The Shining Wall

The Shining Wall


In a ruined world, where wealthy humans push health and longevity to extremes and surround themselves with a shining metal wall, privilege and security is predicated on the services of cloned Neandertals, and the exploitation of women in the shanty towns and wastelands beyond the fortress city.

This is the frightening yet moving story of orphaned Alida and her younger sister Graycie, and their struggle for survival in the Demi-Settlements outside the wall. When the sisters are forced to enter the City by very different means they risk being separated forever.

Cloned Neandertal officer, Shuqba is exiled to a security outpost in the Demi-Settlements when she fails to adhere to the impossible standards set for her species within the City. Will she offer a lifeline to Alida or betray her?

The Shining Wall is at once a frightening parable of our unjust world of haves and have-nots, a richly imagined yet thrilling story of technological control and the fight for survival, and a paean to female friendship and power.

Melissa Ferguson is a cancer-fighting scientist who loves to explore scientific possibilities through fiction. She lives in Geelong with her husband, two children, two guinea pigs, and one axolotl. Her short fiction has been appeared in Island Magazine, Luna Station Quarterly and Postscripts to Darkness.

The Shining Wall
Transit Lounge
Author: Melissa Ferguson
ISBN: 9781925760187
RRP: $29.99

Interview with Melissa Ferguson

Question: What inspired The Shining Wall?

Melissa Ferguson: In 2013 Harvard geneticist, George Church, claimed it could soon be possible to bring back extinct species such as Neandertals. I was intrigued and began researching Neandertals and the science behind their possible de-extinction. I then thought about why a society might clone Neandertals, how they would employ them and how they would be treated. Due to scientific limitations I set my story in a futuristic world. I extrapolated from the problems and trends we see today and imagined the science and technology of the future, and The Shining Wall was born.


Question: How much of your inspiration comes from real life and real people?

Melissa Ferguson: None of the characters I write about are based on specific people, however the problems of poverty, exploitation, inequality, and lack of access to resources are firmly rooted in the experiences of people living in dystopian situations around the world right now and throughout history.


Question: What is the best thing about creating a character like Alida?

Melissa Ferguson: Alida originated in a previous unpublished manuscript set in the same world as The Shining Wall. She was a minor character, but she grabbed my attention and affection. She is such a fun character to write. She has such a strong, unique voice and a very irreverent, straightforward, but also caring, and open-hearted personality. I felt quite cruel putting her through everything she goes through in The Shining Wall.


Question: What's next, for you?

Melissa Ferguson: After finishing The Shining Wall I felt the need to take on more wieldy projects for a time. As a result I wrote two novellas over the past year. One of them is set in the world of The Shining Wall and the other is set on a distant planet colonized by humans. They're both out on submission at the moment (fingers crossed). I'm currently working on another story set on a far-future, post-apocalyptic Earth. My plan is to keep exploring ideas that interest me with the hope that other people find them interesting too.


Interview by Brooke Hunter

The Shining Wall
Transit Lounge
Author: Melissa Ferguson
ISBN: 9781925760187
RRP: $29.99




MORE