Monday, June 10, 2002
Home. The cheek-spider-bite seems to have subsided, which means I can now shave off the accidental beard I grew while waiting for it to go down. Which is good, except that in all the photos of my holding my little Stoker house at the awards ceremony, I look sort of scruffy and sort of sinister.

Beryl Bainbridge has announced that she will be writing a time travel novel which will move into the future, and clarified that it won't be science fiction, in case anyone was worried. Normally what this means (or what it meant back when I was a book reviewer in the early 80s) is that the author has an SF idea, has read no SF so doesn't know that that idea was explored pretty thoroughly in 1953, and then plonks the idea down on the page rather dully, while doing interviews in which the author denies the book is SF. The book tends to vanish without trace. (I'm not saying this will be true in Ms. Bainbridge's case. I'm just saying that it was true every time it happened back then.) I wound up wishing that the writers in question would understand that there was a body of knowledge to be learned, and a craft.

It's odd. No-one would think they'd come up independently with the idea of a novel set in the past then deny that it was a historical novel.


Something I'll put in over at the FAQs but it's worth posting here. Please don't send me chapters of your novels, your novels, ideas for your novels, your short stories, ideas for your short stories, bits of your life story that you think will make a good novels one day or just things you want me to read, give my opinion on, help you get published or fix the spelling on.

I don't have time. I understand your one (idea, story, short story, novel, trilogy) is a very short (idea, story, short story, novel, trilogy) but right now I could spend my entire life doing nothing but reading other people's stuff -- and that doesn't even include the books and manuscripts, published, unpublished or soon-to-be-published, that arrive, every day, seeking blurbs or blessing -- and I'd never write another word, and I wouldn't even get all the stuff people want me to read read, let alone get the stuff I need to write written.

It's not fair. But that's how it is.

(When, twenty-odd years ago, I finished my first book, the first thing I did was stick it an envelope and send it to a Famous Author with a note telling him how much he wanted to read it. And he never wrote back. Nor did he send it to some editorial friend at his publishers with a note telling them that they'd be missing out on the publishing coup of the decade if they didn't publish it. I've only very recently forgiven him for this, realising (a) how many envelopes like that he must have got each day and (b) that wasn't his job. His job was to write books and stories.)

So I'm sorry. Look at it this way: if you're going to be any good, you'll make it just fine without me telling you you're good. And either way, good luck.