Alright people, we’re counting down the days here for the magical extravaganza that is the 1st ever All Tomorrows Parties indie book fair and lounge… Let me take a few breaths before I go on… which will happen this Saturday, November 7, at Posh Teckel! And that means we’re going to bombard you with tidbits and intros and excerpts and glitter this week, all in the service of making you want to come and see for yourselves!
Listen up, yo!
One idea we’re especially proud of is the LITEROPHONE, which will feature all the great authors who live too far away to attend our glamorous event in person (or are just too lazy to leave their beds, who can say). It’s really simple:
You come to our amazing event.
You get into the fluffy intimate reading box.
You dial up an author that strikes your fancy.
Said author will read a poem or piece of fiction to you over the phone.
You walk out happy, thrilled and fulfilled!
And to make your mouth water, we’re introducing some of the fine specimens of wordsmithry you can listen to on Saturday… starting now, with Rohan Quine!
You can look at his pretty book covers and blurbs on his website www.rohanquine.com, but first of all, let’s see what he’s got in store for us.
Rohan’s next novel, to be published in 2016, is The Hollywood Canyons. This scintillating story explores the nature of creativity itself. It is a prequel to Rohan’s existing five published tales, showing the genesis of the characters who populate the “games” that were The Imagination Thief and The Platinum Raven. Let me give you the extended blurb so you get an idea:
The game is on
Jaymi Peek is a rising independent games developer, who lives on Electra Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Opposed to him are his former corporate colleagues the Dreary Ones, as he calls the entrenched team working at the mainstream company Bang Dead Games. Their attempts to sabotage Jaymi’s own extravagant game-world creation, or to steal parts of it for their own profit, are escalating to a point where they are now endangering him not just online but physically too. This is when he knows he must fight back against them, to get his own vision out there and to protect himself.
The Dreary Ones’ threats and attacks continue until Jaymi takes an irrevocable step: he frees Amber, the most dangerous of the characters (or Beasts, as he calls them) who populate his own upcoming game project The Platinum Raven, out from the confines of the game itself. In sending Amber out onto the open Web, Jaymi knows that Amber will now live and develop his own strength and sophistication independently, free from control by Jaymi or by the game. Part of Amber’s design is to target the Dreary Ones, and this he does, bringing first mischief, then devastation to bear on them, as he wreaks havoc wherever deserved—notably upon an enormously-funded monstrosity of a game about to be released globally, entitled WackyWorldMe.
In an effort to control Amber, Jaymi releases two more of The Platinum Raven’s Beasts, named the Platinum Raven and Scorpio, which complicates matters. All the more so when three further Beasts from Jaymi’s other upcoming game project The Imagination Thief—named Evelyn, Shigem and Kim—must also then be released in pursuit of the first three.
Shifting allegiances play out among Jaymi and his six released creations. Their ensuing conflicts and pursuits take place across the fabled canyons of the Hollywood Hills, from the luxury mansions of the highest hillsides flanking Mulholland Drive, down to the seediest blocks of east Hollywood; from the Downtown towers to the night-time beaches, via the gated compounds of power and money.
Will what Jaymi has unleashed destroy him? Or will his created visions expand the possibilities of transmedia culture and the horizons of a generation? Grand spaces of beauty interlock with narrow rooms of terror, both in real life and in the incorporeal world of cyberspace, in the Hollywood Canyons Novel—a fast-paced and surreal explosion of glamour and beauty, horror and enchantment, celebrating the nature of creativity itself.
And now, to top things off, a tiny shred, a smidgen, an excerpt of the forthcoming Hollywood Canyons:
The Platinum Raven’s soundtrack. This will be a joy! Her sound will be born on this terrace here on Zeus Drive, playing for the first time now through a speaker aimed outward into space. Based on her visual art, this song here could be the sound of enamelled steel—a mix of hard and soft allure as never heard, sung by a Beast who reaches out across the roof of the entire world, her claws and snout and gleaming eyes dangerous with power and enormous love. Or else (since she’s no saint), her voice could purr like velvet rubbed the wrong way, rise from the land and gather boundary-less and huge across the sky and then pump in a violent raping force above our heads, as she wails out a lurid black fantasy of fire, her compassion shot with hatred.
It could go either way.
By the end of this session now, with just a bit of luck, she’ll be talking to him, live! So Jaymi sits quiet, gazing down through the tops of the finger-thin cypresses ranged on the hillside, and waits for her to show herself and let him in, to hear what her sound will be…
No signal from her yet. (Is she looking at him now?)
Cicadas scrape drily in the scrub beyond his swimming-pool colonnade, hidden in the scratchy grass and jagged hairy trunks of palms—never glimpsed but ever heard, chewing like saws at one another as they watch him.
It’s possible she has better things to do than let him in, he reflects. She is an Icon of Platinum Perfection, after all. And that must, by any standards, be a busy line of work—but is this her now?
Yes! It’s surely her. Here she comes … and (oddly for a soundtrack) the first note she lets him hear is silent. Not a note, but a quiver of her beauty—smooth and hard and breakable, a light-bulb’s beauty—and colder than the moon, with a mix of icy sharpness and soft sensuality.
Sun-pillars ripple up to frame the sky’s entire width in shards of light, a grand proscenium arch. Then cool sun in bright air. Paler air fills the space, and washes of mist, smooth light and smoke, as twilight grows. Although the play-out of her day continues rolling at this fast-forward speed, a single raindrop plummets in slow motion and in close-up: around the droplet’s outline, a tiny rim of light parenthesises it in white.
Her night has fallen, lush and glinting in a moon-drench of pale moist stars. Scent of violets in the dark—and he sees she’s unfurling all the senses in her soundtrack. Sure enough, the tastes of blood-orange and of caramel are rich on his tongue, from the moisture in her night-air. Still in fast-forward as dawn starts glimmering, her sky is soft-cracked as the sugar-glazed dome of a donut, vanilla-smooth and mushroom-gold; and Jaymi smiles.
Before the dawn gathers, she is running through the colour-field, but not in any way he’s ever known. There are no simple rainbows at night, for this is her own journey. Yes, she transports him from low hot scarlet up to cool dark purple, but look: from a pre-dawn sky of red crystal, via amber embers where the clouds glow golden, she leads Jaymi Peek through a pink land of coloured smoke and steam, beneath a blond sky. A pale-green sun bathes an oil-blue sea … but it must be a faster clock than ever, as the sun now sets once again across the sea, a liquid sunset—death in pink.
There, black and yellow in the belly of a storm-cloud, it lightens: coloured lightning flickers down through a lime-green silence, and then at long last comes—sound! It’s the very first sound in the Platinum Raven’s soundtrack.
And what is it? She half-smiles at Jaymi for the first time (or maybe it is just that ghost of a smile in her machine, as he saw before), because she’s aware this may throw him for a loop, being surely not the soundtrack he’ll expect in a Beast. It’s the truth, nonetheless, so here it comes: she will see if her creator can handle it or not.
The sound he is hearing, now that she has led him through her best truth to hear it, is pink noise—defined as noise with a frequency spectrum such that the power spectral density is inversely proportional to the frequency of the signal. He once heard it defined as a mains hum, but he has a shadowy awareness it is something much subtler and more beautiful than just that. It is true: unlike the other Beasts, the Platinum Raven has no words. Pink noise is her sound—no more and no less.
As Jaymi realises she will never speak words with him, he pictures this realisation itself as a sound of black snow falling through grey light, down between pillars of silence.
But then he shuts his eyes and listens, hard and long and gentle. Hers is an unexpected soundtrack indeed, but it’s one that he can not merely handle: he loves it in her. Though it is beyond his understanding, it runs through this Beast like a gong of black and gold, as her very own music.
Are you excited yet? We sure are!
There’s more to come. Much much more! So stay tuned and make sure to come to Posh Teckel on Saturday, to join us for our literary extravaganza. Starting at two pm, and lasting until the wee hours!
~Claudia Rapp, German Literary Editor and translator of all the things.