Backwards

Mr. Wingrove checks in. And yes, a plan is in the works to roll out something exciting. More to come.

Full text after the break.

__________

Backwards

Sue’s up in Manchester, at a short term conference for Coronation Street, leaving me down here in London, furiously self-motivating myself to get Book Three of the time travel trilogy – THE MASTER OF TIME – written. And?

Well, it isn’t easy. I think I have the rough shape of the ending, but I have a problem. ROADS TO MOSCOW isn’t an easy book to end. Nor am I absolutely certain that it requires an ‘END’ as such. Which isn’t to say that it can’t be made coherent, only that a nice neat and tidy resolution of all the threads would be (perhaps) a tedious way to leave things. You see, what I really want to achieve is a sense that things continue, surprisingly so – especially in Time. I want to suggest that there’s more to come, even if I don’t deliver it.

And, in the lengthy space between ending the last paragraph and beginning this, I suddenly have it. My final say in ROADS TO MOSCOW.

So now I feel a lot easier, a lot less fazed by it all. Between the ending of one and the beginning of another of those two paragraphs above, I put together five single-space pages of structure – including the odd line or two of dialogue. An ending, without any chance of it being AN ENDING. Because… well because as the Bible says, “World Without End…”

So now all I’ve got to do is write the damn thing. Or what at present remains unwritten. Which ought to take me a couple of weeks tops.

And between times I’ll be spending four days in the South of France – in Bergerac in the Dordognes. Soaking up the French sunshine. Jotting down notes in the little notebook I always carry with me. And boosting my energy levels for when I get back here again.

I’ve called this “Backwards” because, for some time, I’ve been heading off in the wrong direction. Backwards. Suffering something akin to a writer’s block, even as I added notes and observations to the file I’ve been keeping on the ending of ROADS. Backwards. And part of that has to do with looking after my mum, who at eighty six has just had the first operation she’s had in eighty years – since she had her appendix removed at six! That’s where I’ll be tomorrow. Looking after her for the day. Not writing, not on holiday, but sitting with her in her flat over in South London and talking. About all kind of things. Except my writing. We never talk about that. Because she’s not a sci-fi fan, you see.

And what else? Well, one great big huge thing, actually. Another of those things that had me thinking – and feeling – that I was heading backwards. And that was the recent death of my good friend Rob Carter, to whom I dedicated THE OCEAN OF TIME. Rob was younger than me by a year and was maybe a little overweight – though not a lot – and he was in the process of getting all of his own books (published back in the eighties and nineties) up on his website and selling as e-books. And then… wham! – he was gone. Taken by a heart attack, for a condition he didn’t know he had. One year younger than me, he was. And responsible for inspiring me in those early days, when CHUNG KUO was being put together. It was Rob I sat across from, playing endless games of Go. Rob who spawned so much of what I eventually shaped into my own. And now he’s gone, and I can’t phone him any more and ask if he wants a pint and a chat. It was the seventh of April this happened, and I’m still in shock about it. There was me thinking I’d still be drinking with him well into my eighties. Churning out ideas between us. Being each others’ chief critics. All gone now.

Gone.

Shit. Go and look the man up – type in ‘Robert Carter author’ and buy one of his books. The historicals are great, but then so too are the fantasy books. I read them all as manuscripts. Read them and helped edit them. As much as Rob would allow me, anyway.

Anyway… the sad news made me realise what I was doing. Going backwards. Letting the days drift by instead of grasping them and using them.

Well, that’s going to change. And – hopefully – Matt and I can get some new material out to you over the next few weeks. I’m going to leave it to Matt how he does it. New stuff, alongside some of the old. And then, when I’m back from France, I’m going to finish ROADS and then get back to work on you-know-what. On the C book. Or rather, the CK book. Because fit as I am, slim as I am, Rob’s death is a real wake-up call for me. A reminder that death comes to us all. Shocking as that is. Evident as that is.

And hey guys, thank you for your feedback these last few weeks. I love the idea that I changed the lives of so many 30-year-olds. I gave up my banking job the day before my twenty fifth birthday because I didn’t want to be doing it when I was thirty. That was in 1979. It then took me ten years to get Chung Kuo into the bookshops.

But there they were. And there they’ll be again. It just takes effort. Effort and self-belief.

So thanks again.

 

David Wingrove             Thursday 14th May 2015

 

6 thoughts on “Backwards”

  1. David,

    my condolences for the loss of your friend! Words always fail here…

    Have Ocean’s lying around here and would to love to read it…but must read baby/childcare books for now 🙂 Maybe when Roads is out I read all three again.
    And the CK ones…I was worried that another article mentioned here that the rights situation with Corvus is not sorted out yet in regards to you releasing the remaining ones as e-books? Of course another paperback would be great, or the once hinted TV series…now in the age of Game of Thrones, who knows…

    By the way, CK also influenced me in getting my attention to Asia. Ended up in Japan now (which is as far away from China as possible I think), but anyway. Some credit for that surely goes to you as well!
    And all because the German editions had absolutely gorgeous covers, that do the books justice and make them look light-years above regular SF.

    But after all you have already written I cannot imagine self-belief being an issue.

    all the best,
    kaneda

  2. Hi,

    Can I ask what’s happening to the new Chung Kuo books now? I’ve just read that they’ve been cancelled (sorry if I’m a bit behind)?

    I was up to book 7 and was about to buy number 8. 9 onwards is cancelled?!

    If so, wow, how utterly ×*#>ing frustrating! I bet you were livid. I am!

    I really hope a new publisher can be found For the series. I loved the original books (I’ve read them all at least 3 times over the years), thought the prequels were excellent and was really enjoying the re-writes too.

    Ross

    1. Hi Ross. Yes, unfortunately, Corvus/Atlantic has no plans to continue distributing the rest of the Chung Kuo series. My understanding is that David is in the process of trying to negotiate for the reversion of the publishing rights so that other options can be explored. We’re all just as upset as you. 🙁 In the meantime, David’s new series, Roads to Moscow, is a great read, and I recommend catching up on those until there’s better news about Chung Kuo. Also, watch this space for something fun in the coming weeks regarding Chung Kuo (not a new publisher or movie deal or anything like that, but fun nonetheless).

  3. David,

    Thanks again for the update, and sorry to hear about your friend’s passing.

    I know I’ve asked you this once before but I’ll ask again: After attending Worldcon in London last year, do you have any plans to attend the event again this year in Spokane?

    And to the larger readership of this site: Would anyone be interested and able to do a meet up at some event (like Worldcon, Comic-con, PAX, etc.) in the future? I realize it might be too late for some to plan an August 2015 trip to the middle of nowhere (Spokane isn’t exactly a large metropolitan city) but maybe we could start planning something for next year’s Worldcon in Kansas City, San Diego Comic-con, or PAX (Prime in Seattle, East in Boston, or South in San Antonio).

    Reid

    1. Hi

      Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. My condolences.

      I was wondering have the other Chung Kuo books been written?

      I started reading the original books years ago but I was unable to find book 6 and 7. So the re-release was very exciting. I still have book 6,7 and 8 to go before I’ll be getting anxious for more CK.

      Hopefully the last 12 books can be published even if they are done as eBooks.

  4. Hi David. Just finished The Rise of China. Absolutely loved it. Always sad to finish your books if I don’t have another in the pipeline to continue reading! Looking forward now to the final instalment of Road to Moscow. Have all the original series in paperback on my bookshelf so it does feel strange having your latest stuff on my kindle.
    Thanks for all your books.
    Garry

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