Blimey... Is it a week and half since Eastercon happened? It was terrific - great to meet up with friends old and new, and a special thanks to those who lugged hardback copies of my books across the Atlantic for signing. My privilege and honour.

I had stuff to say on two panels: Writers and the Web, and Science and the Media - Accuracy in reporting. Most excellent, and I should maybe write more here (but not right now) about the content. One thing that got mentioned was the way that blog readers, on a site like this, might like some insight into the writing life. If that's true, that's great - although in a real sense, there's no such thing as "the" writer's life.

If you're not writing yet and you want to do it, then start writing every day for an hour... and now you know what the writer's life is like. It's what you experience now, with added writing.


I happened to mention something at the con which was about my first book, To Hold Infinity (in the US it was my 4th book to appear), being the haikus that appear at the start of every chapter. I'm pleased that people read them as haikus - as if they're good enough to be haikus, I guess - while the truth is that they're something more. Since I play with concepts of language changing with technology (and thought changing with language as well as tech), the haikus are not there by coincidence. Neither is it coincidence that there are 36 chapters in the book - 36 being the number of faces possessed by a hypercube.

If you check the three end-of-line words on each haiku, you'll find another haiku using the same three words to start its lines. Or something whose first or last line has those three words as the start, centre and end. Join them all and you have a hypercube of text.

What I'm wondering is, should a writer put hidden logic and games inside their books? I actually don't know the answer. When Umberto Eco does it, people think he's clever. Is it that the lit'ry folk who look for subtext are unlikely to be mathematicians, while the mathematicians are unlikely to look for subtext? Beats me.

So, did anyone spot the combat strategy/philosophy games (think Sun Tzu and Bruce Lee) in Paradox? I know that at least one person worked out that Bone Song and Dark Blood (aka Black Blood in the US) are not so much dark fantasy/gothic SF as alternate history SF, with a specific departure point from our history. (Hint: it's billions of years ago.)

Or should I just tell stories without the clever stuff?


Blogger Al said...

I spotted the games in Paradox but didn't deeply ponder whether there was an actual basis in them besides being an exercise.

April 16, 2010 at 12:22 AM  
Blogger John Meaney said...

Hi Al...

Well done for spotting them! Nothing profound in the games that time (unlike the first book) apart from little jokes, like adding one to the list of categories of attack strategies, just so the JKD folk would wonder what I knew that they didn't.

It was the physics I thought deeply about. Plus, of course, Resolution ends the trilogy with a closed time loop, thereby resolving or avoiding a paradox, depending on how you look at it.

April 23, 2010 at 5:39 PM  

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