The Third Moon
Warrain is plagued by inherited memories of dispossession and slaughter, buried deep in his DNA. Thousands of years before, his ancestors roamed the red desert sands of Australia, but colonising Europeans murdered them, stole their lands, and later their children.
And then, when Warrain is just twelve years old, the nightmare repeats.
But Warrain no longer lives in Australia, or even on Earth. He lives on the planet Imago, in the mixed scientific-technical community of Station One—until the technicians get high on the opioid arrash and break into the weapons store. In the bloodshed that follows, the scientists are expelled, Warrain’s father is killed, and his mother and unborn sibling lost to him.
Over the next five years, the scientists carve out a new home for themselves in the Iron Ranges, and the boys Warrain’s grown up with, build their own scientific careers. Not Warrain. He climbs to the Tors to stare down at the Station, dream of his mother and sibling, and plot revenge.
And then one day, everything changes. He’s involved in a murder, one of Imago’s sentient fauna calls him by name, and a third moon appears in the sky.
When sickness strikes the technicians at Station One, and the woman Warrain barely knows he loves agrees to aid them, Warrain seizes the opportunity to deal them a blow they’ll never forget. But the third moon brings changes that threaten them all and, to aid the sentient fauna, whose kind is being dispossessed and slaughtered as Warrain’s ancestors were, he must turn his back on the hate that has long sustained him, and find another way to live.
Three ideas came together to form The Third Moon, and two of them had been in my head a very long time. The earliest idea, of an insect-like creature changing into something beautiful, came from an episode of Dr Who, which given Jon Pertwee was the Dr, would have been between 1970-1974. At the time, I found the episode profoundly moving because, like the Dr, I assumed the creature was one thing, when it was actually something else.
I had also been interested in writing a story from the viewpoint of the vanquished, rather than the victors of a battle. It would be good, I decided, if losing a battle turned out to be an advantage in the long run. The third idea, which was more recent, sprang from my interest in inherited memories, a version of Carl Jung's collective unconscious.
In 2013, I was tricked (!) into my first NaNoWriMo experience by some colleagues (who didn't complete their projects!) and as two of these ideas had been in my head for such a long, I decided it would force me to create a story around them. My musings had involved a relationship between the (female) insect and the (male) hero, but the communication difficulties quickly became apparent. I also realised pretty early on, that this was the male hero's story, not the insect's.
Oddly, the story was always going to be told from first person viewpoint, by a male hero, on another planet, three things I'd never done before. What had I got to lose? I asked myself, as I started writing on November 1, 2013.
The Secondary World
The story is set in the far future on the planet Imago, and while there is a debate about what constitutes Science Fiction, Science Fantasy, and Fantasy, I class this as Fantasy. My interest and expertise don't lie in hard science, so The Third Moon isn't aimed at Science Fiction fans. The only thing I took advice on was whether such a highly elliptical orbit was possible for a moon.
Imago is an earth-like planet with some quirky differences, and the only one I'll mention (to avoid plot spoilers) is the argent-owl which, in shining like a moon, fools its prey. If you've read my Deep Fantasy works, you'll know I include owls in all my books.
I didn't write The Third Moon to music, but Nomad by Nomad (Adam Plank) - which is primarily didgeridoo music, is appropriate. (The didjeridu is a sacred Aboriginal wind instrument hollowed out by termites from eucalyptus wood).
The key motif in The Third Moon is the fight for place . The story references the experiences of Australia's First Nation Peoples, which is mirrored by the plight of the 'maggots' or flightborn, the indigenous inhabitants of Imago.
In Warrain's rite of passage to adulthood, he must reconcile the destructive inherited memories of the injustices inflicted on his forebears, with those of his Dreaming, which connect him to what he is, both physically and spiritually. Warrain's struggle for adulthood/renewal, is interwoven with the maggots' struggle and by the 'struggle' of the planet Imago itself.