The short story Mosaic of Air, (title story of my first collection and republished this coming September) began life in a computer literacy class in the late 1980’s. I was bored, the class was going slowly, and I’d been given some BASIC code to play with. I started to imagine what would happen if the computer really talked back. Cal appeared at my elbow and started footling about with her highly illegal sonic knife, and within a few minutes I knew everything about her – her schooling in sabotage, her stammer and her obsessions. Rhani and the McCarthys came later, and have (inevitably) somewhat taken over from Cal in later stories, but it was a big moment, that dull afternoon in Catford.
The title is from an Andrew Marvell poem and it should really be That Mosaic of the Air – a reference to music, which inspired Computer’s idea of appropriate ceremony. I gave Computer a personality but let her binary logic run riot. Consequently, inevitably, things do not turn out well.
This is a strange way of going about things, but I’ve just chosen a cover for a book that I haven’t finished writing yet.
We’ve been running a competition over at Arachne Press for the covers of the next two books, and I got down to three gorgeous, wonderful designs for the reprint of Mosaic of Air, and couldn’t choose between them. I wanted them all! So I had a bit of a think about other books we have planned, and decided that only one of the designs would only work for a collection of stories, and have chosen that one for Mosaic of Air. So I get to use the other two designs. for my two novels. Anyway the one that I’ve not finished writing yet is this, from Kevin Threlfall – you’ll have to imagine a different title for now.
The book is a sci-fi novel and doesn’t have a title yet, though it’s going by The Dark Is My Delight, which is a 17th century song about nightingales and sex, basically (words by John Marston, music anonymous); nothing to do with my storyline as it happens, but it has the right feel to it, out of context. The book started life as the lead story in Mosaic of Air, and has grown and morphed into something much larger and more complex. As Mosaic of (the) Air is a quotation from an Andrew Marvell poem (describing music) it seems right to continue the theme of music and the 17th century by picking another title from the same era. (I had thought about Heavy Time, which is also a 17th century musical quotation, but it’s already been used for an excellent Sci-fi novel by CJ Cherryh – who also nicked my intended pseudonym when I was about 17, at which point I decided to write under my own name and have done with it.)
So, interesting how that all galvanises me to finish the book!