Gosh, I love xmas. Makes me think if it had been me in Room 101 in 1984, instead of Winston Smith, it wouldn't have been a face full of rats. Oh no. They'd have stuck a paper hat on my head and asked me if I wanted any christmas pudding. I'd have denounced my entire family and said Stalin was a great guy who wept tears for lonely children rather than go through that one.

No writing done for the past couple of days for obvious reasons, but I've escaped. It's over! Hooray! Next year, me and Mandy are going to tell everyone we've gone abroad for the week, take the phone off the hook and stop answering the door and just hide in the flat instead. Still, some things did churn through my head.

Everyone keeps asking me if I've heard from my agent or the publisher yet, but of course the answer is no - might be a few months before I do hear, more's the pity, though I've actually had one or two nightmares about it. As for the proposed next book, Against Gravity, I'm not going to even think about starting to write it until I think I've actually got some idea what it's actually about. Mainly at the moment, I've been thinking about motivations. What drives the characters to do what they do? I found one source of inspiration was wandering around my bookshelves, picking up random paperback and reading the back cover blurb. That gives you some idea of what drives that books characters to do what they do. So if I wrote a back cover blurb for Against Gravity, what would it say?

Financial gain is one of the most obvious motivations. Say the main character in Against Gravity is called, for the sake of argument, Pasquale. P. is one of the wired-up soldiers I've been talking about, with the spreading nanoviruses or whatever within them. Since the end result of this constant internal evolution is unknown, there are two conclusions: the soldiers - or what's inside them - constitute a potential threat to society at large.

Society's response might well be to dispose of a potential threat. Alternatively, it might be possible to profit from such developments, if you can put it under controlled conditions. Perhaps Pasquale is hired by some mysterious benefactor, and given the task of tracking down his former comrades. The given reason is that they need to be brought in because the tech in their bodies is killing them. Because they're super soldiers, it takes a super soldier to hunt a super soldier down. which is why they need Pasquale. One of Pasquale' former comrades tries to persuade him the tech isn't killing them, it's transforming them.

Another motivation to action for the mysterious benefactor and whatever power group/corporation/bad guys he might represent would be the existence of the AI's that may be guiding the super soldiers to their ultimate destiny. They too could certainly be a potential threat, even to the existence of humanity. But if this turns out to be a story of transformation, then perhaps it's a story about the ultimate transformation of humanity rather than its presumed destruction.

Except of course, from a certain point of view, that transformation might equal destruction. Think Blood Music by Greg Bear.

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