The month of October has been an especially significant one for the promotion of local culture in the largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife. The town of San Cristobal de La Laguna recently hosted the Island’s annual book fair, with stalls teeming with works of all genres and languages. The event shed light onto the importance of thinking creatively in a new post-COVID era.
And, after witnessing what still feels like the impossible over the past three years, an increasing number of people have used their writing to ask the question: just how realistic does this new world have to be?
Le Courrier Australien sat down with Sci-Fi and fantasy afficionado Javi Fernandez, to see what he had to say.
Born and raised in Tenerife, Javi’s interest for writing announced itself at a young age. His latest novel Beyond Carbon is both telling of the depth of this passion, as well as the potential for words to transport us into a world like no other.
LCA: Could you begin by telling us a bit about yourself? Where are you from, and what got you interested in writing?
JF: I was born in the Island’s capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and have lived most of my life here. My whole family comes from Asturias, a region in the north of Spain. I read a lot as a child, so it was no surprise that I became interested in everything related to books, especially regarding the genre of fantasy. When I was very young, I created some very short stories which imitated a collection of children’s books, including the covers, whose pages I joined together with a paperclip.
Later, on trips with my parents, I wrote slightly longer stories in squared notebooks. As a teenager, I used Microsoft Word for the first time to try to write a fantasy novel.
I never finished it, but in hindsight, that story really sowed the seed of my later attempts. And finally, the definitive event would take place… My first finished novel: Beyond Carbon.
LCA: We’d love to know a bit about your own interests, and your genre and style. Why are you such a fan of Sci-fi, and what do you think it achieves that other genres can’t?
JF: My intention is to continue writing for many years, and to accumulate a large number of novels over time. So far, I have written my second book, a story that mixes Sci-fi and crime novels, which I hope to have published in a few months. I think I have a very visual way of writing. That is to say, I make it easy for readers to really imagine the scene they are reading. However, I am not a big fan of excessively long descriptions, because they can cause the reader to disconnect from the book. I personally find it a little tedious.
I’m a huge lover of Sci-fi, because, along with fantasy, it’s the most imaginative literary genre. That’s what I usually look for in my own reading: An intricate story with many nuances that will make your head fly through paths that move away from the reality we know. And that is what I deem to be precisely the virtue of Sci-fi compared to other genres: the ability to make you live stories that are radically different from those we come across in our daily lives.
LCA: Tell us about your latest novel. What is it about, and why should we read it?
JF: I would describe Beyond Carbon as a space travel novel, with a touch of adventure: Reading it will allow you to travel through different worlds and meet their various inhabitants. The story begins with a spaceship that breaks down near a planet inhabited by creatures called floaters, which feed on the constant electrical storms that plague the atmosphere. The crew needs electricity to reactivate the ship, so they go on a raid. In their records it appears that the floaters are harmless life forms that lack intelligence, but they don’t know that electrical interactions have caused these beings to unsuspected levels. This new intelligence will be a big problem for the crew and, later, a threat that will spread throughout the galaxy.
I think people should read my novel because it will make them travel to unthinkable planets and live numerous adventures in space accompanying Captain Ikuhb’s crew, all with a fluid writing style that allows great immersion in the environment and the story.
In addition, Beyond Carbon has been driven by lots of research. To capture the worlds and creatures that appear in the novel, I was inspired by theories of physicists and scientific communicators, through articles in newspapers and documentaries, who tried to elucidate what life could be like on other planets based on objective factors, such as the proportion of the different elements in the atmosphere of a planet and how that would define the physiology of its inhabitants. One more reason to delve into the story of Beyond Carbon, as it’s an imaginative exercise with a scientific basis!
LCA: Fascinating stuff. Have you got anything else to mention for our Aussie, French and Spanish readers down under?
JF: I want to encourage you to never stop reading, and to support culture in all its forms, especially when it comes to the local level. We’ll have a better society with strong and widespread cultural activity that gives the place it deserves to the concerns of the people who make it up. I would also like to send a message to those people who doubt they will be good enough to write a book: try it, it’s okay if there are aspects to improve, the important thing is not to be left with that thorn in your side. The excitement of having your own book in your hands offsets any other obstacles that may arise.
LCA: Thanks for your time, Javi. And finally: where can we find you for more information?
You can find me on Instagram (@javi.fernandezalonso) and Facebook (Javier Fernández Alonso) to ask me anything or just to find out about my upcoming events or book releases. I would also like to take this opportunity to comment that if anyone is interested in the e-book format of my novel, it’s available on Amazon Kindle. In the case of the physical book, you can write to me on my social networks to get a copy or search the bookstores in Tenerife, Gran Canaria, and Gijón.
Finally, I want to thank you personally for your interest in my novel and send greetings to all the readers of Le Courrier Australien!
Javi’s latest novel Beyond Carbon is out now. Bonne lecture!