Bits and pieces

Well, a few things have been hap­pen­ing this week. First up, Déjà Vu has been noticed by the behemoth of SFX, a renowned UK sci­ence fic­tion magazine. It’s the only small press review in the magazine. The review is pretty pat­rons­ing (hell, that’s par for the course; no com­plaints) but gen­er­ally pos­it­ive. Here’s a snip­pet:

The split­ting of the nar­rat­ive between char­ac­ters helps main­tain a strong pace through­out, scat­ter­ing neat bits of near-future tech­no­logy on the way. The fact that Déjà Vu is a small press book might lead you to expect an exper­i­ment­al or rad­ic­al work. Instead, it’s a very read­able nar­rat­ive with an emphas­is on twists and turns, which wouldn’t be out of place on a shelf full of Michael Crichtons.

In case that isn’t blurb­tast­ic enough, Stan Nicholls — an author I admire greatly — has gone to Herculean efforts to provide me with some blurb for the second edi­tion of Déjà Vu, which I hope send back to my pub­lish­er next week. I say ‘Herculean’ because things are not going 100% smoothly for Stan right now. I’m there­fore espe­cially grate­ful for his com­ments on Déjà Vu:

Déjà vu is a pacey, crisply-writ­ten thrill­er set in a plaus­ible near future. A clev­er blend­ing of tra­di­tion­al sf tropes with cyber­punk shad­ings, there are some intriguing notions and a skil­fully woven mys­tery ele­ment. Ian Hocking’s debut nov­el dis­plays both sound sci­entif­ic extra­pol­a­tion and a mature con­fid­ence.

Thanks, Stan! You can buy his books here. Trust me, you won’t be dis­a­poin­ted. This quote has already gone onto my web­site, of course, but hope­fully it can be squeezed onto the new jack­et, which PJ, my graph­ic design­er, is work­ing away on as we speak.

I have to con­fess that the second edi­tion of Déjà Vu has sent me into anoth­er tailspin of edit­ing. When the new edi­tion got the green light, I prom­ised myself that I would only add a brief flyesheet of reviews for the inside cov­er and cor­rect the odd typo. Well, that plan went out the win­dow in short order because, although Déjà Vu is a plot-heavy book, I like to work at the level of the sen­tence: if the cadence isn’t right, I fuss over it until I can find a bet­ter way to express myself. I’ve giv­en myself until next Wednesday to get everything sor­ted, and then it’s good-bye forever to Déjà Vu.

Until I write the sequel.

Another bit of fun this week was an inter­view I recor­ded with BBC Radio Cornwall. It was due to air towards the end of last week, but wasn’t, so I pre­sume it will be sent out next week. Emma Lloyd, the show’s presenter, has prom­ised to email me with fur­ther details but she’s a busy per­son, so there’s a small chance I’ll end up miss­ing it. But we’ll see. Wtih any luck, I’ll record it and post it on my web­site. This week I also com­pleted an inter­view for the Eternal Night (who have reviewed Déjà Vu, though the review is not yet pos­ted at the time of writ­ing) plus anoth­er for the Open University magazine.

Meanwhile, in the inter­stices between one second and the next, I’ve con­tin­ued work on Proper Job. It’s com­ing up to the 60,000-word mark now. Comedy fic­tion is, I guess, a little short­er than most oth­er genres, so I’ve got about 30,000 to go, maybe 40. But I’m dis­ap­poin­ted that I didn’t reach my ori­gin­al dead­line of March. This time of year is a nice one to fin­ish a nov­el. I remem­ber, about five years ago, announ­cing with some tri­umph to my girl­friend, Britta, that I had finally com­pleted a nov­el called ‘Déjà Vu’. Hah! It’s good to release your­self from the stress of the nov­el in time for sum­mer. Maybe I can still do that, but I need to pull my fin­ger out. Currently, I write about 500 words a day — that’s about as much as I can man­age while work­ing full time. So I might be able to get the first draft fin­ished by the end of the May. Then it’ll be straight on the sequel for Déjà Vu, to be fin­ished by the end of the sum­mer. Hah!

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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