Maybe I should say something about the contract I just signed. It’s with Gollancz, it’s for three novels, and one of them has been written, while the other two are at the golden vapourware stage. The one that has been written (but not finished, as it is currently being parsed by my eagle-eyed editor, and I have some ideas about what needs to be changed, too), was once called Look For America
, but is now Cowboy Angels
. Five points if you know which the two songs, one by Bob Dylan and the other by Gram Parsons, I stole that from. It’s had an interesting history, mostly due to publishing nonsense I don’t want to go into (at least, not yet). I wrote it directly after I finished White Devils, starting early in 2003 and turning it in early in spring 2004, which is where it languished until I resold it to Gollancz. It’s currently scheduled to come out in August 2007, an incubation period more like that of a literary novel than a genre novel that’s a cross between 24
and Doctor Who
(or The Man From U.N.C.L.E
and The Time Tunnel
for you older readers). It’s about a retired CIA agent brought back into service to track down an old friend who has started murdered different versions of the same woman. For this CIA isn’t our CIA; it’s based in an alternate version of America that calls itself the Real, in which a method of travelling between alternate histories (Turing gates) was invented in the late 1960s. The Real has been interfering with other Americas and imposing its own version of democracy on them ever since, until the adventures in other Americas, and the CIA’s budget, were scaled down after Jimmy Carter was elected President. But as our hero tracks his old friend through different versions of America, he stumbles on a plot to reverse peacenik Carter’s policy . . .
Well, it’s pretty clear where in the happening world my inspiration for this came from. And I hope to turn the delay in publication to my advantage by stirring in a few glancing references to the Real’s versions of Things You Just Can’t Make Up that have since popped up in our own America’s adventures. Because I’m still just as angry about the whole sorry shooting match in Iraq and Britain’s shameful role in it as when it kicked off, I think I still have a good sharp edge, and I also think I have a much better perspective on it, too.
As for the other two novels, they both share the settings of my ‘Quiet War’ stories. One will be about the Quiet War itself; the other about the aftermath. At the moment they’re a growing pile of notes and a number of attempts at a first sentence, so I better not say any more. Since I’m hopeless at multitasking, I won’t be making a formal start until the edit of Cowboy Angels
is out of the way; and there’s also another novel that needs some work, too, but more about that some other time.