Blood On The Rooftops

It’s been a little while since we’ve heard from David, but he’s just checked in with this piece about the situation in Gaza, plus some news about appearances and the next book in the Roads to Moscow series. Thanks to David for sending this along; full text appears after the break.


Blood On The Rooftops

It’s a rainy Sunday morning in North London, and on TV they’re discussing the Gaza situation in the usual kind of ‘tolerant’ fashion we have in this country, with both sides trying desperately hard to see and acknowledge the other’s point of view. Only on topics like Gaza it’s pretty hard to keep a dispassionate, tolerant opinion. Right now, Gaza itself seems like some absurd and horrible (and inhumane) mix of concentration camp and shooting gallery. I can’t remember where it appeared, but one woman wrote in to one of the major papers to argue that if we (us Brits) had reacted in the same way that Israel has, during our “Troubles” (back in the seventies), then we’d have been bombing council estates in Belfast and having our snipers pick off anyone they fancied, man, woman or child, on the pretext that they’d been acting as human shields for the IRA.

Let’s be clear. I don’t like Netanyahu. He’s a hard-hearted man who has forgotten his own history.  I think he lost the moral high ground ages ago – as did Israel itself – by treating the Palestinians the way they have and in stealing land to create more Israeli settlements. In a world where the United States wasn’t backing Israel, this wouldn’t have happened. Israel would not have dared. As it is, they are a rogue nation, breaking international law in almost everything they do.

One of the people on the TV panel this morning was trying to claim that there is no difference between being Jewish and being Zionist. I beg to differ. Zionism has a militant streak to it that is both unattractive and, well, let’s be frank, unforgiving. The Zionists I’ve heard on my TV have forgotten what the Nazis did to them. They have failed to learn from history.

Does holding this view make me anti-semitic? I’m pretty sure I’m not. It hasn’t changed, in the least, how I feel about my Jewish friends (and I have quite a few). No. It’s simply that what Netanyahu and the Zionists are doing cannot be tolerated. Not if we wish to solve the problems of the Middle East and not give the Islamic Khalifate lots of great publicity – all of which helps them (and Hamas) to recruit yet more young fanatics. No. This has all been going on far too long.  In the same period we here (in the UK) have solved our Troubles and drawn the IRA – once our greatest terrorist threat – into becoming part of our democratic process.

All of this, incidentally, was spawned by watching a TV program the other evening about Genesis, one of my all-time favourites, whose track – Blood On The Rooftops – on the 1976 album, WING AND WUTHERING has given me the title for this blog. 1976! And what has changed? What improved?


Thirty eight years on and nothing has changed. It just gets worse and worse.

As Genesis sing – “Let’s skip the news boy (I’ll go and make some tea)

                                     Arabs and the Jews boy, too much for me.”

If you think I’m wrong, let me know. That’s what this is about. Democracy and freedom of speech. An exchange of views and not an exchange of rockets.

Oh, and I ought, I guess, to say that, as a rationalist and dissenter, I’ve actually little time whatsoever for religion. I’m with Mao on that (and maybe that alone).

What have I been up to? Well, a lot of the last two weeks has been taken up with the fine editing of ROADS TO MOSCOW book two, THE OCEAN OF TIME, which I’ve now delivered. It was tough going, but I have to say I really enjoyed the process. Is it as good as book one? Oh, better. Miles better. My best ever writing, I’d claim. And such fun to write. But ahead lies the World Convention, being held here in London for the first time in some while. I’ll be hanging about the Excel Centre from Wednesday afternoon through to the following Monday. Oh, and I’ll list where and when I can be found later on in this blog, but just to say, if you’re there, come up and say hello. My dear friend Mike Cobley is coming down to stay with us here for the duration of the convention. If you’ve not read any of his work, go and search him out. He writes huge scale space opera with great characters.

One of the things I’ll be doing an hour and a half session with Brian Aldiss discussing his career and -his book jackets. But here’s the line-up.

Thursday 14th – 16.00 to 17.00 “Literary Beer” at the Bar in the ExCel.

Saturday 16th – 10.00 to 11,00 – Autographing 3 at the Autographing Space, ExCel.

Sunday 17th – 15.00 to 16.30 – “Brian Aldiss – 40 years of cover art” (London Suite 3, ExCel).

Sunday  17th – 17.30 – 18.00 – Reading (London Suite 3, ExCel).


Oh, and I’ll be blogging from the Worldcon. So keep an eye open for those. I’ve a lot of old friends scheduled to turn up –  including a fair number of science fiction writers – and it’s also Sue’s birthday on the Monday (the 18th) so it’s going to be busy-busy.

I’ll call this to a close. The rain has stopped raining. Sue has gone off to do the food shopping and Genesis are still playing away in the background. And ahead, after the Convention? Well, my plan is to get Book Three finally finished (I’m still about three weeks off), ready to give to Michael Rowley at DelRey and see what he thinks of it.

And then? Well, then I plan to work on two things alongside each other – the finale to CHUNG KUO and a new thing called…? Well, of which, more later.

And next time, maybe, we can talk about the movie interest and spin-offs and…

Bye for now!

David Wingrove   10th August 2014

16 thoughts on “Blood On The Rooftops”

  1. I hope ‘movie interest and spin-offs and …’ includes trying to get the remaining Chung Kuo books not only completed but published. I am dying of thirst for the completion.

    1. Adrian,

      As I’ve just said to Matt in an email, once THE MASTER OF TIME – the last ROADS book – is out of the way, I shall be pushing Chung Kuo on towards completion. Coming soon will be a new website and a regular ‘How Things Are Going’ blog. But please don’t think I’m going to abandon this. No way. I was watching a couple of China documentaries last night (on BBC4) and it made me realise why I began on this crazy quest all those years ago, and what a damn fine idea it is.

      So bear with me. I apologise for the wait, but it will be worth it, I promise.

      Thanks for caring,


      1. Thank you David for the thorough reply and reassurance. I am looking forward to the completion. I suggested a while ago that you might put the shorter Chung Kuo stories into an anthology. I hope you might consider this as well but I can understand how busy you must be and the last thing you need is suggestions like that.

  2. I just got started on the Broken Wheel, and plan to read through that and White Mountain in one go. So I will be interested to find out some more about the plans for the remaining Chung Kuo books.

      1. Marc,

        IT’d be a shock to me if it was true, but it’s not. I think it’s just a case of the publishing machine running on automatic. MONSTERS OF THE DEEP will come out, but not for another 12/15 months, if I can manage it.

        Thanks for picking up on it though,


  3. David,

    Once more i have to disagree with you. Like so many you are failing to see that the real problem for the Palestinians is not Israel, it’s Hamas. I think it’s in very poor taste for you to claim that what Israel is doing is sniping at women and children calling them “human shields.” But if you want to jump on the same bandwagon as Pelelope Cruz and Javier Bardem that’s your choice. Hamas has been firing rockets at Israeli cities, David! They ARE deliberately targeting women and children. But that’s ok, right? It’s only a horrible thing when palestinian civilians are killed when Israel fires back at the sources of the rocket attacks, right? If israeli citizens were actually killed by hamas’ rockets, what would you then say? That once again it’s israel’s fault, right? So no matter what kind of disaster happens, israel is to blame!! That’s great, David. Allow me to share some recent history with you…palestinian children are taught one thing by hamas – to hate israel more than they should love their own family members. Children are being taught by hamas to shoot guns at israelis. What kind of society teaches children hatred, David? Would you condone anyone of any society to teach their chidren to hate?? I’m sorry, David, you just really made me angry this time. Hamas IS using palestinians as human shields. They fire rockets from places like elementary schools so that when israel fires back at the sources of the rockets, the world can claim that “israel is targeting women and children!” I would have expected better from you than to buy into such nonsense.


  4. Sorry, did I just read that correctly?
    The finale to Chung Kuo? What the blazes! I’ve gone back to re-reading the original series, for which I have two copies of each volume, because I can’t get my Chung Kuo fix.
    Empire of Time is smashing, but it was a real brain bender adjusting to 1st person after the sweeping narrative and mastery of so many diverse characters in Chung Kuo.
    Mr. Wingrove’s writing, to me can be summed up with the word fearless. Addressing vast issues, from different perspectives, and the main character of Otto is no less an example, particularly with the opening of Roads to Moscow.
    Really looking forward to seeing what’s-the-what regarding Chung Kuo.

    1. I think 1st person perspective made the time-traveling of Empire of Time easier to digest and well, understand.

      If you had a book where characters were jumping to and from various points and times changing things and jumping back and forth again and again–AND had it done via multiple points of view such as Chung Kuo or any other series with large casts, you’d be dealing with something very difficult to stomach.

      Keeping everything from Otto’s POV is for the best IMO.

  5. Brilliant, absolutely marvellous.

    David, is it possible to vote for you to be our prime minister at the next general election?

  6. why is it so hard to see? Both sides are guilty in in this war, to no end. Both sides comitted crimes, hid behind whatever they saw fit to hind behind and both sides shot at whatever they wanted to shoot at.
    Unfortunately, there are two major differences why I believe it is in Israels responsibility to stop this.
    1. Israel is a functioning, democratic state. Full with an constitution, education system, welfare, rule of law, healthcare and what not. A rather wealthy country as well. And a safe one, with a mighty military, capable of protecting them even without their nuclear weapons.
    In contrast, Palestine is a mess, now multiple generations born in misery, hatred, suffering … and a state of oppression, as an occupied country.2nd grade citizens and all that. And on top, pawns on the chessboard of other Arabian nations, who don’t care about them, but just abuse them to cause rage against Israel and its backer, the US.
    No healthcare, no education system, no rule of law, no stable government nothing. And on top Islam, the currently most abused and misinterpreted of all the useless religions on this planet.
    2. who had to bear most casualties? Which side? How many Israelis die every time Palestinians retaliate? And how many Palestinians die every time Israel retaliates.

    So, which side bears the responsibility to act, to bring an end to madness? Which side can do it? Do you really expect the Palestinians in this situation to go all Gandhi on Israel and stop fighting? With that background described above?
    Only Israel can stop this madness, and they were very close once, remember Rabin. And remember what happened to him. Is it fair that it is their responsibility? I don’t know, and I don’t care. It is how it is. Only they can stop it, and with one “strike” they could end most of the hatred against them and the USA that exists in the Arabian world.

    But for now, both sides continue, and generation after generation is born into violence, hatred, racism and bloodshed.

    Sorry, I believe it is idiotic to blame only one side in such a long war for what has happened…cannot understand how everyone manages to so greatly ignore the facts of all that has happened on both sides.
    But only one side can act, only one side is a functioning, democratic state. That brings along responsibility. The other side is just a sad bloody mess. Not much wisdom to expect from that, just suffering and more violence.

    sorry, just my two cents.

  7. David,

    Thanks again for the updates. I am really looking forward to hearing about other project you’ve been working on. It would be great to hear updates on some of the other project you’ve mentioned in the past: An English Boy, Burying The Smyth, Imagine A Man, The Beast With Two Backs, and of course the 20+ Chung Kuo spin-offs.

    Speaking of Worldcon, I’ve seen that next year’s event will be hosted in Spokane. I know you are familiar with Spokane, thanks to your work with the Millers on the Myst books. Is there any chance that you might make a trip out this way? I’d love to buy you a pint.

    A side note on football: One of our homegrown Seattle boys, DeAndre Yedlin, just signed for Tottenham. The transfer doesn’t take effect at least until the end of our season (hopefully mid-to-late December after we’ve won some silverware). It seems that starting next year I’ll have more of a reason to watch some more English football, although it’ll be from the other side of north London.

    Regarding the Israel-Palestine issues, I think Kaneda has hit it on the head. Reading the history of the region is very illuminating, especially when you consider that the area has been under nearly continuous occupation of some sort for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. From the Romans and all their spin-offs, through the Ottomans, the British, Egypt, now Israel, and of course many others thrown in there. Similarly, the history of the Jewish Diaspora, the rise of Zionism, the Holocaust, the rise of Israel are also extremely illuminating.


  8. My goodness, people! Sorry, but i have to respond to both Kaneda and Goonda regarding Kaneda having “hit it on the head.”

    I always see people using the words “both sides” this and “both sides” that as a way of reassuring themselves that they are being so objective and reasonable about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

    Are either of you ever going to respond to what I said about Hamas being the real problem for the Palestinians? If Hamas cared at all about the betterment of the squalid lives of these poor people wouldn’t they have built some infrastructure with all of that concrete instead of raid-tunnels? How much money do you think went into those rockets being fired at Israel? Couldn’t that money have been used to help the Palestinian people? You need to understand that there is one thing and one thing only that will satisfy Hamas – THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL. There is NOTHING short of this goal that will satisfy these people. Hamas WANTS Palestinians to get killed, so that people like you guys can accuse Israel of being bloodthirsty in their “targeting of women and children.” Hamas wanted those people to stay in their homes while Israel fired those warning shots because the more Palestinians killed, the better publicity Hamas gets. That’s why they tell the people to stay where they are.

    Kaneda, you said “both sides shot at whatever they wanted to shoot at.” Just listen to yourself! Do you really think Israel WANTED those poor people killed?? What does Israel have to gain from something like that?? And what do you want Israel to do while rockets are being fired at its cities?? Nothing?? Or perhaps you want Israel to REWARD Hamas for firing those rockets.

    Furthermore, do you think that suffering completely absolves someone of any responsibility? Let me ask you this – if people of native american descent are living in squalid conditions in the usa, does that give them to right to wrap bombs around their wastes and blow up american citizens in shopping malls? It’s the same thing if you’re going to think that just because they’re suffering, Palestinians are incapable of having a conscience!

    Tell you what?…offer a solution, guys! Should Israel move out of Palestine? Is that what you want? Do you want Israel to cease to exist as a nation-state?

    Yes, Kaneda, Israel has a better functioning society than the Palestinians, but you are wrong to think that Israel’s “occupation” prohibits the Palestinians from having one. It’s Hamas that’s the problem, as i keep saying. Children in Israel are taught many things. Children in the west bank and gaza are taught one thing – that the destruction of israel is more important than their own families.

    Wake up, guys!!!!!!

    1. Actually, you hit it on the head without noticing it 😉
      Yes, on Palestinian side Hamas is the problem. They don’t care for peace and abuse their own population. And worst of all, they will not go away anytime soon.
      And in the end, I believe you can accuse either side of not really wanting peace, otherwise please explain continued construction of new settlements for example? Or would you thnk the death tolls on either side are somewhat in proportion? This leads nowhere …

      It is pointless to argue for who is at fault, who started what etc. It is a vicious circle of arguments with no real beginning…at least I don’t presume to know it. Hamas shoots Kassam, Israel uses that as an excuse for bombings. Which Hamas will use again as an excuse for the next of their crap rockets they shoot. Rinse, lather, repeat.
      Every rocket Hamas fires creates more hatred in Israel. Every bomb Israel drops creates more hatred among the Palestinians. Add on top all the other shit that is happening from both sides. If you believe Israel was striving for peace than you have a weird perception of how to achieve it. Don’t even try to tell me that Israel behaves “as good as possible” under the situation. Then you are just a shill.I am not even going to list up all the issues that surfaced and documented crimes on both sides.

      So how is that supposed to end? Yes, children in Gaza are most likely all told to hate Israel and seek its destruction. Very easy to convince them if the bombs keep dropping, even on schools and hospitals. Children will not comprehend or care if weapons were hidden there or rockets fired from the adjacent bulding. They will just hate Israel. And Israel gives them plenty of pre-text to fall for Hamas lies, it makes it so easy for Hamas to make sure nobody in Gaza wants peace. And that is the point.

      So listen at yourself for a change. You effectively just promote more violence, more violence in an never ending spiral of violence. What is your solution? Always shoot back? Kill all Palestinians? Occupy Gaza forever?
      My solution, trust me you will not like it: When Hamas shoots, ignore it. Whatever they do, ignore it. Do not shoot back. After all, the Israelis believe they occupy the moral high ground, don’t they? And least they should (coming back to the functioning state argument). So act accordingly. Don’t shoot back, instead deliver food and water to Gaza. Restore electricty. Stop the settlements, tear down the wall. Tread arabs in Israel as absosulte, unlimited equals. Simply help them. Make f*cking peace!!! Show them that the Israelis are actually better than everyone else around (who gives a flying f*ck about the Palestinians and just uses them for pawns of their religious-hatred infused games). Show everyone that Israel is not the evil everyone makes them. Stop helping them finding half-assed, wrong and hateful but so-easy-to-belive lies why “the Jews” are bad and all that crazy shit. Simply do the opposite.

      I know, wrong religion and all but one of the few good morals of christianity (that 99,9999% of all christians so conveniently ignore)? If someone slaps your left cheek, offer the right cheek one as well (or however you translate that).

      It will be very hard for Hamas to justify more rockets, it will be very hard for them to condition the next generation and the following generation into the same hatred. It will be very hard for the rest of the Arab nations to hate Israel, to call for its anhihilation, to blame the US for their support etc.

      Is it easy? No, absolutely not. Does Israel have to do it becomes everything is their fault? I don’t think so and am in no position to claim so anyway. But Israel should do so and in my opinion has to do so because it is the only way out. Only they can, and with such ability comes responsibility. It is the only solution I can see. Stop the violence. Once there is no violence, other voices will have a chance to rise on both sides and make peace.

      And yes, would be great if the Palestinians could do it themselves and go all Gandhi on Israel. Unfortunately, they don’t exist alone in their world (like India did) but are abused and misused by so many other nations like Iran. Does it absolves them from all guilt? No I don’t think so. But it makes it simply insanely unrealistic to expect any resolution from them. There is just too much hate down there that wants to keep them going, even if they would want to stop.

      Sorry, just my two cents.
      And for what its worth: Texts like David’s initial blog up there do not help the situtation at all. Too one-sided & two full of questionable propaganda-like argumentes (snipers etc.), just not helping.

      1. Wow, where to begin?…

        First of all, thank you for finally addressing Hamas as a problem.

        Let’s see…you imply that Israel needs “an excuse” for bombings. So like David, you still see Israel as a bunch of trigger-happy cowboys that are simply having a good time shooting at Palestinian civilians because it’s fun for them. And you see all this talk about “human shields” as an excuse just to cover up their fun. Needless to say, i believe you are both very wrong.

        David is wrong to somehow correlate Hamas with the IRA. As far as i know, the IRA wanted Ireland to be independent from the United Kingdom. Hamas, David, does not want independence…it wants Israel destroyed – a very big difference. And i imagine that you would not feel very sympathetic toward the IRA if they were busy firing missiles that could level parts of Britain where your daughters are living.

        Sorry, Kaneda, back to you…you say, “If you believe Israel was striving for peace than you have a weird perception of how to achieve it.” What Israel wants is to exist without being attacked by missiles, suicide bombs, and raid tunnels. They’re trying to take away Hamas’ ability to do these things from Gaza.

        Which brings us to what you say next…that Israel should “ignore” the attacks and simply send aid to the Palestinians, because then “it will be very hard for them to condition the next generation and the following generation into the same hatred.” Kaneda, the only thing that would make it hard for Palestinians to hate Israel is if Israel ceased to exist. Palestinians have always been taught to see the entire country of Israel as a theft. To them, that entire country should be “Palestine” and the Jews should not be there.

        So this is where you and i disagree – on the hypothetical situation where Israel dismantled its own military and did absolutely nothing as suicide bomb attacks, kidnappings/murders of Israelis, and missiles fired at israeli cities continued. You, Kaneda, believe that a single tear would run down the cheek of all Palestinians at “how nice those Israelis are to not fight back, so let’s just all acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a country after all.” I, on the other hand, continue to believe that only the destruction of Israel will satisfy Palestinian militants.

        So if you really think about it, what you’re telling Israel is to “stop existing” in order to “stop the violence.”

        I think that you are a very well-meaning person, Kaneda, and i really respect your desire for a good outcome, but this is a very serious deeply rooted (historically) problem that has no simple solution. To be perfectly honest, I cannot claim to have some perfect solution myself, but i believe that you are wrong to believe that the answer is for Israel to “go all Ghandi” as well.

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