|It is rocket science
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Date: 21 March, 2012
Gateshead-based writer Dr Simon Morden trained as a planetary geologist, realised he was never going to get into space and so decided to write about it instead.
His publishing career includes an eclectic mix of stories which blend science fiction, fantasy and horror, and a five-year stint as an editor for the British Science Fiction Association.
Simon Mordens’s last three books, the Metrozone series, are written from the bottom of the new society, about refugees and immigrants.
However, it’s also scattered with wry humour, real science and Sister Madeleine, a battle nun. What’s not to like about a book with a battle nun!
The hero/anti-hero is Samuil Petrovitch, a Russian physics student with a past – we first meet Petrovitch in Simon’s short story Cargo, in the collection Thy Kingdom Come, where he is working with the Russian mafia laundering money in return for textbooks, and saving American tourists.
Not to give too much away, but Petrovitch does grow and change through the books, and isn’t a complete [expletive deleted] by the end of the third volume.
At Greenbelt, Simon also spoke on Where are we now? Sex, death and Christian fiction revisited, ran a workshop on How not to write a novel, and had a very pleasant chat with Ruth Downie.
Simon is a self-confessed rocket scientist, having studied geology and planetary geophysics, and writes science fiction with real science in it, or at least science with an internal logic for its universe.
He says that it’s important to think about the implications – in a universe that uses antigravity, would the buildings float and what would planes look like? However, do we as scientists and writers have a responsibility to get kids into science?
“Sci-fi novels aren’t science textbooks – they do include made-up things! But we can be evangelists about the idea of science, and enthuse people about a possible future.”
He’s modest about his success so far – “being a rounded human being is much more important” – but he agrees that acknowledgement is nice!
What’s coming next? Well, there is still space in the Metrozone universe for more (so you could always email the publishers to encourage them to ask for more), and the film rights are still up for grabs.
Simon is currently working on what he describes as a fantasy ‘brick’. No spoilers, as it’s still incubating, but it’s set in an alternative history, and it includes unicorns, but not in a good way.
Like many writers, writing isn’t Simon’s sole source of income (see Mordens’ 3rd Law of Writing) – he’s also a teaching assistant. What keeps him doing it, if it's not the money and the glamour?
It’s simple. He likes telling stories. Keep telling them, Simon. We’re waiting (but no pressure...)
Like Metrozone on Facebook, download the wallpaper and buy the Metrozone series Equations of Life, Theories of Flight and Degrees of Freedom, and Simon’s previous novel The Lost Art from Amazon and raise money for Christian Aid