My A-Z theme this year is a guide to my trilogy of novels called ‘The State Trilogy’. Set in an unnamed island country known only as ‘The State’, in the imagined near future, the books follow the intertwining stories of a number of characters, principally a State police detective named Danny Samson and an assassin, Gabriella Marino, over a period of six years. It begins with the assassination of an elected official and spirals into revolution and civil war. Part political thriller, action story, war story and dystopian science fiction, the trilogy took three years to complete and the books are available to read now – you can find links to purchase them HERE

In The State Trilogy, ‘J’ stands for:

Journalism: The theme of the second novel, ‘State Of Denial’. I’m a sucker for investigative journalist stories, especially the superb ‘All the President’s Men,’ and others like ‘Spotlight,’ ‘Zodiac,’ and conspiracy thrillers like ‘The  Parallax View’, or even Oliver Stone’s ‘J.F.K.’ These were the sort of tones and ideas I had in mind for the book, including starting with a scene in a dark underground car park. From there I started to look at journalism in the context of a dictatorial State where freedoms were under pressure, and to dissent was to be put in danger.  The State has shut down any plurality in the media by taking control of most outlets, allowing them to control the news and information flow. As the novels go on to show, that can never be a good thing. At the same time, journalists and the media also share the burden of responsibility in accurate and unbiased reporting, something which is sadly lacking in our current societies around the globe.

Jai Li: An elder in the village in the wilderness. I particularly wanted to draw attention to her name and ethnic background, bringing into focus immigration issues and the treatment of foreign nationals by a nationalistic government. Sadly, due to length and plot focus, I don’t think I really explored her character as much as I could have, or perhaps should have in the books, but the idea was there, and she still serves that purpose of hopefully making the reader think about some of those issues.

Jarrod and Jonas: Foot soldiers of the Independents, lieutenants of the engineer Giesler and experts in explosives and diving. They are selected to help carry out Phillips’s final throw of the dice in ‘State Of War’.

Julius: A member of Xavier’s crew on the people smuggling boat who provides vital information to Danny and Gabriella. His name was another deliberate nod towards the influence of the Roman era on the trilogy (see ‘R’ entry: Rome).

Jenny: Befriended by Lucas in the hospital orphanage, she becomes an adopted big sister to him and helps with his medical treatment. Missing an arm since birth and abandoned by her parents because of this, she symbolises the debate around genetic engineering. Part of that debate is what would happen to those with disabilities in a society where 99% of people are genetically ‘perfect’ (for want of a better word). She is about to become an adult and will no longer be able to stay at the orphanage, when the civil war breaks out. Her chances of receiving State help in terms of housing and income are lost because of the war. She decides to escape with Lucas when the chance presents itself, and attempt to flee the State.

John Curran: A veteran journalist who has taken Maxine Aubert under his wing in ‘State Of Denial’. In the end, it is Max who shows Curran the error of his ways, reminding him of what it means to be a journalist and to use his position to hold those in power to account. Originally from Central City, Curran has made his career in the Capital. Once a diligent and respected journalist, he is past his prime and spends his time dutifully covering the State Chancellor’s press conferences.

Johnathan Sadiq: A minor minister in the Central Alliance Party government, who is chosen to stand against incumbent State Chancellor Lucinda Románes in the election. He is a puppet candidate who knows he will not win, but stands to gain further credit within the party in the hope of future promotion. He stands to maintain the illusion of a challenge to the Chancellor, to maintain the illusion of democracy, when there is in fact none.

Janette Michaels: Danny Samson’s commanding officer in the Central City State Police, head of the detective unit. While revealed as not complicit in the scandal that Danny uncovers, she chooses to remain loyal to the State and is promoted as a reward, moving on to the Capital City police in future novels.

Next up – K is for: Kyle, Kruger and Kelvin Mothersby

All the entries in the A-Z of ‘The State Trilogy’ can be found HERE

The books are available from a wide selection of online retailers, including AMAZON

36 responses to “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: J”

  1. So, I decided to put the book I was reading aside, another dystopia about kids who have to kill each other. It’s a good book, but I think I met my teens killing teens quota for the month. I like your opening prose. This is me without caffeine, yet. Also me not commenting on journalists, and my love/hate relationship with the Other Side of the writing world. (Unless that counts as a comment, which it Definitely Does.) I really love journalist friends and I know journalists with real integrity. It’s just sometimes I think you need to think outside the lines people draw for you. That is why openly creative writing is Clearly Better. “The play is the thing.” In my not so humble opinion. Have a great day!

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s a lot of pressure, putting another book aside – I hope my books live up to expectations now! My MC journalist is a good one with integrity, which needless to say, puts her out of step in the dystopian world, but I think you will like her. Have a good day too, and hope you enjoy some reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hari Om
    Unbiased reporting… I think I may remember that… not entirely sure that the move online has done journalism any favours in this regard. The tendency for all articles just to become personal blog-blabber for many ‘journalists’, thus putting them fully in the realm of opinion pieces, has somewhat undermined full and proper reporting (ie, the relaying of facts from a scene, incident or occasion), allowing the reader/watcher to form their own opinions. Let’s not even get bogged down in the argument that many bloggers are read as if they were the mouthpieces of a particular brand or office and, hence, the rise in so much misrepresentation…

    …I’m having a day of lengthy comments. I need a cuppa and a lie down in a darkened room! YAM xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Here’s the first thing I would do: no one who is employed as a professional journalist for a media company should have a Twitter account. Nor should any politician. That alone would solve a lot of problems with the media!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hari Om
        Indeed… though, as pointed out in my F post, I do think freedom of speech is absolutely essential – however, we need a lot more people to be actual ‘grown ups’ about things and understand that difference of opinion does not mean a lack of cordiality. It is the vituperative posters that need to be taken aside and shown other ways… (One such example… of course, I share that fully aware that there’s a possibility you are a WoS supporter – it being written from Bath and not even in the Bonny Land!)

        Sorry, don’t intend to make this a political platform – just that it ties in with my gripes for AZing so well!!! Feel free to ‘unpost’ this comment. YAM xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • It’s one guy basically – ‘Wings Of Scotland’ on Twitter – who lives in Bath, England, but is a supporter of Scottish Independence. At one time had widespread group of followers, but has since become rather extreme and distasteful in his views and is now an embarrassment more than anything else!

        Liked by 1 person

      • An interesting thought. But I do follow some journalists on Twitter because most of their tweets are links to their articles; if they are nasty pieces of work, I don’t follow them. Politicians are an interesting case; they have their official accounts and former pollies have personal ones. I’m following/being followed by a couple of former PMs, one of whom is annoying Rupert even now.

        I do think, of course, that they shouldn’t be allowed to run a country through social media – Donald, I’m looking at YOU! – but who is going to stop them?

        K Is For Kassiopeia

        Liked by 2 people

      • I agree, for journalists and politicians, they have official company or political accounts to link to articles, programmes, interviews and so on, and that’s all they should be doing. No half-formed opinions – Twitter is not the place for grown up serious debate.


  3. Of all the Js listed, journalism strikes a chord (or a nerve? ha!). It’s so difficult to know what’s accurate in today’s news. I imagine it’s tricky even for journalists to sort out the truth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Trudy, I agree, the truth has never been murkier or more obscured. Seems everyone now has their own truth and is sticking to it no matter what!


    • It certainly would, and it has to be done so that it is available to all, and not just those that can afford it, otherwise it would have the effect of creating more inequality in the world rather than less.


    • I haven’t read it, though I have heard of it. I’m sure it would be a great read, although I’m ambivalent towards Ronan Farrow himself over the whole Farrow/Dylan/Woody Allen case.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Oh for some good old fashioned investigative journalism!” is a cry often heard in my home. While I realise that much of journalism was always dull and routine, what we have now is utterly laughable for too much of the time. It’s also quite extraordinary how the BBC manages to receive scorn & derision from both left & right wing. Again, another aspect of current life nicely woven into your books Iain.

    A-Zing from Fiction Can Be Fun
    Normally found at Debs Despatches

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, believe me Debs, as much as the BBC can be its own worst enemy at times, it has reached the stage now were no matter what is said or done, half the country seems to be outraged. It has become a no-win situation.

      Liked by 1 person

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