Beneath the World, a Sea

A disturbing descent into a surreal world, written with a deft hand.” Adrian Tchaikovsky

This novel… has so much to say, and says it via a cast of utterly compelling characters.”  Eddie Robson, SFX.

“This is a novel that feels completely unique.”  Liz Robinson, Lovereading.

“Conrad’s Heart of Darkness reimagined by JG Ballard.” Eric Brown, the Guardian.

My seventh novel, which came out at the beginning of April 2019.

1990: Inspector Ben Ronson travels by river boat to the mysterious Submundo Delta, somewhere in South America, passing through a Zone that no one can ever remember, into a forest from which strange inhuman creatures creep from a hidden sea, to disturb the precarious order of human minds.

14 thoughts on “Beneath the World, a Sea”

  1. Wow, this looks amazing. Really intriguing blurb and I love the colours on the cover too. Can’t wait to read this!

  2. Dear Mr. Beckett,
    Thank you very much for this novel! It was a fantastic read from beginning to end and I am sad that this reading journey was already over in a little over a week. To be honest, going by the synopsis, I was expecting a much more plot-driven book but in hindsight I am glad that your novel turned out much more character-driven. In the Guardian your book was described as “Conrad’s Heart of Darkness reimagined by JG Ballard”, personally, it reminded me more of a cross between Lem’s “Solaris” and Boulle’s “Planet of the Apes”, two books I highly enjoyed.
    I am looking forward to your next novel and will definitely read “The Holy Machine” and “America City”!
    (The last 50 pages were really depressing, though!)

  3. Thankyou Raimund. It’s an anxious moment when a new book of mine comes out, and so it’s lovely to get feedback from people who enjoyed it. A lot of different books and films (and one song!) had an influence on this book. Solaris is certainly one, both the book and the Tarkovsky movie (as was another Tarkovsky movie, Stalker, and the novel it was based on: Roadside Picnic.) I didn’t think of Planet of the Apes, but people often tell me that it was an influence on my Dark Eden.

    No, not a cheerful book, I’m afraid!

  4. Dear Mr. Beckett,
    I can definitely see an influence of Roadside Picnic/Stalker in your novel (so is the name of the boat captain Dolby is dealing with a nod to the novel? )! Regarding Planet of the Apes: The treatment of the duendes reminded me of the animal/human rights topic that was (at least in my eyes) brought up in that novel.
    By the way, are you aware of influences when you set out to write or is that something you come to realize during the process? And can such an awareness become a hindrance in maintaining your very own “voice” (in terms of writing style, structure, handling of themes)?
    I apologize for the repeated messages and curiosity.

  5. Yes, that is indeed why I called the captain Strugatsky, Raimund. I thought I would try and acknowledge some of my influences within the text.

    I am sometimes consciously aware of influences when I am writing a novel, and sometimes it only occurs to me after I finish writing, or someone points it out to me. I don’t think it prevents me from writing in my own voice. But I do try and write in different voices. Sometimes I want my tone to be plain and straightforward, at other times more lyrical and flowing, and I am sure other writers influence me in that respect too. It’s just that the influence would be more difficult for me to pinpoint.

  6. Dear Chris,

    I read this book as soon as it came out. What an incredible read: so thoughtprovoking and really rather beautiful (and strange). It really stayed with me and it still lingers in my mind.

    Many congratulations on this beautiful book. For me, it is your best one. I’d be intrigued to know if you are considering a follow-up — or perhaps you feel that that particular world is kind of “done”.

    Very best wishes,

  7. So pleased you liked it Maarten! If I could think of an idea that wasn’t just a repeat of this one, I’d certainly be tempted to revisit that setting. Whether that will happen, I don’t know. All best wishes.

  8. I have never done this before – track down an author’s website to declare my undying love – but I have just finished Beneath the Workd, A Sea and I am stunned, and – entranced. I don’t think I will ever forget that book and will definitely read it again. I feel the pull of that purple forest. Thank you so much. You are an amazing writer.

  9. Thank you Francoise. I’m so glad it worked for you. And thanks for taking the trouble to write. It means a lot to me to hear from readers. I’m sure other authors would appreciate you doing the same

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