Latest finished book with its tentative title. Here's the blurb on the back cover. "Life in France following Frexit and the arrival in power of a government coming from the far rightd is not pleasant for everyone: the population is being herded into groupings according to one's national ancestry, certain areas are being repopulated by force, re-education camps for certain categories of people have been set up, surveillance covers practically all aspects of life, the borders have been closed and walls have gone up that it is impossible to pass and the country is practically cut off from the rest of the world. it is impossible to leave - or almost. Some have tried. Few have succeeded. 

Yannis, labelled as undesirable and closely monitored, wants to leave. But how? The opening of the borders for commercial needs allowing a  few representatives of specific countries to come in, offers some hope.

Michael, a british businessman authorised to come and present his company's machinery and obtain a contract with the State, has another, very good reason for coming to France. But the States watches over everytging and it is best not to draw attention if one wants to see one's hopes come to fruition."  Whether it will be the final version remains to be seen.


Well, just to have some fun I decided to deal with the stories written by my best friend, Diane, who died idn 1994. First I typed out the version in English, changing things, eliminating everything that was very personal to us and not really essential to the main story - as I did for the ones I did bring out. Then I translated them into French. As her stories were good, why not do something with them. Both our names will appear on the cover - if I do publish them. It's difficult selling them as it isn't fantasy which is very successful at the moment. Are mine, ours, really SF ? People often say "I don't like SF", but what do they mean by that? I find they've often got the wrong idea. After all the two I brouht out, "Code Phénix" and "Le Survivant" were in fact a spy story, and a mystery about identity. And the stories are really good!!

So after doing that, I decided to see about some I'd written since she had died, and so finished a couple of those. Others are still unfinished.


THE CERULEAN MIRAGE

This is what the back cover says: "Earth has been under the rule of the Ceruleans for some time and its resistance movement has grown and is almost ready to act. The Ceruleans themselves are fuled by a Lady president who seems herself to be under the infuence of the High Priestess of the Sisters of the Holy Flame. The Lady President has secrets she would prefer to keep hidden. On Earth, The Nosten family also has secrets to keep, not least Roland Hosten. Roland and his two sons, Richard and Chris, are intimately concerned by everything concerning Cerulean, though they do not necessarily know it. But somene somewhere does and once the strings start to be pulled there is nothing anyone can do to change the course of events." I hope that this summary is sufficiently interesting to attract readers - if I decide to publish it. The back covers are difficult to write: comment to summarise without revealing too much? If there are two of us writers, like I said in my tab "Genesis of the books", if the story itself comes from my best friend Diane, I had the hard work of going through it, taking out what was personal to us only, chaning the names of the main characters and generally making it accessible to most people, so that they wouldn't be shocked by anything. And then I translated it into Fren ch, so there was really a lot of work. ,

   It's a really good story in which Earth, for once, is not the powerful planet it's often made to be. The name of the planet Cerulean comes from the colour of its sky. The "Holy Flame" is a natural geological phenomunum that is adored by the people as a spiritual manifestation, and this belief is maintained by the sisters. The High Priestess seems to have power over everything. As the back cover says, everybody has secrets they would rather keep hidden. The reader knows what most of these secrets are as the actions takes place over a couple of decades. There remains however, a great mystery concerning the power of the High Priestess. What is her game? we could ask all through the story. Who is she really? Love and hate are sprinkled throughout the story adding their weight to what's going on. 

   The story is a long one and at first I divided it into three parts, which make three small volumes. They can be united in one large volume. I don't know which woujld be better. The small volumes stop at key moments.

 


CHE'AYA

The back cover says: "Josh and Nathan are twins but their lives have followed very different paths. Josh is lucky, he was able to grow up in a loving family and carve out his own life. Nathan was stoen by thge Che'aya to grow up one of their mindless slaves working in a mine. Josh's family has never stopped looking for him for they know he is still alive through the mental link the twins have, a mental link that has enabled him to survive. And even if he was found, his future would be far from certain. he people on Earth face two unknowns: how do the Che'aya seem to know in advance every move the Terrans make, and where is their home planet, Che'i? Onlhy if the terrans can find the answers to these questions can any progress be made. Nathan hold one key, someone else on Earth holds anothger, but first he has to be discovered."

   Another story written by Diane and revied by myself. Two points of view figure in it: that of the Terrans and that of the Che'aya. It raises therefore ethnic and ethical questions. What is good and what is evil? Can the weight of tradition and culture be altered? How far does the identity of someone go?

   Here too, I had to elimiate bits that were too personal to us and I had to change things concerning the characters, without changing their role and their intrinsic personalitt. Translating it into French entailed a lot of thought especially when I had to translate the Che'aya socieety created by Diane, with its specific volabulary. But that's science fiction, new words have to be crated for new ideas that don't exist in reality. I divided this story into two parts, for it's another long one. So the same question is there as for Cerulean: seperate volumes or one big one? If it ever gets published....   


TIMESHIFT

The back cover says: "The Antares' return from its mission appears to be just like any return: routine. As the ship emerges from hyperspace into Earth's local space, the members of the crew see that something has changed during their absence. This is not the Earth they left and their attemps to contact ground control are met with silence. However, they remain convinced that this is thge Earth, third planet n Sol's system. So, what has happened?"

   This is a quite short story. It was the first one written when we started writing together again in 1979 after a pause during a few years when I'd shut myself away in a sect (indeed, yes!). We both wrote on the theme of a leap in time. When I looked at the stories in the summer of 2023, I said to myself that hers was by far the better one, but there were ideas in mine that could be inserted into hers and make one story.  So that's what I did. I don't know if anyone reading it can see any difference in style. When I read it, I don't think so and I've now forgotten which bits came from me! Anyway, in this one some changes had to be made, like changing the names of the characters. Now, you might ask,  why do that? Well we had characters in  common that we put in all our stories, putting them in different situations. We identified ourselves with them. So I really couldn't continue doing that. I've done the same thing for my stories. The only one in which I've kept the same names is "The Survivor". And so, since that one has been published, all the others have to be changed. Thinking up new names is quite difficult, as the characters themselves remain basically the same.


THE WHEEL or TODAY IS OUR FOREVER

Okay, I don't know about the title. In my mind I call it the wheel, but there has to a more intriguing title. The blah says: "A circular object suddenly appears on the surface of Pluto. How did it get there and what does it do? A scientific mission is organised by the Internaional Space Agency to study it. he members of the mission come face to face with an artefact whose criteria defining time, space and the beginning of life are not those they have always known. Do Ael, Lachlan, Jiulian and Adrianna have what is required to respond to the artefact's request? Are they even prepared to answer the request? And in exchange for what?"

   So this is one of my stories written alone after Diane's death. The beginnng was written some time ago but I hadn't finished it. I hadn't really found an ending. I had another look at it in the summer of 2023. I changed the names of the characters, and that led to a change in other places and to an ending. I wanted to play around with the idea that we could have concerning love and friendship. Looking at our perception of time appears also along with how we see reality: realities, universes, times, life... The idea of myth also makes an appearance. That's what I like about SF. You can juggle with ideas and everything is possible. Personally, I like this story. I could even say that there's a bit of me and Diane in it, how I see us in the universe and in time.

 


I've realised since that in the book above and the one below, I've given one of the main characters the same physical handicap. However I can't see how I can change it. So never mind. They were written years apart, after all.


NEANDER - NEW WORLD

The blah: "What do you do when you wake up in a damaged ship after forty years in hibernation and you don't know where you are or where the earth is, when you're drifing in space without any means of propulsion or to call for help? What do you do when you meet up with an enemy ship that is the same state? Do you continue the war that you've left behind you? Or should you forget your differences and try to advance together? This is the choice facing Stuart, Andres, Elias and others who, more than forty years before, would have killed each other. And what do you do several years later when you've built a community on a small station and a ship from Earth wearing the colours of one of the warring protagonists find you and orders you to return to Earth? What price is freedom?"

   This is another one that I call Neander in my head. The word hearks back to Neanderthal, and that word has as its base a word in Greek that means "new man". I was looking for a title that would express the idea of going forward towards something new for humanity. This was it. The word is in the text. Should I leave it? In the French translation I did end up putting the French motto: "Liberty, equality, fraternity" as that really does correspond to the idea in the story. But would it attract an English reader ??? I have no idea where the idea for this story came from. It confronts different points of view concerning society. A reflection on the changes that our European society has goen through since World War 2, perhaps. However, some things haven't changed elsewhere and what is allowed in one country is not allowed in another, and wasn't in ours in the past either. Also, changing society doesn't mean everyone is going to change what they think. And some people never change their attitudes. The idea of a lost ship must have come up first and the rest followed. The story is quite short and one could ask, is it really finished? It could go on, but is that reallhy interesting? For me, it's this episode that is interesting. An "after" could become banal, and then, I have to find some intrigue to write a real follow-up. It's much better to leave it as it is, even if it means it's a small volume. Will it get published? Who knows?