Heart of the Original

By Steve Aylett

Originality is hated and pretended, but the real thing is beautiful

Non fiction
114% funded
356 supporters

Publication date: September 2015

book cover
You made Heart of the Original a reality. It's available in all good book stores now.
120 pledges


ebook edition
Buy now

Sold out!

$30  + shipping
201 pledges


1st edition hardback and the digital edition.

$75  + shipping
19 pledges


Signed 1st edition hardback and the digital edition.

$115  + shipping
5 pledges

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!

$135  + shipping
10 pledges

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!

$150  + shipping
13 pledges


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

$525  + shipping
1 pledge


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

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Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

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


Quick select rewards

120 pledges


ebook edition
Buy now
$30  + shipping
201 pledges


1st edition hardback and the digital edition.

  • Steve Aylett avatar

    Steve Aylett

    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
  • 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.

  • 3rd September 2015 Acceleration Nectar - Aylett Patreon channel

    I have a Patreon channel called Acceleration Nectar which is here -


    27th July 2015 Hardback delivery

    Just got some copies of the special hardback edition. It's very gold and weird! A good thing.

    Subscribers who paid for a hb should get their copies over the next few days, and subscribers' kindle version should be activated around the same time.  I love the book.  I hope you find it's worth the very long wait - thanks for your extreme patience and support.  :8)

    16th May 2015 HEART copies

    Copies of HEART OF THE ORIGINAL are scheduled to arrive in the warehouse at the end of July and should be mailed out to subscribers shortly after.

    20th November 2014 Bloomsbury Theatre show with Robin Ince

    I'll be talking about ideas from HEART OF THE ORIGINAL at the Bloomsbury Theatre on Dec 20 and 21 in "Ghost of Christmas Present" show with Robin Ince, Stewart Lee, Josie Long & pals -   https://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/141215

    15th November 2014 96% funded

    HEART OF THE ORIGINAL is at 96% - force friends to buy the damn thing & get it out there!


    Originality is hated and pretended, but the real thing is beautiful. HEART OF THE ORIGINAL tells you why people behave the way they do around originality, and the fun you can have making people behave that way. It's a creativity manual, a satire and a relief…

    6th October 2014 Castanada's mistake

    “The story is still told that Carlos Castaneda heard of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and mistakenly worshipped an axolotl, an antlered albino tadpole the size of a parsnip. For two years the cute smile of the drifting creature convinced him he was onto something, until he realised he was projecting and turned his gaze to a broader screen. The story is challenged because, after all, who could believe…

    10th September 2014 Kaufman

    Bob Kaufman was redacted from Beat histories for being often on the street and always black. His works were the colour-treated nebulae of an outlawed space project, rendered in a noise-to-signal euphoria. Busted for being, he sent his eyes away like snails to bring back glints of fiasco and emerged saying more than he knew. One time his head gave off a subway spark, wounding his shoulder. His red…

    21st August 2014 Parable of the banquet

    "The parable of the great banquet, in which the diners’ arms are splinted and fitted with forks four feet long so that they cannot reach the food up to their mouths, leads to the obvious solution of the diners feeding each other and then hunting down and punishing whoever set up this diabolical torture so that it cannot happen to others. After all, they’re armed. But though we all think it, I have…

    6th August 2014 Alan Moore on HEART OF THE ORIGINAL


    "Steve Aylett, not just streets ahead but whole maps ahead, has unwisely elected to demonstrate his effortless superiority by biting his own head off and swallowing it: with Heart of the Original he presents a compelling argument for the public’s phobic aversion to originality and yet, stupidly, does this in a completely original way. Force-fed with ideas until…

    22nd July 2014 Accelerated HEART rate

    HEART OF THE ORIGINAL in 7 seconds (have fun with the pause).

    Buy & fund it here - http://unbound.co.uk/books/heart-of-the-original/

    11th July 2014 HEART reading July 19

    I'll be reading bits from Heart of the Original at this event on July 19  -


    There'll also be a few things for sale such as Novahead, Rebel at the End of Time, Fain, and Caterer comics. See you there.

    3rd July 2014 Where to start?

    Where do you start a story?

    “Standard practice is to start a narrative in the middle, when things are already happening, but starting as events reach a conclusion or their aftermath cuts down on length and hones discipline. Logically the later you leave it the more information you’ll cram, so starting after the universe ends should cover all bases, but in practice this disappoints all but the general…

    19th May 2014 Aylett on Artaud

    Born and counting, Antonin Artaud studied the world as if facing his accuser, seizing and turning to account each street and field presented to him. He had a face like a wet kestrel and more worries than a shaved lion in a rental car. His appetite for honesty had him digesting his own bones. Many put his desire for a ‘body without organs’ down to the fact that his own were rubbish. He struck an attitude…

    15th May 2014 The Resurprised

    Certain ceremonial masks of Subsaharan Africa portray expressions of astonishment and provide relief from having to repeatedly fake surprise at the same things – an energy-saving bliss reserved for the tribal shaman. Cultures which ban such masks through a prohibition against graven images are predictably scandalised at everything, including their own legs. The wearily exasperated look on the faces…

    5th March 2014 Woah There

    When the American genocide began, the invaders were free to smash upward into something new but instead made a preface of repeating everything Europe had done, giving special emphasis to the garbage. This stale gauntlet reached a pitch with Henry James, who prayed before a silver semicolon and exercised a restraint so radical he imploded, taking a tornado of teak furniture and thousands of readers…

    20th February 2014 Short term memory

    As knowledge retention is reduced, historical repetition threatens to catch up. If repetition intervals ever become shorter than mass memory, facts will be learnt through being too constantly in-your-face to deny. It’s been questioned whether such a catch-up can ever happen to humanity, either because memory shrinkage is propelled by fear, or because after acknowledging the obvious we will no longer…

    6th February 2014 Claymore

    Compression and direction of force are key in getting the full effect from your work. The shape of the piece determines its over-all arc of projection, as when a broad base of assumptions propels the sharpest elements away from it in a wide span. The environment itself, if rigid, can often add to compression and so to the subsequent force of an incendiary charge. How to punish those who declare that…

    5th December 2013 Coelacanth fun

    The coelacanth, a dinosaur fish thought long extinct, became a media sensation when fishermen caught one in 1938. Known for its Clanger armour and merry smile, the coelacanth is now thought to bestow luck on those who catch it, especially those into whom it sinks its needle-like teeth. Yet what if it had never been thought dead? Sailors would probably kick it away with a bitter curse, calling it…

    28th August 2013 Dove attack

    Me in May 2013. Only seconds after this photo was taken I was attacked by eleven doves, each with the face of Benjamin Disraeli. It was a helluva thing.

    28th August 2013 Da Vinci

    By the time solar power was rediscovered by Leonardo da Vinci his urge to 'think new thoughts and bring new things into being' meant that while other people were eating their own snot he was anatomising elephants and inventing the hang glider. He even managed to squeeze the classic Vituvian Man out of an incident when a naked moron climbed onto his skylight. Born illegitimate, da Vinci had been spared…

    29th July 2013 Love and books

    On Sant Jordi's Day, Catalonians give eachother gifts of books and roses in a celebration of literacy and love. If this were combined with the running of the bulls, the procession of the flagellants and the tomato-throwing festival it would more closely resemble the tribulations of those trying to read - or love. I was trying to read Greg Egan once and was hectically attacked by a chimp.

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  • 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 ...how 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 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

    Harald de Bondt
    Harald de Bondt asked:

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

    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 unbound.co.uk/support. Best wishes, Caitlin - Community Coordinator

    Bitter Toons
    Bitter Toons asked:

    Hi Is there a paperback version I can pledge/support? Steve

    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 unbound.co.uk/support. 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, Vyvy

    Unbound replied:

    Hi Vyvy, If you log in to your Unbound account you can download the ebook from here: https://unbound.co.uk/books/heart-of-the-original/ebooks.