It’s been a busy week. I wondered how my talk about ARIA would go at Chester library. Fascinating place. It used to be a car factory back in the early 1900s even though it’s in the very centre of the city opposite the cathedral. The façade is so beautiful in red sandstone that it’s been preserved. My talk was on the first floor on the left of the photograph. I’m waving in the window but you can’t see me. I wanted to play the video trailer of ARIA in HD on the large TV in the room but it wouldn’t recognize its own USB port so I used their PC. Put it on a loop so those arriving early could admire it while enjoying the library-provided refreshments.
I mentioned how my induction to science fiction was via my parents. Mum joined me to the Children’s science fiction book club when I was four, and my dad illustrated a local SF fanzine, Sidereal. The audience liked how the original idea of infectious amnesia inveigled itself into my head while I cycled up the steep Horseshoe Pass in Wales then the writers there wanted to know about copyrighting the idea, and how to grab the attention of agents and publishers.
One woman had seen amnesia in her family, was clearly upset by her experience and although she bought a signed copy it brought home to me more the early comment on the book from Gladys Hobson. She pointed out how the book is frightening. Yes, I wrote scenes of devastation to families and businesses brought on by everyone losing their memories, but after I’d written it, I’d focussed on some of the humour (waking up with a stranger, trench humour, etc) even though the population forgetting itself to death wasn’t far away from my mind. Seems to me I couldn’t put too many dystopian scenes in ARIA – it would become repetitive – and one of the points of the book was to emphasise how people cope with adversity.
Interestingly, Zetta Brown, one of the publishing team also pointed out to me that the key concept of infectious amnesia scares her more than the less likely realization of vampires and zombies. Hence I was able to tweet – Bored with zombies? Try the next big scary thing…
Grateful though I am for any kind of review, I don’t normally use those on Amazon to promote the book. However, a particularly good one popped up this week from the talented poet, Mandy Pannett. insightful review of ARIA: Left Luggage here
Sadly my using that link to promote ARIA fell foul of another gifted poet at the Bibliophila forum. Eric argued that Mandy only writes good reviews and so they lose value. He has a point although many writers, including my friend, Peter Tomlinson, shirk from writing poor reviews because they might smack of dissing a competitor. I concur and hence you’ll find my reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly good though you could read between the lines and find that I warn readers that the style or content isn’t as good as they could be for some books. If the book is really so awful that I can’t possibly promote them, then I avoid putting up any kind of review or comment even though I wish that writer well – he or she should probably take up knitting instead as Kay Feldon once said at the Winchester Writers’ Conference a few years back.
What I liked about Mandy’s review is that she spotted things no other review mentioned – even those professionals at SFX, Interzone, etc. Ie although there are many characters in ARIA, they are grouped – eg the space station, Anafon Valley, Californian desert, and so easy to relate to. Again the scary aspect of infectious amnesia comes over.
Although Eric and I argued, Delph-Ambi (pseudonym of another gifted poet, writer and artist) told me that a) Eric is a cutie-pie and he and I actually agreed on every major point – it was just our differing styles of argument that kept the discussion going. Maybe. Also he is less than half my age. He can afford to build up his target audience, build a fan base, continue to publish in ever-better publications before launching his oeuvre works for posterity. I am an OAP and maybe only halfway through my life (note positivism) and so in a hurry to grab whatever publishing and promotion opportunities arise within reason.
Speaking of which, the gig in Chester library has led to another in Wrexham library to be announced.
Two more places where I am blogged recently are:
Summary of ARIA information
Title: ARIA: Left Luggage
Author: Geoff Nelder
Price: paperback $14.99 (£9.99) e-book $5.99
I still like this Blurb:
Today, Jack caught a bug at work. He catches a bus home. By the time he disembarks in the desert town of Rosamond, all the other passengers and the driver have fuzzy heads. Jack had caught an amnesia bug, and it’s infectious. Imagine the ramifications: The passengers arrive home infecting family; some shop en route infecting everyone they meet. The bus driver receives more passengers giving them change for last week’s prices and today’s amnesia. Some passengers just started work at the power plant, the water treatment works, the hospital, fire station. All to shut in weeks. Ryder, in the UK, realizes what’s going on but can he persuade friends to barricade themselves in a secluded valley, hiding from the amnesia bug?
Jon Courtenay Grimwood – “Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”
Robert J Sawyer calls ARIA a “fascinating project”.
“Geoff Nelder’s ARIA has the right stuff. He makes us ask the most important question in science fiction–the one about the true limits of personal responsibility.” – Brad Linaweaver.
“ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.” – Mike Resnick.
Kindle – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/
Paperback Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Volume-1/dp/1905091958/
Kindle – UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/
Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Geoff-Nelder/dp/1905091958/
Publisher’s website with more details and formats. http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html
The second book in the Trilogy is ARIA: Returning Left Luggage
Publisher’s site http://www.ll-publications.com/returnluggage.html
The ebook link there would give you a zipped file with files for Kindle, Sony eReader, etc.