The Accord, a virtual utopia where the soul lives on after death and your perceptions are bound only by your imagination. This is the setting for a tale of love, murder and revenge that crosses the boundaries between the real world and this virtual reality. When Noah and Priscilla escape into the Accord to flee Priscilla’s murderous husband, he plots to destroy the whole Accord and them with it. How can they hope to escape their stalker when he can become anything or anyone he desires and where does the pursuit of revenge stop for immortals in an eternal world?
This one came from three pieces of short fiction. After I’d written the first story I knew there was far more to do with that background; the second and third stories, set earlier, were deliberate explorations of the idea of a virtual heaven, with the intention always being that they would become part of a novel.
And that’s what I did. The first story was published in one of the Solaris SF anthologies and was then reprinted in the 2008 Gardner DozoisYear’s Best. The other two stories appeared in Postscripts (summer 2008) and Pete Crowther’s AI anthology, We Think, Therefore We Are (January 2009), both shortly before the print edition of the novel came out in March 2009.
To me, the best SF sets huge ideas against the intimate and personal, and this was what I quite explicitly tried to do with The Accord. Sure, it’s about building a complete virtual universe – ideas don’t come much bigger than that – but equally, it’s a love triangle; but when the triangle involves multiple personalities and different instances of the people taking part, the geometry gets a whole lot more complicated than that…
I have a lot of fond memories of working on this novel; it’s one I’m very close to, and it was gratifying to see so many excellent reviews – people got it. There’s one scene, however, that really sticks: one of those moments writers cherish where as you write a scene takes a new turn, or suddenly becomes fuller, more rich, as you pursue its internal logic to a natural conclusion. Earl on in this book, in the migrants’ camp; I won’t say any more than that, but it shocked me as I wrote it, and it still does.
I do love it when your own writing can have that effect!
“The emotion-driven love triangle neatly complements the tech- and philosophy-heavy nature of the Accord, making this rumination on posthumous, posthuman love a rare treat.” Publishers Weekly 5* review
“One of the finest novels of virtual reality yet written… a novel that combines elements of love story, thriller, and work of ideas, yet gains its impact from being more than the sum of these. And it all works. It works brilliantly. In The Accord, Keith Brooke has created a dazzling work of the imagination.” SF Site
“The Accord is a literary science fiction tour de force that is sure to be one of the best novels of 2009.” SciFi Wire
“First and foremost a superbly written novel, featuring beautiful prose that instantly hooked me from the powerful opening page and kept the pages turning… a rare combination of thought-provoking ideas including hard sf… a lyrical novel of love, loss, revenge, exploration and adventure… The Accord is highly, highly recommended.” Fantasy Book Critic
“A truly major sf work that should be considered for all eligible awards.” SFF World
“Keith Brooke’s take on posthumanism is one of the best approaches of the subject I’ve ever seen.” SF Signal
“As well as being a masterful story, The Accord is a feat of daring and accomplished composition… Romantic, edgy, moving, tight and fast, The Accord is Keith Brooke on incandescent form and in an angry, sweary mood. The Accord offers a sense of obscene wonder the likes of which this reviewer might not have felt since Geoff Ryman’s The Child Garden. This is Keith Brooke at his absolute best.” Interzone