Please do excuse me for this shameless book-plug and self-promotion.
This is not some tawdry plea for you to purchase the book. Nooo! Seriously…
Think of it instead more of an opportunity for you to just tell six or seven hundred million of your closest friends about it. Please spread the word… by sharing, tweeting, opening your office window and shouting in a falsetto voice, whatever you usually do in such cases… 😉
I shall lash myself with birch twigs later, but if not here, then where else might I? If I don’t say anything at all then no-one will know, although it could be argued that to not know might be better for the public health. Since when, though, has the public health been any of my concern?
If nothing else, please do just think of how lonely my little elephant would be, hidden in unmentioned obscurity. His party-balloon might have gone soggy and wrinkled.
‘Genre?’, I hear you gasp. Hmm. It is difficult to classify The Dog With The Bakelite Nose. It’s not really science-fiction, but then it’s not wholly speculative fiction either. It’s funny, I hope, as much as I can make it so in a very Ealing Comedy, awfully English way. It is written, of course, in thoroughly English english, with not only Oxford commas abounding, but some from Cambridge, Abingdon and Cleethorpes, too.
“Political correctness“, which is in point of fact nothing of the sort, doesn’t get a look in, rather it gets well and truly booted out. This is a book featuring blokes doing blokey things – adventuring in outer space in rocket-ships, inventing stuff, calling a spade everything except a gender-fluid nature-disturbance facilitation implement designed by the Patriarchy and used by men worldwide to oppress snowflakes, unicorns and snow-unicorns since time immemorial. Snowflakes who find the term “snowflake” offensive might as well reach now for the smelling salts, the Milk Of Magnesia and the latest copy of Celebrity Victim Weekly. This book has a cast of #strongmaleleads, if you’ll pardon my doing what I can to provide counterpoint to the current fad for (faux~) virtue-signalling by witless wonders and chinless corporations.
In a first for any of my books (not just the three three current items) there is some use of one very naughty swear-word, on about half a dozen occasions. It’s been a bleak winter, do you see? If I didn’t swear here I’d only have had to open a porthole and say something rude or suggestive to the swans. I do apologise, but the inclusions are, I think, entirely warranted and in context. I did enjoy using them, but I doubt that I will do so again.
There’s no sex, of course. For one thing, this is a book about Englishmen, and for another, I couldn’t write about sex if my liberty depended upon it. One has only to read through my old Police statements and charge-sheets to know that. So no, no sex.
- The Dog With The Bakelite Nose
- The Rarest Gift Of All
- The Omnibudsman
- The Man Who Invented Extremely Wet Water
- Dry Sherry And Victoria Sponge In Space
- Take Me To Your Leader
- A Simple Matter Of Suitable Transportation
- Woomera, We Have A Problem
- Pendulum Swing, Pendulum Do
- Voting Makes You Free
I did say that the book is free from the scourge of “political correctness” but that in fact is not quite true. A more apposite title for the last story (a serious study in re the workings and values of modern English politics) would have been “Voting Macht Frei”, so strong are my sincere opinions on the subject. I would then, of course, have felt the long arm of the Constabulary’s Big Brave Internet Thought-Crimes Brigade upon my shoulder, swiftly followed by prosecution and being banged up for seven to ten (I kid you not, England has sunk thus low of late). I draw the “sticking your neck out” line at sharing a cell for my early autumn years with a two-hundred-kilo strangler called Dave who would probably want me to iron his Y-fronts for him among all of my other cell-wife duties.
The title story ties up the loose ends left by the title story of The Cat Wore Electric Goggles. It’s all terribly silly, but fun.
We spend some time with a modern guru who possesses a skill that is, in reality, in very short supply these days. There’s a chap who slipped through the safety-net and was born and lived his life entirely without the benefit of the customary “guardian angel”. We boldly seek new life and new civilisations along with the “Goldilocks” brigade, a very clever chap empties England’s prisons and colonises Mars at the same time, and in Woomera, We Have A Problem, there’s a bit of an inconvenience with the shape of the Moon. Don’t even get me started on the clapped-out faux-hippie clones of academe, you’ll find them pilloried in Pendulum Swing, Pendulum Do.
Before we continue, and there’s not much more to say, I ought to mention that the scepticism of Pendulum Swing, Pendulum Do should not be swallowed at face value or without water. I do believe that the planet is undergoing climate change, I do think that some of it is merely cyclic and some of it is certainly man-made. One thing I can say without fear of contradiction, contraception or contra-contraption is that, whatever its effects, what we are very obviously doing to the planet is obscene, incredibly stupid and quite possibly taking us beyond Father Nature’s systemic tolerances. We’re not treating our one and only planet well, we’re kicking seven shades of shi*te out of it, and whatever the consequences may be, we deserve them.
At the moment the book is in eBook format –
As soon as I get page numbers, margins and alternating gutters into the file, it’ll be in paperback too, but if you’re due to take a bath or something I’d go ahead and take it without waiting. It may take me a day or two.
The book description is always more difficult to compose than the damned book itself. Here’tis.
“Ten slightly mouldy slices of England’s brilliant future failures, each successfully consigned to the pre-apologetic, more successful past. Wonderfully tragic beginnings meet gruesomely happy endings, miserable lives wallow in cheerful second chances. Old-fashioned blokes, being blokes, doing awfully modern bloke things such as inventing stuff and exploring space, but with not a caricature or stereotype left undisturbed. The science is ridiculous, the plots are risible. The opening line of the first story is “Awoogah! Awoogah!” and that’s got to be one heck of a clue. This is England’s beautiful, bumbling, blue-blooded belligerence, lovingly portrayed in properly-punctuated, politically-incorrect, purple prose.
Enjoy tales of rocket-ships crewed by utter idiots, of hung-over gurus struggling to meet demand, of some minor problems with the shape of the moon and of how we, the Smiths and the Browns and the Greens, side-stepped the rat-race, won the space-race and lost touch with the human race.
This book is not about dogs, there are only two in the whole text and they are mentioned but incidentally. The characters in this book are much less well-adapted to the modern world than are either the Collie or the Labrador – they are Englishmen.“
One big biggy of my lovely cover, and then I’ll let you be with almost ne’ery another word on the subject (other than on Twitter, where I am a nuisance and a pest and a thing):
82,000 words – in English english, I must say. Those of you with an international bent, or those of you who speak and write in American (and that is also most of those with an international bent, these days) needs must please to wear your translating spectacles. Tsk tsk, it really is time that you claimed and named your own, distinct, quite separate language, Uncle Sam. It’s yours, be proud of it! I have little to no doubt that if you are from the U.S.A. then reading something written in English-english will be as jarring and stumble-weary an experience as is the reverse! I’m just running the warning flag up the pole, in case it is a problem…
Whither then now? Well, I have the backgrounds and settings for two novellas, one apocalyptic and one merely “out there”, and I am in search of plots to lay upon them. I have the makings of another half-dozen short stories in a quite different genre altogether, and I’ll yodel to the world about that if I achieve my aims therein. Can I be serious, by which I mean, am I able to write in a serious tone? I don’t know, I’m certainly going to try. I shall have to find my serious quill and a pot of grown-up ink.
I thank you all for your indulgence thus far, and I assure you that this is indeed a once-upon-a-release event.
Other people’s books and grabbingly good reads I am happy to feature whenever, but there will be no more of mine, until, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Chin-chin, chaps and chapesses.
Ian H., done for the moment, and I think that’s quite enough, don’t you?