Stash in the Attic

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…

First nov­el

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.

Second nov­el

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.

Fourth nov­el

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.

Fifth nov­el

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).

Sixth nov­el

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).

Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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