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, ‘S’ stands for:

The State: The setting for the trilogy, based on a future vision of Great Britain which has become isolated in the world, deliberately cutting itself off in the misguided hope that it can protect itself from the rest of the world.

Senate: The ruling parliament, like the House of Commons today, but in fact powerless compared to the State Chancellor who controls it, and the ruling Central Alliance Party. Senators are elected in rigged elections to debate and rubber stamp policies. Unlike the Senate in Rome that it is named after, it has little control and does not dissent from the party line and the Chancellor’s demands.

Science Fiction: Is the trilogy science fiction? I don’t think of it as such, it’s almost a reductive term I think, not that I don’t enjoy a lot of sci-fi. It is certainly not a pure sci-fi series. Everything is earth-based (although there is a community inhabiting the moon) and human based. There are no spaceships, flying cars, androids, aliens or parallel universes! Typically though, Amazon and other publishers have a set list of genre categories with which to describe and market your work, so sci-fi dystopian was the only one that encapsulated the overall series. I would add crime, thriller, political, literary, investigative, war and on and on…!

Scotland: Most of the action takes place in Central City, roughly equivalent to present day Scotland’s central belt (Glasgow and Edinburgh and the land inbetween), and the wilderness (the west coast). I wanted to set the story in my own country and try to write about it in a different way from the traditional bagpipes and haggis, or the contemporary tartan noir crime novels. I set it in a future version of Scotland to avoid becoming entangled in the current political wranglings over independence, and imagined a future where it has not been achieved and persecution by the Capital City (London and the south east) continues in a similar vein as it does today.

Skye and Skylar: The island of Skye, joined to Scotland by a road bridge, makes an appearance in ‘State Of Denial’, known only as the island. Danny stumbles across it in his wanderings in the wilderness. There he is taken in by a community of citizens who live there with the States agreement, provided they never leave the island. The community is ruled over by the mysterious Skylar. Danny realises he is in charge of a cult and witnesses a ritual sacrifice where those reaching old age must either leave on a boat across the ocean to certain death, or are burned. This is the closest the books come to any religion, which has been outlawed by the State in the cities.

Suicide: There are two suicides of note in the books. One is Rosalind, Danny’s wife, who takes her own life after becoming unable to cope with the loss of her infant children. The other is Danny’s father. He takes his own life because he is so old and has lived so long that he has had enough life. This is a theme I introduced in the first book. Medicine and science may well get to the point where we all live for much longer, well over a hundred, but the human body and the human mind is not designed to do this, and might there be a point we reach where we decide that we are just too tired of life to carry on? A bridge in Central City has become synonymous with suicide as it is where the elderly go to throw themselves into the river.

Sales: Well, as always, not as much as I would like or hope for! Modest, I think you would describe it so far, but enough to keep me encouraged. There was a spike when I made the first two novels available for free, and as soon as they returned to asking for a couple of dollars or pounds for them, sales fell away! It is extraordinarily difficult to cut through the crowded market, and I am eternally grateful for each and every sale made, and to those who chose to read the books.

Next up – T is for: Tania Childe, Tyrell and Tia, Transport, Technology, Teddy Davies and Timothy Pigeon

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

30 responses to “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: S”

  1. NO!!! To Danny’s father. I find the entire subplot so painful though that it’s almost a relief. Agreed on the science fiction genre. I prefer “speculative fiction” for this reason. I’d say your trilogy is definitely a dystopia and then I’d go off on some long rant about whether dystopias are postmodern sci fi in reaction to 20th century futurist ideals. (I think, definitely.) And then isn’t all sci fi some kind of reaction to futurist ideals, kicking the idea that all progress is good squarely in the teeth?
    I’d want to label work like yours sci fi if for no other reason to remind people sci fi isn’t ALL space opera all the time. Definite maybe then. Have a great day!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hari Om
    I once attended a side-course on “non-present literature” which was very clear;
    :: Science Fiction is speculative fiction that is dominated by references to pure science such as physics, chemistry, technology and so on (Star Trek, I Robot, Starship Troopers… The Time Machine!) There is within them always the realm of possibility.
    :: Science Fantasy is speculative fiction that is dominated by imaginative science but focuses more on total ‘manufacture’ (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica… the Marvel series) There is within them no likelihood of things becoming possible.
    :: Fantasy is speculative fiction that barely or never touches upon actual science and can be sub-categorised into the likes of ‘sword and sorcery, ‘here be dragons’, ‘wizards and witches’ and so on. There is pure escapism with no expectation of anything other than that.
    :: Allegorical speculative fiction can take place in any of these genres but is generally most applicable within Sci-Fi. Which is to say, real-world problems are sorted out on a fictional playing field. Not just possible, but could be imagined as actually happening or to fund a desire for a certain message to be spread. (1984, Animal Farm, Pilgrim’s Progress…The Little Prince).

    Does any of that help??? YAM xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Blimey…Allegorical speculative fiction seems to fit my trilogy best. I like the detailed breakdown – if only Amazon gave those options to label your work! Thanks for that 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The Isle of Skye has been on our list of places to visit for a very long time. Maybe, one day.

    Danny’s father’s suicide raises pertinent questions about longevity– is it even worth the pursuit?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the quandary. I’m not sure you would want to keep going that long, especially as those you loved would have gone before you, I imagine it would become quite lonely. A while since I visited Skye, but worth the effort if we are allowed to travel again one day! Thanks Arti.


    • Grandparents have just been reunited with grandkids for first time in 4 months here, can’t imagine how difficult a whole year has been. Hopefully not too long for you to wait.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love that you’re using A to Z to tell us more about your books and their setting! The State is an interesting vision of a dystopian future UK. I’ll have to pick up one of your novels!

    -Amren from Operation Awesome

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had to smile when I read your section about Science Fiction… When I was trying to explain your trilogy to my husband, I wasn’t sure what genre to tell him, so I went with “It sounds a bit like science fiction, mixed with political, and dystopian in a setting that resembles Scotland… and if they’re as well written as his blog posts, I think you’ll really like it!”

    Isle of Skye — sigh — some of my favorite photos of my trip to Scotland were taken there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Trudy – that is the exact same answer I stumble through when people ask me about the books I’ve written – I need to decide on a better answer! 🙂


  6. Iain, as mentioned in an earlier comment, I thought you handled the story of Danny’s father very well. Your point about extended life as a result of medical and scientific advances causing other – unexpected – issues is well made. My own grandfather decided to take his own life by refusing to eat or drink once he reached his late 90s and the quality of his life had become unbearable. It was devastating to watch, and as devastating to have to say no when he asked for my more active assistance. Brave of you to take the opportunity to address this topic in your book.

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

    Liked by 1 person

    • That must have been difficult Debs. I am fully in favour of assisted dying, and find it inhumane that it is still illegal in this country, and that those who do help can be convicted.

      Liked by 1 person

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