Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Terror and the Tortoiseshell

John Travis' novel about sapient animals in a post-Great War parallel world where humans have basically copped it big time (see Arthur Machen's 'The Terror' for the sort-of rationale) is being real-time reviewed by the wise and witty DF Lewis. I always knew John Travis would make it, in the sense that he'd find his voice.

It's always hard for a writer with an unusual take on the world to get started when genre fiction forces people into impersonating the Last But One Big Thing. All those books about teenage vampires kissing with tongues and then going 'Ow!' are the latest dreary manifestation of this problem. Before teenage vampires it was teenage wizards. Yes, a few good books will always be produced to cash in on a trend, but most cash-ins are tedious. At the opposite end of the spectrum are writers who are obviously not writing to any kind of order - they're the ones I go for.

Which is a roundabout way of saying I published John Travis' stories even though I often wondered whether ST readers would like them or even read them all the way through. This is one example where my policy of publishing what I like and never mind the reactions has helped a writer who may - for all I know - be one of those genuine, Grade-A Rising Stars. Let's hope so, anyway.

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