Saturday, 11 June 2016
Josh Joshi and the current climate.
(There is an audio version of this above)
I set the ‘News’ trilogy 200 years into the future for a very simple reason .
I wanted the human race to have moved on from our present day anxieties, in 200 years we will be mere history, fascinating but not immediately impactful.
Equally importantly I didn’t need to take into consideration any particular contemporary event.
I was of course, blessed with the demise of Didcot Power station.
When I started writing ‘News from Gardenia’ in 2011, Didcot, which had dominated the landscape I grew up in, was still a functioning power plant. By the time I’d finished the third book, News from the Clouds, it was decommissioned and half demolished, it blended perfectly with the story I’d written.
One of the more distressing experiences I’m having writing ‘Josh Joshi and the Great Divide’ is how eerily relevant it is to the politically baffling period we are living through at the moment.
The story is set in the near future, 50 or 60 years from now.
It’s set on an Island off the coast of mainland Europe which has split both economically and politically. It’s a story, a made up story taking present day economic pressures, political divides and entrenched attitudes then taking them to an extreme and, you could once have said, ridiculous conclusion.
The notion of what was once a single political entity, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland simply disintegrating before our eyes has never been more possible in my sixty years as an islander.
I’m obviously not going to finish the book before the EU referendum, currently I’m up to chapter 3, but I’m hoping whichever way that vote goes I won’t let it influence the book unduly.
I keep having to remind myself, it’s not about now, it’s about a future that looks increasingly possible, not absurd, almost obvious.
Thankfully there are so many other strands emerging as I write I’m not overly concerned that it’s so obvious you won’t want to read it.
Josh Joshi is emerging as an entertaining anti-hero on a journey of self-discovery.
It’s my theme, my hands are up, you got me. I’m busted.
Every work of fiction I have penned has been about a man on a journey of self-discovery. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but I’m a man and I’ve been on a sixty-year journey of self-discovery and I’m still stumbling about not quite sure what, if anything I’ve discovered.
However I’m quietly proud of that hesitant and confusing journey, it is generally accepted that many, not all, but many men are a little emotionally thick. I therefore defend this theme in my books as being relevant to a great many readers, both men and women.
The feedback I’ve had from readers backs this up, but let me just say this.
Josh Joshi is a very different protagonist, he’s not remotely like Gavin Meckler, the hero of the ‘News trilogy.’
If, through some weird rip in the fabric of fictional space time they were to meet, they would have nothing in common. Josh would consider Gavin Meckler a massive boring nerd, Gavin would consider Josh Joshi a vaporous egomaniac.
Anyway, whatever, I’m having enormous fun writing it and I hope, one day in the not too distant future, you will experience some joy in reading it.