Hello world!

Hello readers,

Thank you for taking the time to visit the site/blog, I hope to add more to it soon now that I have handed in “The Glorious Angels”, my first book after finishing the Quantum Gravity series and “The Covenant of Primus”.

I’m pleased to announce that all my backlist will be available on Audible in the UK, for those who enjoy hearing books read aloud, starting this March with “Silver Screen”.

I have also signed up to write a short story for a multi-author collection set in the fabulous fantasy world of “Shadows of the Apt” by Adrian Tchaikovsky. ┬áThis is still in the concept stages but it’s a good excuse to go back and read the novels again and to start making plans. Mwa-ha-ha….

 

4 comments

  1. Hi Justina,
    I just finished reading Living Next Door To the God of Love. I love the premise of the book and the ideas, and I liked the writing. But did the story need, NEED the rape scenes in it to make it work? I read the book twice, three times in places. It is great writing. I went and read your blog. You had a post on women in SF. The characters in LNDTGOL are fabulous characters, each has their very own personality. Brilliant writing. I did not enjoy reading the rape scenes. I could not understand why you had put them there.
    I am curious, and if you have the time, energy and will, I would love to hear from you.
    Peace,
    Simon

    • Hi Simon,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and kind words. I’m delighted you liked most of the book. You ask a good question and I’ll do my best to answer it.

      When I wrote that scene, and included it, I had many second thoughts too, and third and fourth thoughts. It was deeply unpleasant to write. I wrote it pretty much without looking at the screen and edited it only once in a kind of ‘I’m not seeing it!’ manouevre, I found it so repellent. I didn’t like imagining it in the first place. I was very worried that it might upset people or simply add to the quantity of nastiness in the world by dint of its existence. I have sometimes reacted badly to such scenes in other people’s books although I am okay with them if they function as important pieces of the story and so long as they do not put me through an (imagined) experience of horror for nothing more than the sake of showing that the writer is capable of creating such a scene. The real world has enough of that already without piling more on. I really worried about that last category a lot – DID it have to be there at all? Would people think I was sick? WAS I? It worried me a long time.

      However, in the end I included it because I felt that the whole story hinges on the events there, critically the ones that take place inside Jalaeka’s mind – his attempt to reclaim autonomy and responsibility in the middle of an horrific action which was entirely forced on him. He decides he still has the power to choose – he doesn’t try to shove the blame onto anyone else. His other choices – to refuse, to do anything else (I don’t know what exactly, sit down, sing a song…whatever) exist as empty ghosts in the story at that point – he is defined by what he didn’t do as much as by what he does. It doesn’t make him good, you could argue it makes him pretty bad – whatever you think it makes of him is really key to how everything else in the story gets illuminated, for me because this action (the rape of his friend/lover and the execution of another) is, to him, the same type of action as the one he is contemplating all the way through the book when he considers rescuing people from Stuff: it’s why he spends so much time hopelessly trying to avoid entanglement with Francine and acting like he’s helpless when he’s nothing of the sort. Stuff assimilates, without consent. If he does the same thing then he is essentially a duplicate of Stuff, and not any kind of alternative. He’s desperate not to be That Stuff Thing. At the end his hand is forced, but the choice he offers the humans who want to escape Stuff’s assimilation is not much different to the choice forced on him in that rape scene, except for the fact that it doesn’t involve any physical contact (if you’re willing to discount being remade at a molecular level as physical contact). It’s still a violation of the person and he really knows what that is all about. It explains his obsessive reaction to the idea of using all his massive potential to grab every bit of power. So that’s why I kept it in.

      Do you think I could have done it differently or that it would be the same without it? I’d be very sad to think that it was unnecessary and that I had fallen into some authorial ego-trap but these things can happen.

      best wishes, Justina.

  2. Ms Robson.

    I have read Living Next Door To the God of Love too. It was the first book of yours I read, and I was over joyed to find such an amazing new author, to be perfectly honest.
    I thought the writing, the craft of it, its use of the great mother tongue (as far as 38 years of obsessive reading, and some small understanding of the art allows me to form an opinion) was superlative. It was like reading poetry, in that it carried a visceral, powerful freight into my head.

    The creativity was astonishing too, the imagination and scope . . . wow, just thinking over the range of your imagination is great fun, shining in the greatest traditions of the genre ! . The characters were great, I really got a sense that they were honed down by exposure to the hectic, transformative world they lived in, so that their unusual reactions or over reactions were perfectly proper; the shell-shocked, clasping up reassurance where they could, and flinching from perfectly harmless stimuli.

    I’d no more consider telling you that you had done something ‘wrong”, than I would allow some civilian to tell ME I had assembled a valve train in the wrong order. It would be a damned cheeky impertinence if anyone tried, and I am astonished at your forbearance, above.

    Thanks so much for your writing, I snatch up and buy anything of yours that finds its way down here. And the only people I do that to other than you, are Banks, Asher and Stross and MacLeod. =] Hope that is as much a complement to you, as I meant it to be.

    Ant.

    • Dear Ant

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful post. I am delighted that you enjoyed the book so much. Knowing that you had such fun with it is the best reward any author could have and I don’t think there is a higher compliment than the one you’ve paid me.

      I didn’t mind Simon’s question about the book, because to me it seemed like what he was saying is, in part, something I often think too when I read scenes that are distressing in other people’s fiction (or occasionally when I have to write them), “…I trusted you, why have you hurt me with this?” He wasn’t saying I had made a mistake.

      The act of being able to choose a book indicates some control for the reader in choosing what experience to have. When this expectation is not met, it can feel like a violation of trust or a nasty shock. When I’m that reader my first reaction is to wonder, “Why did this happen?” If the answer isn’t obvious to me after a bit of thought I would like to ask the author for clarification, and so I don’t mind answering or being asked myself.

      Thank you again for your appreciation of the book.

      best wishes, Justina.