Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Defective Gods

A wee while back, in my critiquing for the Writers' Workshop, I had the pleasure of reading a rarity in that line of work: a novel that wasn't just publishable but actually, in my opinion, rather good. I found myself with little to say about it in my critical capacity other than tweaks and twiddles -- "a little infodumpy here, tenses a bit fankled there." My main suggestion was that the writer hit up an agent, actually. I vaguely recall saying that an editor in a commercial genre editor imprint might want to push it in this direction or that but that the right sympathetic editor might well, like me, reckon it worked as is, feel that it shouldn't be forced to fit a certain mould more.

Anyway, sadly, the suggested agent didn't work out, but the writer, Jack Wiltshire, has taken thing into his own hands and put out Defective Gods as a self-published ebook, with a promotional website here. If quirky is your taste, you could do a lot worse than check it out; I really rather enjoyed the somewhat Vonnegutian absurdism of an observer/narrator who's basically a ghost but so rationalist he refuses to consider his discorporeal post-life existence in such superstitious terms. While himself being subject to complete mumbo jumbo. Excellently conjured period setting too, I think. Hell, just plain solid all round.

And most of all, if you can make an interesting novel about the building of a stretch of the M4 motorway... well, that's a definite cause for kudos, as far as I'm concerned. Seriously, when I got the MS through from Writers' Workshop, the prospect of a book set in the wild exotic wonderland of motorway engineering didn't exactly fill me with anticipation, but it won me over quickly, and the more I read the more I liked it. So, yeah, I'm happy to blurb it there, and I'm happy to pimp it here. Go check it out. Amazon has the Look Inside function enabled, and you can get a pretty good sense of the tone/approach from the opening few pages.

Pimpage over. As you were.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Jack said...

It’s dangerous stuff, getting accolades from Hal Duncan. You can get delusions. But then you pick up your book with a supercilious smile, to wallow in your talent, and the truth smacks you between the eyes. There are those two tense errors staring belligerently at you. How could you have missed them? And you become obsessional that you must not let him down. You curl in agonised embarrassment, and tell yourself he’ll never spot them. But you know he will. It’s hopeless – and there’s that poor plot structure. You’ll have to withdraw the publication and rewrite it. Yes, there is no way around it. First thing tomorrow …
But it’s now on the market, and I'm getting a lot of interest at the moment about the spin-off Stonehenge ideas (on the website) - that the bronze-age builders were just as brilliantly clever as we think we are.
Many thanks Hal, although I’m not too sure about the ‘pimping’ reference. I have never viewed myself as a tart before. Vogon warrior certainly, but definitely not a tart. Well, only once, when I was being a civil engineer.

10:47 am  

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