Last weekend the environs of North Norfolk
were infested by played host to the Cromer and Sheringham Crab and Lobster Festival. Cromer’s turn was Saturday, but I missed it as I was too busy in my shed listening to tapes of kittens being impaled on red hot skewers, so it wasn’t until Sunday that I ventured forth fifth ninth to Sheringham.
Crox Minor enjoying the Floshpits of Sheringham, recently.
The relationship between Cromer and Sheringham is akin to that which pertains between
a dog and a lamp post Ipswich Town and Norwich City. Usually, I don’t go into Sheringham more than I can help. And no wonder, as just below the surface of what seems like a typical seaside town – seagulls, ice creams, fish’n'chips and so on and so forth in like fashion – lurk dark secrets. I mean to say, the aerials on that red house in the middle (picture below) don’t look like the sort of thing whence one receives televisual emissions such as Ritual Humiliation of Obese Proles with Ant and Dec. Oh no, with kit like that you can send signals to the mothership. It might be no coincidence that the yellow building next door is the Masonic Hall.
Indeed, while we were there, gigantic, steely-eyed, multi-legged, aliens were stalking the rooftops, their intellects vast, cool and unsympathetic,
and would occasionally leap out at passing teenagers.
Help, though, was at hand, in the form of what were obviously FBI agents disguised as fishermen…
But I digress.
Hardly had I delivered the text of m’tome The Beowulf Effect to the publisher than I set to work editing the text of my 2004 classic, The Science of Middle-earth, so that it might be republished as an e-book. The edit is done, and last night I delivered it to my agent. If it hadn’t been for the ease and low cost of publishing e-books, as opposed to dead tree books, I would never have had the chance to correct the several errors which inexplicably crept into the original. More pertinently (some would say cynically) I’ll launch it in November – just before the release of the Hobbit movie.
This means that for the first time in ages I am not actually working on a book. Huzzah!
Sure, senior academics have asked me if I plan to revise my ever-popular graduate-level text Before The Backbone (first published 1996). However, if I did that I’d do a radical recasting, publish it myself, and make it available for (very) small sum as an eBook. The problem is that I am contractually tied to an academic publisher, who’d publish a limited number of dead-tree copies, available only with difficulty and then for an exorbitant sum. I see that Amazon is selling it for £106 (!!!) which is way out of my league, let alone the graduate students for whom it was intended. All of which acts as a strong
laxative disincentive. Why should I do the considerable amount of hard, scholarly work that would be necessary if the publisher is going to make it as hard as possible for the intended audience to read the thing? Answers on a postcard, please, to the usual address.
I had thought of revising my infamous SF bonkbuster, which some of you have even read in its various embryonic forms. The publishing world has displayed a range of reactions to it, some of them rather rude. However, I have had interest from a small e-publisher, who liked an early version, but that’s not what he’d get – the projected revision (which has been buzzing around in the back of my mind like a rogue batch program for some months now) would contain little or nothing of the original draft he liked so much. So I might be doing a lot of revising for nothing. Tzores – who needs ‘em?
And, notwithstanding inasmuch as which, after getting two projects off my desk, right now I’d rather be crabbing.