Learn more about the Zero Point, the first book in The Unraveling Trilogy by Nafeez Ahmed, courtesy of Curiosity Quills Press.
Zero Point, by Nafeez Ahmed
Genre: action-adventure, science-fiction, political-thriller
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: August 14, 2014
About The Book:
Near future Great Britain is on the brink of collapse. Mass riots. Economic meltdown. Blackouts. And a new oil war in Iraq to keep the world economy afloat.
Iraq War veteran and war crimes whistleblower David Ariel is sick of violence, and trying to make ends meet working for Specialist Protection. But after Prime Minister Carson is brutally assassinated by extremists on Ariel’s watch, he is covertly targeted by a compromised police investigation.
When forensics discover that Carson’s assassination inexplicably defied the very laws of physics, bodies drop like flies as key witnesses are murdered in impossible circumstances.
Fleeing for his life while London is locked-down under martial law, Ariel gets a phone call from Iraq he will never forget. His estranged girlfriend, journalist Julia Stephenson, warns that the Carson killing is just the beginning of a wider plot to bring the West to its knees. Then she disappears.
Ariel’s blood-soaked race against time to track the terror cells behind Carson’s death tumbles into the cross-fire of a hidden battle between mysterious rogue intelligence agencies. The goal: to monopolise black budget technologies which could unlock the universe’s darkest, arcane secrets.
As the world he thought he knew unravels, Ariel faces off against bent coppers, double-crossing agents, psychic killers and super soldiers to complete a black ops mission like no other: stop Quantum Apocalypse.
About The Author:
Nafeez Ahmed is a bestselling author, investigative journalist, and international security academic. He writes for The Guardian via his Earth Insight blog, reporting on the geopolitics of interconnected environmental, energy and economic crises. The author of five critically-acclaimed non-fiction works addressing humanity’s biggest global challenges, Nafeez’s forthcoming book is a science fiction thriller, ZERO POINT, due out 18th August 2014.
Nafeez has also written for the Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Huffington Post, New Statesman, Prospect Magazine, Le Monde Diplomatique, among many others. He has been a talking head for BBC News 24, BBC World News with George Alagiah, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Four, BBC World Today, BBC Asian Network, Channel 4, Sky News, C-SPAN Book TV, CNN, FOX News, Bloomberg, PBS Foreign Exchange, Al-Jazeera English, Press TV, Islam Channel and hundreds of other radio and TV shows in the USA, UK, and Europe.
Nafeez is also cited and reviewed in the Sunday Times, Times Higher Educational Supplement, New York Times, The Independent, Independent on Sunday, The Observer, Guardian, Big Issue Magazine, Vanity Fair, among others.
Check out Nafeez’s guest post below!
The Dystopian Present
I wrote ZERO POINT as a warning of what could come of a reckless interventionist foreign policy in the Middle East that is tied to rampant mass surveillance and policing of political dissent at home. It’s also the first in a trilogy with a much broader story arc on the fate of industrial civilization if we continue on our current path of business-as-usual into a future of climate disaster, energy insecurity and economic recession.
One of the central points I wanted to make in writing this was that technology, no matter how unbelievably powerful, cannot by itself save us from these sorts of crises of our own making. On the contrary, stupendous technology in the wrong hands would only worsen our predicament.
There are lots of complicated threads brought into the story tying together real-world issues surrounding militarism, global crisis, espionage, corporate and political corruption, and extremism. But part of the reason for writing, for me, was also to have fun. If we can’t enjoy a good thriller, no matter how plausible, what’s the point? In fact, to my mind, the more plausible a thriller, the more likely it is to thrill precisely because you can imagine how real the story could be, due to it resonating with real-world issues that are close to home.
So ZERO POINT is ultimately a story that uses a scenario in the near future to allow us to reflect on the state of the present and its inherent dangers. Everything about that scenario, somewhat surprisingly, gets more and more real all the time. Right now, we are on the brink of rekindling a new ‘war on terror’ in the Middle East whose focal point comes in the form of a Third Iraq War. We’re being told that this huge endeavor is going to last years.
The lessons of over a decade of violence in Iraq has taught us little, it seems. Over a million Iraqi civilians dead, the country’s infrastructure debilitated, inequalities ripe – all of which have played the key role in inflaming the rise of the infernal terrorist network that calls itself the ‘Islamic State’.
ZERO POINT doesn’t go deep into the do’s and don’ts of these issues, but instead explores what a prolonged war in Iraq could really mean for our societies – a question often forgotten by pundits debating current policy.
Central to the story, then, is the internal struggle of the main character, David Ariel, a veteran of the Fourth Iraq War no less, and a whistleblower, disgusted with violence and trying to make a new life for himself in a Britain on the brink of collapse. In facing off against mounting enemies of the traditional espionage variety, Ariel is forced to confront his dilemmas about violence in an entirely non-traditional way that breaks with the conventions of most thrillers.
The lynchpin around this is what happens when Iraq War blowback hits the British homeland in the form of a terrorist attack by Islamist extremists resulting in the assassination of the British Prime Minister. So I’ve taken a kind of worst-case scenario, and used it as lever to open up a narrative of the kind of future we have in store if war remains our first option. From there, all the interrelated possibilities of martial law, xenophobia and declining civil liberties are explored
This is, though, a science fiction thriller, and that’s where the high technology comes in. Even here, the crazy tech that appears in the story is not as implausible as it might first be assumed, given that I’ve grounded even this in real-world efforts by US and UK defense agencies to weaponise quantum physics in their determination to monopolise the ultimate military arsenal. It’s with that dangerous direction (toward ‘Quantum Apocalypse’) that ZERO POINT interrogates the extent to which our security agencies often end up functioning as the primary promoters of global insecurity.
ZERO POINT is therefore not so much a dystopian story, as a pre-dystopian story which wants to explore how future dystopia could actually come about from the trends we see today in the present – and is already coming about now.