Saturday, November 23, 2013

Links 23/11/13

"We are presenting a set of cheeses made using bacteria from the human body."

Perfume made from Lady Gaga's urine.

'Scientists have practically obliterated the ultimate symbol of maleness in DNA, the Y chromosome, and believe they may be able to do away with it completely.'

'An intact population of microorganisms that derive food and benefit from other organisms living in the intestine is required for optimal response to cancer therapy, according to a mouse study by scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and their collaborators.'

 'On this sun-blasted tract of sand 14 miles south of Baker, molecular biologist and entrepreneur J. Craig Venter is field-testing a technology that he says will revolutionize the search for extraterrestrial life.
Not only does Venter say his invention will detect and decode DNA hiding in otherworldly soil or water samples — proving once and for all that we are not alone in the universe — it will beam that information back to Earth and allow scientists to reconstruct living copies in a biosafety facility.'

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Roads Not Taken

I recently signed the contracts for Something Coming Through, and am nearing the end of the third draft. When it's published, it will be my twentieth novel. Which is some kind of achievement, I guess. Here are a few that didn't get finished, for various reasons. Every novelist will have similar stories of books scuttled because of bad timing, bad luck, or the realisation that there was a better novel to be written. On the whole, I think I've gotten off lightly.

Untitled sequel to Eternal Light - which would have been my fourth novel, until I realised, after writing a synopsis and a couple of chapters, that I had nothing useful to add to what had already been published. So I wrote something completely different - Red Dust, Tibetan cowboys on Mars - instead.

Pasquale's America - again, a synopis and a few chapters were written for this sequel to my Renaissance steampunk novel Pasquale's Angel, but I'd just changed publishers and couldn't get the rights back for Pasquale's Angel, so that, as they say, was that.

Alessi's Comet - a science fiction novel that was halfway through the first draft when my publishers decided they had no enthusiasm for publishing science fiction any more.

Gone Dead Train and Bad Genes.  Two thrillers. Gone Dead Train was a sequel to my surveillance thriller Whole Wide World, but I moved publishers (again) and had the same problem as with Pasquale's America. Bad Genes (terrible title) was a new direction that I gave up while halfway into the first draft when a publishing deal fell through. Hey ho.

The Disappeared was going to be the sequel to my MMORPG thriller Players, turned down by my then publisher.

Manswarm - an idea about a murder mystery set in a hyperpopulated London that never got further than a synopsis, because I decided to write The Quiet War instead. Good move.

London Endless - I've written several stories about Mr Carlyle, a long-lived private investigator with a great deal of knowledge about 'the matter of the dead'; I wrote a very detailed chapter-by-chapter synopsis for an American publishing deal that fell through when the enthusiastic editor lost his job because of bizarre publishing nonsense. The only orphan on this list I might return to, one day.
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