Sunday, 6 November 2016

The Flock: Here Be Monster Munches...

Some Monster Munch, this evening...

So I am delighted to announce that my new story, 'The Flock' has been published by the lovely folks over at The Singularity!  It shimmered into being a week or so ago on their website.  You can read it here:

The Flock

I came up with the original idea for this story after I'd visited an Antony Gormley exhibition at the Hayward gallery in London.  Casts of his body were strewn around the South Bank, tottering on the edges of rooftops, and I gather causing some alarm: a few calls to the police from members of the public about men about to jump... The work was called 'Event Horizon', a suitable SFnal title.

The visit had piqued my imagination and The Flock was born a few weeks later.  Or at least, a rudimentary outline thereof.  I'd just moved down to the South Coast and had found a new writers' group, hoping it would be similar to the diverse, outward-looking one I'd had to leave in Bristol.  But it couldn't have been more different.

For some reason, the glossy magazines strewn around, containing stories entitled 'The Violin Man' and 'Heartbreak in the Hospital', didn't register until later.  Excitedly clutching the first few pages of The Flock, when it was my turn, I read them out loud.  Whilst it left most of the group cold, some recoiled in horror.  It seemed that I had misjudged their collective imagination.  Afterwards, the woman who ran the group, somewhat insultingly, even asked me if I'd had my CRB* checked.  I left, appalled, and didn't return.  Luckily my faith in writing groups was soon restored by the wonderful Milford SF Conference.

Anyway, I got wrapped up in writing The Scion and then Machine Songs, and The Flock was shelved.  Returning to it brought back recollections of that dire evening.  But I persevered, and the story changed into its current form, through various iterations.

Since it has been published, there have been some great comments about my use of a popular crispy snack in the story.  This didn't appear in the original draft I read at the godawful writers' group, which might have been the problem.  Anyway, I fully intend that from now on, I use Monster Munch in all future fiction.  Or at least during its creation...

*Criminal Records Bureau - for those outside the UK, new employers run your details through their system to make sure they haven't got a criminal record, etc.  Now known as a Disclosure Check.

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