Vested Interest Warning: This article is an advertisement for a novel I have written, Absolute Liberation. That said, I hate advertising as much as anyone (having done it as a job for a while) so I’m going to do my damnedest to avoid bothering anyone too much.
This is, unfortunately, the part of the blog where I try and sell you a book. Absolute Liberation has been something I have worked on almost constantly since leaving university, intended to embody my idea of what a popular SF novel should be. It absolutely could not have happened without the help of a great number of people – my family, of course. Many of my friends who put up with my continually asking them their opinions on swathes of often contextless writing. Cambridge University Roleplaying Society, whose members inadvertantly inspired the whole thing via the incredibly fun campaign Operation Deadline and an evening of board games, cocktails, pizza and Char’s Counterattack.
And, since it would be entirely unfair to not give credit where it’s due to the things that inspired it – Absolute Liberation would not have happened without, first and foremost, me being aware of the Gundam franchise (and my disillusionment with its melodrama and irritating characters), the film Macross: Do You Remember Love and the military SF anime of Ryosuke Takahashi – especially Fang of the Sun Dougram. But don’t be put off by these inspirations; while the technology and setting is inspired by SF anime, the novel itself is intended to be more universal in appeal by rejecting the jargon and obsession with continuity and tropes that the genre that inspired it loves.
It’s not per se a political novel, but it would be equally unfair to say that contemporary events did not influence it; warfare in the modern era is so rarely fair fights and justifiable, noble conflicts, and so often large, rich nations seeking to profit from regime change in smaller, poorer ones. Absolute Liberation is about that – but on a planetary scale. Similarly, modern wars are increasingly being fought by drones, and computers, and technological superiority; Absolute Liberation explores what the extension of military hardware into the far future might be like to experience for someone who doesn’t have it.
If this interests you, or the subsequent synopsis catches your eye, there is a link on the top section of my blog to the pages where you can buy it (or here in the UK, or here on Smashwords); it’s not an expensive book, and I’d like to think I’m selling it at a fair price.
When whole planets are the colonies that make up an empire, can nations exist? Can you be loyal to a ruler who you have never seen, and likely will never see?
Should a planet fight its own wars? Is intervention in local uprisings ever justified?
It is far in the future. From a remote, anonymous Homeworld, a reclusive Empress is losing her empire gradually as planets and artificial colonies declare independence. The sheer scale of space makes any kind of reaction inevitably too slow.
When a small civil war breaks out on an isolated, backward world, two great powers rush to capitalise on the chaos; the Empire, trying to hold on to anything it can, and the AHU, a loose coalition of self-proclaimed free worlds prepared to intervene in any uprising against the Homeworld. The law says any colony which cannot promptly and efficiently deal with independence movements will face Absolute Liberation – occupation by Her Majesty’s elite force, the CSF, and martial law until dissident elements are wiped out.
Ronah Dubanet is a baker’s son who thinks he knows what’s he’s fighting for – his home and his planet. Who he should be fighting for is Her Majesty.
Absolute Liberation is a novel about the difficulties of maintaining your identity in an age of interplanetary superpowers, about fighting someone else’s war light-years from home for the sake of people who don’t even want you there. It’s about the dispassionate, mechanised wars of the future, when faceless machines and unmanned drones rule and the men on the ground can only hope to survive.
But above all that, it is a novel about honesty – and the lengths to which one man is prepared to go to protect his own interests and stand up for his family.
Postscript: Why Did I Self-Publish?
Some people who know me from elsewhere may know I have loudly-expressed and quite extreme opinions about publishing, and reading. I’m strongly of the belief that self-publishing in itself is no bad thing; it is no different to any other way for an amateur to put their works out in the public eye for consideration. It is high-risk, but it is also efficient. So I took a chance.