I can see the future. One day (after the flags have been planted, and after the Readymix lorries have departed and the property developers have set up shop) we will live on Mars. I see a future version of me trudging out across the Martian peneplain for a first look at my new home, whereupon, out from behind a boulder, will step a man clad in improbable shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. “Neal Asher?” he’ll enquire whilst consulting a clipboard. “Yes…” I’ll reply, worried that my instinct for avoiding time-share salesmen has deserted me. “So can I sign you up for the darts night, or the karaoke?” You’ll hear my screams long before I reach and tumble over the cliff edge of Coprates Chasma.