The Idea Dawns
Steep cycling gave rise to an original idea in ARIA and this is the ‘secret’ Anafon Valley used in the book
As I puffed, riding my bicycle up a steep Welsh hill 5 years ago, an original idea inveigled itself into my head. The trigger as I started up Horseshoe Pass, was remembering my mum’s lack of short term memory after she suffered a stroke back in 1982.
Then… what if amnesia was infectious? Then what if no one was immune? I researched like crazy for months to discover a) there was no known medical event of infectious amnesia, and b) that the concept – especially with retrograde amnesia (lose say a year’s worth per week backwards) – hadn’t been used in published stories, nor film. It took a year to create the first 100k draft.
ARIA: Left Luggage WINNER!
Scottish publisher, LL-Publications snapped it up and ARIA had its release on August 1st 2012 then won the P&E Award for best science fiction novel of 2012.
A silvery case is found in space. It’s opened on Earth releasing a virus that causes retrograde amnesia at the rate of a year’s memory per week. No one is immune.
It is tragic – as after a week or so people forget where their new homes and jobs are, and children lose speech, medicines are not produced.
Yet there is humour – who is that you wake up next to, and did you both make out? Ryder realizes what’s going on in time to persuade a handful of professionals to barricade themselves in a remote Welsh valley. The uninfected crew of the ISS join them.
Can they survive intruders? This is a human disaster yet with romance, betrayal, survival, mystery and an exploration into what is so important in life it must be preserved.
Ryder’s friend, Manuel, in the US, once he caught ARIA kept memo notes but soon realized he had to think what was the most important things he needed to know everyday he woke up. That idea became a crucial concept in the whole book.
Monday May 4 2015 Moraine Lake 18 days since ARIA started. Most people have lost up to 2 years and 4 weeks of memory.
Manuel struggled through to consciousness. A new alarm clock hammered away making him throw an unseeing arm at where his bedside cabinet should’ve been. One eye opened and found a pinewood ceiling. He could smell coffee but the unfamiliar log cabin tugged at his worry bone. He remembered going to bed in his own room; pale-green walls, white ceiling, cobwebs.
He admired the dawn light hitting the carpet. Pine trees with a busy resident woodpecker met his eyes. The alarm clock had feathers.
He scratched an armpit. “So, I’m definitely not in Baltimore.”
After finding the bathroom, his nose detected toast along with the coffee. He ventured into the kitchen.
“Oh, you’re up,” said a scowling young woman sitting at a rustic table.
Manuel searched his shot memory but failed to locate a white-faced girl with long jet-black hair among his acquaintances. “Before you throw a wobbler, read that.” She pointed at a NoteCom on the table. A milky coffee, just as he liked it, waited for him. He looked up again. Yellow T-shirt and jeans; he looked at his own clothes – black trousers, white shirt and a NASA tie. Good God, he’d dressed for work.
You are Manual Gomez, employed by NASA as their Education Officer.
Except you are on leave along with most of the population because you have ARIA. An infectious amnesia throwing out your memories at the rate of 50 days worth each day. This started for you on 15th April 2015. It is now Monday 4th May 2015 so you have lost 950 days or two years, seven months and two days of memory.
You have remarried to Jat, who also has ARIA and is sitting at the table with you. She’s diabetic but cut down her Humilin dose – see notes.
“You’re Jat? My wife?”
“I am Jat but I have no recollection of marrying you. Don’t get any ideas.”
“Hang on. My head is spinning coping with waking up with a disease in Canada instead of my home in Baltimore. Look at us, Jat. I’m mid-fifties, you’re what, eighteen?”
“Twenty – that’s not the big deal.”
“No? What is?”
“Look at you. You obviously don’t look after yourself, you’ve deserted your other wife, because of this amnesia and how do I know you don’t have any STDs?”
Manuel, glad he received the broadside while sitting down, shook his head.
“Jat, as far as I know I have no diseases except one that’s robbed me of what must have been a helluva courtship and a cracking wedding night. Me wife left me for an insurance salesman. And though I grant you I’m hiding a six-pack stomach under a keg, I have more muscles than I used to.” He did a strongman impression. She turned to face the window so he couldn’t her smiling.
“There’s a load of chopped wood out back so I guess you might have been working out,” Jat said. He saw her reflection fighting a grin.
# # #
Jon Courtenay Grimwood “Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”
Robert J Sawyer ARIA “is a fascinating project.”
Brad Linaweaver “Geoff Nelder’s ARIA has the right stuff. He makes us ask the most important question in science fiction–the one about the true limits of personal responsibility.”
Mike Resnick “ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.”
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/
Publisher’s website with more details and formats. http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html
Buy it quick before you run out of memory!
You tube video trailer
Viruses are pretty yet deadly
P.S. Experimented with font sizes in this post. Not sure it worked well. Let me know.
Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge. His must-read novels including Exit, Pursued by Bee; ARIA trilogy, and thrillers: Escaping Reality, and Hot Air.
ARIA facebook page http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy