Because I must. Each thing I see or hear has power. A tree, a landscape, a mother scolding a child or a young man driving aggressively. There is much to say. And not just on everyday behaviour. Once my imagination is fired, I will challenge myself to conjure up cosmologies to the facts. Scientists and visionaries do this; it’s a fundamental part on which our reality rests.
Time for a ‘mission-statement break’. Theme: ‘to open the eyes of readers to how fragile their world and belief systems are’.
The problem with SF / Fantasy
It’s full of the repetitive and the dull. It has failed to live up to the promise suggested by writers such as such as Philip Dick, Roger Zelazny and Doris Lessing. Newer generations ape the achievements of the old but there are no bold visions. Earlier writers looked outside the genre. Lessing was familiar with Sufi works; Zelazny with religions and philosophies – Plato and Aristotle have important things to say on the whole writing lark; and Dick. What can you say about Philip K Dick? He wrote to reflect what interested him. His works are by turns, darkly funny, prescient, philosophical, hard-nosed SF and meditations on the nature of beliefs / God. He reflected what interested him and was a fine author. Any author who wants his work to be plausible, to feel authentic; could do a lot worse than begin with Dick. Alternately one could always start by reprocessing the thinking behind Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions.
To take up that challenge
I’ve begun several novels and completed one – A Guide to First Contact – which is a deconstruction of evolution / religion / philosophy / post apocalypse and first contact. It comes to 160,000 words. Other works are progressed to a landing stage, establishing theme and characters. I write short stories in various genres in order to experiment. My style, I’m informed, works well in noir fiction. As well as Detective, I’ve tried my hand at Historical, Ghost, Romance and Humour. A theme that interests me is Post Urban – distinguished from post apocalypse in that no defining event causes the collapse of society. Rather, civilisation falls away as natural resources are consumed. What remains cannot be mended or replaced. Things stop working and fall apart, yet people go on.
I work in the demolition industry and see abandoned, vandalised buildings, in various states of disrepair. In Post Urban, I see opportunities of a Kafkaesque interpretation of Dick. I’m keen for all kinds of feedback to help refine my stories and make my visions clearer.
Performance is an integral part of writing, it gives you the opportunity to breathe life into your work and lets you see where you’ve gone wrong. I expect to read out my work and I’m an interested amateur; that is, I’ve read out stories to my mother, my children as well as at local writing groups. I’ve YouTubed pieces and encouraged members of the online writing club Creative Writers (hosted by The Daily Telegraph) to read / record their work – most are embarrassed. A reader gets more from your piece if you read it loud; you know what to emphasise and where to pause. It was forty years ago when I first recorded myself reading. This was The Hobbit, chapter by chapter, onto cassette, to a school friend.
is a novel and some short stories. Details are :
Here’s me reading a short story: Carrie
The web page for this is:
The kind of thing I write
One of my later pieces, Writing Day, comes at around 3,000 words. It is the is self-contained, but the start of a larger work, The Last Library. A last enclave of civilisation exists inside enormous mounds of rubble. The world outside is unknown; any still there are deemed to be in a state of abject savagery. The protagonist has never seen the sky and lives in an old, decaying library. He is forced to flee everything he knows and sets off through little known tunnels to escape; to find somewhere else.
The library in it is modelled on the central library from my home town, Burnley.