A sky without a sun. A world with no universe ...
So why Outermen? Often novels coalesce about a single fleck of grit, what I like to call my “in” to the story; could be an idea, sometimes a single sentence.
I had been turning over in my head the image of early hominids crouching huddled in the frosted dark peering up at the stars, and how much that sight ignited the drive we like to think is characteristic of our species. Even unto a form of God, as early religious practice was tied heavily to supplying answers to the mysteries just beyond reach.
What would life be like without that yearning, without those stars?
I often enjoy sketching with a limited palette but Outermen was something again – I ended up digging around the semiotics of words quite a bit. You’d be astonished how many of the fun ones have solar or divine provenance which meant nope, can’t use those, outside the paradigm. No sun, no God, no universe. Only dread, a closing up instead of flowering out. Enter Cathy whose journey is oddly unsatisfying for all but the most jaded stoics; but this is not a world that births heroes. For the good-guys-overcome narrative there have to be good guys and bad guys, whereas Cathy is an ordinary person with plain resources (if she can just bite down on her fear and use them). After all, unlike us she has never looked up and felt the wonder we take for granted. Thankfully there is always room for snark, no matter the creeping horrors she’s dragged in front of, and I very much liked her.
To celebrate the impending end of financial year Outermen is free this week on Amazon Ebook