The Carmenta Trilogy

Volume One

Better Dead

The Carmenta Trilogy is the story of Aleck Blackfield and his girlfriend Emma Song and their fight against a tyrannical and despotic government as members of a group of freedom fighters.

Told from the point of view of Aleck, the novels carefully avoid any reference to contemporary political structures by providing a setting in the future on a distant world, but the trilogy is not intended as conventional science fiction - and it is certainly not fantasy. Rather, it is a gritty account of an ordinary boy’s journey to the brink of maturity as a freedom fighter in a closed society controlled by a totalitarian government. It is a world where mistrust among family members and fear of betrayal is the norm. Whilst intended as a “rattling good yarn”, the novels aim also to challenge the reader and to examine the conflict between conventional deference to authority and the need to fight despotic rule with unconventional, perhaps terrorist, tactics - although the principal protagonists reject violence as a legitimate means of achieving their objectives.

The setting is Carmenta, an essentially Earth-like planet, which was initially colonised by Earth and then abandoned four generations before the story opens. There has been no subsequent contact with Earth.

In the early years following 'The Abandonment', government was by the already established colonial administration and was subject to stringent rules but, as the years went by, an increasingly self-perpetuating oligarchy arose, mainly at first as a result of a disinclination by the general population, all too busy surviving in what was still an alien environment, to disturb the governmental equilibrium. As with all totalitarian states throughout history, however, its self-serving nature has led to an increasingly despotic rule that does not tolerate dissent and a typically tyrannical police state has developed.

Technologically advanced at the time of The Abandonment, regression has set in. Carmenta now has an degenerate economy and infrastructure and lacks sophisticated manufacturing industries partly because these are uneconomic with a low population base which is widely dispersed, partly because of the absence of trade and competition with other planets and, partly, because, in common with most totalitarian states, government priority has been directed towards political and social control rather than towards encouraging private, entrepreneurial initiative.

The unavoidable environmental differences between Carmenta and Earth are generally unimportant and the aim has been to introduce them and the historical background seamlessly into the narrative so that we feel as familiar with the local environment as are the inhabitants, all of whom have been born and have grown up there.