Sorry not to have written here for so long, and I promise to try to do better in the future. Things have been getting in the way, like, as well as writing books I’ve been doing lots of work on our house here: making new doors; chiselling out and repointing the front wall which, under the about a half inch thick of old pointing, is mostly held together with mud, making a concrete skirting along the bottom of the wall, making trellises and a grape arbour, oh, and swimming and drinking too much wine.
So, over the last few months I’ve completed the first draft, at 150,000 words, of the next book and finally settled on a title. It will be called The Departure and will be the first book in The Owner series (whose length is yet to be decided). This tells the the story implicit in the title of the Owner’s early years (short stories about the Owner are to be found in The Engineer ReConditioned) in which he begins his gradual climb to godlike power.
Finally having managed to get this printed off I’m leaving it to Caroline to read through before I again take a look at it. Hopefully by then I’ll have distanced myself from it enough to be able to see the glaring errors.
Meanwhile I’ve started on Gabbleducks – the third book of this latest three-book contract for Macmillan. Thus far I have the only living survivor of a hooder attack trying to recover his sanity. Polity medical technology would be able to sort him out in a trice, were it not for the fact that the AIs are reluctant to meddle with his mind since the hooder that attacked him was a near mythical creature called The Technician, and it did something to him that even they don’t quite understand. Also there are other circumstances surrounding this attack, which happened during the rebellion against the Theocracy on Masada, like the presence of a gabbleduck at the scene, and how it may or may not have been involved.
I’m having fun with this one. With the an odd character called Chanter who pursues The Technician in his mudmarine, trying to understand the grotesque sculptures of bones the creature makes with its victim’s remains, trying to understand its art… And, since the whole investigation of all this involves insanity, who better to head the investigation than a war drone who has experienced this condition and now takes great interest in it – a war drone with the shape of a scorpion, and who may be accompanied by a black AI previously thought to be dead.
He must explore the insanity of a race called the Atheter who apparently sacrificed civilization and intelligence to avoid becoming victims of an alien technology, and the insanity of a man called Jeremiah Tombs, an erstwhile Proctor – one of the religious police of Masada – who refuses to remember what happened to him, refuses to even believe the Theocracy has fallen, and has a very strange interest in the Euclidean patterns on the shells of the penny molluscs of that world…
Don’t ask me where all this is going. If I knew I wouldn’t have so much fun writing it. I can promise excessive weirdness and violence, however.