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Heart of the Original

Originality is hated and pretended, but the real thing is beautiful by Steve Aylett

This book is published, but you can still pledge for rewards!

Heart of the Original cover

The Synopsis

Praise for Heart of the Original from Alan Moore, creator of the V for Vendetta, Watchmen and Promethea comics:

"Force-fed with ideas until its liver explodes, this staggeringly brilliant book has scarcely a line in it that won’t make you wish you’d thought of it first. Raising the bar to the point where it’s a hazard to migrating birds, this is a sizzling and hilarious manifesto where its author means every blazing word, and which makes a case for the caged-animal repetitive behaviour of our culture that cannot be argued against by anyone with an honest bone in their head. Written in his own brains, Heart of the Original should be tattooed on the backs of all the limp re-imaginers currently crowding our TV screens, our multiplexes and our surviving bookshops. Probably the most astonishing thing that you will read during this otherwise lacklustre incarnation."


'Nothing new under the sun' is an order, not an observation - and one driven by a strange unspoken fear of genuine originality. Heart of the Original is about the professed desire for originality and the actual revulsion toward it, why the same idea is repeatedly hailed as a breakthrough, how to locate original ideas by thinking spatially, why almost any situation is improved by a berserking hen, why obvious outcomes are declared unexpected or 'unthinkable', why history is allowed to repeat, and whether humanity wants to survive - true originality increases a planet’s options. As well as a secret history of where and when certain ideas appeared first, it’s a creativity manual and a rich piece of satire.

Those who burst out thinking in public encounter not only sarcasm and physical aggression but a total lack of legal recourse. I explain how to 'pass' among the mentally dead while remaining alive. This zombie camouflage involves more than merely looking happy.

Real creativity is a ferocity of consciousness. It can be as small as the firestarter spark produced by two words that have never been next to each other before or as stomach-rolling as translating yourself sideways into adjacent dimensions, a nearly-simple rotation of the soul which leaves you radiant with scorn and the precocious levels of seemingly casual opting-out only previously achievable on a framework of pumped, high-tensile resentment. You may even live a life with repercussions. When excluded from human society, don’t stop to get it in writing. You are free.

'Originality irritates so obscurely you may have to evolve to scratch it.' - Jeff Lint

The Excerpt

It’s an old idea that if we got enough people spinning in their graves we could use it as a power source, whole graveyards forming a turbine array. But since the spin-action depends on a preoccupation with other people’s business and opinions, have you wondered how much energy you would produce?

Those who match nothing but themselves rarely notice the hairpin turns of external decree. They think in the rich syntax that results from living life in the wrong order. Fashion is a set of time’s petty ordinances, local laws we submit to through inherited consent. In this environment truth is as loud as a photograph of a violin and originality both feared and slandered as legend. Nothing much interesting happens amid a conformity so innate it cannot clearly perceive or discuss itself.

Before the satirist Bierce threw his phone into the volcano he talked about ‘our resolutely stalled evolution’. A great one for affable scorn, he was admired to within an inch of his life. Like Twain, he had noticed that giving the same argument while wearing different trousers gave the illusion of varied insight.


The Reviews

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The Author

I’m the author of several books including LINT, Slaughtermatic and Novahead. A series of administrative errors have resulted in me doing stand-up comedy and making comics, music and a film. I got the Jack Trevor Story Award and was a finalist for the Philip K Dick Award. I resemble some sort of giant hen.

Other people have said nice things:

“The most original and most consciousness-altering living writer in the English language, not to mention one of the funniest” - Alan Moore

"Aylett crams more ideas into one sentence than you'll find in all the novels on the New York Times bestseller list put together” - Bookmunch

"the coolest writer alive today " - Starburst

“jaw-droppingly dark and funny” - The Guardian

"the most original voice in the literary scene" - Michael Moorcock

“Wickedly funny” - The Telegraph

“Aylett’s prose is like poetry” – The Independent

Questions & Answers

Marc Gallup Marc Gallup asked:

Hello -
So I have no idea how these things usually go - very happy the book is now funded.
I just wanted to ask - without harrassment or pressure long is the process from funding to publication (roughly)....and the launch party?
Also...WITH harrassment and pressure - Come and do some readings in Brighton! We miss you.

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Marc,
We're happy to say that Heart of the Original is currently in production. This phase of the publishing process can take between three to ten months, as the team work their hardest to ensure the book is as beautiful and impressive as it can be. Launch parties are usually as close to the publication date as possible. We let everyone who pledged for the party know the date as soon as we can.
Hope that helps.
The Unbounders

Hi there,

Out of curiosity, is there any indication for the release date yet?

Thank you

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Harald,

Thanks for getting in touch. We're scheduled to have the special edition copies ready for subscribers in August 2015 and will be dispatching them as soon as they arrive in our warehouse. If there is anything else I can help you with please get in touch via

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Coordinator

Bitter Toons Bitter Toons asked:


Is there a paperback version I can pledge/support?


Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Steve,

Thanks for getting in touch. At the moment there will only be hardback versions of the book; the special edition hardback that is only available from Unbound and the trade hardback that will be available in bookshops from September.

If there is anything else we can help you with please contact us via

Best wishes,

Caitlin - Community Coordinator

V V V V asked:

Hello. I believe that I funded the book and I am going to receive an e-version of it however I have not received any information about it. Please can you tell me if I am going to receive an eversion of this book, and if so, when. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Unbound Unbound replied:

Hi Vyvy,

If you log in to your Unbound account you can download the ebook from here:

The Rewards

This book is now published. You can still pledge, but you won't get listed as a supporter in the back.

  • your name in the back of
  • $25

    1st edition hardback and the digital edition.


    Signed 1st edition hardback and the digital edition.

    Sold out
    Goodie Bag - Early Bird Special

    A goodie bag specially created by Steve Aylett, including signed Caterer comic and Tao te Jinx, 6 pages of handwritten notes for Heart of the Original and more, plus 1st edition hardback.

    Only 5 available for early birds - SOLD OUT!

    Sold out
    Goodie Bag

    A goodie bag specially created by Steve Aylett, including signed Caterer comic and Tao te Jinx, 6 pages of handwritten notes for Heart of the Original, an original comic sketchwork and more, plus 1st edition hardback.

    Only 10 available!

    Sold out

    2 invites to the launch party, 1st edition signed hardback and the digital edition.

    Sold out

    Lunch with Steve, 2 invites to the launch party, 1st edition signed hardback and ebook edition.

    Sold out
    • Format: Signed hardback
    • ISBN: 978-1-78352-092-3
    • Format: Goody bag
    • ISBN: 978-1-78352-092-3
    • Format: hardcover
    • ISBN: 978-1-78352-092-3