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1st Publication date 20 May 1994 United Kingdom Severn House.

Hardback  Publication date 1994  Severn House ISBN 0-7278-4621-3 384pp 222 x 141mm

Paperback Publication date None

Cover by Gordon.E. Davies

Not currently available, out of print


From book cover

There is a legendary place in the culture of Arama whose origins are lost in pre-history. It is a place outside the great caverns of the known world. An unimaginable place peopled with demons and the damned. A place so steeped in fears and superstitions that the dread consequences of being banished there are enshrined in children's nursery rhymes.

But two students, Jenine and Ewen, believe that such a place really exists. They are destined to become technicians- the elite band of holy men and women that rule Arama- and yet they abandon their studies and become fugitives in a terror-filled relentless quest.

They don't know what they are looking for.

They don't even know what it looks like.

All they know is its name: The Outdoors.

Dave's comment 

This was a book that I liked a lot. Mainly because it filled in some of the gaps in the story line. It would be nice if one day the Earthsearch saga was published as one large book, with any personal comments the Author would like to make, the book could be like a mega volume. This is pre-sequel in the "Earthsearch" saga.

Another comment from 16.04.2000

I have just managed to get hold of this book again to reread it, and I can say that it reads just as good as the first time that I read it. The story does have some lovely twists in it and it has been written in a very visual way, such that if the funds where ever available it could be a film without too many changes. The main characters are both strongly written and are believable.

I some times wonder about book four in the series, and weather it could be released as an audio tape and book at the same time, if I were writing the book I would set it up as a pre-pre-sequel telling how Caudo Inman got to power and why the Deep Nova Shelters came into being and why or how the MANIX came into being.

The children's nursery rhymes mentioned above is repeated below to give a flavor of the book.


Outdoors! Outdoors!

Full of fire and fear,

Outdoors! Outdoors!

Where sinners disappear!


Outdoors! Outdoors!

Hell fires burn within,

Outdoors! Outdoors!

Throw the wicked in!


Outdoors! Outdoors!

Where flies and birds do dwell,

Outdoors! Outdoors!

Another name for hell!

Author's comments from book foreword

"Excuses. Excuses. Or, wriggling convincingly off the hook.

It doesn't matter if you haven't read the other books in the Earthsearch series because this book is a self-contained novel. Also it's the Earthsearch curtain-raiser although it was not written first. Its appearance is a touch embarrassing, so if you find the spectacle of a writer casting about frantically for excuses unedifying, you can skip this intro and plunge straight into the story.

One of the pleasurable perks of being an author are the invitations to give lectures (I prefer to call them talks -- it's less pretentious) around the country to arts festivals, library groups, writers' circles, and science-fiction conventions etc.

During the question and answer session I'm usually asked by loyal fans of both BBC series if I have plans to write anymore Earthsearch books, to which I have usually answered: no. To my shame, the reasons I've trotted out are usually along lines about how I need to move on to develop new ideas. There's some truth in this pretentious twaddle, but the real reason is that I thought I'd played all the aces in both books. I was convinced that there was little left to provide fresh twists and turns in the plot and, above all, surprises. Like everyone else, I was thinking in terms of a continuation of the story from the end of the last book, not realising that a story I've had simmering since 1975 is, in fact, the beginning of the Earthsearch story: a failure of that most precious tool of the writer -- lateral thinking.  

Let me explain about 1975. This was the year when I forsook an index-linked pension to become a writer, and had the good fortune to meet the late George Markstein, a partner in the literary agency, Marjacq Scripts. The other partner was Jacqui Lyons, who still represents me. George was the genius behind The Prisoner television series which he co- conceived and script edited besides writing some of the scripts. He was a great storyteller, and a master of indirection which he later demonstrated in his novels. He could also be a terrifying ogre, especially if he suspected a writer was not giving an audience or readership their best.  

Mindwarp was one of my very early ideas and George loved it. I still have his enthusiastic notes and suggestions on the shape the story should take, and I referred to them when writing this book. George said that Mindwarp had all the makings of a first class yarn of which the most important ingredient was its bizarre quest: the search for the mythical outdoors.

The basic premise of the story was strong enough for Jacqui Lyons to persuade Thames TV to commission a pilot TV script, but there was something missing. Something important: Mindwarp did not have a convincing ending. Neither of us could come up with good one so the story had to be set aside. `Don't worry,' was George's advice. `All authors have a file containing great ideas that lack a vital piece of the jigsaw. Sooner or later the missing piece will turn up. When it does, it'll be so glaringly obvious, that you'll wonder why you never thought of it earlier.'   He was right on all counts. The missing piece materialised in 1992 just as I was starting a four-week holiday having spent several months writing Savant.  

Mindwarp is the prelude to Earthsearch!   The idea came as I was lazing in the Spanish sun, watching a beautiful girl emerging from the sea. I was so excited (by the idea, not the girl. Yeah... Okay then, the girl was pretty exciting too, and she's in this book) that I got straight down to work and wrote Mindwarp in a couple of months, tapping an unsuspected well of energy. For continuity I've included the prologue of the first Earthsearth book at the end of this book.

Any suggestion that it's there as a commercial -- to whet your appetite and so persuade you to buy the Earthsearch books (to be reissued soon and available from all good bookshops, so place your orders) -- is, of course, a monstrous calumny.  

A final twist in this odd tale is that this book contains the seeds of the continuation of the Earthsearch story, offering those essential twists and turns that had eluded me 10-years ago. Which means that a fourth book is now a distinct possibility. Thinking about a fourth book has given me an idea for a fifth, and even a sixth! And maybe a seventh! They've even got titles which means they're as good as written. All this from someone who was saying no more after the second book! Wriggling over. Even if you were unimpressed by my explanations, I do hope you enjoy the book. Now read on as they say "James Follett

Other Links

You could look at the original Earthsearch book or Earthsearch Deathship


There is also the audio tapes Earthsearch I and Earthsearch II also Mindwarp

And finally the original radio series Earthsearch I and Earthsearch II



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