I’m delighted to announce that Hodder Studio’s edition of Ghost Species is published today in the United Kingdom and Ireland. As I said when the book was published in Australia, it’s a book that matters a great deal to me, so I’m thrilled it’s finally available overseas, and I very much hope people will find something in it.
You should be able to pick the new edition up in bricks and mortar bookshops, online, or as an ebook or audiobook. You can also read an extract. And if that’s not enough, you can see me reading the opening section below.
My thanks to everybody who’s had a hand in making this happen, but in particular the team at Hodder Studio and Rogers, Coleridge and White, and I hope anybody who buys a copy finds something in it for them.
I’ve already done a roundup of some of my favourite books of the year, so I thought I might pull together a list of some of my own publications over the past twelve months.
The one that matters most to me is my new novel, Ghost Species, which was released in Australia at the end of April. That was obviously a disorienting time to be publishing anything, but I’m incredibly grateful to the readers who have taken the time to read it and found something in it that speaks to them, because it’s a book that means a great deal to me.
I was also incredibly fortunate to be involved in a collaboration organised by Brisbane Writers Festival in which the poet Shastra Deo responded to the novel in verse. I’m a huge admirer of Shastra’s work (her first book, The Agonist, is brilliant), and the interactive poem that she produced is completely breathtaking. I can’t recommend it enough.
If you’d like to buy Ghost Species it’s available in Australia as an ebook, online, or from all good bricks and mortar bookshops. If you’re outside Australia the ebook was released by Hodder Studio a few weeks ago, and the print edition will be available in the UK in February. Or you can listen to the audiobook, read by the wonderful Rupert Degas.
In addition to Ghost Species I published a number of pieces of non-fiction. Perhaps the most important of them to me personally was an essay about my mother, Denise, who died just as the pandemic really took hold, that was published as part of Sophie Cunningham’s wonderful anthology Fire Flood Plague: Australian Writers Respond to 2020. You can read Sophie’s introduction online, but if you haven’t seen a copy of the collection yet I very much recommend it: it’s a remarkable document of the experience of living through the past twelve months, but it’s also a book that offers a kind of roadmap for a new and better future, and I’m very grateful to have been a part of it.
I also had work in two other anthologies. The first – an essay about cuttlefish and deep time – appears in Cameron Muir, Kirsten Wehner and Jenny Newell’s brilliant Living with the Anthropocene: Love, Loss and Hope in the Face of Environmental Crisis, which also includes pieces by writers such as Tony Birch, Delia Falconer, Justine Hyde, Jennifer Lavers and Jo Chandler. It’s a major book, and I’m honoured to have been a part of it.
Around all that I’ve been lucky enough to get some work done. Or, to be more accurate, I’ve been lucky to have work to keep me going, because I’m not sure I would have made it through without it. Either way I’ve managed to pull together a draft of a new novel, and part of another; hopefully one or both of them will be finished some time next year. I’ve also written a bit less than half of a non-fiction project, which I’m aiming to complete over the next twelve months or so as well. For the moment, though, I just feel grateful to have made it through the past year relatively intact. I hope the same is true of all of you.
My new novel, Ghost Species, is published today in Australia. New books are always exciting, but this one is especially so, because it’s a book I’m really proud of. Set in Tasmania in the very near future, it centres on a secret project to resurrect Neanderthals, and it’s about extinction and de-extinction, loss and love, climate catastrophe and collapse. I think – I hope – some of the ideas in it will resonate, especially at present.
If you’re in Australia you can get copies from any good bricks and mortar bookshop, or check prices online. You can also get it from all major ebook vendors. If you’re outside Australia Book Depository should have copies available. I also highly recommend the audiobook, read by Rupert Degas, which is absolutely fantastic.
My thanks to everybody who helped this book become a reality. I hope you all enjoy it.
Replica of Neanderthal Skull in St. Michaels Cave, Gibraltar, CC 2012, Bjorn.
I’m planning to do a round-up of my favourite books of the past year later in the week, but before I do I thought I might just pull together a list of a few things of my own over the past twelve months.
The most significant, obviously, was the publication of The Buried Ark in June. The second part of my Change Trilogy, it picks up immediately after the events at the end of the first book in the series, The Silent Invasion, which was published in 2017.
Because of the way it begins, it’s a little difficult to talk too much about it without spoiling the first book, but I’m really proud of it, not least because I think it manages to avoid the second book sag that afflicts so many trilogies. It’s also had some fantastic responses from readers and great reviews from people such as Ian Mond in Locus and Cameron Woodhead in the Fairfax papers.
The latest issue of Island, No 155, which was published just last week, also includes a story of mine, ‘High Country’. It’s available by subscription or in good bookstores.
Mostly though, I’ve been working on a series of projects that won’t see the light of day for some time. The first is the final book of The Change Trilogy, A Vastness of Stars, which will be published late next year. It’s the most ambitious, the most cosmic and the most challenging of the three, but I’m really excited about it.
The second is my new novel, Ghost Species, which will be published by Penguin Random House in March 2020. I’ll talk about it some more a bit closer to the time, but it’s about time and loss and extinction and de-extinction, and I think it’s strange and beautiful and very timely, so I’m very much looking forward to people reading it.
Because I’ve had my head down for a lot of this year I haven’t had much time for posting, but since it’s almost the new year I thought I might pull together some links and news.
The big news for this year was obviously the publication of my first YA novel, The Silent Invasion, which was released in Australia in April. It’s done well so far – it topped the bestseller lists in August and it’s just been longlisted for the Indie Awards (something I’m particularly thrilled about) – which has been great, especially since the second book in the series, The Buried Ark, will be out in April. If you’d like to know more about the series I wrote a piece about the inspiration for it to coincide with the publication of The Silent Invasion.
I also published The Death of Neutrino Man, a comic I created with artist Melanie Cook from a script I wrote a couple of years ago as part of a project sponsored by iF Book (an experience I wrote about at the time). You can buy it for 99c at Comixology or read it online for free. I’ve got a couple of other comic projects cooking away, so hopefully there will be more soon.
It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting on the beach beside the steel gantries and fuel tanks of Botany Bay’s container terminal watching my kids build a sandcastle by the water’s edge, a structure that keeps collapsing because the waves keep hitting it. But what I can’t get out of my head is the section of Kim Stanley Robinson’s new novel, New York 2140, I read this morning, in which an unnamed narrator offers an imaginary account of the first sudden sea level rise in the 2040s. It’s a possibility I’ve also imagined in Ghost Species, the adult novel I’m writing (although mine is done from a more personal, experiential perspective), but simultaneously it’s a scenario that no matter how difficult it is for us to comprehend is now pretty much assured even if we do get emissions under control (as Elizabeth Kolbert wrote recently, “once feedbacks take over, the climate can change quickly, and it can change radically … It’s likely that the “floodgates” are already open, and that large sections of Greenland and Antarctica are fated to melt. It’s just the ice in front of us that’s still frozen”). All of which means this beach, a lot of this city, most coastal habitats, mangroves and reefs and, I suspect, much of our world, are all already lost, swept away by the ocean, like the bathetically symbolic sandcastle my kids are trying to build against the backdrop of the engine of global trade. Is there a word for his prospective grief, this knowledge nothing here will remain? For all the species and ecosystems that still linger, although they are already lost? For the way I feel when I watch my kids, and know that however safe the world they inhabit seems the future holds dislocation and disaster, or for my own uncertainty about what I should be teaching them? In his book Orison for a Curlew the writer Horatio Clare talks about Greece’s economic ruin being a cenotaph for our society, I wonder whether this moment might be another.