Today I'd like to offer a warm Pen and Paper welcome to Graham Clayton aka Clayton Graham, author of the hugely readable Milijun, my review of which can be found here.
My name is Graham Clayton [pen name Clayton Graham] and Milijun is my debut Science Fiction novel. As a teenager I read authors like HG Wells, Jules Verne and John Wyndham. I suppose it was a way of escaping the starkness of post war Britain; an escape to other worlds.The novel started as a short story. The birth of the alien RNasia occurred in the short story, and when they decided to wing their way to Earth I knew it could not end there. They seemed to want their universal journey to be worth something; they wanted their mission fulfilled. So I decided to oblige them.
The book is about more than an alien incursion into the vast Australian outback. It asks questions about our place in the universe, or multiverses (as we are now led to believe may be a possibility).
The novel explores the relationship between a mother and her son. How far can it be stretched before the links break? How far would a mother go to save her son? Would she be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, or undertake actions she would never have deemed possible prior to the alien incursion?
Above all, Milijun explores the question – what would mankind do when faced with an intelligence it cannot understand? It's a good question, for it may happen someday. We are not currently prepared, of course, we are light years away from understanding how we should behave in such a circumstance. Milijun challenges our mindsets through the eyes of a mother and son, and as such is perhaps more powerful and meaningful than if that challenge was through the eyes of the United Nations or the President of the United States.
In the end, Milijun probably asks more questions than it answers. But it does raise the questions. Laura and Jason Sinclair are just ordinary people, caught in a web of mystery and intrigue with an invisible spider somewhere on the threads.
Writing Milijun was a labour of love. It was not easy, but neither was it hard. Science Fiction is a love of mine, has been since I was a teenager, escaping to new worlds in the back streets of Stockport, England, where I grew up as a child. Halcyon days, when education and school milk were free, and summers were real summers. My childhood was set in a background of cobbled streets, ration books, terraced housing [think Coronation Street], milkman's horses, coal dumped in the cellar, fish and chips [on good days], bread and dripping [on not good days], free school dinners [at lunchtime] and low paid footballers.
I remember the four minute warning, Fylingdales and the ever-present threat of nuclear war. As children, myself and my friends did not have much, nor did we need it. We were content to kick a ball against a wall, play hide and seek for hours on end, explore the countryside on second hand bikes, keep outside until called in when night time descended, and do the best we could at school [probably in that order]. And this was a time when companies and businesses funded education for their own employees. I was a 'Student Apprentice', my company [English Electric Aviation, now BAe Systems] totally funded my degree studies over five years. As a bonus I also got some work experience thrown in.
Have things changed? You bet they have. We know more about some things but we know less about others – the important things. If you have to ask what they are, you're too young to be reading this.
No doubt stemming from my initial reading, I have always had an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within the universe we know and love. Not that we know much about it – it remains as mysterious as ever. But we are getting closer.
I am happily married to Linda. We have two daughters and five grandsons. Enough work for anybody! I love animals, including well behaved pets, and all the natural world, and am a member of Australian Geographic. I'm sure I would like alien animals, too.
Always fascinating to learn more about the person behind the book. Thanks for taken the time to tell us a little more about your novel and the inspiration behind it.
Milijun can be purchased at ...
Amazon (Paper copy)
Amazon (Kindle Edition)