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Jac Forsyth is a speculative fiction writer based in Wiltshire and an advocate for gender diversity and representation within sci-fi. ØRMA is her debut novel, and launches the enthralling Mandolin series.

If we're fortunate, we encounter a book that changes our mind. For me, this book was 'News from Nowhere' by William Morris. I came across this peculiar, enchanting book when I was fourteen years old, and although the language was difficult and decidedly Victorian, the author painted a vision of a utopian future. AND, as anyone who grew up in the 70s knows, the future was a really scary time to think about.

Equipped solely with a flouncy Victorian novel, a comprehensive appreciation of Star Trek, and a crush on my history teacher, I embarked on a bold mission to save the world. Mostly this involved holding CND placards while people went to the toilet, but my heart was all in, and that's what matters.

In many respects, the Mandolin series is an homage to three disparate elements: News from Nowhere, Star Trek and my history teacher. Each of them was significant to a shy, frizzy-haired kid, each one embodied a vibrant hope for the future of humanity.

Ørma is a soft sci-fi set in the near future, so less about spaceships and more about humans. It’s military as in there’s a war and some of the characters are soldiers, but it’s also about D&D, reality TV and self-aware furniture. Anyone turning up for hard sci-fi will be wildly disappointed at the lack of subspace physics. I’m more interested in what stays the same than in what changes. I’m also daringly hopeful for the future and hold firmly to the belief that if a species can survive disco fever, it can
pretty much survive anything.

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