Saturday, July 05, 2008


Just returned from a spiffing afternoon at Spike, Rae and Archie's (who we hereby highfive for feeding, entertaining and caffeinating the entire Clan Shirt with such panache and style) to find that my contributor's copy of "Cone Zero" was waiting for me in the letter-box, as prophetised a few posts ago...

Haven't had a chance to do much more than skim-read thru this...but, boy, it is a handsome object to behold and hold, and I soon spotted that one of the stories name-checked The Butthole Surfers ("back when they used to be good"), so looking forward to getting stuck into properly reading this. This beaut will be sat nxt to me bed for some serious digging-into over the next few nights...

Kudos to Des for pulling this together in what seems like an incredibly short time-frame without sacrificing a single inch of quality in terms of content or design...yet I know that a colossal amount of work went on in the background to make this happen. I'm incredibly proud to be included in this anthology.

As for previous Nemonymous anthos, anonymity is the byword: although the authors are listed, no names are assigned to individual stories; you'll have to wait til the next edition to find out who did what. This is my second time in a Nemonymous, so maybe I'm finally doing something right.

Actually, I'm extremely pleased with my contribution. In fact, I'm very happy at how my prose-work is developing generally; I feel I've notched up a level in the last 6 months. And Nemonymous has been a contributing factor in helping me raise my game.

Cone Zero is available directly from Des here. Please support this on-going publishing adventure and help create the New Wave of Brit.Wierd. (Well, actually, World.Wierd)

I write in a variety of styles... some of you might be aware that I've written avant/abstract/fragmented experimental stuff for various websites, but please don't be put off by that - I also write assorted mainstream genre-fiction along with some very straightforward commercial stuff (that's how I earn a living!). Like most other jobbing writers I'm enslaved by the Elder Gods of Linearity - damn it: call me old-fashioned, but I actually enjoy writing pieces that have a beginning, a middle and an end - in fact, I admit I'm a fraud and my Neo-Surrealist cred is now in tatters. My contribution to "Cone Zero", tho admittedly odd, I guess, contains a good ol' linear narrative, so those of you in thrall to Will Self and Zadie Smith and Guy N Smith will be able to read and hopefully enjoy it without having to smoke some obscure South American narcotic vine beforehand. Tho, please do feel free to approach this antho in a non-sober (and non-linear) fashion. You're amongst friends here.

Nemonymous is a megazanthus, wh/ in plain terms is a cross between a book and a magazine (like New Worlds when it switched to a quarterly paperback format) - ie a book-shaped object posing as a periodical. It's a pretty unique thing these days. It harks back to an era of classic speculative/slipstream fiction, yet it also somehow feels resolutely modern. There are echoes of First Wave Wyrd like Machen and Blackwood, along w/ tinges of 60s New Wave blended in with some new, nameless form of Post-Blair Bizarre that celebrates the Sabotage of the Ordinary and documents the downfall of a country that has somehow been invaded by itself. The familiar still exists, but has been impregnated by an Imposter Nation, a sort of Neoliberal Cookoo who has left its young in our nest. The writing in Nemonymous seems to almost subconsciously recognise this fact, spawning a type of suburban reportage that echoes the unease of a country in transition - an experiment in Social Engineering whose outcome is still inconclusive, but whose effects are being felt on some astral literal-plane.

Nemonymous isn't as in-yer-face as Bizarro, its overtly transgressional (mostly) American cousin, and that's no bad thing. It's more polite and mannered - in that weird way that only the Brits can affect: the keeping up of appearances whilst all around them collapse...except this isn't the apocalyptic fiction of The Cold War years; it's something vaguer and less easy to define - a sense that the status quo is being redefined around us and we're powerless to alter this new future that currently being shaped without any clear mandate. Unlike the 60s/70s of the now-classic New Worlds run, Nemonymous isn't overtly political - it's more a muted grey reflection of a world that is starting to change faster than our ability to comprehend it.

While it has yet to produce its own equivalent of a Ballard (or a Moorcock or a Harrison) some of the Nemonymous writers are tantalisingly starting to suggest some of the shapes that Post-Ballardian spaces might resemble. The use of anonimity - initially an almost gimmick-like strategy for selecting contributions without fear of prejudice or accusations of cliquey nepotism - is increasingly starting to make some sort of counterintuitive sense in a culture obsessed by both the longterm celebrity and the notion of transient fame.

Nemonymous should be seen as part of an on-going process of reallignment in contempory alternative fiction - Des has provided a flag of convenience for writers whose voices don't quite fit to rally round. He hands out abstract manifestos and vague themes - blank leaflets that the authors can respond to without feeling hemmed in by. The results are then filtered through his own warped sensibilities, so that the resulting anthologies have a sense of asthetic coherence.

What we're seeing here is a literary non-movement that is, er, moving towards becoming a genre without actually being one - a reasonable analogy might be the UK Electronic Dance 'Nuum, which occasionally goes through periods of Namelessness where the music is in a state of flux, absorbing influences and ideas and reconfiguring itself just prior to becoming something with a set of recognisable signifiers. Those periods just before something coalesces into a new, nameable genre are always the most exciting.

Like I said: hop on board! In 10-20 years time people will be talking about stuff like this as being the beginning of something new, and tatty old copies of Nemonymous will be selling for stupid amounts.