• 208 pages
`The Road meets Waiting for Godot: powerful, unforgettable, unique' Melissa Harrison, author of At Hawthorn Time.
Doggerland is a superbly gripping debut novel about loneliness and hope, nature and survival - set on an off-shore windfarm in the not-so-distant future.
`His father's breath had been loud in the small room. It had smelled smoky, or maybe more like dust. He had knotted and unknotted a strap on the bag he was holding - he must have been leaving to go out to the farm that day. `I'll get out,' he'd said. `I'll come back for you, ok?' The boy remembered that; had always remembered it. And, for a time, he'd believed it too.' In the North Sea, far from what remains of the coastline, a wind farm stretches for thousands of acres.
The Boy, who is no longer really a boy, and the Old Man, whose age is unguessable, are charged with its maintenance. They carry out their never-ending work, scoured by wind and salt, as the waves roll, dragging strange shoals of flotsam through the turbine fields. Land is only a memory.
So too is the Boy's father, who worked on the turbines before him, and disappeared. The boy has been sent by the Company to take his place, but the question of where he went and why is one for which the Old Man will give no answer.
As his companion dredges the sea for lost things, the Boy sifts for the truth of his missing father. Until one day, from the limitless water, a plan for escape emerges...
This beautifully crafted novel about loneliness and hope, nature and survival, is as haunting as it is compelling - a very special debut indeed.
• 432 pages
Michael Poole finds himself in a very strange landscape...
This is the centre of the Galaxy. And in a history without war with the humans, the Xeelee have had time to built an immense structure here. The Xeelee Belt has a radius ten thousand times Earth's orbital distance. It is a light year in circumference. If it was set in the solar system it would be out in the Oort Cloud, among the comets - but circling the sun. If it was at rest it would have a surface area equivalent to about thirty billion Earths. But it is not at rest: it rotates at near lightspeed. And because of relativistic effects, distances are compressed for inhabitants of the Belt, and time drastically slowed.
The purpose of the Belt is to preserve a community of Xeelee into the very far future, when they will be able to tap dark energy, a universe-spanning antigravity field, for their own purposes. But with time the Belt has attracted populations of lesser species, here for the immense surface area, the unending energy flows. Poole, Miriam and their party, having followed the Ghosts, must explore the artefact and survive encounters with its strange inhabitants - before Poole, at last, finds the Xeelee who led the destruction of Earth...