Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster who are the authors of Netherspace. This guest post is part of the Netherspace Blog Tour.

Information about the authors:

Andrew LaneAndrew Lane is the author of twenty-nine books and multiple short stories, television scripts and audio dramas. He is perhaps best known for his Young Sherlock series, which have sold to 42 countries. He has also written three well-reviewed adult crime novels under a pseudonym, the first of which has been optioned as a US TV series. He is currently writing another series featuring Doyle’s Professor Challenger. He lives in Dorset.

Nigel FosterNigel Foster began as an advertising copywriter, first in the UK and then North America. He moved on to television and radio factual programming before co-founding a successful movie magazine. Back in the UK highlights include developing and launching OK! Magazine; an international non-fiction best-seller about the Royal Marines Commandos; and six of the most popular Bluffer’s Guides, world-wide.

Information about Netherspace:

Contact with an alien race, the Gliese, has been made, but communication is impossible. There is trade, but on seemingly inexplicable terms; anti-gravity technology was traded for a bicycle tyre. As we begin to colonize the stars, we’re still dependant on the mysterious aliens who we still do not understand. It falls upon the unlikely team of a conceptual artist, Marc, and assassin, Kara, to embark on a mission that will unearth the mystery of the Gliese.

GUEST POST: Future Politics by Andrew Lane and Nigel Foster

The old want surety. The young want authenticity. Both want hope. Same old, same old. But what has changed is the dissolution of various convenient labels. Left and Right Wing. Internationalist or isolationist. Free trade or protectionism. The old 'big tent' or 'broad church' theory of a political party being so many things to so many people is dead, crushed by social media and 24 hour news. Electors finally understand that no single party can satisfy all or most of their needs.

Welcome to single-issue politics: your future defined by a slogan uttered by a strong personality. Also known as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Except this move towards people uniting across a broad social spectrum and behind a strong leader won't last.

Hierarchy, even by consent is the way most political, social and religious systems are organised. People accept that those in charge are smarter, better informed or holier than the average person in the street. If they're not, it's somehow assumed that gaining high office will make them a better person. Even in Western democracies there's a huge effort to persuade us that our leaders know best . . . and we should know our place. And look at what happens if our leaders offer to ask us a simple question and implement our answer – half the nation pulls in one direction and the other half pulls in the other direction. The people don’t know (or can’t agree) on what they want, because the people are so diverse.

Against this background we had to decide what political impact the arrival of super-smart aliens would have on the Earth. Aliens who showed no interest in any form of communication. And were totally oblivious, or unimpressed, by our existing hierarchies. But aliens who wanted to trade super high tech for everyday household items. Why? We won't know. The aliens aren't saying and we can't ask them.

We decided that few if any political constructs would survive. Tribalism would triumph, leading to the growth of City States much on the Ancient Greek model – small enough that the people encompassed within their boundaries can all agree on broadly the same things because they all share the same referents and background. Some City States form alliances, but there is nothing like the EU, Russia, China or the USA. In between the City States lies the Wild, which seems to lack any form of government, anywhere. The old United Nations has morphed into Earth Central: an organisation that regulates relations between the City States and, via its Galactic Division, between Earth colonies in space and human/alien trade, but not in the Wild. The overall point is that politics exist for only two reasons: to make life easier for people; and to enable people make sense out of life. Religion does much the same and in Netherspace, goes the way of politics. Now we have management, pure and not so simple. It might not be democratic but it works.

For now.

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