It’s September, it’s getting chilly, and there’s a meme going around. This one comes from the nose of Aliya Whiteley, author of Light Reading (and much more). The the Vampire Lestat who infected her is David Isaak. On his blog, he asked, ‘What is in your unpublishable pile?”
Like Aliya, I’d prefer to call the detritus on my hard drive unplaced rather than unpublishable. Plus, I’ve lost track of the publication status of much of my work. Most of the short fiction I’ve written has popped up somewhere, whereas most of my long fiction has not. Anyway, here goes.
Proto novel (unfinished)
A piece of Dr Who fan fiction that I abandoned after two chapters. My school friend Edward declared that it wasn’t as crap as he’d expected, so I decided that, having established I could write something that wasn’t crap, I’d go and write something more substantive. Which was…
‘We all breathe the same air’, which I wrote at college. It is 60,000 words of frankly bizarre sub-Neuromancer hijinks with pre-Matrix malarkey and Twin Peaks shenanigins. It did, however, include the characters David Proctor and Bruce Shimoda, who re-appeared in Déjà Vu.
‘Whirlwind’, which I wrote while avoiding undergraduate essays and practical reports. 140,000 words of quasi-interesting horror/sciffy story involving — of course — a re-animated Nazi war criminal, alternative dimensions, and female heroine who closely resembles Saskia Brandt (she would later crop up in Déjà Vu). Towards the end of this book, I was writing 5000 words a day, which I took to be a good sign. It was a very very bad sign.
Third novel (published)
‘Déjà Vu’, which I wrote during my PhD. (I laugh, laugh! in the face of RSI.) Sciffy rollercoaster through artificial minds and the philosophy of Spinoza (don’t ask). Someone at the UKA Press liked it. Poor Aliya was hired to edit it. Together, we chopped out 30,000 words — all of them adverbs.
‘Proper Job’, which I wrote while working at the University of York. The Rachel Papers meets Airplane! (only with ice-cream vans) via The Deer Hunter (only with no music). A funny but flawed book — will revisit next year. Two or three editors at major publishers liked this one but weren’t willing to publish it because of the perceived market size of me and my girlfriend. A spec script based on this book got the attention of a filmmaker, and we’re working on a short film now.
‘Flashback’ (possibly to be re-titled ‘Stendec’), which I wrote while working at the University of Exeter. A novel set in the same universe as ‘Deja Vu’. Fairly happy with this one. Currently in the hands of my agent. Still clicking send and receive on my email client (despite the fact that I’ve programmed it to bounce when my agent emails me).
‘The Amber Rooms’, which I wrote over the past year in Canterbury. Saskia Brandt is stranded in St Petersburg, 1907, and needs the help of a young poet called Soso to get: Back to the future! No Deloreans in this one, I’m afraid, but Saskia Brandt kicks arse and takes names (in Cyrillic).