Friday, June 03, 2016

 

Elusive Plato Returns


Twenty years ago I wrote a short novel called Elusive Plato in which I attempted to be vastly more ambitious, thematically, stylistically and metaphysically, than I had been in any of my previous work. It was my effort to move up a level and I believe I was successful. It still seems like a quantum jump.

The novel was published together with a novelette in a single volume by the long-dead Tanjen Ltd a couple of years after it was completed. Tanjen were a small press notable for publishing early work by two writers who would go on to become major successes with the big publishing houses -- Tim Lebbon and Neal Asher -- but they didn't last long before they folded. That's often the way with small presses.


Elusive Plato received excellent reviews. The late great critic and literary pundit E.F. Bleiler was especially effusive with his praise in his Encyclopedia of Supernatural Writers. He claimed it was my best work. And so it surely was. I worked hard to put original invention into it and yet at the same time to connect with some deep and mysterious, undoubtedly atavistic, parts of the human psyche.

A picaresque, like much of my fiction, the novel resembles a grotesque chess problem in which the pieces are taboos and each move leads to a situation of changed landscapes and circumstances that require further moves towards the inevitable checkmate. The mating of the king is more than symbolic. It is a geometrically precise nightmare.

I am delighted to announced that two decades after it was first conceived and executed, Elusive Plato has been republished by Bizarro Pulp Press. I feel that the Bizarro scene is a perfect home for this book. I offer my thanks to Vincenzo Bilof, my editor. The cover is by the brilliant designer Matthew Revert. The book is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US and other outlets.

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