The Trespassers by Meg Mundell

1. First lines 2. Published 2019 University of Queensland Press. 3. View from the bow of the ship on open sea By Steve Hillebrand [Public Domain] via Wikimedia
This is a totally believable future.

A ship full of people leave the UK for a better future in Australia because their homeland is in crisis following a pandemic in Europe. They have paid the owners of the ship to get them safely to their destination disease-free, and there have been thorough precautions to ensure that they are not carrying any viruses. However, during the voyage, people start becoming ill with an unknown sickness, with disastrous results.

“We soon found ourselves becalmed, the Steadfast languishing on glassy seas. When a breath of wind at last appeared, our progress was slowed again, this time by a massing of strange organisms. For days we laboured through the milky soup of a jellyfish bloom – millions of alien blobs crowding the water like malignant cells, their tentacles strung with debris, dragging at the hull.”

”Cleary had spotted the man on their first day at sea: head bald as an egg, a thickset fighter’s body and a gaze that hung on longer than was polite. He loitered near the hatchway, scrutinising his fellow passengers with cold eyes, as if he was putting a price on them. Reading the man as trouble, Cleary avoided him.”

~Quotes from “The Trespassers” by Meg Mundell
  • Readings: “This novel depicts a believable dystopia: one filled with doomsday cults, anti-migration terrorists, island-sized patches of plastic floating across the ocean, dubious corporations and unfeeling politicians. Meg Mundell also draws clear parallels to the arbitrary cruelty of Australia’s present-day migration detention policies. It is in this sense that The Trespassers is a dystopian novel that hits very close to home, and also has great potential to inspire empathy in its readers. This is literary speculative fiction at its absolute best. Mundell combines the best parts of multiple genres with well-honed prose, a plot that is taut and pacey, and a great deal of compassion. If you’re looking for a readable literary novel with impact, intrigue, pace, and mysteries as deep and dark as the ocean, look no further.”
  • Sydney Morning Herald:The Trespassers is ambitious, thought-provoking, an extrapolation with both intelligence and heart. It reaches from past to future in a story that is utterly contemporary, and relevant to our troubled times.”

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