Coming soon: New novel, and interviews

I thought I'd just give you a heads-up on what to expect over the next few weeks, since we're nearly at the end of the podcast with just two episodes to go.

First, I'll be starting my new novel project, Gu. Here's the current blurb:

Gu - the Protean substance, the last industrial product, the stuff that can be anything, can morph into any shape.

Susan Halwaz, the famous maker of digital-experience documentaries, is tracing the human story of the development of Gu. You experience this story through her eyes and the eyes of the people she interviews.

Differences from City of Masks:

It's science fiction in a more traditional sense - fiction in which the key difference from our world is not simply sociological, as in City of Masks, but technological. The focus, though, is on how this technological difference becomes a sociological difference (because in a technological society, technology ultimately is sociology). It's about the human experience of a disruptive technology.

It's not an adventure story in quite the same sense, either. There's not a mystery to be solved or a single, external threat to be overcome; there's no villain, as such. Rather, the struggle and the conflict is between people with differing ideas of how life should be lived and how, or whether, technology should be used. Everyone is a hero to themselves and a villain to someone else.

And rather than being told as a series of journal entries, it's told as a description of what you would see, hear and feel if you were experiencing Susan Halwaz's documentary. It's a kind of extended blow-by-blow review which conveys the content of the multisensory documentary as well as text can manage.

I'm going to need to be reasonably clever to get some of the setting across, because there isn't a convenient idiot to explain things to in infodumps. I'll be doing it as a series of blog entries, and one of the reasons is that it gives you a chance to comment as I go and say, "Huh? What? I don't understand what he meant when he said..." In other words, it's a check on whether I'm babbling incomprehensibly.

(City of Masks would have been great to do as a blog, with the journal format, but when I started it blogs didn't exist yet.)

Similarities to City of Masks:

I can't be certain exactly how Gu will turn out yet, of course, because I discover what shape something is by making it. But it will have flawed characters with an element of genuine idealism. It will explore identity and how we express it. It will use the literary techniques of modernism and postmodernism while ultimately rejecting the modernist/postmodernist view of humanity and existence as artificially empty.

More on what I mean by that last sentence will probably come up in the interviews. I've arranged for my friend Evelyn, who was one of the test readers of the first complete draft of City of Masks and is an excellent interviewer, to interview me about CoM at the end of June. We'll be recording the interview with a webcam and, all going well, posting the videos on YouTube and linking to them from here.

So that's a little preview of what's to come. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

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