Wednesday, February 17, 2010


A Wheelie Good Pub

I have two pieces of great news. The first is that I have already finished writing The Abnormalities of Stringent Strange. Although 57,000 words is rather short for a novel, the story doesn't need to be any longer than that; I guess I can refer to TAoSS as a 'short novel'. When I began work on it last month I only intended to write a novella anyway! My book is a comedy stew of many themes and situations found in the SF pulp magazines of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and I tried to make it as weird, goofy and unpredictable as possible. For some reason it also contains many references to the Canadian prog-rock combo Rush, who were among the favourite bands of my youth!

My other piece of great news is the acceptance of my Tallest Stories book. That's the one I worked on for 15 or 16 years. I don't mean that I worked on it solidly for all that time; but that was the time period that had to elapse before it came together properly. The book is a collection of linked tales. The linkages are very intricate; a minor character in one tale may be the narrator of the next, and so on, until the circle (or Möbius strip) is closed. There is one over-arching framing device that contains three smaller framing devices and these smaller frames contain stories that sometimes frame other stories or even other framing devices!

There's a lot of fluid motion in Tallest Stories but there are several constant factors too. The main one is the pub where the tales are told: the Tall Story. Unlike most normal pubs, the Tall Story is capable of external (as well as internal) movement. It can tour the universe easily enough; and indeed at one point it becomes the universe. This photo shows it rolling across a desert landscape at night on special wheels. Unseen inside is a full crew of regular patrons, including Napoleon Bonaparte, the main narrator of the book (who ended up here after escaping from Saint Helena -- a hitherto unknown chapter of his life!)

i love you so much rhysaurus; please dont ever go away! x
Hello Rhys! Hope this finds you well! Tell me, have you read much Graham Greene? Just finished Brighton Rock; a very strong morality tale. Greene was a devout Catholic, and the theme of 'right versus wrong' permeates the book. From the Catholic, sociopathic Pinky who knows that his wicked life will result in him going to hell, to the good-natured Ida who 'wants to see justice done', it is a well-crafted read. The film was very, very good too (a Boulting brothers production?) but the end differs from the book; in the film, Pinky dies on the Palace Pier, but in the book Pinky is thrown off a cliff in Peacehaven (dying in Peacehaven must be like being run over and killed by a golf buggy...). I'm now starting 'Our Man In Havana'. Best wishes to you Rhys....
Coincidentally, Brighton Rock is one of the books I purchased recently in a library sale (it cost the princely sum of 10p). I read the first chapter and the quality of the writing blew me away, so yes, I can definitely see myself becoming a Greene fan (until this moment the only Green writer I was enthusiastic about was Henry Green...)

Unfortunately I have so many books on my reading list that I probably won't be able to tackle Brighton Rock for a few more months; but I am certainly looking forward to it, so thanks for the recommendation!
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