Science fiction is not an easy genre for a writer. These writer’s need to think way outside of the box. Geoff Nelder has managed to leave the box behind with his trilogy of “ARIA” tales. Beginning with “ARIA: Left Luggage”, the book where Alien Retrograde Infectious Amnesia is introduced, Nelder sets the stage for a frightening concept. What would happen if the Earth was infected with a virus that seemed to affect the memories of every person? What would happen if a small group of people managed to either be immune or be able to avoid infection? While Nelder has written other books and stories, this one captured my attention and held it. So who is Geoff Nelder and where does he get his ideas? Let me turn it over to Geoff before I forget what I’m doing.
The ding of my inbox disrupted a well-deserved snooze. It was that mistress of the arts, Elizabeth Horton-Newton, with an invitation, a beseeching, to be guested on her blog. Does she think I have nothing better to do? She’s right. I am with time to spare. I will be strong.
Six and a half things you didn’t know about Geoff Nelder
Since you don’t know me at all there must be thousands of things you don’t know about this retired high school teacher and father of two grown-ups, so I need to come up with interesting aspects of me that will hook you to reach the end of the page. No problem, or is it?
1. The first baby in the world born in the British Military Hospital in Hannover, Germany was me. If I was born the previous day (in 1947) to my British parents, I would have been born across the road in a German hospital and be liable for German National Service in my teens.
2. I was named Godfrey, but only my mum and family in Cheltenham called me that. Teachers and schoolmates called me Geoff, as did my girlfriend and her family up in Cheshire. When her family sent the wedding invites out to my family 150 miles away they had no idea who this Geoff Nelder was. I wonder if Geoff is too ordinary a name for a writer. Nelder may originally be Dutch and I see many successful writers have three parts to their names, so I’ve considered having my books under the name Godfrey van Nelder. What do you think?
3. I believe I am the first fiction writer to have received an email from space while researching for a story. In ARIA I needed to know that the struts of the International Space Station were made of a non-magnetic material. I googled for a NASA engineer to ask and sent him an email with my query. A while later Leroy Chaio answered and said the struts were a very thin aluminium such that micrometeorites might go through them, and he was worried because he was up there in orbit at the time!
4. This is becoming a list of ‘firsts’ but then it goes to show how if I can do it, so can others. Out on a country cycle ride an idea snuck into my head. What if amnesia was infectious? It isn’t but imagine if it was. I postulated a virus, no one was immune, and you lost memory back from now at the rate of a year’s worth per week. Within days some people would forget where their new homes and jobs were. Within weeks many services would collapse as no one turned up to work. Astonishingly, no one had used this idea and still haven’t. This is why LL-Publications took on my ARIA. They like novels with an edge, something out of the ordinary, and I provided them with infectious amnesia.
5. Another contretemps with the forces of law and disorder arrived after the publication of my Escaping Reality humorous thriller. I’d corresponded with a gangland leader who’d confided in me several interesting aspects of crime in Northwest UK. In Escaping Reality I created an underground society where criminals operated their own infrastructure – finance, training, careers, housing, vacations, security, medical, provisions including of the mind-changing kind. I did this fictionally but in the real small port town of Maryport. A few months later several of the public houses were raided by the police for the first time in many years. Coincidence, or have did the police commissioner have Escaping Reality on his bookshelf?
6. Few know that I was the cause of a flying saucer scare in Yorkshire. Shamelessly, I used my students in Colne Valley High School to help me gather data for my academic climate research. I used a tethered meteorological balloon filled with helium, attached instruments then allowed it to rise above the valley. The police and journalists arrived an hour later after reports of flying saucers hit them. My balloon and students featured on the front page of the local paper.
6.5 Hardly a first for a novelist, but I was arrested for trespass while researching sights and smells for my Hot Air Kindle thriller on the Mediterranean island of Mallorca. Don’t want to say too much here in case I get a knock on the door…
So, Geoff Nelder, why do you write as you do? Who devised these hard questions? Ah, it was me. The answer for me is historical. As a pupil, my teachers danced hysterically when I used adjectives such as gnarled even though with contemporary fiction we rarely use them. My dad made me laugh and when I repeated his jokes at school, pupils and teachers chuckled. I found I could write jokes and wrote them for school review shows then when I left to go to Sheffield University I became one of the editors of the rag mag. Shamefully, I find many of my awful jokes still in existence. In spite of such shame I can’t help putting humour into even the most dire situations my characters find themselves in. I write science fiction because the world is too restricting for my wayward imagination. I write fantasy to escape reality and to explore alternative therapies to humdrumness.
Escaping Reality – humorous thriller http://geoffnelder.com/project/escaping-reality/
Hot Air – thriller set in England, France and Mallorca – won awards by a Netherlands Arts Academy.
Both the above have had a chequered publishing career but now published Kindle only by Adventure Books of Seattle http://geoffnelder.com/project/hot-air/
Exit, Pursued by a Bee is a science fiction in which aliens have been here for millennia and now they leave, creating unintended havoc. Published by
Double Dragon Publishing in Canada
How to Win Short Story Competitions is a short non-fiction by two experienced editors and competition judges – me, and Dave Haslett. http://www.coldcoffeepress.com/how-to-win-short-story-competitions-by-dave-haslett-and-geoff-nelder/
My oeuvre – the literary egg of my soul is the ARIA Trilogy. I can’t believe no one else has thought of using infectious amnesia in a story or film. Even so it’s not sold many, in spite of winning the Preditors & Editors Award for the best science fiction novel of 2012. Its blurb is:
How important is memory? Lose it week by week until you forget how to read, write, and talk. Forget how to do your job, where you live, who you love, and eventually, how to eat. Maybe instinct takes over, but how much? If aliens planted this infectious amnesia bug on Earth, why? Who are they? What is their grand plan, and will there be enough humans alive to confront the aliens or take revenge?
Jon Courtenay Grimwood – “Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”
Robert J Sawyer calls ARIA a “fascinating project”.
You tube video trailer http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU
Facebook page for you to ‘like’ if you will http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy
Links to buy ARIA and other of my books are on my Amazon author page
ARIA is published by small press LL-Publications now in Texas
Kindle – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/
Paperback Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Volume-1/dp/1905091958/
Kindle – UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/
Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Geoff-Nelder/dp/1905091958/
Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy and tweets at @geoffnelder
Geoff’s website is http://geoffnelder.com
I am on Google+ but lordy knows how to get around in it