What will the next pandemic look like? And must it be viral in nature? The author’s conjecture, in his latest novel, The Spaceman, is that it will be different this time around.
The Space is a patch of turf in the Australian Alps. Should a person or any other living creature enter this Space, they cannot leave except as a corpse. So, if they want to continue living, they must accept indefinite confinement. Ray Cromwell, picture framer, is the first person to be trapped in this way. He is the world’s first Spaceman.
Because evidence suggests The Space has a propensity to replicate and spread like a virus, the Government feels an obligation to deal promptly with the situation. But – no surprises – its response is political, opportunistic, and self-seeking.
Tania Chalmond, Ray’s business partner and eventual lover, teams up with Marius Strangio, the guy on the ground charged with administering the Government’s response. Their mission is to secure Ray’s release, despite their having no idea where the threat is coming from or what the rules of play are. They succeed after a fashion. They get Ray out alive. But there are too many bad players in this game, and celebrations prove to be premature …