Archive for January 18, 2023

My Page Seventeens

Posted in FILM, literature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2023 by dcairns

I was bound to do this eventually, I suppose.

(Don’t worry, we’ll get back to MONSIEUR VERDOUX soon.)

On page seventeen of We Used Dark Forces, my first novel, we find this upsetting and mysterious passage:

“I think, either way, his career as physicist is at an end,” said Whitsuntide, as the concentric ripples faded. “The more urgent question seems to me whether you can peal him from the walls and ceiling without getting yourselves enveloped in his skin. I don’t fancy the job and I think I’ll leave you to it. I believe breakfast is served.”

I don’t yet have my author’s copies of the second book, Is Your Journey to the Centre of the Earth Really Necessary?, but I’m fairly sure the seventeenth page will turn out to offer this enticing nugget:

“I want the two of you to get your three collective arse-cheeks to London,” commanded Saucy Cuthbert, as I call him behind his bulky back, “The A.E.I.O.U. is back in business!”

One thing slightly troubles me: the title of my first book riffs on/steals from Dennis Wheatley’s novel of wartime black magic, They Used Dark Forces. I turn the tables on the idea, appropriately for a novel about a species of table-turning, and accuse our own side of wickedness. If the Whitsuntide books have any serious idea at their core, it’s probably that war makes everybody do awful things.

Anyway, the new book takes its title from Jules Verne and also from this British wartime propaganda campaign:

Anyway, what bothers me very slightly is that the third book ought certainly to take its title from H.G. Wells (it has to do with time travel). Though it also has a heavy Moorcock influence. (Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius character, and Robert Fuest’s Cornelius film, THE FINAL PROGRAMME, which Moorcock detests, found its way into the character’s DNA when I first thought of doing a kind of Harry Flashman does Frankenstein thing, and when I showed TFP to Freddie Fox, who played Whitsuntide in my short film, THE NORTHLEACH HORROR. He got obsessed, and rightly so, with Jon Finch’s performance.)

Anyway, the third book does NOT reference Wells or any other fantasy writer in its title, which is Kill Baby Hitler! I just think that’s too good a title not to use, and might actually sell books in significant numbers, providing everyone is down with infanticidal comedy novels. It’s a much better title than Time Machine Washable.

It will, I sincerely hope, still have a pastiche Penguin cover designed by the mighty Danny Carr.

As usual, I have the links for UK and US editions to share:

UK Kindle for WE USED DARK FORCES. UK paperback.

UK Kindle for IS YOUR JOURNEY…? UK paperback.

US Kindle for WE USED… US paperback.

US Kindle for IS YOUR JOURNEY…? US paperback.

I’ll post some other territories next time, on the assumption that if I make it really easy, some Canadian will buy one of the things on a misguided impulse.

(Big thanks to Donald Benson for the awesome image at top.)