PD Smith

DIY and Doomsday

30 October 2006 | Betjeman, Doomsday Men, SF, St Martin's Press, Writing & Poetry | Post a comment

Apologies for my silence over the last couple of weeks – the cause was a bad dose of the House Moving Blues. But now that my internet provider has kindly decided to reconnect me to cyber-space…I'm back!  The experience of moving home is every bit as traumatic as people tell you – and I don't just mean that awful moment when you arrive at your new home to find that the toilet is broken, the sinks leak and the central heating doesn't work. (Yes, it was that bad.) 

No, for me what is worse is having your books and notes shut away in cardboard-box limbo for weeks. For someone who could locate any text on his shelves – despite the deceptive appearance of chaos – after a moment's thought, that really is hell. It reminded me of a story about John Betjeman. A new assistant took it upon himself to reorganise the poet's library while he was away. Betjeman returned to find his delightfully disordered shelves transformed into pristine alphabetical order. He was utterly appalled; nothing was where he expected it to be. I don't think the assistant stayed in his job very long. 

Still, at least Betjeman could see his books. But as one of my new neighbours reminded me, there is life after cardboard boxes.  For the last few days I have been more preoccupied with DIY than Doomsday Men – although plumbing certainly has its apocalyptic moments. But the good news is that my book now has an American publisher – St Martin's Press. So my American friends won't have to make do with imported editions!  Here in the UK, Doomsday Men now has a cover, or at least a draft version of one. I saw it for the first time on Friday – an exciting although slightly fraught moment. After all, despite what people say, people do judge a book by the cover. But I think it's great; it has a 50s, pulp fiction feel to it and given the hours I spent reading old SF pulps and stories that's highly appropriate. I'll share it with you soon. Watch this space…. 

I have to say, it's fascinating seeing something you've been working on for the best part of three years gradually being transformed into an actual book, with a beautifully designed cover and a compelling blurb. Finally, after all those hours in the library and late nights in front of the computer, the dream has become reality. Now I just hope there will be someone out there who wants to read it…

[originally on MySpace]

Leave a Reply

Name (required)
Mail (will not be published) (required)