Copies of my latest book “The Suicide Machine” have just arrived from Dusseldorf from the German publisher Zagava. In terms of format, the book occupies that liminal territory between short story collection and novel, much as my first book “Ultrameta” did nearly 10 years ago. In that sense, I suppose it is a return to my roots, only this time there is a considerable aspect of autobiography running through it, in an attempt at personal exorcism after some of the difficult stuff I’ve lived through this past decade, such as loss of family members. I suppose this autobiographical streak is also a homage to the late great Joel Lane, whose work taught me the importance of incorporating authentic personal experience into what we write. My next novel “Barking Circus”, currently under consideration by London publishers, will also follow this same formula but incorporating a wider range of science fictional elements.
The brilliant artwork used in the frontispiece of The Suicide Machine is an oil painting called ‘Stay Close’ by artist Pamela Tait, who lives on the Black Isle in the Scottish Highlands. Here is her painting in detail, followed by the back-page blurb for The Suicide Machine:
“In a decaying suburban house, a narrator tends to his elderly mother while disturbed by nightmarish visions of his deceased artist brother, for whose violent death he blames himself. Hallucinations and conversations tell of possible futures, ambiguous pasts and surreal allegories. Of these the most fantastical of all may be The Suicide Machine itself: the discovery in an abandoned Glasgow villa of a cryptic black device linked to a dissident Russian physicist and his tragic lover, whose rumoured psychic experiments reverberate into the present. Family secrets and the enigmatic boundaries of life, death, sex and sanity all progressively give way and coalesce into an elegiac journey towards hard-won hope from the depths of despair.”