This summer I have a) finished a book and b) not yet finished a book. The fact that that was not "finished two books" means that the paper I was going to write for the Weird Council conference had not been written when I left home on Thursday. Nor, because mine host got back from work at 5.30 rather than 6.30, was it written by 6.30 on Thursday. Then, naturally, Googlemaps lied about the location of Southampton Row (locating it off Bainbridge Street) so it took about forty minutes to find a Caffe Nerd. However, the paper was written by 8.50 and so, if it was "a talk from spidery quotes in a miniature pocket notebook!" that was because I didn't have time to write neatly. Still, rather too close to zero hour.

Train journey home dominated by four young men trying to be the Three Stooges and thumping the crap out of each other. I don't know if the seats were torn before they got on, but that a couple of hundred quid of damage. So much for CCTV.

Today was bed, mostly, not finishing the book. Should I do some now or go to the pub?

faustus: (seventies)
( Aug. 27th, 2012 01:04 pm)
I've written at least 11,000 words on this novel already. You'd think 1,100 would be easier.
The RAA catalogue on their Anish Kapoor show makes a link between the uncanny and Edmund Burke, seeing the uncanny as the dark side of the sublime (linked to terror), but as far as I can tell Burke doesn't use the term "uncanny". Thus far google mainly finds the truism that Burke is uncanny about the French Revolution and Royle doesn't have Burke in his index. Ring any bells with anyone?
faustus: (seventies)
( Mar. 17th, 2012 10:24 pm)
I submitted the manuscript for Solar Flares last July, and sometime around December came requests for rewrites. I've battle with this alongside everything else, and it was due 14 March. Unfortunately, as I was giving a paper at the University of Herefordshire on then, I suggested I get a day's extension. I spent Thursday applying for two study leaves and two exhibitions, so didn't have a chance to fully reread it one last time.

The last week was somewhat stressful - I'd apparently been editing the version from Dropbox, and then Caffe Nerd's flaky wifi failed to save it, and I lost edits on three chapters. Fortunately, I'd edited on paper, so was able to recreate what I'd done. I have to say, it didn't like saving over the last couple of days.

At about 6.30 I finally sent it off, so it's all over bar the copy edit, proof reading and indexing. Special thanks go to jkneale and FJM, who both read chapters, and thanks to everyone who has answered queries over the four or five years I've been writing the damn thing. Hopefully I thank everyone in the book, but inevitably I'll miss someone.

Apparently people are looking forward to reviewing it. Revenge being served cold, perhaps?

Solar Flares

JKneale also tells me the cover is a photo of UCL halls of residence on Oxford Street, since demolished. Selfridges is to the right of the photographer, North Audley Street to the left - see,-0.153594&spn=0.005121,0.009645&t=k&z=17. If you go into street view on the box junction, looking west, you can see the building behind/above the right hand stormtrooper.

The time off which follows includes:

  • An article
  • A plenary for 2 April
  • A paper for the same conference.
  • The Sekrit Projekt delayed by revisions.
  • In due course, the Sekrit Book After Next (which JKneale had a preview of, but is sworn to secrecy)

So, no pressure.
I am very close to actually having a manuscript that I'm happy with at c. 120,000 words. But, more importantly, the outside looks good.

Solar Flares
faustus: (Default)
( Jan. 24th, 2012 05:51 pm)
Does Cherryh's Alliance-Union universe count as a future history a la Heinlein, Asimov and (stretching a point) Clarke?

The Hainish Cycle seems sufficiently distanced from Earth not to count.

136600 / 120000 words. 114% done!

New version of Chapter Two - Chapter Three is a maze of black ink.
The plan was to spend a week (well, five days) in the library of the Science Fiction Foundation Collection, and, because I'd noted that I've never been to Betty's* and there was an exhibition of Ettys, a couple of days in York could follow, since Liverpool and York are so convenient for each other.** Because it would would be good to get away from the term from hell, the hellest one since I last spent time with my brother in the winterval period.*** Ettys and Betty's, what could go wrong?

At about this time I recalled the Alice exhibition at Tate Liverpool, and thought wouldn't it be a shame I'd miss it. Eventually I realised that I wouldn't have to miss it, but I would have a short window to get from Lime Street to the Feathers to Albert Dock and look round. This I did, and once I've read the catalogue I should be saying more on an interesting if coy collection. But, hey, a Thom Demijohn book in the Tate!

So, a week reading up for the next book. Only, the reader's report has reemerged for the seventies book, and stuff needs sorting, and there's that deadline for an article on Jan 15th, plus the Survivors thing... Put it this way, Plan A didn't get much attention.

Wandering back from Whitechapel Caffe Nerd, I passed Doctor Duncan's, a Cains pub which looked very interesting, and which I planned to revisit, but at this point there was a Chicken Bazooka with my name on it. Have a nice relaxing week - catch a movie at FACT, have a drink or two in the Phil, but mostly watch those DVDs and read those books I'd brought with me.

Monday night was film night - the cheery Another Earth, watched from a sofa, and which has the virtue of being shorter than Melancholia. I'd arranged to meet someone Tuesday night, but they blew me out, and so it was on my own that I went to the Ship and Mitre, a pub with at least ten real ale pumps. Ooops. Although it has a reputation for serving locals before strangers. H'mm. I walked back towards the hotel, past Doctor Duncan's - as I'd allowed for calories for two pints - and for once bore right up Renshaw Street rather than up Mount Pleasant. I turned left at Oldham Street, which I assumed would go through to Mount Pleasant, and then right as I felt this should go through, and passed the Roscoe Head. This was odd, since I'd just been at the Roscoe Arms and wasn't clear how they'd join up,**** and interesting as it declared that it was one of the Magnificent Seven, the seven pubs which have appeared in each of the editions of The Good Beer Guide. I hit Leece Street and turned left, then felt sure that I needed to cross the road for Rodney Street. This brings you out at a very big church, the one which looks like Tate Modern rather than being Paddy's wigwam, and not where I needed to be. A left turn took me onto Hope Street, to said Wigwam, and the hotel and bed, although the hotel oyster card failed twice, necessitating the three flight of stairs to be navigated five times.

The Roscoe Head clearly needed a visit, but was clearly closer than fifteen minutes' walk, indeed seemed likely closer to two. Assuming I could get unlost in the same way. So I went there on the way to the Ship, and took advantage of the third pint servings to try three beers. Then a circuitous route to the Ship and more beers. At least I was drinking halves. Getting lost is the theme of the week.

The next day saw more research into the magnificent seven, which didn't yield the other six, but revealed a microbre - The Baltic Fleet, opposite Albert Dock. But first a meeting with an editor, in the Cambridge, and an attempt to drink a pint of Mansfield for the first time since... well, maybe even the 1980s - it was off, so I went for a pint of (I think Banks) an had a conversation which might have consequences, but certainly rewrites. I walked via the hotel (and the bookshop) to Caffe Nerd in Liverpool One, then found my way to the Baltic. I tried a few halves, before taking a long, circuitous and not at all lost route to Doctor Duncan's, where I tried a couple of Cain's beer. Feeling sufficiently mellow, I needed a fix of Chicken Bazooka.

The next day I was due to go to York, but I had a couple of hours to kill, so wandered into the city centre and had a coffee, and did some editing, and then emerged to sleet and snow and rain. Losing my bearings, I took forever to find Renshaw Street, and got lost again, cutting through to Mount Pleasant. Eventually - half an hour into a ten minute walk - I found the hotel and my rucksack, and set off back down the hill to Lime Street. It was a good job I'd booked a seat, as the train was full, but I did some editing. The snow was coming down until we hit the Pennines, and I was rather bemused to note that we appeared to be arriving in Bjork.

I took a taxi to the hotel as I was On A Mission, and the driver warned me about how alcoholic the owner was. It turns out he was thinking of a different hotel, and that I had a better idea of where it was than he did. I checked in and then yomped into town to a certain shop, then to the far end of town to the City Gallery where I saw Filth! in the shape of Etty nudes. This provoked some daft criticism from the critics of the period and some dubious curatorial commentary - "the artist was praised for the depiction of voluptuous female nudes, which many in the period believed encouraged immorality. In contrast the male nude was considered to be highly moral, as it was often associated with heroic acts."

One of the heroic male nudes:

Amusingly, the catalogue also prints it turned through ninety degrees anticlockwise.

Filth, I say.

Then from Ettys to Betty's, and a queue for an overpriced but nice cream tea. R. texted and phoned me whilst I was in there, but you aren't allowed mobiles, so I secretly texted him back and agreed to meet in the York Tavern, not the pub I thought it was, it turns out. Almost every where else was heaving, but the Swan on Goodramgate had standing room, and yielded a couple of pints. On my way back to the hotel, I inadvertently found myself in the Tap and Spile for one more. When I came out, I crossed the road, and headed in the wrong direction.

I have lost my mojo.

I got up on the Saturday with a sense of something having gone wrong, and slid into town on lethal black-iced pavements. I got the Apple Fascists at Stormfront to fix my iTouch, and after a coffee and editing, and a long walk up Micklegate, went back to finish off Etty and buy the catalogue. I also had a pasty and gravy, before heading for editing in a coffee shop. R. texted me, and arranged to pick me up. We had an Indian meal, and he drove me back to the hotel. No booze, to some relief.

And then back to the station, where my train didn't exist - it had been retimed, and then delayed, much to my annoyance. On the other hand, I got to St P in time for the Faversham train, having managed to miss the change at Ashford one which would have required a taxi home.

Back home for a nap by 3pm - and a cat who clearly missed me. A productive and emotional trip - I just have to find the other six pubs now.

* I feel this is a title that someone should use. For what, I don't know.
** I travelled between the two during the SFF Masterclass. Clearly I had forgotten the travelling time.
*** What can I say? My irony comes in cycles? I never learn from mistakes.
**** They don't.

faustus: (Default)
( Dec. 20th, 2011 10:38 pm)
Six months ish since submission, and the process of rewriting begins. Meanwhile, the next book and the next book proposal lurk in the wings. Deadline March 14. Let's start with Chapter One...

139900 / 120000 words. 117% done!
faustus: (Culture)
( Nov. 7th, 2011 02:10 pm)
I don't often record comments on tv I watch - although to be fair I seem to have stopped writing about film and books at the moment - but just to note that I'm halfway through series two of Secret Army, which I wanted to watch because of its links to the sf series 1990. Secret Army is a drama about a group of Belgian resistance workers who help downed British airmen escape to Switzerland during the Second World War. I've managed to avoid the Allo Allo effect by having avoided that sitcom, although there is a certain amount of awkwardness about accents (characters being British, German, Dutch, French, American and of course Belgian - and when a leading female character suddenly becomes a lounge singer, shouldn't she be singing in English?).

Some familiar face of course, writers, directors and actors - I know Bernard Hepton from An Inspector Calls, but a couple of them went on to sitcoms, and there's him off Survivors and him from Howard's Way and a very young Ken Stott. The Black Guardian, of course, without the dead bird on his head - which is my memory of the role - and whilst that wouldn't be the only time I'm seen John Scott Martin not dressed as a dalek, it's the only time I've realised it having seen the cast list.

It's bloody cheerful stuff, not. I don't suppose I saw it at the time, but I think there was a repeat - the opening credits are familiar. They've clearly got a budget in the second series because there's more external shots (Brussels or a stand in?), and there's more incidental music (not always a good thing). I've no idea how it ends, but clearly no characters are safe (and the existence of a spin-off suggests one character at least survives). I must work out what slot it was broadcast in.
I spent half an hour going through the book this afternoon, looking for the key word - although it took a while to find the Googlebooks edition. (There's a Scribd one, but it doesn't seem searchable.) I have some juicy quotations, and found even more when I searched for another word. I like my quotes.

The trick now is to make sure the texts I'll be writing about fit them.

I can't help but feel it's the wrong way round...
There's been something percolating for years, and it involves estrangement and the uncanny. And I keep thinking that there's something to be said for throwing an incredulity against metanarratives (© JF Lyotard) in the general direction of cognition, especially as I noticed the phrase cognitive mapping (© Fredric Jameson).

The way I tend to work is that I convince myself that there is a connection between a and b, and then do the the research to prove it, finding everything slotting into place. It can take years. It makes abstracts high risk articles of faith.

My hinge for a current article (which I shouldn't write yet, but I need a CFP abstract, and will deliver a forty minute version in March) is a certain four letter word, which I've seen quoted from a classic work by a well-known continental philosopher. Only the quotations either lacked page numbers, or didn't match up. The book is on Google books, but I realise its pages don't match the real book. There are two editions - and possibly therefore two translations, albeit by the same person. I have been largely failing to locate the four letter word in the physical version, but have found some suggestive lines on [redacted].

At some point I need to read the same author's book on the uncanny (and other issues).

I cheated, by getting a book on the given philosopher, whose title contains the four-letter word, and the conceit I am wishing to use, except that the latter is being used in a different sense from the way I am using it, although I think the two will connect up. And connect to the uncanny. And I think it only appropriate. But he's taken a hundred pages to cover the ground from Hegel to my man, large discussing people I've never heard of and using words like symploke.* I feel another digression coming on before he gets there. I am not heartened by the lack of times he uses the four-letter word I am looking for, either....

I may at the end of this have a new general theory of science fiction, but don't start holding your breath just yet.

Of course, I need to read a pile of novels to apply the ideas. Details....

* The combination of anaphora and epistrophe, as eny fule kno.
faustus: (Default)
( Sep. 18th, 2011 02:06 pm)
Are there any online indices to the sf pulps? (I think I've only seen incomplete ones). I want to work out when the first book reviews appeared in them. Or does anyone know?
faustus: (Default)
( Aug. 2nd, 2011 11:15 pm)
  • Urgent: Review
  • Soonish: Send out CFC for Sekrit BW Project - ought to think about doing this tomorrow
  • Soonish: Piece on Voyage to the Moon - need to watch the DVD
  • End of July: article on the Uncanny - I haven't started this yet... I'm not planning to take the laptop north with me when I go so a) will I get the relevant film watched, b) will I have the theoretical material to access. Should add my sekrit Freud pdf to Kindle. End of July is ambitious, given it's August, but I've been dead
  • End of August: article on Survivors
  • Early September: chapter on criticism
  • End of September: article on 1990 first draft - need to go to Caversham
  • January 2012: chapter on futurology
  • Easter 2012: chapter on Hitchcock/Herrmann
  • September 2012: sekrit projekt a

Hey, but I did the review.
faustus: (seventies)
( Jul. 1st, 2011 06:51 pm)
Il est soumis

139,000 / 120,000 words. NaN% done!
faustus: (seventies)
( Jun. 29th, 2011 01:41 am)
So close... I reckon I have 200 word to add to end the project and I was going to keep going; but my bulb has gone ping, and I need to read some Ballard stories before I write those 200 words. I could adjurn to a room with a light bulb but I think that's my cue to get the fuck to bed. It being gone 1.40. I am unlikely to have time tomorrow (today) as it is a day off, and the day after tomorrow (tomorrow) I anticipate a hangover. Maybe the 30th will be the day.
faustus: (Default)
( May. 17th, 2011 11:04 pm)
Stares at catalogue. If a book is not on the shelf, I can reserve it, and apparently it will get delivered to the branch of my choice.

If a book is on the shelf, I cannot reserve it.

If I get someone at the other branch to take it out, I wonder if I can then reserve it?

Otherwise, it appears I need to go to a library where the book isn't, in order to request it, and then go back once it's in.


Is Googlebooks my friend?
faustus: (seventies)
( May. 2nd, 2011 01:17 am)
The death march continues - fifteen chapters have a penultimate edit, and aside from adding a couple of paragraphs here and there, and an epilogue, and the full bibliography, I'm almost ready to submit.

I am, of course, hoping to awake to discover that the fairies have rewritten Chapter Eleven for me. On the other hand, maybe that's Monday's job.
faustus: (seventies)
( Apr. 12th, 2011 11:58 am)
Term and post term has been horrendously busy, and the book remains unfinished. Where are we?

The book:
Vietnam and homosexuality chapters still need surgery.
Epilogue needs completion.
New Wave chapter needs a sentence on Ballard, Children's stuff on Pete's Dragon

Meanwhile I've given papers on Survivors (twice) and Bernard Herrmann (outside of comfort zone, much?) and need to work up proposals for respective proceedings volumes.

Need to do some prep to teach a film session. May just wing it at this rate.

Read and examined a PhD.

Meanwhile, there is much in the pipeline still"

"Postmodernism, Postmodernity and the Postmodern: Telling Local Stories at the End of Time" has appeared in Teaching Science Fiction, but no sign of a copy yet.

"Psychoanalysis and the Fantastic" is presumably in press somewhere.

"The Man Who Fell To Earth: The Messiah and the Amphicatastrophe" and "Unimportant Failures: The Fall and Rise of The Man Who Fell to Earth" had final versions.

"If None of this is Real, How Should We Treat Other People?" needs a final revision before publisher intervention for Philip K. Dick and Philosophy.

And I'm editing and writing things on sf adaptation for a project that never seems to die.

No idea why I feel overworked.
faustus: (cinema)
( Apr. 10th, 2011 11:46 am)
So Pete's Dragon or A Clockwork Orange first?


faustus: (Default)


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