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!

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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