I’m giving investigative journalist and international security scholar Nafeez Ahmed the floor today to help promote his new SF thriller from Curiosity Quills Press, Zero Point. Zero Point is the first of Ahmed’s new trilogy, The Unraveling.
What do Nazis, the Iraq War, and anti-gravity experiments have in common? Our dystopian near future…
by Nafeez Ahmed
ZERO POINT is a science fiction thriller of the near future. But ultimately, it’s a story about our times.
As I write this, the so-called “Islamic State” terrorist organization is rampaging across Iraq and Syria, while filming beheadings of innocent journalists and aid-workers. In turn, the US has already launched airstrikes in Iraq, with the UK pitched to follow-up with its own.
In ZERO POINT, I predicted this unfortunate development. In fact, the story is set after a Fourth Iraq War, in which the US and UK have been drawn into a protracted re-invasion and re-occupation of Iraq in an effort to shore-up their favoured client-regime in the country.
My main character, David Ariel, is a disillusioned Iraq War veteran who blew the whistle on government lies about the war, and is now working as a cop protecting government ministers. When the British Prime Minister is assassinated in broad daylight on Ariel’s watch by Muslim extremists, the story takes off to explore the dangers and issues we’re all familiar with: militarism abroad, blowback at home, radicalization and extremism, mass surveillance, espionage, and ‘deep politics’ – the corporate corruption of the state.
I bring a lot of my own experiences and discoveries as an investigative journalist to the story, which is why ZERO POINT is very much inspired by ‘true events’. One of the major strands I try to bring out, which is where the story really takes on its science fiction premises, concerns the little-understood intersection between western intelligence agencies and Nazi spies from World War 2 onwards. That intersection, which played a big role in the evolution of the US intelligence community, also involved the appropriation by US agencies of Nazi scientific and technological research.
That’s where things get quite hairy. According to one leading defense journalist, Nick Cook – aerospace consultant at the reputable industry journal Janes Defense Weekly – among the projects being pursued by the Nazis were serious efforts to weaponise quantum physics. In his brilliant non-fiction investigation, The Hunt For Zero Point, Cook shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the Nazis were actively working on all sorts of strange technologies including anti-gravity – though how much success they had is hotly disputed by historians.
Cook’s primary source for his investigations – who provided him leads and sources (and is credited as such in the book) – was identified in his book only as Dr. Dan Marckus, described as a physicist working at a senior level in the British defense industry. But “Dr. Marckus” actually happens to be a close friend of mine, and his disturbing insights into the sorts of wingnut technological R&D going on in the US and UK defense establishment played a big role in inspiring the crazy tech that appears in ZERO POINT!
Of course, while grounded very much in politics and technology being pursued in the real world, ZERO POINT is still a work of fiction, and isn’t ashamed to get into highly speculative territory. Ultimately, both the politics and technology are mobilized to build a plausible near future world in which my main characters must face-off against unbelievable odds. Their struggle – to find the truth, and stand for justice – is close to home not just because their reality will be so scarily familiar to the challenges of our age, but because their personal journeys and moral conflicts represent issues that we will all have contemplated at one time or another.
About Nafeez Ahmed
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
Find Nafeez Ahmed
About ZERO POINT
Genre: action-adventure, science-fiction, political-thriller
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: August 14, 2014
Find Zero Point Online:
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.