I’m perhaps being optimistic when I state that this is the first of a series of blogs relating to feedback for my currently-being-published novel No Future. It’s still not attracted anywhere near the same amount of positive feedback as did The Battle for the Known Unknown (The Anomaly Trilogy Volume One).
However, I have to admit that this wasn’t entirely unexpected. The novel’s a bit experimental in structure and the subject matter, although it does contain sexual scenes, isn’t an ideal fit for Literotica, Stories OnLine or ASSTR. However, I’ve written it and I guess now I’ve started posting it I feel obliged to finish doing so.
A recent well-expressed e-mail to me by someone who didn’t declare him- (or her-) self as Anonymous (but will be considered so in respect of the fact that he or she didn’t explicitly express a desire to be known to the world), stated that after some perseverance he (or she) had given up on the novel.
If I may quote, the e-mail expresses two very fair criticisms of the novel. Firstly, that it is “A disjointed flash forward and back account of a group of unlikeable people”. Secondly, that “Its not entertaining or fun to read, it lacks even a single likeable person in the narrative”.
I think that both criticisms are entirely justified. With regards to the second criticism, I have to admit that I’ve never gone out of my way to write fiction with “likeable” characters as such, although I’m sure some are likeable to some readers and some are unlikeable to others. And it’s likely that one person’s likeable character is another’s unlikeable character. However, it’s much more troublesome to be told that the novel is neither entertaining or fun, even though I’d never really intended it to be especially so. Nevertheless, I think that much of it is quite entertaining and fun, although not in a Disney or a John B Root or an EL James sort of a way.
As far as the novel being disjointed, I think the e-mailer is spot-on, although I think there is a coherent narrative under the surface. It was probably a bit ambitious to try and cover every year from 2020 to 2111 in a non-linear order, but it was an exercise that once I’d got started I felt obliged to finish. One of my proposed titles for this future history novel was “Vignettes” as essentially most chapters are precisely that: a short self-contained account of an event or short description of a state of affairs. However, a linear approach would be quite boring. There would be so many chapters about Alex, then some about Betty, then some about Gabrielle, and so on until we get to Psychlone and Phil in the early 22nd Century. However, the alternative, which is to interleave characters in the way that I have might also be seen to be unnecessarily convoluted.
But whatever. I think that there’s enough in No Future to appeal to everyone, even if many might not like my (implied) political views and the generally pessimistic direction that all this future history takes us.
And seeing that No Future is about Britain and there’s been so much to celebrate in 2012 what with the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s ascent to the throne via good luck and inheritance, here’s an image by Paul Evans (otherwise known as EVS ART) that celebrates this amazing achievement: