A North East author is bringing the end of the world to Sunderland this week – and it isn’t coming from demons or aliens, it is coming via your smart phone, Bluetooth and WiFi.
Sunderland author David Turton will be signing copies of his debut novel, The Malaise, at Waterstones Sunderland on Saturday 20 April. The book looks at a small group of survivors’ attempts to rebuild society after a technological disaster wipes out almost all humanity. But it is an accident or is it deliberate? The Malaise follows its characters from Cumbria to London, stopping at some very familiar areas of Gateshead and Newcastle, and asks if our dependence on technology could be putting our lives in the hands of dangerous people.
David, who was born in North Yorkshire, but now lives and works in Sunderland says: “One of the reasons the book is set in the Lakes is that the small community has to try to live largely without technology, which is more or less possible there.
“In The Malaise the end of the world isn’t an accident. There’s a lot of data and technology in our world now, but who owns it? Who is able to access it? In The Malaise there is one company with the power to reach everyone in the world, but does that mean we’re giving away our freedom?
“We think we’re more connected than we’ve ever been – but are we really? I don’t know if technology is bringing people together, or pushing them apart, but I think it’s an interesting question.”
At just over 300 pages The Malaise is shorter than a lot of traditional post-Apocalyptic books, but, says David, he hopes that will appeal to readers.
“I love those stories, but I didn’t really want to write a house brick of a novel! There is a huge shift in location and setting in the book, but you can read it a few days, and hopefully enjoy it.
“My favourite type of fiction is that “what if” story. When they get to London at the end of the book it’s a ruined city, and I liked the idea of trying to balance that idea of a Utopian and Dystopian society.”
A large section of The Malaise is set in Newcastle, and at Sage Gateshead, but, says David, if circumstances had been different when he began the novel a couple of years ago, it may well have been set in Sunderland.
“I wrote the book before Sunderland announced they would be getting a medical school, and part of the reason the group go to Newcastle is to try to find a doctor. In hindsight I might have sent them to Sunderland to find a doctor now!”
David is currently working on the sequel to The Malaise, The Bereft.
David Turton will be at Waterstones, Sunderland, from 12pm to 2pm on Saturday 20 April. The Malaise is published by Cosmic Egg Books, an imprint of John Hunt Publishing.