Here is a brief taster of my upcoming novel – the third and final segment in the George Hughes trilogy, George goes to Neptune.
Selecting a snippet from this novel has been fiendishly difficult, since I did not want to spoil too much – partly for those who haven’t read the previous novels, but most especially because those that have deserve to discover the twists and turns without knowing anything in advance.
The opening chapter sees George behaving somewhat differently to the way we have known him previously. He appears to have become slightly more arrogant and paranoid, for reasons he cannot fully understand himself. Are these simply teenage hormones? Is he suffering post traumatic stress from the events in George goes to Titan? Or is there a more sinister reason for George’s subtle shift in behaviour?
“George’s adoptive parents Albert and Gertrude sat on a white leather sofa reading together in companionable silence. They looked older, greyer and more fragile than they had only a year ago, although that was hardly surprising considering how brutally they had been treated under the Titanian occupation. Yet rather than feeling sorry for them, as he had at first, lately George had found himself resenting them. As a result of highly unusual circumstances, Albert and Gertrude had become the heads of the Mars Trust, and they would continue in these roles until he came of age. Yet they were hardly qualified to run such a huge organisation. It irritated George that he couldn’t simply take the reins of his company right now. He already had many ideas about projects the Trust could develop – projects that could change the world, strengthening it against any future alien threats. After two invasions it was time to make the planet secure. George was determined that what happened first with the Martians and secondly with the Titanians must never happen again.
Albert glanced up from his book as George opened the fridge. ‘Need some brain food for homework?
‘Hardly,’ said George. ‘Actually there was something I wanted to ask you.’
‘What is it love?’ asked Gertrude, putting down her magazine.
‘Miniaturisation. We need to invest in research in that field.’
‘If we learn how to miniaturise living matter, think of the possibilities!’
Gertrude frowned. ‘You mean people? Shrinking people? Whadya wanna do that for?’
George restrained himself from moaning about his adoptive parent’s lack of vision. This was a frequent problem he had encountered, but overcoming it meant explaining matters in very simple terms.
‘We’ve just suffered two alien invasions in as many years. With miniaturisation we could hide planetary defences and weapons that would ensure any sneak attack could be dealt with immediately. Entire battalions could be stationed around the planet and live in a miniaturised world, invisible to the naked eye, ready to be called to action and fight off any invader.’
‘Sounds a bit…paranoid to me,’ said Albert. ‘Isn’t it enough that we have all these new fancy weapons from them spaceships that came last year? No-one’s gonna come invading Earth in a hurry, not with all that firepower at our fingertips.’
‘If we don’t invest in miniaturisation now, someone else will get there first.’
‘Is that a good enough reason to spend money that could be used helping and housing all them people that lost everything in the invasion?’
‘The Mars Trust was never meant to be a humanitarian organisation,’ said George. ‘It was set up to make money, and to guide mankind for the greater good.’
Gertrude frowned at George as though he might be ill. ‘What’s the matter sweetheart? Girlfriend trouble?’
George rolled his eyes. He couldn’t bear the patronising manner in which Albert and Gertrude seemed to speak to him lately.
‘I am proposing a sound investment, nothing more.’
‘I don’t know love,’ said Gertrude. ‘It sounds risky. We’d have to use animals to test it. Then we’d have to use humans eventually.’
‘All great scientific breakthroughs involve risk at the research stage,’ said George.
‘I dunno,’ said Albert. ‘I don’t think the Mars Trust should be all about military research.’
‘It wouldn’t be all about that,’ said George. ‘Just partly.’
‘I’m surprised to hear this from you, after all you saw in that other world,’ said Albert. ‘You told me how the other you used the Mars Trust to become a tyrant.’
‘Tyrants are what I’m trying to protect this world from.’
‘Saving the world isn’t just down to you, or me, or any one person,’ said Albert. ‘I have a bad feeling about this miniaturisation business. I’m worried where it could take us.’
‘I have a bad feeling too,’ said George. ‘I have a feeling someone will develop the technology and use it to invade the Earth, right under our noses.’
‘So you’re afraid of what you might call a miniaturisation gap, is that correct?’
‘That’s a good way of putting it.’
‘Have you read any 20th Century history?’
‘Bits of it. Why?’
‘What you’re saying reminds me of the reasons Russia and America gave for making nuclear weapons.’
‘This isn’t the same thing,’ George said, aware he was getting angry. ‘This is about protecting our planet. You of all people ought to understand that after everything you went through.’
Albert’s face darkened. ‘Alright George. We’ll think about it. Why don’t you go and finish your homework?’
George returned to his room, fuming inwardly. Why were Albert and Gertrude raising such foolish objections? The Cold War of the 20th Century was hardly a valid comparison, and even though he hadn’t studied that particularly historical period, he knew enough to know their present situation was entirely different.”
George goes to Neptune is released on the 25th of October on Kindle. It is currently available to pre-order at Amazon here.
Print copies will be available from the 31st of October.