Si Clarke (she/her) is a Canadian misanthrope who lives in Deptford, sarf ees London. She shares her home with her partner and an assortment of waifs and strays. When not writing convoluted, inefficient stories, she spends her time telling financial services firms to behave more efficiently. When not doing either of those things, she can be found in the pub or shouting at people online – occasionally practising efficiency by doing both at once.

As someone who's neurodivergent, an immigrant, and the proud owner of an invisible disability, she strives to present a realistically diverse array of characters in her stories.

Devon Island Mars Colony by Si Clarke

Bringing together two novels and two short stories, this is a work of neurodiverse, culturally diverse, gender-bendy, socio-politico-economic, drunken-arguments-in-the-pub science fiction – not bang-bang-pew-pew science fiction.

Devon's Island (book #1): Planning the first permanent Mars colony

Before we can build a colony on Mars, someone has to decide how it's going to work. With 160 slots to fill with experts from all over the world, Gurdeep and Georgie set about designing an all-new society with its own government, economy, and culture – and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Livid Skies (book #2): Building the first permanent Mars colony

A fresh start, a queer social liberal dream, and a planet that wants to kill you. Grappling with the realities of human nature and with their batteries slowly dying, the fledgling colony's 150 women and 10 men must overcome their differences to create a lasting community. But things aren't always what they seem and maybe the colonists aren't as alone as they thought.


When I first encountered SI Clarke's Devon Island Mars books I wasn't quite sure what to expect. A lot of science fiction that promises adventure and action relies on violence as a driving force, as well as bending a lot of rules of known science. These books eschewed both of those, but it never made them drag or feel less exciting. Clarke is a much-needed voice within this space, and always proves to be a breath of fresh air. - Dave Walsh



  • "Tailor-made for armchair scientists."

    – Miranda, The Lesbian Review
  • "Beautifully queer."

    – Amanda, Bookish Brews
  • "Optimistic apocalypse … it made me cry in a good way."

    – Manuel F.



A few weeks back, Georgie had received a vague message from one of ESA's big wigs saying they had put her name forward for a prestigious external placement and to keep an eye out for a message from Double Star, a company famous for – amongst other things – being one of the few private enterprises making viable headway towards entering the space race.

Sure enough, someone from Double Star had been in touch a couple of days later. To our surprise, it wasn't just her they were after. They said they were undertaking a new long-term project, and they thought the two of us together might be a great fit for it. Next thing we knew, we were on the Eurostar to London for the interview.

Laura nodded. 'Good, good. I've been retained by a consortium of governments and private groups to arrange for a permanent, self-sustaining, fully independent human colony on Mars.' She paused.

I clenched my jaw to keep my mouth from falling open. I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Nigel Hartley-Richards was widely known for having an array of business interests. He was one of those 'self-made' men who'd started with nothing but his family's billions. We had wondered if his reason for wanting to talk to us had something to do with an off-world base they were hoping to build. The Moon or Mars or maybe a new space station. But a permanent colony? An independent one? I sat up straight, running my fingers over the gooseflesh that had appeared on my forearm.

'I'm sure you're aware of the incident last year?' Laura's eyes widened as she looked down the bridge of her nose at us.

Her emphasis made it sound like there was only one incident worth mentioning, though to be honest, I wasn't sure which one she meant – there'd been a lot in recent months. Still, I nodded. North Korea, Russia, Syria, the US… Terrorism, wars, coups, and near misses. We couldn't stop trying to kill one another. The planet was locked in a never-ending cycle of one-upmanship.

Beneath the glass table, Laura uncrossed and recrossed her legs. 'Of course. Well, I'm authorised to tell you this incident came closer to destroying life on Earth than we would care to admit.' There'd been rumours of a nuclear almost-strike between Iran and the US. Maybe that's what she was referring to. She touched a locket at her throat like it was a source of strength. 'The event served as the impetus for my employers coming together to formulate a plan.'

She swallowed. 'Our best people have been working on this for quite some time. They are in agreement, which I assure you is rare in itself. They tell us there is a greater than fifty-fifty chance of either complete or near-complete societal collapse within the next decade.'

She looked both of us in the eye in turn. 'We want to be sure we have a group of humans who not only survive, but who can also ensure that the history, biology, technology, and aspirations of planet Earth won't be lost. I've been tasked with organising a fully self-contained, self-governing off-world base. It will maintain contact with Earth but be completely separate from it. My employers want to ensure this happens, but they have recused themselves from the running thereof.'

Laura said her employers had hired Double Star to manage the logistics of getting us there.

'And who are your employers, if I may ask?'

'You may ask, Captain Singh,' she replied with what could've – I wasn't sure – been a smile. Might've been more of a smirk. 'However, it's not a question I'm at liberty to answer. What I can tell you is that we are establishing a command team to form the core of the new colony. We want you, Captain Singh, to lead it.'

She faced Georgie. 'And we want you, Dr Ionescu, to be part of the leadership too. We have a few other key people in mind, as well, but the colony and its leadership team will be answerable to you alone, Captain. If both of you agree to join us, that is. However, you will need to respect my employers' desire to remain unknown. They will be silent partners in this venture. Your communication with them will be through me.'

Laura set her elbows on the table and brought her palms together such that her fingers pointed at the space between Georgie and me. 'I will work with the mission backers and relevant governments to secure funding and regulatory approvals. Nigel's firm will provide the means to get you and your team to Mars. Who you take with you will be solely at your discretion. You will decide all the details.' Pulling her elbows closer to herself, she added, 'If you both agree.'

She looked me in the eye, then Georgie, then back to me. 'I take it you both now understand why the non-disclosures you signed this morning were as thorough as they were.'