Grinding On…

The hardest part of producing a book must be writing the story, right? All that plot-lining, phrasing sentences to fit a character, pacing it just right to match the scenario. Makes sense, doesn’t it. But you’re wrong. It isn’t. That honour goes to editing. Fark! It’s harder than hard: it’s perpetual friggin misery – I haven’t felt this way since CNBC found Greece on the map and I cancelled my subscription to the FT on account of it being such a gloomy read.

So, yesterday, I took time out and had a beer with a friend, promising myself I’d leave Scat alone for a whole day. In any case, we deserved a beer: we’d just had a company meeting. We’d squabbled over who in Hong Kong was the authority on SFC regulations (some guy’s mate at an insurance brokerage or the SFC) and then dealt with a whole load of regulatory issues.  But beer is a remarkable refreshment and it wasn’t long before I realised my promise to leave Scat alone wasn’t binding: it wasn’t like it was a vow, or anything. There was no touching bibles and I hadn’t signed my name. Anyhow, it wasn’t long after getting home before I found my 3447th typo, rephrased the sentence right after that, and then deleted a couple of paras.

This morning I reached for the panadol and went looking for the deleted paras. I found them and put them right back. What was I thinking? I’ve never been a good drinker. Thank God for taxis, paracetamol and a decision I made when sober 14 months ago, to keep daily copies.

Occasional accident to one side, Scat’s eager to go. Or as eager as he ever will be. He’s just waiting on someone. Actually, he’s waiting on a something more than a someone, a favour. A big one.

Meanwhile, I’m tapping away at the sequel and have just passed the 30000 word mark, which means I’m around a quarter of the way to an ending.  I’m thinking of adding the first 3 chapters or so to the tail end of Scat’s first outing, after the Author Page, just to raise awareness. I’ve seen it done before. It worked for me. I think they did it with the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwall. (Go back to typo later. Send apologies to Bernard.)

As Woody would say: “To Infinity and beyond, Onwards and Upwards!” – Scat’s about to upload. He’s only days away from being shot at form every direction by critics everywhere; if only they can find him. (which reminds me, start marketing…) He’s only days away from… Oh, wait! It wasn’t Woody who said that, was it? Check web. It could have been that other guy, Buzz. (Mental note: go back and change before publi


‘Scat’ is in the bag

After 6 months of writing and 8 months of self-editing, “Scat”, is almost ready. No prizes for which part of the last 14 months were the most fun. It’s due a release to e-readers sometime in October.

Scat explores the universe, only he is a reluctant explorer, forced into it by his former boss; the one he’s been trying to kill for the past 5 years. Or at least he does in one section of the book… It’s a complex story, not your average ‘shoot ’em up’. A shade more than 150000 words which pans out at around 480-500 pages of a normal paper back. That surprised me too! One minute I’m struggling over the first sentence, 6 months later I’m staring into space with eye strain, a sequel forming in the rough.

Here’s the proposed jacket promo –

‘If everyone in the world had the same consumption rates as in the United States it would take 5.3 planet earths to support them.’
New Economic Foundation 2007

‘Not everyone is suited for space, even if we could afford the suits.’
US President 2090
Which is a pity.
23rd century Earth is on its chinstraps; climate change is a reality; global crop yields are falling and its 21bn population depends on the resources of the corporate-owned New Worlds to survive from year to year. When lobbyists say these companies are “too big to fail”, they aren’t angling for a bail out to prevent a recession. If they fail, so too does Earth.
So, a rebellion against corporate rule on the New Worlds is a catastrophe in the making. That is, until the rapacious Lynthax Corporation stumbles on a remarkable new technology; one so advanced it promises to solve Earth’s problems at a stroke.
Only saving Earth isn’t its top priority; instead it’s using the discovery to turn itself into a sovereign power across thousands of light years of space.

As conflicting interests collide, Scat finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s trying to steer clear of trouble, earn a living and breathe no cost air, but neither Lynthax, the rebels or Earth can afford to leave him be…

Yep – it’s Scifi. But its inspired by our ecological overdraft and the oddity of the Hong Kong Functional Constituencies. It also draws rough parallels with the recent financial crisis and being “too big to fail”. Only I’ve mashed them up a little. Goldman Sachs becomes the Lynthax Corporation, a resource company which owns the mandate to run several New Worlds in the Outer-Rim. “Too big to fail” means just that – it isn’t just a lobbyist’s way of selling a bailout proposal – it means if it fails, so too does Earth.

There’s the rogue UN ambassador, Cohen, who hatches a plan to kick the corporations out of the democractic process so his agency, ISRA, can manage space and its resources for all of the world’s people and not just for some of its shareholders. There’s Petroff, the director of Lynthax’ security who becomes obsessed with the Thing he has found in space, and is now treating the growing discontent on the New Worlds as a mere annoyance. There’s Pierce, a convicted environmental warrior who incites a worker dispute in a key asteroid mine, before leaving this dimension for another. And then there’s Reggie, the leader of the outland families of Moss Valley, who struggles to keep the idea of Trevon’s indendence alive whilst ISRA and the corporations slug it out in a covert war for universal domination. Enter Scat and shit starts to happen.

I’ve added some sci-fi elements – like FTL, the neuralnet, PIKLs, but the story doesn’t lean on the techie stuff, other than to open it up to the odd surprise and dilema or two…

Social note: If you want to know what our current ecological overdraft looks like, go to

Jim Graham
Twitter @jimsgraham