Susannah J. Bell is a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. She mostly writes novels and the occasional novelette. Her published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. She lives in London in an attic flat but really wants to live in a tree. She wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. She writes because she doesn’t know what to read.
What are you working on now? (Spring 2017)
I've just published the fourth novel in the Fleet Quintet and now I'm typing up my handwritten novel that I wrote last year in autumn. It has been through several working titles and the latest is "Jacaranda Falls" - I'll see how long this title will last! It's a new direction for me, not one I'm sure I'll stick to, but it is an interesting challenge. Not my usual sci-fi!
Describe your desk
My desk is awfully old and rickety, with a heavy bottom drawer that has lost all its rollers. I'd love a new desk but have to make do, even though it's the wrong height - the chair is awful too! I try to keep it as tidy as possible but there's always a little pile of papers under my moleskin diary. I have a white fancy mesh container for pens but only ever use the black bic fine-point. I've also got a small statue of Nike, a blue glass paperweight (which could kill someone) and a very heavy marble pyramid (which could also kill someone.) Malachite bowl of semi-precious stones, handmade wooden cup holder from New Zealand and a very tall block of notepaper. Large red lamp, like the Pixar one. And quite a lot of dust, since my desktop computer attracts it with great enthusiasm. My desk in the corner of the lounge, looking towards the window, though all I can see out of it is the building opposite (I live in a fourth floor flat). I have a print of the Beguiling of Merlin on the wall next to me and this is my little space. My computer, a rather large touchscreen (many decades away from the prehistoric Amstrad I started on), is my connection both to the outer world and to my inner world - and from them, I draw my inspiration.
An unconventional sci-fi series in which the story isn’t linear and the books aren't sequential. On some worlds, the tech is laughably low. The hero used to be an evil entity and the heroine hides in a library. They first appear to meet inside her head. The alien enemy can’t be seen and the invasion takes so long that no one notices for several centuries. The only real angel has no wings. The strongest theme is that of immortality yet few can remember much about anything. The prevalent church is called SPIT with a lesser cult known as TRVTH, though neither know the truth about the Fleet. There’s no time travel but two of the main characters are thrown about in time. Dark themes covering metaphysics, religion and supernatural existentialism run parallel to the darkest humour, while different layers of space are explored, exploited or torn to pieces. But the greatest theme of all is love – written against a vast backdrop of shadowy entities whose purpose is never clear. Those entities are the Fleet.
Vincent Gomenzi is a mindwalker. He is also the first. Unable to mindwalk, he hunts down other mindwalkers for the Fleet - until he has to catch his own brother. Unable to live with himself, he flees Sigma and only then begins to learn the truth about the Fleet's plans and the reluctant role he has to play.
Sistia Scarpora's father has sold himself to the Fleet. Fifteen years later, he still hasn't come back. To find him, she has to infiltrate a secret Fleet world, but is the price she has to pay too high? How great is the sacrifice for heroism?