Lifespan of Starlight

It already lies dormant within you: the ability to move within time.

In 2084, three teenagers discover the secret to time travel. At first their jumps cover only a few seconds, but soon they master the technique and combat their fear of jumping into the unknown.

It's dangerous. It's illegal. And it's utterly worth it for the full-body bliss of each return.

As their ability to time jump grows into days and weeks, the group begins to push beyond their limits, with terrifying consequences.

Once you trip forwards, there's no coming back.

Download teachers' notes for Lifespan of Starlight.

Available from bookshops and online now. 


Split Infinity is the sequel to Lifespan of Starlight.



This is a totally original sci-fi novel. Lifespan of Starlight is incredibly exciting, impossible to put down, and an interesting and original addition to the Australian Young Adult scene. The Little Bookroom

Lifespan of Starlight deals with people being labelled as ‘illegal’ and the consequences of dehumanising people. It looks at how we might have to deal with resource shortages. It raises questions of how we determine the futures of young people. These issues can be raised in ‘realistic’ YA, but not to this level – there is room for both and we – as reader, reviewers and commentators should loudly dismiss any notion that there isn’t. Subversive Reader

I just finished reading Lifespan Of Starlight, a spectacular YA novel. It's more than just a stylish time-travel thriller—it holds up a dark mirror to our society, perfectly skewering Australian attitudes to asylum seekers, data collection, institutionalised privilege and more. It comes out in April. I read a lot of YA, and trust me, this is one you don't want to miss. Jack Heath

This is an essential addition to the library of anyone who enjoys good sci-fi and time travel, and for anyone who prefers their young adult sci-fi not overrun by romance. The writing is engaging, the characters likeable and entertaining, the world building flawlessly laid over the top of current day Melbourne, and the time travel makes sense. 100Percent ROCK Magazine

I would definitely, definitely recommend this book. Kalkipsakis has a writing style I could read for days. Lifespan of Starlight will keep you hooked from the very beginning, this strange new world is one I'd love to visit. love 'em

I loved the writing style of Lifespan of Starlight. Right from the very beginning, this book drew me into the this futuristic world. I wanted to know what was going to happen for the entire novel and found the futuristic setting an amazing place to get to know. Everything seemed well planned and like the author really knew what the future looked like. The world building was perfect. Written Word Worlds


A Note on the Writing of Lifespan of Starlight

The idea for this book came to me during a time when I’d decided to stop writing. I’d been publishing for a while, but it felt as if I was only just coming to realise how much I still had to learn. A skill that I once hoped to refine in my twenties had become a lifelong challenge and I found myself dryly amused by the irony:  at this rate I’d be in a nursing home by the time I mastered any form of true expression.

I wasn’t searching for ideas, but the thought of a writer reaching her potential in a nursing home kept me amused. Over the following days and weeks, it morphed into something new. What if the goal was not self-expression but enlightenment, or true empathy, or something similar – a skill or talent that took so long to develop that it only became apparent when human life expectancy reached a maximum age? How true to our mortal condition, I thought, if the first people to master this new skill were to die from old age just as they discovered it was possible.

I began applying for jobs in libraries and chasing freelance editing work, but the idea stayed with me. I liked it – this thought of a mysterious skill lying dormant within me, if only I could hold it together long enough. It sparked a curiosity and I suspect that deep down it also represented something more: the possibility that perhaps another story existed within me – hidden maybe, and out of reach – but there until I found a way to access it.

To me the creative process is something akin to magic: the transformation of an idea into something real, the path that begins with an initial concept and ends with a novel, or ground-breaking medicine, or new flavour of ice-cream. I find this aspect of human potential fascinating. Look around you, not just at the physical structures made by humans but also at our systems of government, of money, of human rights and schooling: each of these human-made structures and concepts first existed in a human mind before it became reality.

My spark of curiosity about all this told me that I had the seed of an idea, so I carried it into a world that I could write about – teenagers who discover a mysterious power lying dormant within us all. Initially I thought it would be computer gaming that led to the invention of a new brain process, but I think in terms of the skill itself, which I could use as a metaphor for human potential, it took me about three nanoseconds to decide what the mysterious skill would be. It had to be the ability to travel through time.

I am a time travel junkie from way back – put those two words in a book description and I’m pulling out my credit card or clicking ‘hold’ on our local library website in an instant. But even though I’d chosen to write about time travel, I knew that I also wanted it to be contained, limited – at least, as best as I was able – by the laws that govern us all: those of the natural world. Because as a time travel junkie, the moments when I’m most excited is when scientists tell me that it might be possible. Some way, somehow, I want it to be possible. I’ve also read enough science fiction and fantasy to know that it’s at the boundaries where the most interesting stories lie: the weaknesses written into the superheroes – both physical and emotional – the Achilles heels, the glue that melts when Icarus flies too close to the sun.

The reason I wanted to write this note is because of the way the story helped me. Writing about human potential helped me find my own potential; at least, it helped me keep searching for it. It is a kind of arrogance to believe that you can achieve anything: until you’ve written that novel, or invented that gadget or come to truly know another human being, you don’t know whether you’re capable of it or not. We’re floating close a point that’s referenced so often these days – the idea that if you believe in yourself you can achieve anything. But I’m not trying to say that, I don’t believe it’s true. The truth I believe is even more exciting and mysterious: it’s the idea that your unique potential already lies dormant within you; it exists whether you realise it or not. The laws of nature will continue whether we fully understand them, or not. To me, it’s more about searching than believing. I don’t know the extent of it but I promise you, there is more out there than we currently imagine: there is so much to be discovered ‘floating just out of our reach, waiting for someone to give it a name’.

And here, at the end, we’ve reached the final point of this story: that imagination matters and as a result stories matter, because ideas are the start of so much.

They will become our future.

-Thalia K