Thursday, January 31, 2013


My Twenty-Third Book

Twenty-three is a special number, but the only reason I believe this to be true is because many years ago I was a fan of Robert Anton Wilson and he invested that number with immense mystical significance, though whether he did so jokingly or seriously is impossible for me to know with certainty. That was one of the many great things about him. Was he a prankster or a guru? Perhaps both. Or neither. Or both and neither.

Anyway, my twenty-third book has just been published. Tallest Stories took, as I’ve stated many times, nineteen years to go from original concept to published product, though when I began writing the first tale I had no idea it was going to turn out this way. I envisioned merely a fairly compact sequence of a dozen tales. As it happened, the first story-cycle consisted of 20 linked stories and appeared as the middle section of my Nowhere Near Milkwood book in 2002. A couple of years later I put together a sequel; and a couple of years after that a third sequel. In 2006 I revised and reordered the entire thing and sent it to my agent but he had no success in placing it; so in 2009 I rewrote, revised and reordered it again and it was accepted by Eibonvale Press in February 2010.

And now, at last, it exists as a book! Such a long and tortuous journey, believe me! The contents are listed on my Aardvark Caesar site, if you are interested, as are the contents of all my published books so far.

The first 26 copies of Tallest Stories are a ‘lettered’ edition, signed by me and accompanied by various manuscripts, drawings and paintings. I have already made a list of what items accompany each letter (scroll down to the relevant blog post) but I have also successfully searched for more material since then and will add the following items to each letter (with the exceptions of ‘A’ and ‘Z’ which already have plenty of material associated with them):

B: ‘The Groin Scratcher’ (appeared in Mister Gum)
C: ‘The Rolling Hills’ (not yet published)
D: ‘The Trial Separation’ (appeared in The Sticky Situations of Zwicky Fingers)
E: ‘The Cowardly Custard Apple’ (not yet published)
F: ‘The Furry Godmother’ (appeared as part of the compound novelette ‘Fanny’ in The Brothel Creeper); and ‘Cutting Back’ (appeared in At the Molehills of Madness)
G: ‘An Ideal Vocation’ (my first published story)
H: ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’
I: ‘Shared House’ (incomplete)
J: ‘One Better’
K: ‘The Magic Lamp’
L: ‘Bone Idle in the Charnel-House’ (unpublished novelette, will probably be the title story of a future collection)
M: ‘My Bearable Smugness’ (will appear in The Lunar Tickle)
N: ‘Convergence’
O: ‘Multicoloured Leaves in Bright Spirals’
P: ‘Under the Tree’
Q: ‘Consolations of the Wild One’
R: ‘The Dungeon’
S: ‘Floodtide’
T: ‘The Cat’ (appeared in At the Molehills of Madness)
U: ‘Thinner Air’ (appeared in The Less Lonely Planet)
V: Hand drawn map of ‘Litalia’, the imaginary land that is the location for my ‘Sampietro Mischief’ sequence of stories.
W: Two notebooks containing the following stories from Mister Gum: ‘Plop Fiction’, ‘Where the Sun Doesn’t Shine’, ‘Cop Hospital’, ‘Plums and Oriels’ and ‘The Glue of the Scream’
X: A notebook containing the novella ‘Rommel Cobra’s Swimming Carnival’ that appeared as the last section of The Postmodern Mariner
Y: A notebook containing ‘The Most Boring Story’, ‘The Tallest Midget’, ‘The Six Sentinels’, ‘The Folded Page’, ‘The Surface Area of a Ghost’s Wanderings’, ‘The Man Who Gargled With Gargoyle Juice’ and ‘The Kissable Climes’ from Tallest Stories; and also ‘The Non-Existent Viscount in the Trees’, ‘In Moonville’ and ‘The City that was Itself’ from The Less Lonely Planet.

Some of these manuscripts are among my earliest surviving stories and date from 1992 and 1993. Despite being streaked with Tipex (anyone remember that stuff?) they tend to be a lot neater and perfectionist than my later manuscripts!

Incidentally, there is no good reason as to why I am wearing a bag over my head in the above photo. I just felt like doing so...

i have the 24th lettered copy of this celebration of the next!
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