The Rhymer


Well, here is a photo of the complete works of Douglas Thompson to date, as kept in a little shrine in his attic. Well, nearly. Actually, missing from this is some earlier stuff, like The Glasgow Herald Weekender, a copy of West Coast Magazine and three copies of Northwords. I ought to itemise what’s in the photo for the sake of archivists and completists, but I can’t be bothered today. There is a copy of Albedo One in there and a large format art book produced by The Glasgow School of Art, among many other notable obscurities. Does this look like a lot? Does my bum look big in this?

Anyway. Boasting time again. I’ve returned to this once-busy but now-becalmed-blog after an absence of nearly a month, to share the news that I have just signed the contract for my eighth novel ‘The Rhymer’ which will be published by Elsewhen Press (who published my fifth novel ‘Entanglement’ in 2012) as an e-book in May this year and as a paperback in August, to be launched at ‘Loncon 3’ (World SciFi Convention), 14th to 18th August.

‘The Rhymer’ is I believe my best and maddest book to date, being written in rhyming prose (rap, basically) and constituting “A satire on contemporary society, particularly the art world. An allegory for schizophrenia, split personality disorder and alcoholism. A comic-poetic meditation on the nature of life, death and morality.” But here is my full draft blurb for it:

A mysterious tramp wanders from town to town, taking a new name and identity from whoever he encounters first. Apparently amnesiac or even brain-damaged, Nadith Learmot nonetheless has other means to access the past and perhaps even the future: a dial upon his chest and wires down his sleeves which he can connect to the walls of old buildings from which he believes he can read their ghosts like imprints on tape. Haunting him constantly is the resemblance he apparently bears to his supposed brother, a successful artist called Zenir. Setting out to pursue Zenir and denounce or blackmail him out of spite, in his travels around the satellite towns and suburbs surrounding a city called Urbis, Nadith finds he is always two steps behind a figure as enigmatic and polyfaceted as himself. But through second hand snippets of news he increasingly learns of how his brother’s fortunes are waning, while his own, to his surprise, are on the rise. Along the way, he encounters unexpected clues to his own true identity and how he came to lose his memory and acquire his strange ‘contraption’. When Nadith finally catches up with Zenir, what will they make of each other?
Told entirely in the first person in a rhythmic stream of opaque language, Nadith’s story reads like Shakespeare on acid, leaving the reader to guess at what truth lies behind his madness. Is Nadith a mental patient or a conman? – or as he himself comes to believe, the reincarnation of the thirteenth century Scottish seer True Thomas The Rhymer, a man who never lied nor died but disappeared one day to return to the realm of the faeries who had first given him his clairvoyant gifts?

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