On Building New Worlds

There’s enough bad news about that if I absorb it I start to think “I should be doing more” and then, most brutally, “what’s the point?”

When I feel like that I’ll go for a walk, which gets my imagination going. I’ll notice a new path or see a sky that looks surreal and I’ll pretend I’m in a different country. Distant cars become waves rushing on a beach, trees thrashing in the wind become waterfalls crashing over cliffs. Finally I’m wandering through a world that I want to live in.

Since the 2020 lockdown I’ve been quietly building this dream home in my down time, set in entirely new worlds.

They have been largely inspired by my research into sustainable futures like rewilding or universal basic income. It’s also been shaped by my research into Utopias.

I want to build a world with different values and possibilities. Here’s an example of what I’ve been working on:




There’s a Veenian word that I struggled to translate for a long time, ‘kiai’. It roughly means, ‘to commit to memory the details of a precious moment’. 

I wish I’d paid more attention to the time I had with Serena. All I have left are moments.


When Jada Clarke was eight years old portals opened to another world that reporters first claimed to be New Eden. Fifteen years later she’s selected to visit the Planet Veen on a cultural exchange program with students from the University of Birmingham. However, on their last day the portals close as suddenly as they appeared, possibly forever, separating them from their families.

Meanwhile a physicist tries to find a way to control the portals, a teenager tries to make the best of a hopeless situation and a young family from the New World learns to build a life in Jada’s hometown.



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