P P Mealing

Paul Mealing lives in Melbourne and, when he is not writing and philosophising, he works as a project controls engineer in the construction industry. His background has been varied and includes share farming in the mallee of NSW and amateur theatre in Canberra. His interests include science, religion and philosophy. He started writing fiction and screenplays in the 1980s, but Elvene is his first published novel. He had stopped writing altogether, but, during an overseas assignment in the US , he got the idea for Elvene while watching a trailer on a video, which had a female protagonist in a Sci-fi anime. He later acknowledged an influence from Mamoru Oshii's 1995 cult classic, Ghost in the Shell (not the trailer or the video he was watching at the time), which, going by an endorsement on the DVD, may have also inspired James Cameron's Dark Angel series. In a radio interview he relayed the story as, 'It was like I was pregnant with a story, only I didn't know it.' The photo (above) was taken with first edition of the book, after a talk he gave to the Gold Coast Writers' Association in July 2007.


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Myka still lived with his parents. He was at that age where he was looking for his independence, but he knew it was just out of reach. The Elders made all the decisions concerning his life and its future, and there was a feeling of rebelliousness, not only within himself but also amongst his peers.

Like most people who lived in paradise, Myka was unaware of what he had. His people, the Kiri, lived on an island which was part of an archipelago. The island was mountainous in parts and heavily forested. They lived on the side facing the rising sun with a beach-lined cove. It was effectively a lagoon broken by a narrow strip of reef that led to the open sea. But because they never saw their home as paradise, they were equally familiar with its deadlier inhabitants, which they never took for granted.

They made their homes in caves in the cliffs because that was the safest place to take refuge from the larger predators that cohabited with them on the island. Myka had heard that over the ocean, in the direction of the rising sun, there was land as big as the ocean itself, where even bigger animals could be found. Myka had ambiguous feelings about this. He would like to cross the ocean himself one day and see this land, but he wasn’t sure he could contend with the thought of predators bigger than igrams. He realised, even at this early stage of his life, it was not a venture that could be done alone.

He had heard stories of other tribes, but if they existed he had never met them and the Kiri were the only people living in this archipelago. According to the Elders, strangers had come over the seas many generations ago and assimilated with them. Likewise, individuals, and even groups, had left the island never to return. Despite his isolation, these stories held some sort of promise for Myka that there was more to his world than what he could see.

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