Release Date:August 2012
Book Preview: "Aria: Left Luggage"
Today, Jack caught a bug at work. He catches a bus home. By the time he disembarks in the desert town of Rosamond, all the other passengers and the driver have fuzzy heads. Jack had caught an amnesia bug, and it’s infectious.
Imagine the ramifications:
The passengers arrive home infecting family; some shop en route infecting everyone they meet. The bus driver receives more passengers giving them change for last week’s prices and today’s amnesia. Some passengers just started work at the power plant, the water treatment works, the hospital, fire station. All to shut in weeks.
Ryder realizes what’s going on but can he persuade friends to barricade themselves in a secluded valley, hiding from the amnesia bug?
Pre-publication review by Kenyon Charboneaux
ARIA: Left luggage - A tale of, hmmmm. I forget ....
Geoff Nelder has got to be one of the most remarkable and original thinkers in science fiction today. In Left Luggage he toys with (and IN his own brand of twisted blackened humor) yet seriously examines the concept of memory and the part it plays in making us who we are. Without our memories, we are no one, we are not our selves, so well known and burdened with a past that affects our future; we are no one at all yet, in the sense that an infant is not yet an individual. The psychology of this tale is solid, the science is solid, the physics is solid and the story is tightly written and solid in its own right as literature, not just another genre novel, nor even your everyday genre novel. In Left Luggage, Nelder accomplishes the mighty rare and mighty fine feat of transcending genre without sacrificing good story-telling in doing so.
In the first scenes, where the "left luggage" is found wedged into the outer superstructure of the International Space Station, Nelder manages to convey a sense of tension between crew members predating the finding of the metal suitcase and a sense somehow of claustrophobia that is not solely the result of physical accommodations in space, but also the inevitable result of the isolation of human crews in space, without writing a word that specifically tells you any of this. It's the best example of "show, don't tell" I've ever seen. Nelder is a consummate technique man as well as an imaginative thinker, especially when it comes to scifi and horror - he doesn't let things like "It's never been done before" stop him or even give him pause to think that maybe he should watch that nonconformist streak before it gets out of hand and writes a book like Left Luggage, which can best be described as Memento meets The Twilight Zone.
I disapprove strongly of spoilers, thus I'm not going to tell you how, or even if, humanity manages to recover from it's collective loss of memory or how far the loss extends - I will say that it is progressive, as if nanobots invaded the brain and were slowly eating the memory of each human mind on the planet, starting with short term and moving on to eliminate all memory of any term.
What I will tell you is that the dialog is crisp, the pacing sustained, the tension of the sweating upper lip variety, and the narrative prose clear, uncomplicated and with never once the distraction of an author showing you what a good writer he is by being too clever in phrasing and giving away the game that this is, after all, just a book. He never disrupts your suspension of disbelief; he never drops the ball. I hate it when that happens! And it never happens with Nelder.
If the UK has any type of Crown backed stipend for writers, it should go to Nelder this year and maybe even next year. They've a Laureate Poet, why not a Laureate Novelist?
If you like your scifi offbeat, original, and backed by solid science, then you're going to love Left Luggage.
Nuff said unless one wants into spoilers.
Now where did I put that email address for Nelder? It was right here a moment ago .... And gosh, what did I even need it for anyway? Hmmmm....
My memory just isn't what it used to be!
“Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”
— Jon Courtenay Grimwood
“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.”
—Brad Linaweaver “
"ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.”