It seemed like every man's fantasy: a million women who'd never even seen a man. But for Rob it rapidly proved to be far more complicated. Far beyond any other recorded human settlement, Nerea had managed very well without men for over two centuries, and most of its people were very happy for it to stay that way. Some just wanted him to disappear; a few had more drastic solutions in mind. Others recognised that, while he might be the first man to intrude on their long isolation, he would t be the last. Even so, he soon realised that his welcome was, at best, conditional. And if he had much to teach them about the worlds beyond, he had even more to learn. Marooned on Nerea indefinitely-possibly even for life-Rob knew he was the one who had to adapt. He could never become a woman, but he had to change. It would be a road littered with pitfalls and misunderstandings. Sometimes there was thing to do but retreat to the empty simplicity of Nerea's vast wilderness areas. Fortunately there were a few who would travel the road with him, offering support and friendship and eventually the possibility of love. First there was Gebri, like him an explorer at heart; then Malya, a teenager who shared his sense of standing apart. There were others, too-some with whom he clashed violently at first yet slowly came to a brittle and fractured understanding. Learning to live among the Nereans was a long and sometimes painful process. Yet when, years later, ather ship from outside did arrive, Rob faced perhaps the toughest choice of all. Would he return to the worlds beyond, where being a man was simply accepted-or would he stay? And w that there was a choice, would the Nereans allow him to stay?
I'm already a published author, with quite a long list of guidebooks and photographic books behind me, but I'm also a frustrated author of fiction. In fact it seems as if every guidebook writer I know (and I know quite a few!) has a novel or two on the back burner. I've been a full-time photographer and writer for over 15 years. I founded my career on photographing Lancashire and the Lake District and since then I have expanded my horizons into writing about and photographing outdoor pursuits and travel. I began with walking and rock-climbing, and I've covered many other activities too, though always strongly preferring those that don't involve the infernal combustion engine. Taking the long view, though, nothing has been more important to me than the bicycle. I began mostly riding on the roads but now am equally passionate about mountain-biking. They say you should write about what you know, and this is true even if you write what appears to be science fiction, so rocks and bicycles definitely figure in my fictional worlds as well as my real life.