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All A Dream?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Looking at things on the console

Despite some people finding them dull, I find dreams endlessly fascinating. 

I have written here before about how "and it was all a dream" is unacceptable as a denouement in all books aside from the two Alice novels. However, that set me thinking. What if it was all a dream? I'm reminded of something I thought when I was a very young child.

In the early seventies there was a BBC exhibition at…

Unfinished Biscuit

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Biscuit 1832917 1920

Some people may have been confused by the last words of the previous update. (That is the last official words, not the admin in italics after the fold.) I am talking about Unfinished Biscuit.

It was a reference to something I've thought about before and—quite apart from the fact that it sounds a little like it—is actually related to Unfinished Business

We’ve all been there. You're halfway…

Objects On The Horizon May Appear Larger Than They Are

Sunday, 26 November 2017

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I've particularly noticed this when reaching the top of the hill in central Brighton (Powis Road for anyone interested). The ground drops away alarmingly at this point, Montpelier Street plunging down towards Western Road, the buildings on the sea front beyond silhouetted against the sparkling wall of the sea. And on a clear day (like today) you can clearly see the massed ranks of the turbines of…

Flawed and Interesting

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Garak

I have been thinking recently about the kind of characters who engage my attention in fiction, who interest me. Not those who I like per se—not necessarily the kind of people I'd want to spend any time with—but the ones whose fate I care about.

The odd thing about this is that most of the time they are neither good characters nor bad characters. They're interesting characters. Flawed you might…

Just a Story

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Books bookstore book reading 159711

Odd as it may seem to those who enjoy it, some people just aren't really into reading fiction. There are probably many reasons for this—one being the desire to educate themselves about the world by reading non-fiction. Lessons learned therein can often have practical applications in their own lives. However, one of the most interesting reasons for me is that possibly they don't read fiction because…

What's in a Genre?

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Books yes we have books

Oddly, considering the subject of Comeback, I never thought I would end up writing Fantasy novels, Urban or otherwise. When I was younger and first expressed ambition in the direction of writing professionally, I was convinced I'd write Science Fiction. This was partly because that was what I'd mainly been reading in adulthood up until that point.

And yet the majority of the genre writing I enjoyed…

Editing Life

Saturday, 21 October 2017

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Editing a work of fiction can be a laborious process. I'm not just talking about correcting the spelling and grammar. There are many other bad habits that sneak in. These aren't technically incorrect but they dilute the overall quality of the work.

For a start there might be words and phrases you habitually overuse. I've noticed that far too often my characters glance at something, or get from…

Reality Goggles

Monday, 16 October 2017

Goggles 1299457

The world around us largely consists of what we expect to see in it.

When presented with something brand new, our brains first have to decode the signal that they get from the eyes.  The picture passes through the first level filters where edges, shapes and colours are detected and assigned. After that the filters applied rely on our knowledge, memories and experience. It's only after that processing…

Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alice par john tenniel 06

I've always had trouble coming up with the titles for stories, especially novels. I never thought of a satisfactory title for the first novel I wrote in around 1990 (near future science fiction, the dates of some of the events in which we've now passed) and for a long time Comeback was known only by the working title of Genie in Underland.

This is an obvious reference to Alice in Wonderland, a…

Verisimilitude

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Roundhouse   camden

Worldbuilding can be tricky if you're writing science fiction or fantasy. There's so much to do—the readers are unfamiliar with the background, social mores and customs of the novel's environment and as such are at a disadvantage when it comes to working out what's going on.

The characters themselves are no help. They know all this stuff anyway, so there's no way they are going to be able to remind…

Dark Chapters

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Customs

In my very limited experience, one of the inevitable parts of writing a novel is that you will end up throwing some of it away. Sometimes whole sequences or chapters disappear and the end product is always the better for it. There's a reason your editor or beta reader told you to ditch that bit.

You will always feel resistant to these suggestions at first. Writing is difficult enough as it is.…

Escalator Connection

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Victoria line london underground 1967 stock model nrm york

As I mentioned before in another blogging arena, as a child I was obsessed with the London Underground. I don't remember this obsession starting but it must have been very shortly after we moved to London when I was three. Some combination of the bright colours and simple lines of the famous map and the experience of travelling on the (then) futuristic Victoria Line must have chimed with me and laid…

Deals with the Devil

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Devil deal

"The lie as an adaptive mechanism," said Bach, "deserves more attention than it has received. Probably the original liars are those plants and animals that use protective mimicry—harmless snakes imitating poisonous ones, stingless flies that look like bees. Those are living lies."

— Stanley Weinbaum, The Adaptive Ultimate

One of the first things we're taught as children is not to lie. We…

Progress Report: Time, Insomnia and Mathematics

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Wendishades3

I can't believe that it's already a month since the campaign for Comeback started.

Well I can believe it. The rate time passes is capricious and contradictory - it simultaneously seems like only yesterday that the campaign was launched and quite a while ago now. Looking at the big picture of time and what I have done with my life the month itself passed quite swiftly, but the individual days lasted…

Loophole (part 2)

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Loophole2a

Previously: Daryl attempts to summon the devil and appears to succeed. And now the conclusion:

Daryl opened his mouth but nothing emerged.

The figure closed her eyes. “I'm a demon. A devil if you like. No definite article required; there are millions of us. My name is Jezebeth. And don't just lie there, I haven't got all day…”

She held out her immaculately manicured red hand. Without…

Loophole (part 1)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

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The fictional world in which Comeback takes place is clearly one very close to our own. It's a world so similar in fact that there's no appreciable difference as far as most of the inhabitants and their everyday lives are concerned. It's a world in which the more fantastical elements are only revealed to our protagonists, even if these elements affect everyone (eventually).

But that's not to…

We Might As Well Have Installed a Revolving Door...

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Kratzenstein orpheus

Many of you will be familiar with the story of Orpheus in the Underworld, a tale that has a lot of significance to Comeback.

However, in case the details have slipped your mind, here's a quick precis.

Orpheus was an Ancient Greek musician who, long before his descent into the underworld, had been making a name for himself as some kind of mythological superhero. His famous lyre was bequeathed…

The Memory Lies

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Browsers netscape nav

There's an expression infamous in Doctor Who fandom: "The Memory Cheats".

I'd go a little further and say that in fact the memory downright lies to each and every one of us. Not necessarily about the details of specific events (although I wouldn't be surprised) but about the details of life in general in the recent past.

This is something I have to be careful about as I go over the manuscript…

Welcome!

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Thanks very much to everyone who's visited the page and pledged already at this early stage. It gives me hope that we'll make it to the finish line in time!

This is just a short piece to say hello and set out the stall. However I'm intending to post longer updates here on a weekly basis - which I'm hoping will be more like blog-entries - to keep you all informed and entertained. There may also…

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