed and other technicalities: if you are not mathematically inclined and you find it difficult, skip to page 43, in which the human voyagers discover their new planet.