Big, Papery Things
Tied Up With String

Published novelists are collectively notorious for having unpublished early works buried deep in their cupboards, propping up furniture, or otherwise tucked away so as to cause their authors as little embarrassment as possible (short of being shredded and permanently deleted from all media devices). I have several myself, and still room for towels.

Novelists-in-waiting, further to this potpourri of unpublished aspirations, tend to have several, more recent manuscripts -- books in all but the formal consummation between author and publisher -- which they judge to be not only uncringeworthy but also, in a wider sense than just domestic utility, of more value than last year's phonebooks used to hold up a shelf. Of these sort of novels I have three.

No magic is too strange for the suburban backyard. Quentin's Dimension: Tickling the Bandersnatch and Flocks of the Jabberwock. Quentin always thought of himself as being much like any other kid - growing up, being misunderstood, that sort of thing. But when he and his mum and stepdad move house and end up right back where they started, suddenly life doesn't seem quite so normal. Particularly since they've fallen through the cover of an old library book and his parents haven't even noticed! The girl next door - Lily, who Quentin doesn't talk to because she's always stealing his handball and, well, because she's a girl - has somehow become his best friend. Crotchety old Mr Barnes on the other side is now calling himself Mr Bleasby and sporting a madcap new personality. Everything's the same yet different. Strange, Quentin can cope with. But when a dark presence over near the banana trees starts eating up bits of reality, it seems there must be more to worry about than just everyday weirdness. Determined to put his odd new world to rights, Quentin sets out with Lily and Mr Bleasby on a backyard quest that will stretch his imagination to the limits of the fence-line... and beyond!

Phil Canute isn't the first person to beat himself up over love gone wrong, but he's the first to do it literally. Punches beget paradox. Time is never on your side. The War For Pandora; or, Trowels at Ten Paces on the Road to Ruin. Caught outside when the storm silently breaks, Jake should know better than to stop and watch a lovelorn time traveller do battle with himself. If dead grandfathers have taught us anything, it's that history isn't for horsing about in. Yet, when every young man's heartthrob Pandora Paradis is struck down by chronically misdirected longing, suddenly the last thing Jake would have done becomes overridingly the first: no matter how soaked through with causality, he needs somehow to nip back and take his secateurs to Phil Canute's budding obsession. Assuming, of course, he can make sense of the instructions that came with the box. Something about all the evils of the world...? Flat-packed, apparently; Allen keys not included. Great. Time and tide wait for no man, but as Phil Canute contrives to drown both past and future in his sorrows, ready or not, Jake will go anywhere, anywhen to forestall the breaking wave of Pandora's unspeakable new history.


  - random selection from the unpublished memoire, Freefall