It's finally here! "The Vimana Incident" is available online! Just click the title and you'll find the online order page in a new window.
For those who have just stumbled upon this blog, I should probably explain what's so special about this story.
For a long time, I wrote "safe" stories that were reasonably well-conceived, but hedged my bets. The first novel I wrote, "The Goldenlea," was a medieval low-fantasy story that was OK for a first attempt, but the style was extremely naive.
My second novel was a little more adventurous. "Basecraft Cirrostratus" was my first foray into the fringes of science fiction. It was a dieselpunk action romance about gay characters in a dystopian world based loosely on 1930s Europe.
My third novel was a still-unpublished biographical fiction story called "One Could Do Better," inspired by my time in London in the early 2000s. It was almost picked up by a small press but a dispute arose and it was dropped.
My fourth novel was a sequel to Basecraft Cirrostratus called "Escape from St. Arned." That one goes kind of sci-fi at the end too, but more as a device to prove a point about the characters and their relationship.
My fifth novel, "The Linen Butterfly," was finished early last year but is currently pending for a major rewrite. It's a sequel to "The Goldenlea" that expands on the sci-fi themes of the first book.
Then we come to number six, "The Vimana Incident." For this one, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do an honest-to-God Philip K. Dick tribute. I had previously spoken to Phil's last wife, Tessa Dick, and to Johnathan Lethem (one of the editors of the Exegesis) on another matter but their insights proved valuable when I set out to write this novel last spring. "The Vimana Incident" draws heavily on "Ubik," "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch," and "A Maze of Death" thematically, but stylistically it is entirely my own.
The story begins in England in an alternate 1939 in which the Second World War has been averted by a space race. It transports the reader to an off-world colony around the year 2606, Laon France in 1153, Post-WW2 England in 1946, and finally to Humboldt County, CA in 2039, with the US coping with the effects of climate change and civil war. A strong theme of reincarnation runs through the story, but this is ain't Cloud Atlas! Psychedelics, neurochemistry, the Bardo Thodol, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and a dominant thread of Gnosticism make this book the sort of thing very few writers are doing any more. The addition of anthropomorphic animal characters also turns the book into something of a postmodern Reynard story.
This is more adventurous than anything I've ever done by leaps and bounds. I sincerely hope it wins the hearts of readers.