With one bound he was… working on the next chapter

April 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Deja VuDeja Vu: A Technothriller – Ian Hocking
Amazon Kindle £0.70 ($0.99)

In an interview for the blog Futurismic Ian Hocking gives some of the backstory to this self-published ebook.

A few years back – in 2005 – I published my first book, Déjà Vu, with the UKA Press. There were a few obstacles in my path … but it was, by any objective measure, a success. I had great reviews in the Guardian, blurbs from Ken MacLeod and Ian Watson, and the odd bit of fan mail.

Anyway, while I started to finish the sequels, I garnered some interest from a traditional publisher, picked up an agent, and then, when the publisher pulled out, my agent began hustling. That hustling has been happening for five years or so. Last summer, I decided to retire from writing.

My plan is to finish editing the novels on my own and put them out as ebooks…

Deja Vu has been doing well in Amazon’s bargain basement. Deservedly so – it’s fast-paced, inventive, stuffed with great technology and stylishly written. What more could you want?

Well… As so often, the author’s account is revealing. Reviews in the national press, praise from Ian Watson no less, and then… the glass wall, the one that separates the really published from the almost published.

Deja Vu plaits together three storylines. Saskia Brandt is an officer in the Federal Office of Investigation, based in 2023 Berlin. At least, the microchip implanted in her skull is. Her body belongs to… someone else. Her quarry, David Proctor, once designed a virtual universe and is suspected of blowing it up afterwards, killing his own wife in the process. Meanwhile, David’s prodigy daughter Jennifer has invented time travel.

You see the problem. Clever and original, but there’s just too much of it, enough for three books. Hocking is so excited by each fresh idea that he leaps from one to the next without ever taking the time to suck the marrow out of the bone. It’s great fun and priced at less than a pound it’s worth every penny, but you can see what the publishers’ reservations may have been.

Because the wall is made of glass, it’s hard to tell what puts a book on one side or the other. In this case the issue isn’t professional editing – Hocking admits he had help from the best. It may have something to do with the film-fed sophistication we all now possess when it comes to character and plot. Imagination has to slow down to lay the words on the page and Hocking’s trail bike doesn’t have a slow gear.

Was he right to self-publish? I’d say so. Plenty of people will love Deja Vu. But some will feel that it could have been even better.

Deja Vu: A Technothriller Amazon (UK) Amazon (US)

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