We’re now running about nine months behind schedule on my (perhaps overly ambitious) plans to release one new book a month to Kindle, beginning last summer with YA adventure Red Raven. Still, not to worry – art can’t be rushed, and genius does what it must. Or something.
Anyway, I’ve now got to Book Number 5 and it is, in some ways, the best thing I’ve ever done. First written all the way back in the winter of 2004-’05, The Driving Force is a collection of short stories on a theme of movement (be that literal or metaphorical). It’s quite avant-garde so won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s probably the single thing in my entire writing career, such as it is, that I’m most proud of. There are moments in this collection, here and there, where I come across a line, a paragraph, an insight or something else, and think, “Yeah – this genuinely stands comparison with the great writers I admire.”
Among them are Don DeLillo and JG Ballard, who are probably – maybe? – the biggest influences on The Driving Force, in theme and tone. But here’s the spooky part: for years I was pitching this book like that, citing JG and Big Don. It was only a few years ago that it dawned on me, I actually never read Ballard until AFTER I’d written The Driving Force. (Got into him sometime around 2006, if I recall right, and since then have devoured more-or-less everything he ever wrote. Yes, even The Atrocity Exhibition.)
How weird is that? I guess the great man’s groundbreaking ideas had percolated so deeply into the culture that I was absorbing and replicating them, even without reading his actual work. Which, of itself, sounds like it could be a JG Ballard story . . .
But we’re now in danger of falling down some bizarre metatextual wormhole here altogether, so I’d better stop. Read more about The Driving Force (plus a sample story, the longest and last and one of the best) here and buy a copy here.