I have a new book out. Mostly it’s made of AIs, Tesla pistols, bad attitudes and the word fuck.
How is this so?
I guess it was the best part of two decades ago when one of the friends I used to game with decided they wanted to run a cyberpunk campaign. Back then cyberpunk was all the rage, Neuromancer was still vaguely new and everyone wanted to be Hiro Protagonist from Snowcrash (you haven’t read Snowcrash? Go away and do that. No, wait, go away and read LoneFire and THEN read Snowcrash. Snowcrash is a considerably better book. I wish it wasn’t so but there it is. Then again being not-as-good-as-Snowcrash is a bit like being not-as-hot-as-the-sun…)
I digress. So a few years earlier I’d played a few sessions in a different campaign with a character I’d come to very much enjoy, and so I imported it, and if Constantine here feels like a character imported from a table-top game, that’s because he is, but I’d like to point out that it was a VERY GOOD tabletop game, thank you.
About the same time it finished I was struggling to write my first novel (and it’s still not finished, so there you go). As something else to do I started to write the story we’d just played. For some reason – I think because I was acutely aware that it was a little TOO close to Snowcrash and also I was very much into Peter Hamilton at the time – I shifted the setting from near-future Earth to a proper Space Opera backdrop. After a few false starts it just poured out. I think what I was aiming for was Snowcrash meets The Reality Dysfunction. Had I been a vastly better writer, I might have reached somewhere close. I wasn’t and so I didn’t, but over the years I found I kept coming back to it now and then, polishing, revising. It has something I like. A certain rawness, a naivety maybe. Maybe it’s just because it reminds me of all those game sessions, banging our heads against a plot we didn’t understand and couldn’t do anything to stop. So I was tinkering with it, now and then, more than any of the old stories from that time.
Cut to a couple of years ago and a clear realisation that The Silver Kings was going to be the last Stephen Deas fantasy that Gollancz were going to publish, at least in the foreseeable future. Thing is, I have a stack more material already partially written and there are at least six or seven people who’d like to read it. So I’ve been looking at self-publishing (efforts so far are the shorts here and here), but damn is it a lot of effort. It’s not so much the effort in getting the formatting done right (don’t use any formatting people), but if you want anyone to know it exists then you have to market hard and you have to play the system.
Venture Press, apparently, can do that. So we shall see. I always had a soft spot for my sweary little effort at cyberpunk, even if it’s not desperately profound; but then the cyberpunk gaming wave was all about style and substance came after.
Remember what I said about it being SWEARY. There was point when the word fuck appeared on the first page more than forty times. It’s since been pruned… somewhat. Also prizes for spotting all the references to 80’s goth culture…