Good morning to you all. It’s Thursday again, as tends to happen at this time of week, and I bid you therefore welcome to yet another of my weekly blog posts.
I don’t know that I have much new to report, but I do have continuations of previous matters. For instance, I am now within the last hundred-ish pages of the final edit of Unanimity, after which will only follow the final layout and the cover art (which is still in an early stage). It seems that my estimate of a possible August publication date should be accurate. I’m very excited about this, of course, and I hope that you are excited as well, though it’s unlikely that you’re at my level of enthusiasm.
I’ll now repeat my “trigger warning” about the book, however, and I’m only being partly facetious*. Unanimity is, of course, a horror novel, so no one should be surprised that it contains horrible and horrifying things. That is, obviously, the point of the genre, and anyone who reads a horror novel and is shocked to find horrors within is surely being a bit dim.
Still, there are many different kinds of horror, and this novel—though definitely “supernatural” or at least “paranormal” in character, albeit in science fiction’s clothing—is not a Gothic style tale. There are no obvious vampires or similar supernatural “outside” entities, preying on human souls or blood or whatever. If there are zombies, they are most assuredly not of the George Romero, Night of the Living Dead type. They are, if anything, more akin to the notion of the philosophical “zombie,” a being that behaves in every way like any other conscious creature, but which has no subjectivity. Though, in this story’s case, they do have subjectivity, but it is not their own…their own subjectivity has been put on hold, and another has taken its place. Unfortunately, this invading subjectivity is not benevolent.
In any case, to get to my point, I just warn potential readers that the horror in this story is a very human type of horror, so the bad things that happen might seem real and realistic, and this can—for some people at least, or so I imagine—make them more disturbing. I don’t know for certain; I can only speculate about others’ reactions. But if such human types of horror are difficult for you to stomach—if, for instance, you find the works of Thomas Harris** hard to endure—then you may want to consider carefully whether this will be the book for you.
I don’t know if this warning will serve as an impediment to readership or as an incentive; part of me feels that I’m being self-defeating, part of me feels that I’m being subtly (or not-so-subtly) self-promoting. Unadulterated self-promotion has never been my strong point. I am almost certainly my own worst enemy, but I am not solely my enemy. If I were, things would surely be much simpler. Or if I were an unrepentant narcissist, I suppose some things would be easier as well, though public figures who are narcissistic rarely come across as happy to me. Perhaps that’s just me projecting misery onto them that I hope they experience, since most narcissists are pretty insufferable. But who knows, maybe they really are as pleased with themselves as they claim to be.
If so, sign me up!
I doubt it, though. Reality has a way of biting those who delude themselves in any direction, sooner or later…usually sooner, based on my observations, and often continuously. I’ve made the point before that I think depression—or at least dysthymia—is a species of realism, a recognition of the fundamentally uncaring, though still often beautiful, nature of reality. But I’m subject to cognitive biases as much as anyone, and more than many, so any conclusions are firmly provisional.
This train of thought leads me to a notion that’s been bouncing around my head a bit lately: I’m thinking of semi-abandoning the practice of keeping a separate blog (Iterations of Zero) for my thoughts and writings that are about things other than my fiction and related creative works. I find that there’s a kind of mental block that keeps me from writing on IoZ, because it feels too strongly like a division of resources and is separated by an activation energy barrier. So, I may soon go back to using just this blog to post whatever thoughts and writings I may have, about whatever subject strikes my fancy (keeping the Thursday post as it is currently) and leaving IoZ fallow.
After all, this blog is the one that bears my name—probably the closest to narcissism I’ll come. Also, to make that mental shift might let me reintroduce “My Heroes Have Always Been Villains”, but to have it as an orthogonal (or is it parallel?) process to my regular blog posts. I could just do it when the mood strikes me, as I could do my writings on mood, on math, on medicine, on science, and even occasionally on politics***. After all, Robert Elessar is not merely an author and sometimes a musician. “I am large—I contain multitudes.”
We shall see. In the meantime, though, the focus is on Unanimity, and I urge you not to be too put off by my self-conscious warning above. I think it’s a good book, and I like the characters—even the “bad guy”—and I think it’s a pretty original story as far as it goes. It has length, at least, and may even have breadth and depth. That will be for you to decide. I can tell you this much, as with nearly all horror novels: in the end, the “good guys” do win…but not all of them survive, and none are unscathed. And, of course, the “evil” may not be completely vanquished.
As Lord Foul would say, “Think on that, and be dismayed.”
*How big a fraction that is seems to vary from moment to moment.
**How’s that for praising myself with faint damnations?