For some reason I can't quite fathom, the past several weeks have been a bit of a social whirl. Pretty much every night of the week there's been something happening, and I'm just glad I'm working full-time otherwise the drain on previously depleted financial resources would have been relatively stupendous. But that endrun of activity seems to be losing steam, so things are now - relatively - quieter ... or at least somewhat back to normal. But it's still all good for someone who spent a chunk of last year housebound (for instance on Sunday I headed for the Offshore coffee shop and sat there for precisely five minutes with the laptop, intent on working up story ideas, when two friends down from Dundee stuck their head in the door on the distant offchance I'd be there and, lo and behold, another evening of fun rather than work).

My agent seems pretty happy with the outline for the sequel to Stealing Light, and glancing over it myself, it feels pretty solid, though I imagine I'll still find room for a couple of extra subplots here and there. The outline for book three remains vague, sketchy and light, and it's probably going to take me a couple of weeks to figure out exactly what I do want to happen there. The idea of keeping it to just two books did occur to me, mind, so we'll see: or possibly a two-part story (although, as Rick Kleffel has indirectly noted, Stealing Light functions perfectly well as a standalone), followed by a separate narrative set in the same universe but tied into events that took place in the previous two volumes. Right now that's all up in the air.

One of the nice things about hanging out with a bunch of other writers is you sometimes end up playing around with ideas and bouncing them around whenever trying to figure out the plot of Lost gets dull. Sunday night ended with myself, Bob and Helena (down from Dundee), Andy, a guitar teacher, and Hal sitting around a table in the Uisge Bheatha in the West End, while myself and Hal batted around ideas since I was wondering what I might want to do after the Stealing Light books. God knows the virtual drawers of my mac are stuffed with unfinished novels and outlines - Scavengers, the original, much more mundane-sf version of Against Gravity (different enough I could still write it as an entirely separate book), Wonderland, Western Gothic, Hundred Houses, and yet more - but a conversation about famous Hollywood car chases evolved into an idea for a story about illegal urban car races, twenty seconds into the future, organised by flash mob and promoted through video sharing sites.

Not so much Richard Morgan (as ideas go, this one is more twenty seconds into the future than twenty minutes), more Richard Bachman. I've always liked the idea of a meaningful, politically sensitive and thoughtful yet adrenaline-driven and extremely fast-paced narrative: I haven't seen Rollerball in years, but I recall it was as much about the survival of individualism in a future, corrupt state as it was about staying alive in a vicious and deadly sport. The kind of thing that's fun to write, but also has depth. Mind you, no spaceships and explosions, so a touch outside the Tor UK remit ...
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