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 A Son of the Rock
the novel by Jack Deighton


A Son Of The Rock -- my first novel -- is about the effects on a society if no-one appears to age. There is a drug called Euthuol which everyone takes to stop the ageing process at whichever age they take it. When ageing does occur at the end of life, it is rapid and the victims are shunned and hidden away.

Alan is a young mining engineer whose family has a genetic defect which may mean he will age before his due time if he takes the drug but he tries not to think about that. He is on a final trip round the mining planets before taking up his career when he and his girl-friend meet an old man -- the last of his religion -- who has never taken Euthuol. The ramifications of this encounter stay with Alan all his life as he struggles with his decision to take the drug or not, and with the morality of mining and the wider society.

This allowed me to explore issues of cultural colonisation, intolerance and prejudice and the rights of smaller cultures not to be ignored. (I'm sounding precious, now.)

The particular form this took arose in part from my background. I was born in Dumbarton, whose inhabitants and football team are known as "Sons of the Rock". Near the town there is a hill called Dumbuck, which was popularly supposed to look like an elephant with a castle on its back and was extensively quarried while I lived there. It was this hill, and not the more famous Dumbarton Rock itself, which provided the inspiration for the Rock in the novel, though not, of course, for the title.

Before anyone jumps to unwarranted conclusions, I didn't "write what I know" so much as use what I knew to inform what I wrote.

I am also pleased that I managed to write a novel that has most of the characteristics of a Space Opera but yet which contains only one incident of physical violence. (Count it as my contribution to subverting the form.)

Historical note
The old requirement that only those born in Dumbarton (as I actually was) can be regarded as Sons of the Rock may be out of date as just about everyone now has their first slap on the bum in Vale of Leven hospital which is in Alexandria, a few miles up the road.

To give a flavour of the novel, infinity plus includes two extracts: Chapter 1 and Chapter 14.

© Jack Deighton 1997

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