As I’ve plastered on social media all yesterday, I have a book out next April that’s just been announced.
Wildfire has landed a speculative feminist thriller dubbed “The Power set in space” by Laura Lam.
Commissioning editor Ella Gordon acquired world rights, including film and TV, for Goldilocks from Juliet Mushens at Caskie Mushens. The book, set in the near future, where earth has been ravaged by environmental disaster and oppression, will be published on 30th April 2020.
Its synopsis states: “Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Dr Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation. It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, is ready to step out of Valerie’s shadow and help make a difference. But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret, and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared. “
Gordon said: “In Goldilocks Laura has written something quite special – an incredibly pacey, beautifully plotted thriller that packs a real emotional punch. She deftly engages with some of the most frightening issues facing humankind, while still offering a vision of hope. This is The Martian by way of The Handmaid’s Tale, and I cannot wait for everyone to read it.”
Mushens said: “Laura is one of the most imaginative SF writers I know, and in Goldilocks she addresses questions about the future of our society in a fascinating way, all woven around a gripping plot.”
Lam added: “I’ve been obsessed with space and NASA’s plans for the Moon, Mars, and beyond for years. I’m also afraid of what the future holds for our planet and society. These anxieties coalesced into Goldilocks. I’m so grateful to everyone at Wildfire for their faith, enthusiasm and support. I have a newfound admiration for our small place in the universe and look forward to readers meeting Naomi, Valerie, and the rest of the Atalanta 5.”
US and translation rights for Goldilocks are controlled by Rebecca Folland and Nathaniel Alcaraz-Stapleton, respectively, at Hachette UK, and film rights by Emily Hayward-Whitlock at The Artists Partnership.
It’s nice to be able to finally yell about it! I sold this book earlier this year through a strange series of happenstances and kismet. I was confident enough to try writing something so scientifically based in no small part due to the Scotland in Space project, an interdisciplinary endeavour through Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Edinburgh, and the Edinburgh Futures Institute, which I was involved in last year with writers like Pippa Goldschmidt (who wrote a beautiful short story about Mars & refugees) & Russell Jones (who wrote an innovative, mindbending love story involving opposite sides of the universe). My story is a diary written by the youngest member of a ship heading to Proxima Centauri b to try and convince the aliens already there through art & performance to help Earth–it’s basically the Fringe in space! The launch of the resulting anthology, which has the stories, some essays from scientists, social scientists, a museum curator, etc, as well as illustrations, will be out next month. I learned enough about astronomy and science to build on that foundation for the bulk of the research required for Goldilocks.
I’ve tried to stay as accurate to science as I can, aside from the main liberty that warp drive is somehow feasible a few decades from now (even so, I’ve modeled it on the Alcubierre drive, which theoretically doesn’t break the laws of physics if we can figure out how to harness negative energy). Researching this book took me some strange and interesting places. I was also able to interview people with incredibly cool jobs: a professor of space law, a doctor who looks after astronaut health at NASA, the former head of life sciences at the Johnston Space Centre, an evolutionary biologist who looks at climate change through algae, another algae expert looking at growing food on Mars, two astrophysicists, writer friends with scientific backgrounds, experts in vaccines, viruses, and infectious diseases…so many wonderfully intelligent people were willing to spend time helping me, and I’m so grateful. Full details in the acknowledgements!
Goldilocks has a lot of anxieties about the future–climate change, the erosion of women’s rights, the potential repercussions of the commercialisation of space. I also was inspired by the Mercury 13 and female astronauts in general (and was super excited to meet Jeanette Epps & Nora Patten at Worldcon this summer! Here’s a photo of me geeking out). Writing Goldilocks was an interesting experience because it just kept getting more and more timely.
So yep, two books about women in space out next year! One is near future for fans of The Power & Vox, and one is far future and great for fans of Rogue One and Ann Leckie. Both are feminist as hell.
Publishing is, as ever, a roller coaster. At the moment, things are on a tentative upswing, and I’m making the most of it and feeling very grateful that I’m able to share stories with people. Readers get a chance to peek into the weird chaos of my imagination, and that’s pretty damn awesome.
I hope you enjoy taking a ride on the Atalanta next April.
Translation Rights: Nathaniel Alcaraz-Stapleton @ Headline
US Rights: Rebecca Folland @ Headline
Film/TV Rights: Emily Hayward-Whitlock @ The Artists Partnership
Other queries: Juliet Mushens @ Caskie Mushens