A cast of Several: Morn & Sonny

For reasons… I’ve been playing around with character cameos for Instagram… Which admittedly is partly procrastination. As I am making them anyway, I’ve decided you, dear readers, may enjoy seeing them, with a little background on the characters featured.

Today’s offering is a double offering of major characters from Passing Place, both of which are members of staff at Esqwith’s Piano Bar and Grill, the passing place of the title.

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Morning That Brings The Joy Of Delicate Sunshine Through The Leaves Of The Forrest In The Late Spring In The Ever Dale When The Gentle Wind Blows From The East And Unsettles The Blossoms Which Flutter In The Breeze, the green haired occasional barmaid at Esqwith’s who doesn’t mind that everyone just calls her Morn, as he given name is a bit difficult to remember when translated into English. She tends to be a little erratic and diaphanous, but spends most days behind the bar or serving tables, with the brightest of smiles and expounding on her admittedly odd view of the world. Otherwise she can generally be found in her tree, which resides in the garden behind the bar. She is really fond of her tree and trees in general, and woe betide anyone spilling a drink on the bar top…

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Sonny Burbank was once a american soldier with the Harlem Hellfighter’s back in WW1, an aficionado of Jazz, a Francophile, and the font of all worldly wisdom and esoteric philosophy  for all his prostrations that he is ‘just a doorman’. Sonny is like everyone’s favorite uncle, fiercely loyal to his friends, and always happy to give advice, provided you don’t try to drink brandy the wrong way.

Morn and Sonny in particular are firm readers favorites, as well as my own. They were written as important linchpins in helping Richard the Piano Player come to terms with the strange new life he has stumbled into when he walked through the doors of Esqwith’s Passing Place, but they are far more than that, fully fledged characters in their own right with their own stories much of which is still to be written.

As well as Passing Place Sonny and Morn appear in the Hannibal Smyth novella ‘A Scar of Avarice’ and in a short story in the 3rd volume of the Harvey Duckman Presents anthologies.

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These cameos were build for Instagram, if you would like to follow me there the link is www.instagram.com/markhayes6/

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A cast of Several: Miss Maybe

For reasons… I’ve been playing around with character cameos for Instagram… Which admittedly is partly procrastination. As I am making them anyway, I’ve decided you, dear readers, may enjoy seeing them, with a little background on the characters featured.

Today’s offering is a second major character from the ‘A Ballard of Maybe’s’ series… Indeed the Ubiquitous Eliza TuPaKa herself, otherwise knows as Miss Maybe who lends her name to both the series and its first instalment ‘Maybe’.

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The Maybe series is set in the same universe as the Hannibal Smyth novels, but takes place a hundred and fifty years or more years before the events of Hannibal time. Miss Maybe’s world is closer to the real Victorian era, an age of steam power and strange inventions, just as things are about to get very strange for all concerned…

From her first, somewhat volatile, meeting with Benjamin West and his former man servant Mr Gothe featured earlier in this series, it is clear that Eliza is driven by her rage at the death of her father, a passionate belief that she is more than capable of running her own affairs and a determination to see justice done. The daughter of a Polynesian engineer and his English wife, she has to struggle against the preconceptions of Victorian society which is oppressive because of her sex, the mix nature of her race and her working class roots. From the outset I was determined to write her as a feisty, strong willed young woman of surprising caperablites (surprising to Mr West that is). As she grew, as characters do when you write them, she turned out so much more than that, with hidden depths and a strong sense of self and personality to go with it.

No one ever has to rescue Eliza, she rescues herself, and on occasion Mr West who is in the first novel far more the damsel than she.

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These cameos were build for Instagram, if you would like to follow me there the link is www.instagram.com/markhayes6/

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A cast of several: Henrietta ‘Spanners’ Clarkhurst

For reasons… I’ve been playing around with character cameos for Instagram… Which admittedly is partly procrastination. As I am making them anyway, I’ve decided you, dear readers, may enjoy seeing them, with a little background on the characters featured.

Todays offering is another of those characters who grew in the telling. Henrietta ‘Hettie’ Clarkhurst, formerly an engineering officer in the Royal Air navy, from the Hannibal Smyth novels or as her friends have been known to call her ‘Spanners’

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Hettie first appears in a short story called ‘The Cheesecake Dichotomy’  written for the first Harvey Duckman Anthology This story is an episode from Hannibal Smyths life that took place before the first novel ‘A Spider in the Eye’ which I had almost finished writing at the time I wrote cheesecake. She began life, in the writers mind, as no more than the reason for Hannibal’s somewhat infamous LSD fuelled dual on Hampstead Heath. But, as characters do, as the story came together she became far more than merely a two dimensional femme fatale that leads to the protagonist fighting a dual.

Like most female characters in Hannibal’s stories Hettie is anything but a mere background character, and definitely not a damsel in distress. Anything but in fact. She is a strong capable woman who knows her own mind, and is quite happy to bludgeon aside any mere man who stands in her way. Some where in the writing she managed to create a new verb, a verb with duals meanings. As such a man getting  good ‘spannering’ from Hettie could mean a couple of different things, though it will be sure to leave an impression either way…

While originally there was no great intention on my part to bring Hettie back in the novels, she managed to bludgeon her way into the third novel ‘A Squid on the Shoulder’ because she is such an interesting fun character to write, and she is much liked by readers. But then Hettie was never going to just fade into the background after ‘Cheesecake’ no matter what the scribe may have thought at the time.  Indeed while Hannibal has been off getting involved in shadowy government ministry’s and international anarchist conspiracies, Hettie has been off having strange adventures all of her own, as Hannibal is about to discover…

These cameos were build for Instagram, if you would like to follow me there the link is www.instagram.com/markhayes6/

 

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A cast of several: Mr Albert Gothe

For reasons… I’ve been playing around with character cameos…  Those reasons are not, for once, procrastination… While they were not made for the blog I thought I may as well post them here as well with a little background on the characters concerned. Thus I present a new little series of posts, A cast of several…. Starting with Albert Gothe, Benjamin Wests former man-servant from the ‘A Ballard of Maybe’s’ series…

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While writing ‘Maybe’, the first of the ‘A Ballad of maybe’s’ novels Mr Gothe became one of my favorite character to write, his view of the world and the events described in the first novel are unique all considered, which made him equally unique to write. As such once I let the novel out into the world I was delighted to discover he became a firm fan favorite. Originally in the first drafts and plotting’s he was a minor supporting character but as characters sometimes do Albert Gothe the West family Former Man-servant took on an increasingly important role in the subsequent drafts of the first novel. Indeed he became pivotal in several places, events would have gone far differently without him and his somewhat laconic observations which might well be humour. Its always easy to tell if Gothe is joking, he has something of the gallows about him after all…

The Maybe series is set in the same universe as the Hannibal Smyth novels, but takes place a hundred and fifty years or more years before the events of Hannibal time. Miss Maybe’s world is closer to the real Victorian era, an age of steam power and strange inventions, just as things are about to get very strange for all concerned…

I would say more, much more, but as is the nature of things Mr Gothe’s story is central to much of the first book (and the sequels) so I don’t want to drop too many spoilers…

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These cameos were build for Instagram, if you would like to follow me there the link is www.instagram.com/markhayes6/

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Mid-summer Harvey

Midsummer’s day is almost upon us. The annual festivities of the longest day will be some what tempered I suspect, certainly I do not normally celebrate it by sitting in my back garden. generally it is a day spent in a gathering of friends, with music and joy. Instead this year it will be just me and the cat. And the cat doesn’t much appreciate hanging around the fire pit with a beer or three listening to music as the sun oh so slowly traverses the sky in the longest of evening…

Still while it may be something of a curtailed mid-summer celebration, it is a celebration of something else with the release of the fifth Harvey Duckman anthology, which features, among a host of indie writers both new and of some renown, yours truly.

In this iteration I have a little story called ‘The salmon swims both ways’ a tale in the Lovecraftian tradition, which may be no more than a tale of one mads madness, or may be far more… But as ever I am just one of fifteen writers in this latest anthology, which features returning favorites like Kate Baucherel, Joseph Carrabis, Adrian Bagley, Peter James Martin and others as well as five voices new to the series.

The Harvey Duckman Anthology’s remain one of the things I am most proud of being a part of. So on behalf of my fellow Harvey writers may I just say

 

Welcome to our worlds…

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Looking to escape to another world with a super fast read? Looking for urban fantasy that is a bit different? Or weird stories to make you think? Wanting to discover speculative fiction from writers that could become your new favourite authors?

Harvey Duckman presents the fifth in a series of short story anthologies featuring some of the most exciting voices in science fiction, fantasy, horror and steampunk today.

Volume 5 includes stories by: Adrian Bagley, Kate Baucherel, A.L. Buxton, Aidan Cairnie, Joseph Carrabis, R. Bruce Connelly, Tony Harrison, Mark Hayes, Scott Howard, Peter James Martin, Alex Minns, Andrew Openshaw, Melissa Rose Rogers, Kathrine Machon and Liz Tuckwell, with a foreword from fantasy author Ben McQueeney.

Edited (as ever) by the wonderful C.G. Hatton.

Available on pre-order now, and on general release on the 20th of June… Mid-summers day…  (and in paperback around the same time)

Note:  the preview link below will not work till the book is live on the twentieth follow this link instead to preorder…  

 

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Steampunk issues

Given current events I feel, rightly or wrongly, the need to have a conversation I have meant to have for a while. A conversation about Steampunk, a genre, subculture and in some cases lifestyle choice with which I have a different degrees of connection. I don’t actually describe myself as a steampunk as such, for all I love the aesthetic. I am more an ageing goth who occasionally wears things other than black… I do love a top hat however, and there is something about a nice pair of goggles…

Equally I would also not describe myself as a steampunk writer. I write in many genre’s. I do however have two current ongoing steampunk series, the Hannibal Smyth and Maybe novels, so I would be lying were I to say that steampunk is not the current mainstay of my writing. Again this is partly because I love the aesthetic but also because I love the imaginative freedom it gives me to do weird and wonderful things with my charterers and stories, as well as use the framework of a good ripping yarn to frame deeper observations and ideas.

Also, and this is I think rather important, the vast majority of people in the steampunk subculture are frankly lovely. It attracts eccentrics, and lovers of the eccentric. It’s also a little on the subversive side at times. While all been jolly good fun to boot…  It does however have one drawback, it also occasionally attracts wrong headed idiots… Though they are few and far between.

steampunk issues

Here in a nutshell is the problem with steampunk, it is rooted for the most part in something akin to an alternative 19th century. Though if you want to nail down the time period good luck. It is also therefore rooted, certainly in the UK, in the ‘good old days’ of the British Empire. Now, while there are those who might disagree, there are a few good things you can say about the British Empire. It exported Habeas Corpus, Parliamentary Democracy, Cricket… etc to a world that previously was unaware of ‘playing a straight bat’, and ‘silly mid-off’. But there are a whole lot of bad things about it as well. Far more bad, in the cold light of the 21st century, than good. As such steampunk gets a fair dose of guilt by association with colonialism, which is while not entirely fair, not entirely to be dismissed either. However, for all the occasion union jack waved with irony, in a pith helmet, while drinking tea from a china cup, steampunk’s are not rampant imperialists. They are generally just out having fun and are extremely welcoming and inclusive of everyone. Much like the goth subculture which shares some common ground they are people who like people, no matter who those people are or where they come from. So yes there is a degree of imperialist iconography on display at times, but not down to some yearning for a return to the ‘glorious empire’. They may spout the occasion ‘long live the queen’ and ‘tally ho’ but in fun and jest and with delicious ironic self awareness. In short they are good people, enjoying themselves and doing so in a way that they want everyone to enjoy themselves too.

But there is, as I mentioned before, occasionally like any other subculture, the odd wrong headed idiot who doesn’t understand that. The odd person who gets into steampunk because they are the kind of people who want to wave flags for reason other than fun… And that right there is the issue within the heart of steampunk. Though as I say the vast majority of steampunk’s I know and love abhor such wrong headed idiots. Yet they are there, and crop up now and again.

Hence the conversation I feel obliged to have, in particular at this moment in time. Which despite my well known abhorrence of poetry can be summed up in this little poem I wrote, which is dedicated not to the vast majority of steampunk’s out there who I both love and cherish in your eccentric delightful madness… But to those few, those nauseating wrong headed few, who misinterpret the fun joyously silly subculture to be a celebration of Britain’s ‘glorious Imperial past’ and yearn for a return to those bygone days when the map of the world was pink, and Englishmen stood head and shoulders above all, on the necks of the ‘natives’ more often than not….

It is a simple poem and a request of sorts

“Dear moronic racist fucks.

Don’t read my books!”

I hope that makes my feelings on the matter clear.

Everyone else of course, the right thinking people who may or may not agree with me on many many other things, please do. I have no problem with people who disagree with me on most subjects. Hell I will disagree with anyone on a multitude of subjects and still buy them a drink. But not racists, because I can’t even bring myself to stomach that ignorant bullshit any more.

peace and love to all (except racists morons)

Mark  x

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Truth in fiction

Good fiction, good science fiction in particular, explores truth. In the case of good science fiction it often explores an uncomfortable truth by taking a concept and building upon it an extreme example of where that truth might lead. Really good science fiction does so while remaining anchored in that first uncomfortable truth. While the best does so in such a way that it never outwardly states that truth but lets you come to it through the story. Which is, let me just say, a really neat trick… Because that way you explore an uncomfortable truth and let your audience perceive it without ever preaching to them. Instead it simply says…

“Here is a truth I think we as a society need to consider, think on it a moment if you will…”

There are many examples of this truth telling, Margret Atwood ‘The Handmaidens Tale’ for example, C G Hatton’s Kheris Burning for another. Two very different books telling very different stories, but both based on central uncomfortable truths. And while it is possible to read either of these and ‘just enjoy the story’ it is difficult to come away from Atwood’s novel without considering the question of female rights in a world dominated by rich white men, or from Hatton’s Kheris without thinking of its parallels with war orphans living on the streets in places like Iraq and Syria. And lets not get started on Orwell’s 1984, which it’s easy to forget was originally science fiction in a time it increasingly reads more like a documentary…

Uncomfortable truths have always been a starting point for the best in science fiction. Even when it was all ray-guns and tight fitting velour, there were truths hidden behind the stories. The scripts for the original Star Trek series, for example, explored many an uncomfortable truth, in a time when racial tensions in the US were at there… were much like they are right now in fact… It had episodes on racism like the one set on a planet where everyone was both black and white, but oppressed half the population based on which side of your face was black, which displayed the uncomfortable truth of the simple insanity of racism… Science fiction and exploring truth go hand in hand, which brings me to ‘The Augmented Man’ a novel by Joseph Carrabis.

Set in the relatively near future in a USA that has been through and come out the other side of a conflict over control of the South American Coca fields, ‘The Augmented Man’ of the title is Nicholas Trailer, the last remaining member of a special forces unit which took the special forces and black ops to a logical extreme, starts with him resurfacing in the states some ten years after the end of the war, and follows his former CO, his own personal Doctor Frankenstein, Captain Donaldson, trying to break through the walls he built turning Nick into one of the monsters the US needed to win their war.

This is where the truth lays upon which this novel is built because for generations old white men have fought their wars using young men already broken by the system. This was as true in Vietnam as it was in Iraq and Afghanistan. Simply put if young men have better choices they don’t join the army. It why the most successful recruiting stations are in South Central or the Bronx rather than Malibu and Manhattan. It’s why judges offer prison or the army as a choice to young offenders. If your already damage by the system then your disposable fodder for its wars. Take that to the extreme and the more damaged the more abused the better. All the easier to mold your pet monster if you can use the physiological trauma that is already there.

Donaldson took this all a step or three further, seeking candidates scared by childhood abuse and trauma and then changing their biology to match an already scared mental state. It worked, if anything it worked too well, because the powers that be determined that once they had done their job ‘The Augmented Men’ were surplus to requirements, ordering Donaldson to betray them, which is why Nick is the only one left. In this there is another of those grains of truth, politicians will always praise veterans when they are looking for votes, but it never ceases to astound me just how much those in powers want the Vets to suffer the after effects of war in silence and to be conveniently forgotten about till the next election cycle… The more inconvenient the veteran, well having purpose made monsters to win a war is one thing, letting them back on the streets that could be problematic… Think ‘First Blood’ the original Rambo movie (and easily the only one worth watching as it has something important to say.) but if Rambo was more physiologically scared and had been genetically altered till he was a stealthy version of the hulk…

And of course, once you invent the government an atomic bomb, they will get someone to make a better one…

There is a lot to unpack in this novel, there is a lot of psychology and intelligence behind it. The complex relationship between a monster and his maker. The torrid reality of Nicks early life that made him the perfect candidate. The politics behind everything. The man inside the monster desperately seeking a way to come back to the humanity he left behind. A master class in how to create a super solider from a physiological frame work damaged in the right ways to start with. The wiliness of the elite to use the monsters the failures in the system create, then dispose of them afterwards…

There is a lot uncomfortable truth in here, which is why it works so well. Its a cracking read, that will also make you think, like all good science fiction…

 

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Nitschewo : Whatever

If your Russia is as rusty as mine you probably won’t know Nitschewo more or less translates as ‘Whatever’, an expression used throughout these memoirs by both the Russians and the author

41OmA1E+4hL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_“You are only a plennie” Wilhelm Max Rose was born in April 1905 in Patschkau, Silesia, Germany. Before World War 2 he studied Theology, married Charlotte and they had five children. Early in the war he volunteered as a combatant. In 1945 when a Captain Adjutant, he was captured in Konigsberg [East Prussia] and became a ‘plennie’ – a prisoner of war in Stalin’s Soviet Russia – until 1953. This is his personal graphic account of imprisonment written by him in the 1960s. His grandfather was named Schmitt and he uses his name in these memoirs.

On the face of it, this was always going to be a bit of an odd read. After all, how often do you come across a book written by a former German POW about his years of captivity in Stalinist Russia. You’d expect a grim read. You’d expect it to be dispiriting. You would probably expect it to also be somewhat embittered towards the Russians by want of the experience.

Instead, what you get is a unique and fascinating insight on a period of history and life in the early  soviet union filled with humanity, compassion, and understanding that it really did not matter which side of the barbed wire fence you were on, in essence everyone were prisoners of Stalin’s regime. the ordinarily Russians had more in common with the ‘Plennies’ than you would ever expect. Indeed, it is often his fellow German prisoners who Wilhelm is most disparaging about, and with fair reason. This is not to say there wasn’t mistreatment by some of the Russian’s or that some of his fellow POW’s weren’t stout friends and allies. But nothing here is black and white, and by far his greatest fear was being betrayed to the MWD by his fellow prisoners.

What is most fascinating are the people, Russians and POW’s alike. There is much of the ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ about this. If, as a writer, I made up some of the people you come across in this book I would face the accusation that they were not entirely believable. just as a random example, and there are many, a hard-faced camp guard is co-opted to escort take Wilhelm to Moscow. What follows is a bizarre road trip, involving the guard once beyond the camp becoming a cheerful bumbling nice guy who takes his charge to meet his family (who seem worse off that the POW’s in many ways), before a bizarre train journey, and a pub crawl around Moscow, until finally delivering him to his designation and becoming the ‘hard-faced camp guard again.

Then there are the doctor’s at the first camp, the strange collection of interrogators both good and bad through who’s hands he passes, his fellow POW’s who become communist activists in the camps in the hope of an early return home and so much more.

Real people are always so much more complex than characters in a novel, as is the author, there is an authenticity to this fiction would find hard to duplicate. It is an oddly uplifting read in places, you feel for the POW’s and the Russians alike, trapped in a system which cares little for either. It is fascinating from beginning to end and your left wondering what became of some of the other people Wilhelm crosses paths with in his years of captivity. I kind of hope everything worked out for Yuri, as well as for ‘Fritz’.

You will probably never read anything like this again, because there isn’t anything quite like this to be found I suspect, but you should read this. It was so much more than I expected, and difficult to put down, because every page left you wanting to know more.

 

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Indie Friday roundup

You have probably never heard of #IndieFriday . There could be many reasons for this, perhaps you don’t religiously venerate hashtags, for example, though that would seem to be a heresy within the church of the internet…. Perhaps while interested in indie writers in general you are unaware of the vibrant community that is the independent creatives scene…. You may indeed have stumbled over this blog post randomly attracted by the promise of a cute baby sloth….

indie friday roundup

Also, however, it is just possible you have never heard of Indie Friday because I have just made it up.

My mildly evil plan, apart from using pictures of cute baby sloths to lure in the unsuspecting, it to present the nice side of the internet. Its Friday after all. Its probably been a long week. You might need to chill a little and just wander thorough the internet for a little while, possibly just looking at pictures of cute baby sloths. What you don’t need is to deal with a load of people ranting about stuff, and trying to round up the peasants and pitchforks because they have confused their personal resentment and anger with the world, with righteousness and importance…

So only nice stuff it is, by which I mean interesting thought blog posts from around the indie writer scene, and other stuff  to bring a smile… This may become a tradition on a Friday, but on the other hand I may not do it again for months… but for now, fun interesting stuff, to brighten and illuminate your day, no pitchforks allowed.

One of my favorite creative partnerships is the Browns of Hopeless fame, but when not creating More of the wonderful Hopeless, Maine series Nimue brown also has a more personal blog about druid stuff… which is always interesting, often insightful and on occasion just makes me smile, today is particularity uplifting https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/magical-thinking/

Another favorite writer of mine, C G Hatton has her own blog which she is always writing post for, but seldom posts them. Which means when she finally does post to the blog it is a somewhat momentous occasion… and always worth a read  https://cghatton.blogspot.com/2020/05/wip-tying-myself-in-knots-intricacies.html 

A L Buxton has just started his journey into the blog-verse, a heroic fantasy writer who has yet to read Gemmell dispute my urging, Tony is nothing if not enthusiastic, so by way of encouragement bob along and have a read…      https://anthonybuxtondotblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/an-unexpected-journey/

Meredith Debonair, in part to entertain people in genral while they are stuck in their homes , has begun a serial novelette on her blog entitled Queer Galaxy Storm, following the crew of an intrepid star-ship and there adventures… Its been an odd and fun journey so far, but what else can you expect from the mind that brought us Tantamount’s and Angel Evanshttps://meredithdebonnaire.wordpress.com/2020/04/17/queer-galaxy-storm-episode-1-the-dreaded-norms-by-meredith-debonnaire/

Mark Adams Don’t say the C word pod cast, which was started to give him something to do in the lock-down has taken on a little life of its ecliptic own. Not every episode may appeal, but the subjects are so wide ranging everyone will find something interesting to listen to for twenty minutes or so. Be it top ten briskets, a discussion on unexpected motherhood, someone call Hayes talking about independent publishing, or today’s offering Craig Hallam talking about his book Down Days and coping with depression. There are also a lot of wrestlers for some reason… https://open.spotify.com/show/7hNsWm1k0XHlJvo5vZaFT4

Anyway that’s enough to put a smile on faces today. I may do this again next Friday I may not, but as I lured people where with cute baby sloths so here’s a video…

 

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Narrative Complexities…

As is perhaps to be expected when writing a series of novels narratives can become complex. While the central characters may well be there all the time, particularly in the case of a first person narrator, other come and go and they all have lives in the back ground that continue when they are ‘off stage’. But in a series of novels that not too complex. Where it becomes more complex is when your writing a series of novels and then you interweave a few short stories that are directly related to the novels. Even if those short stories stand alone from the main narrative, they is almost bound to be some cross over. Even if that was never the intention…

Chronology and narrative chronology (the order in which Hannibal is best read) are two different things

As such, the chronology of Hannibal stories at the moment is as follows

  • The Elves and the Boot-maker  ( short story, published in Harvey Duckman volume 4)
  • The Cheesecake Dichotomy (short story, published in Harvey Duckman volume 1)
  • A Spider in the Eye (novel)
  • From Russia with Tassels (novel) *up to about two thirds of the way through
  • A Scar of Avarice (chapters 2 and 3 of the novella which take place in the middle of Tassels )
  • From Russia with Tassels (novel) *final third
  • A Scar of Avarice (chapters 1 and 4 of the novella which take place in Esqwith’s Passing Place as Hannibal tells a story (the middle two chapters) )
  • A Squid on the Shoulder (novel forthcoming)

The narrative chronology, the order in which the stories are best read to avoid little spoilers and the order in which they would appear if they where these ever combined into one complete edition (which is unlikely, but might happen in a few years time)

  • A Spider in the Eye
  • The Cheesecake Dichotomy
  • From Russia with Tassels
  • A Scar of Avarice
  • The Elves and the Boot-maker
  • A Squid on the Shoulder

All of which is getting a little complicated…

narative guide

To be fair the short stories are nice little additions to the cannon, and no one needs to read them to follow the novels, they just exist and some characters that first appeared in the shorts, because that was where they came into being, then appear in the novels. For example, as the writer I would like people to have read ‘Cheesecake’ before they read ‘Squid’ purely because Hettie Carthurst who is integral to ‘Cheesecake’ returned to the narrative in ‘Squid’.  But it doesn’t actually mater if they have or not Hettie as a character works in Squid without anyone having read her introduction to the series.

Hettie ‘Spanners’ Carthurst is something of a force of nature that way.

The reason all this comes to mind is that while working on Squid , I am also writing another short story ‘The Peanut Conspiracy’ (working title) which falls after Elves both chronologically and in the narrative chronology, but possibly post Squid in the narrative. I also have a couple of other Hannibal shorts that may or may not make it to the page penciled in my notebook. All of which will only muddy the waters more , and the Novels currently are planned to run to six books , which is another four years worth of writing more than likely so go only knows how many other little stories might end up in and around the series.

So, to sum up, its complicated …. But on the other hand , its a lot of fun to write, and Hannibal keeps me guessing as he develops as a character, he is definitely starting to get a little more heroic as the books go on , despite his protestations… Something I didn’t see coming, but then Hannibal lies to everyone , even his writer….

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