The lack of posting on Saturdays might become a semi-regular thing. The two long shifts of the week are Friday 2:30 – 9 pm and Saturday 10 am – 4:30 pm. As Christmas approaches, these are knackering. Then Sunday is the day off so Saturday is Smoky-Drinky night (last night’s was covered by Glen Orchy and Whyte and MacKay, although after comparing prices, I suspect I’ll have to get my Glen Orchy earlier next week before the buggers buy it all). Sunday is sleep-catchup day.
Monday-Thursday are short shifts, only three and a half hours, so I am still energised for writing time in the evenings and don’t have to be back in work until 2:30 the next day. So I can write until 4 am and still get a good morning’s sleep. This new shift pattern has worked well for me.
Inside Outside is at the beta-reader stage because I (and also co-author) have now read it so many times we’re seeing what should be there, not what really is there. If anyone else wants to help out, I can send it as a PDF or as a Kindle file. Maybe I can make it an ePub too, haven’t tried to do that myself yet. It’s bare-bones, still needs chapter breaks etc. and is likely to be filled with errors.
Now I’m back in writing mood, Panoptica is next. That was getting a bit… bland. Just another ‘1984’ clone. With no recourse to monsters or ghosts, it had no real horror element. Rather than Orwell’s ‘boot stamping on a human face’, it felt more like being tickled with a tutu. It needed some serious darkness injected.
A comment left by David Davis has been festering in the alcohol-pool my brain floats in and with the assistance of a good Smoky-Drinky, and now the rest of that bottle of Cardhu I sampled on Friday night, plus a news story that made even this delver into dark thoughts think ‘WTF?’… Panoptica now has that deep shadow it was missing.
Oh, what’s forming in this head is very nasty indeed. I did have the main character lose his wife to a politician but that’s been done and done again. It happened to Johnathan in Rollerball, all those years ago. No, he never had a wife and he has never seen a pregnant woman. Nor did he have a child – he has never seen children below the age of twelve, when they are going through their Feral phase until they are brought back in for re-education when they hit twenty, and finally become adult at thirty.
Shades of Eloi and Morlock are creeping in, but my Morlocks wear suits and smile through expensive dentistry. The Eloi aren’t roaming free, they are contained. None of the Eloi give birth. They are taken away, inseminated, drugged, Caesarianed and then thrown out. In pig farm terms, they are once-bred gilts. Sometimes one gets out alive but not often. They can have all the sex they want with Eloi men, all of whom were sterilised at birth so can do no harm to the system.
Panoptica is the ultimate in Socialism but it is not the whole world. It can’t be – it has never worked for very long even when applied to a single country. It’s the North Korean dream. Total isolation, with ‘here be monsters’ on any map showing outside its borders. Total control and total compliance. Technology-assisted, too.
It has also found its survival method, along North Korean lines but with a little bit of common sense. As long as Panoptica does nothing at all to threaten expansion or invasion or attack, none of the rest of the world gives a shit about it. There’s no oil or gold or diamonds within its borders so as long as they keep to themselves, the smiles atop suits can do just as they please.
Just outside, making occasional incursions, are another people. The ones that got away.
It’s re-gestating, this one. This time it has horns and a tail.
Oh. And smokers. There will be smokers.