“Irenon and the Cerenauts aboard her will be the final hope of thousands of colonists deserted after the failure of the AI deep space programme. The burden falls on Ingmar and Yuri, orphans both, chosen for their ability to cope with isolation and innate mental strength. But how to anticipate what level of strength might be needed when only one creature, the AI Danai, knows what waits for them out there in the darkness? Danger that cannot be seen, quantified, or understood. That will find them in their worst and best memories, the sanctuaries and horrors of their past and, eventually, the corridors of the Irenon herself.
This is where Ingmar will finally understand the last words Danai said to her, a warning: Stay away from the lonely dark.”
Yes, it’s true! I have an actual flesh and blood (well, pulp and ink) book out there in the wild! *anime eyes* It’s a weird sci-fi novella entitled ‘The Lonely Dark‘, published by the extraordinary, British Fantasy Award nominated Fox Spirit books. With gloriously strange cover-art by Daniele Serra, they have made my novella into a thing of beauty and I could not be more delighted. Currently it’s out in physical form on Amazon UK and Amazon US, but it will also be out in ethereal e-book ghost-form (far more appropriate to its contents) very soon indeed! I will update on all my social media when I know the exact date. For now, please go and buy the physical book, it’s gorgeous to look at, very quick to read and it’s an absolute bargain at four quid!
To quirk your taste buds, I include a small snippet from the opening of part one:
“The memory of those long ago conversations echoes within her too. Once she feared she would carry them wherever she went, until she understood they come to life only here, where their ghosts reside. Her Grandma’s for nine years, from the very night she died in her sleep when Ingmar was fifteen, and her father’s for almost seven. He died away from home, in New York, but he came back. She didn’t think he could, but she awoke one morning to his voice fleeting through the corridors, muttering across the corners of rooms and through doorways, and she understood that he was always coming back. He had to.
His loss is pervasive when she’s here. It feels ugly, a clammy membrane across her mind, eroding her peace, the stability she’s worked so hard to obtain. He was so very often absent when she needed him. Now it’s just the same, every single day. She hears fragments of him everywhere, but only ever in passing. It’s as if she’s perpetually missing him again as he rushes off on his way to work or to his study, leaving her alone with her Grandma’s voice whispering to her from under the table. It feels as though she has to wait for him, because he might come home at any moment, dropping his hat onto the worn oak.
Even in death Grandma hated him doing that, she’d rustle around the table, grumbling, and only Ingmar would hear her. Before he died, Ingmar tried to tell him about her Grandma’s voice. He wouldn’t hear of it, too practical a man to believe such things and, as always, Ingmar was left trying to cope, to understand, on her own.
‘This is what I’ll be, you know,’ she tells the exasperated voice rushing along the carpet, into the hallway, perhaps trailing a younger Ingmar, in pigtails and summer shorts. ‘It’ll be just as if I’m dead. I’ll haunt the ship. I wonder what it will feel like?’ She follows her Grandma’s voice out to the balcony, where it tails off into the wind rustling the trees at the lake’s edge. ‘Tell me what it feels like.’
But her Grandma doesn’t answer. She never answers. Some things never change.“