An American Story

At the beginning of last week I completed and sent in my new novel, An American Story. It is partly set in the USA, partly on an island – but not the Dream Archipelago. I would describe it as being at the speculative end of the spectrum of fantastic literature, rather than in the more central scientific or mythic bands.

As a teaser, here is an image from an old photograph, showing one of the main locations in the story, a place in the USA (unlikely though that might seem at first glance):

 

Alan Kelk

Alan Kelk in 1964

Alan Kelk has died. He taught at my school for thirty-seven years, although I knew him for only four of them.

He taught me two things. The first was to love and respect the English language, a most valuable possession which I have cherished ever since.

The second was a piece of advice: “If thou canst fight, wear a big ‘at.” Although I never quite grasped the full extent of this, I have found it invariably useful in difficult times.

RIP Alan!

A world disaster

That does it – Trump has pulled the USA out of the Paris Accord on climate change.

The American novelist Lionel Shriver recently reported a conversation she had with fellow American Sarah Churchwell, who ‘posited a theory gaining mainstream currency’. I had not heard this before, and have pleasure in quoting part of it:

Many of Trump’s characteristics point towards dementia: forgetfulness (leaving an executive order photo-op without remembering to sign the order); volatility, irritability, impulsivity and paranoia; anxiety about stairs and inclines (re: gripping Theresa May’s hand); poor concentration and degraded syntax: reliance on placeholders (‘very, very, very’ buys time), small vocabulary, fragmented sentences. If still arrogant in 1988, [when Trump was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey] he was lucid, coherent – almost articulate. He didn’t sound like an idiot. He could talk. He can’t talk now.

If the US congress doesn’t have the guts to impeach this appalling man, maybe they should consider committing him to a dementia ward. Perhaps that’s unfair on other dementia patients, who would have to suffer his endless post-massively-ketchuped-hamburger farts. It wouldn’t take long to build a special secure unit for him alone.

Imaginales, Épinal

I shall be at Imaginales, in the Vosges town of Épinal, from the middle of this current week: May 18 – 21. My schedule, as sent to me in advance by Lionel Davoust, my brilliant and irreplaceable French interpreter, is as follows:

Thursday 18th
14h, venue: Magic Mirrors 2
The wonderful journeys of reading

Friday 19th
17h, venue: Magic Mirrors 1
Time and its travels

Saturday 20th
10h, venue: Magic Mirrors 1
Post-apocalyptic worlds

12h30, lunch with readers

Sunday 21th
17h, venue: Magic Mirrors 1
Worldbuilding and worldbuilders

Lionel is himself a writer of great popularity and esteem in France, and I am always amazed by and thankful for the huge amount of time he gives up at events like Imaginales to translate for me. He makes even my most desperate or garbled comment sound elegant and interesting.

If by any chance you can be in Épinal this week, I should love to meet you and say hello. Go to the book tent: this is where we lurk when not in the Magic Mirrors.

The Terror of 403

Apologies if you have been trying to reach this site in the last two weeks or so. A terrifying error-message which blazoned the word FORBIDDEN in capital letters was all you would find. A virus attack had occurred at the ISP, but it has now been sorted by my son Simon. (A million thanks!) He and I have changed ISP, and things should be back to normal.

But I ask a favour: I understand that after a change of ISP anyone who has a link to my site will not be able to re-connect, except manually. I have no access to social media, and I’d be grateful if this renewal could be made known. The URL is unchanged: www.christopher-priest.co.uk.

Thanks!