The Impossible World

Posted on January 15, 2011 (Subscribe to Blog)

Back in August 2010, I sent a copy of Mountain of Whispers to a lady named Helen in Australia. Weeks later, the book still hadn't arrived and I started to fear it was lost. I sent her a PDF version so she could at least get on and read it, but she still wanted a printed copy. We waited and waited, and finally I sent her another copy. With the overseas shipping cost, this meant I was out of pocket for this particular order – but that was okay, as long as the second copy got to her okay.

The second copy arrived in good time... and the first copy arrived as well. That's always the way of it – like buses, you wait around for ages and then three come along at once.

Before Christmas, I ordered a couple of reader copies of The Impossible World (which is the current name of my Bubbleworld novel, written during November's NaNoWriMo). I ordered them from Lulu, just for speed and convenience. At the same time, writer buddy Brian Clopper ordered copies of his own NaNoWriMo book, The Classic Destruction of Stomper Rex. He received his copies just before Christmas, but mine never arrived. It was well into January before I contacted Lulu and told them of my missing order and, a couple of days ago, they informed me that a new order had just been dispatched.

That very afternoon, my original order arrived in the mail.

So after weeks of waiting, I now have my first two copies, and two new copies will arrive by Fedex this afternoon. Just like buses...

You see, gremlins love to hold up deliveries and delight in watching you get impatient. They crouch in the back of the postal worker's Jeep and cast a temporary cloak of invisibility over the package, giggling at their handiwork and watching with glee as the mailman pulls up outside the recipient's home... and fails to deliver said package. This goes on for days, sometimes weeks, with these gremlins camping out in the back of the Jeep. But then they receive word from Gremlin HQ that the recipient has given up; he no longer wants the package because he has another one on the way. The gremlins sigh and move on. Thus, in their absence, the mailman inexplicably finds the package under his seat and wonders how on earth he missed it before.

The same gremlins are present as you stare out the window at the thunderclouds forming in the distance. Should you take an umbrella out with you, or not? If you do, the gremlins bribe the thunderclouds to go away and come back another day. But if you decide not to bother with an umbrella, you can be sure of a drenching.

And for some reason, these gremlins are always around when you drop a piece of buttered toast. Yes, it always lands face down, making a horrible mess on the floor. I always wondered what would happen if I strapped a piece of buttered toast (face-up) onto a cat's back, and then dropped the cat out of a window. Which way up would it land? How would the gremlins deal with that quandary?

The Impossible World

Anyway – now that I have copies of The Impossible World in my hands, I'm pretty pleased with it in general. I'm not completely happy with the cover, or the title for that matter, but it doesn't matter. What's important is the story, and the purpose of these printed copies is for willing guinea pig readers to run through it without worrying about typos and just form an opinion on the story. Does it work? Does it need huge sections cut or new scenes added? This is, remember, a first-draft novel written in thirty days. So, based on feedback, I'll work on it as necessary and then polish it up.

That is, if those blasted gremlins don't mess with me. I just realized that I don't have an electronic backup copy anywhere...

Comment by NIGEL ROWE on Tuesday, January 18, 2011...

So, it doesn't only happen to me, then?! Maybe there's a book in there somewhere, "The Postman Never Knocks..." :-)

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Saturday, January 22, 2011...

No, it happens to us all, Nigel! I think the book title should be, "Along Came Three At Once," or "Buttered Side Up."

Comment by ROGER ESCHBACHER on Friday, January 28, 2011...

Ah, so that's how they do it. Stupid gremlins! Congrats on getting your NaNo up to reader copy level. It's taking me forever and I'm talking about the one from 2007! Perhaps I'm being a little too persnickety.

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Friday, January 28, 2011...

Heh. Yeah, my NaNo book is in its RAWEST form, as my beta readers will discover to their chagrin. This is the only reason it's printed at all; if I'd started going through editing, it wouldn't have got anywhere near a printer.

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