Emma Newman’s Planetfall and Temi Oh’s Do You Dream of Terra-Two? both consider what happens when a small segment of humanity leaves a dying Earth to explore and establish colonies on distant planets. They contemplate the unique impacts on the human mind of isolation, the abyss of space, and living in close quarters with a small group of people. But where Temi’s story focuses on the departure and the journey, Emma’s story begins well after the colonists have first made planetfall.
Earlier last year I attended a Waterstones ‘Titans of Sci-Fi’ event, hosted by Pat Cadigan at Waterstones Piccadilly, London. The authors were promoting their latest novels: Alastair Reynolds with Shadow Captain, the second in his Revenger series (covered in a previous blog post); Emma Newman with Atlas Alone, the fourth in her Planetfall series; and Temi Oh with her debut novel Do You Dream of Terra-Two?
The panel discussion covered diversity in publishing, the wonders of space and the internet, the singularity, utopia, and so much else. The panel was fascinating, and I was interested to hear more so ended up buying a book from each of the authors.
Having not read any of Emma’s books before, I picked up Planetfall, the first in the series, which had been on my TBR list for a long time. I mentioned this to Emma as she was signing my book and she personalised it to suit.
I picked up Temi’s debut novel too. She asked after my pounamu (greenstone) and we chatted about its history and significance while she signed my book. Later that evening while I was trying to take a picture, our neighbours’ cat, Snowball, wanted to get in on the action.
Though she wasn’t there to promote a new book, Pat Cadigan’s wit and humour as the event’s host persuaded me to grab a copy of Synners, her Arthur C. Clarke Award winning cyberpunk novel, first published in 1991.
Hearing from Alastair was what originally drew me to the event, but hearing from all four panellists and picking up books from each of them made it so much better.