Friday, March 11, 2011

Editing The Parasite

It’s an odd experience for me to again read The Parasite while I’m editing it. So much has changed. My English is a lot smoother now and I know how to write sentences that are longer than ten words. I more clearly see the logical connections in the flow of the plot and my paragraphs are … tidier. But beyond the English other differences strike me.

Here was a novella I wrote when I simply did not think to question the idea, often promulgated, that the real bad guys are from the corporation or the company. Think about films like Alien and the recent Smurf movie, think about other films and TV you’ve seen and books you’ve read. When the be-suited killers start turning up they are usually working to cover up the dirty doings of some evil capitalists.

This was also written at a time when I unquestioningly accepted global warming as a threat, hence we have ‘Maldon Island’ (presently an inland town), a one-metre sea-level rise and a requirement for massive sea-level defences. I’ve changed all that now, so if you wish to read it you’ll have to get hold of the old Tanjen copy depicted.

I also bought into the idea of ‘good’ multinational organisations rather than such working for their own advantage, hence the good guys here working for World Health. When I wrote this I was teetering on the edge of but had not yet fallen into the pit of cynical despond. This sort of reminds me that when I was 16 and working I thought ‘I’m a grown up now’, but then about ten years later I looked back on that callow youth and chuckled at his naivety, then ten years after that I looked back at that ‘boy’ in his mid-twenties and thought the same, and so it has been ever since. I suspect we all do this right up to coffin-dodging territory.

Noticeable repetitions in the novella, or rather, bits I borrowed from it and used in my Macmillan books: cloned CIA killers (Tack in Cowl), snuff tapes uploaded to a Golem’s mind (Brass Man), a parasite strengthening its host (The Skinner of course), questions about what it means to be human, and about free-will (All of them)… and plenty more besides. I also noticed I’d named a character here ‘Langstrom’ then did the same in The Departure. I have to wonder at the subconscious source of that name, since the gap between the books has to be at least 15 years. I’ve now changed that name in the updated version of The Parasite.


vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

'Think about films like Alien and the recent Smurf movie'

trying to erase Avaturd from memory.

hopefully these Grecian jaunts will open up a huge can of weird names besides 'slave'. always good to get a little education between the flensing slurry of human detritus dropping like rain.

finished novella THE ENGINEER:
Jain prawn is a pretty messed up cat. i imagine him-her surrounding itself for 10,000 years some ridiculous coral space tug with all those secretary wormcrabs. a swell weirdie.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it's a pretty comprehensive re-writing of the novella! I'll look forward to reading it :)

The Kat said...

Interesting how much your view points have changed over time on these points (from essentially one end of the spectrum to the other.)

Is their a defining point at which this happened? or was it more of a gradual thing?

I have this idea in my head of you coming up against the definitive little Hitler style bureaucrat in a watershed moment. With it turning you forever against government and all for big business.

Neal Asher said...

The Grecian jaunts certainly are opening up a can of weird names, Vaude, especially since I'm learning the language. They also tend to give one a less parochial view of the world.

Mainly mistakes and logical inconstencies, Mark.

A gradual thing, Kat - realizing who is lying and exaggerating the most on the AGW thing and realizing who are the biggest killers, destroyers and stiflers of freedom in the world i.e. governments and not corporations. Incidentally, I'm not all for big business, rather, I see the danger of monopolies, which of course is what all our governments are.

EvilSoftwareDeveloper said...

Neal, you telling about The All New Parasite is making my page-turning-finger itch.
I would certainly want to read that one as I remember liking it the first time around back in the "early days".

But do I really have to buy a Kindle to get a chance?

Aidan said...

Will you be putting this up for as well as Due to (to my mind) idiotic copyright restrictions I can't get the Kindle edition sent from to Ireland even though I can (and have) gotten the traditional paperback editions.

Narg said...

It's available now on