Tuesday, 14 October 2008


Look! I've got to say something. All this time it's taken - gestating - and then the launch a month ago, giving birth, getting it out there, and I haven't said anything yet about This Strange and Precious Thing, my new book. But what's really itching me just now is the little preamble I decided to give at the launch. I'd already read excerpts from it to different small groups of people in the weeks and months before it was finally printed, and not wanting to bore people by reading the same again, I thought I'd try to tell them what I thought the book was about.

I know, I know. If a book doesn't speak for itself, then what's the point of it. So, maybe that was a mistake, but I really wanted to clear a few things up. This categorisation thing, for a start. What kind of book is it, Fact or Fiction? That was easy. It's fiction - but what kind of fiction? Straight, literary fiction, or, as one reviewer had said, sci-fi? Or yet another - two actually -had declared, fantasy? Then yet again, is it a love story? Is it a man's book or a woman's? As far as I was concerned it was all of the above.

And then I wanted to go further and give some indication of the wider context in which it is set, and the underlying and deeper significance of the background without making it sound impossibly complex or serious - which it isn't. So, on the 17th of September I came out with this statement: WE'RE LIVING IN STRANGE AND CHALLENGING TIMES - YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED. All this stuff happening about us at the moment. A whole load of new characters about to hit the stage, dramatis personae. Last year it was the devastating Caterina. This year it's Gustav and Ike. Then come Freddy May and Fanny Mac -- seasons topsy-turvy, credit crunches escalating to financial meltdowns. Famine, flood, war and pestilence - you know - the list goes on and on. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse galloping towards the abyss! -- Are we about to get flushed down the pan? Is this The End of Civilization As We Know It? Well, YES! Why not? As far as I'm concerned, CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT is well past its sell-by date.

Well, you may also have noticed, that two or three days later.... .... Perhaps you'd all better sit up and take notice!

But that still leaves a few more of my prophetic utterances to come. My take on Fantasy, for instance. Fantasy, in my book, is another word for Potential. But perhaps I'd better leave that for another time. Today, after all is a day to celebrate another of my granddaughters birthdays. The middlest one this time is ten years old today! Three granddaughter's birthdays in three weeks - the eldest one come next. I wonder if I can find pictures for them too.

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