Here's the weird thing: my agent agents my short stories as well as my novels. Why is that? If there's one thing you're told about agents, it's that short stories aren't worth their while in terms of effort versus recompense. Yet she does send them out.

Back before I got a book deal, Dorothy suggested sending a couple of stories to her (to my surprise), on the understandable basis that making a few short sales would draw attention to the novel manuscript then doing the rounds. This would have been about 1998, 1999. They never sold, which to be honest is a good thing, because I went over one of them recently and it was actually pretty sucky. The central idea was still good, but it was weird seeing how much my prose has improved (I heard that. Shut it.) since then.

I just don't write short stories anymore - well, one a year, anyway. And half the time I don't even really get around to sending them out, except perhaps half-heartedly. I just ... can't be that arsed when I can be working on a book.

I hardly even read short stories anymore. In the Eighties, I read a lot of short fiction. I regularly bought Interzone (I bought the first eighty issues or so, bar one early one, which I missed because a specialist bookseller told me it had gone out of business, for reasons entirely peculiar to himself), as well as Asimov's and Analog, pretty much every month. I also used to have a big pile of early Eighties Omni magazines, which introduced me to a lot of writers, particularly William Gibson. I have copies of disappeared publications like Extro (featuring Ian McDonald's first published story), and many others. Now I guess I'm burned out.

Weirdly, the story I just sent Dorothy is a vampire story. It's weird, because I wrote it less than a week after going to a writing workshop and saying something along the lines of, there's no fucking point in writing a vampire story because it's all been done (one notable exception is a novella by Hal Duncan which hasn't seen the light of day yet, which is a shame, because it's very good).

So I wrote a vampire story. Go figure.

I'm thinking about things to do (apart from looking for a new job) once I'm finished with Stealing Light. I fancy having a go at writing a play for radio - something Nigel Kneale-ish; if you remember 'The Stone Tapes', you'll know the kind of thing I mean.

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