NO UP is the first book in the trilogy No UP. No LIES. No NEVER., following the adventures of Czioc and Noksalika.
You might feel more comfortable just letting the book explain things as you go along.
However, below are some descriptions of the some of the features in the book in case you feel happier understanding them from the start.
The world in NO UP is made up of interconnected caverns and spaces, often hundreds of miles across. There is gravity, but it simply keeps people on whatever surface they are on – there are no ceilings, because any surface can be the ground. There is a personal sense of things being overhead or underneath, but there is no “up” overall – this of course requires two more compass directions, Tak and Zha, which act just like North and South, and East and West.
It is obviously much bigger than our world, stretching for dozens of thousands of miles or more in all six directions.
The Ethe is a combination of Mother Nature and the internet – while it seems technological and futuristic in many senses, it is also spiritual in connecting every living thing, and even non-living things like rock and water. While things like personal communication on the Ethe are controlled by the Committees and government, the Ethe itself is raw and wild.
Society in NO UP is free in many respects, but tightly policed in many others. Sex, alcohol, drugs, sport, high culture and low culture are common in most towns and cities and on the Ethe, but political dissent against the regime is punished harshly and people live under constant surveillance.
The names of people and places are not meant as any direct references, but simply to show the wide diversity and cosmopolitan nature of society in NO UP. Most notably, with the words for North, South, East and West coming from Latin/Germanic languages, the compass directions “Tak” and “Zha” were chosen to reflect words and sounds of Far East Asia and Eastern Europe.
While communication on the Ethe is based on the complicated biological make-up of people’s brains, readers will find it very similar to the features of social networking websites like facebook, myspace and youtube, and the geo-location technology increasingly used in phones. More significantly, younger readers will recognise the social habits of people talking on the Ethe, such as having several conversations at once and electronic conversations having the same value as face-to-face conversations.
NO UP is, like my first book Devolution, an adventure story that raises many present-day issues around people, culture, politics, sex, and lots of other issues. If you find it interesting and you'd like to discuss any of the ideas or themes in the book, please leave a comment on my blog via the main website www.jezkemp.co.uk, or send an email through the Contact page.