The Aviator: new book now in flight

by Gareth on August 20, 2012

At last it can be revealed — the project that’s been swallowing most of my writing time over the last year. The Aviator is a work of speculative fiction1, the first in a series set in The Burning World, and it’s my first foray into extended fiction — in which a plot idea borrowed from a bloke called Swift is wrapped around a dystopian vision of a climate-changed near future, all garnished with tales of strange people with even stranger ideas. This is how the great NZ comics artist Dylan Horrocks, who provided the book’s magnificent cover, describes it:

The Aviator is a light-hearted journey (by state-of-the-art airship) around a world transformed by climate change and subsequent political collapse. Rock God Evangelists, super-rich survivalists, back-to-nature primitivists, heavily armed luddites, goats with the secret of eternal youth, and a horny artificial intelligence with a taste for bluegrass and classic Hollywood films; The Aviator is a Gulliver-esque romp through a future we hope won’t come to pass.

I’m grateful to Mike Mann (yes, that one) for a generous note of approbation, and to sci-fi author2 Sonny Whitelaw for describing it as “a brilliant and wickedly satirical romp.” The first extended review — by my fellow sciblogger Ken Perrott of Open Parachute — has just been published, and provides an interesting and very positive take on what I’ve been up to.

The Aviator is currently available via Amazon for Kindle readers, and as an epub for other devices. You can download a free sample of the book — roughly 10% of the 100,000 word total — at Amazon. Editions for sale via Apple’s iBooks, Barnes & Noble and Kobo are in the works, and a paperback edition will be available in September. All digital editions are DRM free. When the publishing process is done and dusted, and I’ve stopped jumping through promotional hoops, I’ll be starting on book two. I have lots of ideas I want to explore from the vantage point of Thunderbird (the airship), if she’ll let me.

Buy now:

  1. Which I have sometimes described as a science fiction adventure comedy satire, or, via a tweet of Margaret Atwood’s, cli-fi. []
  2. And regular HT reader. []

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

bill August 21, 2012 at 12:18 am

The thing is, Gareth, that every time I read ‘Thunderbird’ I get that ‘da-dadada, dah dah da-duh de-da-da-daa’ brass fanfare* going through my head… ;-)

It’s extremely hard to dislodge.

Gareth August 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm

This is the pic I used as a temporary cover while Dylan was working on the final image:

TB2 is still located under my monitor, ready to inspire the next volume…

Meanwhile, your diversion for today. ;-)

andyS August 21, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I hadn’t seen that Peter Cook and Dudley Moore skit before. Funny stuff!

Tom Bennion August 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

Read it. Appropriately its my first cover to cover reading of an ebook. I love the way ebooks let you know you have time to sprint to the end once you know you are 80.63% of the way there.

Congratulations. Its an entertaining romp. Turns out the future involves cool airships, mass migration with climate change, the singularity, and a thriving cafe culture in Nelson.

I have been wondering, has anyone actually flown the Tasman in an airship? Soon might be good.

bill August 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

And it seems only timely that the new sea-ice area record has been set.

No wonder Denier trolling has never been more subdued…

Carol Cowan August 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I bought a copy for my Kindle last night and will be starting to read it tonight. Is this a first work of fiction in the climate change library?

bill August 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Nah: Montford, Plimer etc. have had plenty… ;-)

Thomas August 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm
pmagn August 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

looking forward to this.

why not go the whole hog and only release the printed version more or less for libraries….

Gareth August 22, 2012 at 8:39 pm

The printed edition will be print on demand, at least at first, so no wasted paper. I hope the ebook will be available in NZ libraries, but I haven’t got the distribution finalised yet.

Carol Cowan August 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm

I am half-way now. I especially liked the Heartland chapter. You weren’t very subtle with the names there, Gareth.

Gareth August 22, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Well, they aren’t very subtle with their politics… ;-)

Thomas August 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

What a great read to make it through a nasty bout of winter flu….!

But now I am really curious where Croft and his other so capable blimps and their aviators have taken refuge. Surely a sequel is unavoidable now, to relieve the rest of us from playing with the possibilities in endless loops, overloading the aging NI circuits and with no goat cheese trading anywhere… ;-)

Carol Cowan August 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I finished a day ago and wondered the same as you, Thomas … where is Croft and why hasn’t he been in touch? Maybe Brazil or Siberia? I hope Gareth has been writing the next book, because I don’t want too long to find out.

Gareth, I’ll put a review on Amazon when I figure out what I want to say.

Thomas August 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm
Gareth August 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Croft is one of the main reasons why there will be at least one more book in The Burning World series. I’m not telling you where he is. I have a good idea, but… ;-)

bill August 25, 2012 at 11:37 pm

With his daughter, Lara?

Thomas August 26, 2012 at 2:22 pm

hes probably on the constant move….
http://www.ussubmarines.com/submarines/phoenix_1000.php3
In the age of the current super billionaires anything goes…. ;-)

Macro August 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Thames! ;)
And No! Neither of his daughters is not named Lara!

Gareth August 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Does that mean they both are?

Macro August 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm

ooops!! Neither is named Lara! -

Gareth August 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Thanks Carol!

bill August 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm

‘Book one’ is always a bit of a hint!

I’m still meandering through – just doing the reading last thing at night is my excuse! Will also do the review thing as soon as I’m done.

John ONeill August 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Didn’t New Zealand’s last Jewish prime minister, Julius Vogel, bring out a ripping yarn about Lady somebody-or-other swanning around the Empire on an airship?

Gareth August 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I’ve not read the tome in question, but it’s worth noting that the annual SF awards in NZ are called the Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

Keith Hunter September 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Finished it the other day. My first Kindle download. A great read! Well done Gareth! I look forward to the sequel. Many interesting possibilities there.

Gareth September 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Thanks Keith! Good reviews at Amazon always welcome… 8-)

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