Recently I had a look through my old posts on this blog and came across some surprises.
And how many of the 7 places to find ebooks without selling your soul have endured these last three years?
Seems a lot longer. I’m working on a ten-year plan, with a five year plan to add a bit of an impetus in the short term.
My aim, as I’ve said before, is a body of work. And with that in mind, I found some interesting echoes in books I’ve read recently.
After the push to get Shadowbox out, I wanted to kick back and relax. Refill the well. So I picked up a couple of favourite stories for re-reading, authors I admire, who have a body of work with which I’m very familiar.
The first of these was Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley.
He’s known more for Brave New World, but Crome Yellow was his first novel. I was surprised to find, buried in his story of a dinner party in 1921, the seed of his later fame and the major premise of Brave New World: the notion that in future societies, babies would be raised in glass jars. (I was also surprised to find Crome Yellow at Project Gutenberg, but hey, it’s 2014).
The other story was The Stress Of Her Regard by Tim Powers.
A complex novel, two inches thick in mass-market paperback, the book heaves with elements of his later works: the Romantic poets Byron and Shelley, supernatural beings of stone (most prominent in his much later novel Declare), vampires as in Bury Me Among The Graves.
Finding elements of later stories within early ones is a good sign of a body of work. There’s an essential core of ideas which filter through each writer’s storytelling, as clear as a writer’s voice, as indicative as the “fist” of a telegraph operator tapping Morse code down a signal wire.
Messages to the future.
P.S. Here’s Margaret Atwood’s essay on Aldous Huxley, “Everybody is happy now“, on the Guardian from 2007.