Hello there. Thanks for doing this.
That’s OK. I’ve got plenty of time on my hands at the moment.
Yes. I guess we all have at the moment. So is FR3VR your COVID book?
No. Not at all. I started writing it on November 23rd and actually finished it on January 23rd, the day the WHO declared that the coronavirus was NOT an emergency of international concern.
I see. So how have you spent your lockdown? Have you kept yourself busy?
Well a chance conversation with Daisy Eris back in January, led me to reconsider the nature of trilogies and, in particular, whether it was possible to write a recursive trilogy to end the trilogy that ends my trilogy.
You’ve lost me there. What?
Well my WTF Trilogy ends with FOREVER, which is itself a trilogy. What I have tried to do with FR3VR is end the FOREVER TRILOGY with another trilogy.
And have you?
Yes. In fact FR3VR is three trilogies. It’s up to the readers to find all three of them.
OK. Can you set up where we are at the beginning of FR3VR?
After a concert by the biggest band in the world, a group of apparent strangers are catapulted to the edge of time, whilst the rest of Planet Earth are trapped in a time frozen stasis triggered as a fail safe.
Yeah, but I got there first.
Some of the survivors find themselves stranded on Apophenia, a planet where everything is connected and none of this means anything.
Aah, like lockdown?
I think you’re missing the point here. Any similarity between FR3VR and the pandemic is purely coincidental. Anyway, so in order to get home, the protagonists must choose a path. One is rebirth. The other is immortality.
Sorry. I’ve seen you describe FR3VR as an ‘illuminated’ book. Do you mean it in the William Blake sense?
Yes, partly. I was at the Blake exhibition at the end of the year and his concept struck me as something that I’d like to try to rip off, and of course that phrase can be interpreted in other ways too.
So is there a shadowy elite guiding your every move now?
No. Just The Five.
The Five? Who are they?
The Five are my co-conspirators for this project. They are in charge of Illumination, Inception, Incantation, Instrumentation and Intimidation.
Yes. He has issues.
Oh. So what do your ‘co-conspirators’ bring to the table?
Like I said, Illumination, Inception, Incantation, Instrumentation and Intimidation. And Inspiration.
That brings us nicely to my next question. What was your inspiration for FR3VR?
Well, I don’t want to ever write the same book twice and the, shall we say, abstract nature of the story lent itself to a novel kind of structure, one that I’d discovered a couple of years ago when I was writing TOGETHER. One of the notable events of past November 23rds was the discovery of a rather unique object in the asteroid belt orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. It takes exactly three years to orbit the sun and is rich in iron (46%) and vanadium (23%). The Finnish astronomer named it 1454 Kalevala after the National epic poem of Finland. It is 23000 words long and each of its stanzas are 23 syllables long. Stretching The JAMs/Scandinavia link even further, the poem is a strict ABBA structure, three lines of six syllables and one of five.
Crikey. You like to make things difficult for yourself, don’t you?
Restrictions make things easier for me, usually. The 23 syllables have a nice flow to them. Which brings me to the audiobook.
There’s an audiobook?
Yes, an ambient audiobook. Probably the world’s first.I made it in collaboration with Amìlcar Ortega, Venezuela’s greatest living Discordian. He sent me all 3000 syllables via WhatApp. There is also a cameo from Damanhur’s very own Tasso Jacobaeae. It’s 46 minutes long and quite a trip.
And that comes with the book, does it?
If you order the book directly from me you get the CD, otherwise there’s a download link for you to hunt down.
Anything else on the CD?
One of my TWNTYTHR33MNTSYMPHNYS, probably the one called Camacho’s Journey.
Is this the end then, for your WTF books?
Well I’m releasing THE COMPLETE WTF for everyone that needs to catch up. It’s got all five books as well as QUE CERA CERA from Castle Perilous. It’s massive and makes a hugely satisfying thud when dropped from a height of 23cm.
How much will that be?
A snip at £20.23.
Put me down for a copy. Any plans for any more writing?
The next one will be quite a departure from what’s come before. I’ve made a start, mapped it out and got a few chapters under my belt, but I’ve taken a break to get FR3VR over the line. It’s something I’ve not tried before, but hopefully people will enjoy it.