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Cover of News from the Clouds

Time-travelling Gavin Meckler reaches his third and final alternative future

In News from Gardenia Gavin Meckler, the nerdy hero of the News Trilogy leaves the world of 2011 and arrives in a far more benign version of a possible future in the garden lands of 2211. He finally escapes this world only to travel sideways in time and end up in another possible future, as depicted in News from the Squares, a world run by women. He is aided by a friendly group of men to once again try to get back to his own time, but slips sideways and arrives in another possible future.

In News from the Clouds, the third and final book of Gavin’s adventures, he experiences first hand a far more challenging environment than he has ever experienced.

Gavin is faced with a planet that is ravaged by storms, seared by winds and scorched by an unforgiving sun. While the driving force behind the News Trilogy has always been to try and imagine a world where things are better than the present day, it is becoming every more apparent that our current activities are going to bring about long-term changes for our descendants.

Gavin is not faced with megacities or garden states - more with gouged earth and people living on the edge. But they are living, adapting; they are coping with all the extremes the ravaged planet is throwing at them. When he emerges from the mysterious cloud that shifts him through time, he doesn’t land on the ground: he is landed by baffling technology onto a floating city - a cloud city.

This is a world where the human race has two options: to live and work in enormous protected culverts that are reinforced to withstand the ravages of the weather, or float above the torment in delicate, lighter-than-air structures moving with the wind.

He soon learns this is not an ‘us and them’ arrangement where the downtrodden are forced to struggle on the surface while the minority elite float above them in abject luxury, it is a highly organised social system where everyone experiences both lives.

The technology of the Cloud people is far more advanced than in either of the other two stories and it becomes clear to Gavin that not only do they understand how he ended up slipping through time, but they also understand how to help him get back home.

Will he finally be able to return to Kingham in 2011? Will the world he left still be there? Will he be able to maintain his marriage to Beth, and continue his work as a mining engineer?

All these questions and many more will be faced as the final book is created.

Robert Llewellyn is an actor, novelist, screenwriter, comedian and TV presenter. He drives an electric car and writes under a rack of solar panels in Gloucestershire.

Waking up in Gardenia was, looking back on it, no big deal. On that occasion I awoke in an actual bed in an actual room made of stone and wood and some kind of carbon nanofibre insulation. But the room had walls, a floor, a delightfully carved wooden ceiling, doors, windows, and most importantly it was on the ground.

Waking up in the Institute in London was, admittedly, a bit weird but I was still in a room with straight walls in a building in a city. A city that was also connected to the ground.

Waking up on Cloud Nine was a bit more of a challenge. 

I was ensconced in a white supportive bench made of an unknown but possibly intelligent material that was in turn encased in a circular, semi-spherical white room with a round window looking out onto totally static clouds. When I say static, I mean they weren't moving across my limited field of vision, I stared for a long time and they didn’t budge a millimeter.  It was like looking at a well-lit, still image of clouds.

I was alone in this slightly chilly space. I didn't suddenly jump up and run around in a panic, I stayed still simply because I didn't know what to do. I mentally re-traced my steps as I tried to get a grip on the situation I found myself in. 

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Robert Llewellyn commented on this blog post.

News from the Clouds #askllew on Twitter and Periscope

Monday, 11 May 2015

I have been a very bad Unbound Author, not posting things in my shed. I am experiencing guilt.

I am trying to rectify the situation now.

The cover looks gorgeous doesn't it. I was so thrilled when I saw the first drafts. Brilliant design.

But what about what's inside the cover?

Due to the fact that many people have already received thier copies it's also very rewarding to hear their responses…

There are Clouds on the Horizon

Friday, 31 October 2014

I admit it's been very quiet in the News from the Clouds universe, but behind the scenes there's been much activity.

I've finished recording the audio version, we've combed through the manuscript many times, spelling, grammar and 'who the hell is Jim?' questions have been answered. I have no idea who Jim was, for some baffling reason one character who'd never been called Jim was suddenly Jim on…

Audiobook outtake # 1

Thursday, 25 September 2014

A short explanation of the mild insanity that can be induced when you sit in a small sound booth recording an audiobook.

This is a very short outtake from  the News from the Clouds audiobook.

It doesn't reveal any spoilers.

A very big thank you

Thursday, 19 June 2014

News from the Clouds has reached 102% as I write this.

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the trust and support I've had from everyone who's pledged.

Big thanks

 

First Draft finished.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

I have just completed the first draft of News from the Clouds.

That really doesn't mean the book is finished, I know I will re-write it after the wonderful Rachael Kerr (my editor) has been through the manuscript with her red pen, but it is an enormous relief to have got this far.

To give you a taste, I have posted a chapter below, spelling and grammatical mistakes abound no doubt, but I think…

Chapter Thirteen

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Clouds

Dearest Readers,

I am now over half way through writing 'News from the Clouds'  and I want to share a chapter with you.

I'm really enjoying the process of bashing this book into shape but of course it's a slog.

I keep going back and changing things, rewriting chapters and throwing stuff out but I'm getting there.

News from the Clouds tells the story of how the human race survives the…

Pete Tyler
Pete Tyler asked:

Hello

When is the book likely to be posted out?

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Pete,

Thanks for getting in touch. We have the finished manuscript and are moving on to the next stage of production now. We're hoping have copies ready and sent out to subscribers by late spring 2015. I hope this helps and many thanks for your patience.

Best wishes,

Unbound Support

Clare Cherry
Clare Cherry asked:

Hi
I'd like to pledge for a Christmas gift. As the book won't be out until the spring is there any way of providing a gift ' token' ( virtual or real) please?

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Clare,

We don't have a gifting system in place, but you can pledge and put someone else's name in the back. Please note that the name in the back list closes at midnight GMT tonight (Monday 1st Dec) so if you pledge today you can get the name in the back. For details on how to change the name in the back please visit unbound.co.uk/faq.

Best wishes,

Unbound Support

Anya Darr
Anya Darr asked:

I loved the first two News from books but why stop at three! The only thing that just annoyed me an just incy wincy bit was I'd like to have seen the descriptions of the characters and their relationships developed a bit more and a bit less long descriptions of technology. although these were fascinating. Maybe that would be the difference between a man writing such a book and a woman? ;-)

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Thanks for this comment Anya and I apologise for not responding sooner. I think you make a very astute observation and I'm sure had a woman written these books the results would be very different.
I think I did channel myself into Gavin's head quite deeply, he is a character I know well partly from the men I've met and partly, as my wife is very happy to point out, that he's a bit like me.
As many men will testify, I find a piece of machinery very easy to understand and a human being endlessly baffling.
As the books are written from Gavin's point of view, his experience was primary and I think genuine. He would be both baffled and slightly frightened by the people he met and that was the impression I wanted to create.
As a very high ranking mathematics Professor at Oxford University recently said to me 'You can spot a well socialised mathematician because they will be looking at your shoes."

Jon Breen
Jon Breen asked:

Hi there

How far in advance will we know when the launch party will be and lunch above a high place in London? :)

Thank you
Jon

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Jon,

Thanks for getting in touch. We're hopefully going to have the books ready mid to late spring so we'll get the ball rolling for the events then. We'll aim to give supporters of the higher level at least one month's notice before the events. I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Unbound Community Coordinator

Philip Boot
Philip Boot asked:

Hi. Do you have an official release date for subscribers yet? Amazon has the book on sale from May 14th. Are we looking at around April then?
Thanks, Phil.

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Philip,

Thanks for getting in touch. Yes, we're aiming to have the special edition books dispatched to supporters in April.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Unbound Community Coordinator

Stevie Robinson
Stevie Robinson asked:

Hi,
Just wondering if I've missed the E-Book version ?
"(Please note: the digital editions will be accessible once the book is funded, and the hardcovers will be sent together when available)"
Is it possible I just haven't seen the email?

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Stevie,

Thanks for getting in touch. no, you haven't missed the ebook yet. We're still working on this and as soon as it is finished then we'll send an email out to supporters letting you know hoe to access this.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Unbound Community Coordinator

Clare Cambridge
Clare Cambridge asked:

Hi. Is there a date yet for when the audiobook will be released? Thanks

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Clare,

Thanks for getting in touch. Robert has finished recording the audiobook and we're just making the last finishing touches. We're hoping to have this ready within the next month.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Unbound Community Coordinator

Stacy Perry
Stacy Perry asked:

Is there any news on the launch party date and the Eden Project visit? Thanks!

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for getting in touch. We sent out the invites for the launch party this week so please check your inbox. We're still sorting out the trip to the Eden project, but please do look out for info on this soon.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Coordinator

Jonathan Davison
Jonathan Davison asked:

Hi, did anything happen with the matching dust cover for News from Gardenia? The original cover looks a bit out of place with Squares and Clouds. Great books by the way.
Cheers .

Robert Llewellyn
Robert Llewellyn replied:

Hi Jonathan,
I completely agree with your observation about clashing covers.
The only explanation is that this project developed over a number of years and by the time we decided to dive in and produce a trilogy (always my intention but never thought it would work) we completely rethought the cover design.
The paperback version of News from Gardenia is in keeping with the covers of the other two books, but the original hardback clashes.
There was talk of producing a special dust jacket for the original hardback of Gardenia but I'm afraid other jobs have taken precedence.... like writing News from the Clouds.
Next time I am with the Unbounders I will have a chat about it, but to be honest there hasn't been an overwhelming clamour for a replacement jacket.

James Reid
James Reid asked:

How far away is the audiobook for "News From The Clouds"?

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi James,

You should be able to access the audiobook here: unbound.co.uk/books/news-from-the-clouds/ebooks. If there is anything else we can help with please contact us via unbound.co.uk/support.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Coordinator

Jon Breen
Jon Breen asked:

Hi there,

Any further news about when the lunch will be? And will it be on a weekend?

Thanks! :)

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi John,

Thanks for getting in touch. We're just working out the best dates with Robert for this and will be in touch about this soon. If you would prefer it to be on a weekend then we can certainly bear this in mind. Thanks for your continued patience.

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Coordinator

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