End of a Decade

The more you put something off, the harder it gets to just do it. As usual, my creative output has been hampered by the complexities and demands of the day job, which though rewarding, is quite time-consuming and burdensome on the mind. That said, I have been reading a lot of fiction and also managed to play through Halo Reach whilst marooned at my in-laws. I also managed to sneak off and watch Skyline, the alien invasion movie, though it didn’t take me long to realise that I’d made a mistake. Skyline seem to be a mash-up of Independence Day, Cloverfield and War of the Worlds. On paper it sounds good, right? In reality, it misses the mark by a long shot. Nevermind the side of a barn, this one couldn’t hit the side of a football stadium. If you want to watch a big spectacle movie, I’d recommend Monsters instead.

Just because I have done any writing, it doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on my stories in my head, adding detail, back story and depth. Often, I can develop a whole story in my head, working out a lot of the detail, even before I commit anything to paper, though I try to jot down the basic storyline as soon as it occurs to me.

Anyways, the real reason I signed in to write the blog today is to commemorate this last decade, the first decade of the 21st century, which is about to end. At the start of the decade I was in my first year of uni, really excited to be there at the fin de siecle, about to embark not only into my own future, but the promised-land of many sf stories, the 21st century. It was going to be flying cars, holographic television, hovering skateboards and affordable commercial flights. Instead we got social networking, broadband, ipods, ebooks, smartphones and Harry Potter. Despite my disappointment in not having the former, I have to say that smartphones are better than anything sf writers could have imagined. A device that contains an internet browser, a satnav, video camera, BBC iplayer, compass, weather forecast, alarm clock, email, ebook reader, portable games console and many other functions, as well as being able to make phone calls without needing over-developed forearms, you have to admit, that is pretty cool.

Things were going pretty cool, with the launch of the PS2 and the Xbox, when all of a sudden, in 2001, the world changed. On a local level, we had the riots in Bradford, Oldham and Burnley, but on the international stage, we had 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror. Suddenly, people started to look at Muslims as if they were all terrorists, as if the act of a few people criminalised billions of Muslims around the globe. It only got worse with 7/7 and the Madrid and Bali bombings.

I graduated from Uni in 2002 and within three months landed a job at the locally influential Lancashire Council of Mosques. The learning curve was steep and I went through a failure/success cycle that even fictional heroes like Frodo Baggins would be proud of. But in the end, hard work and dedications paid off. At this point I got serious about redrafting the novel I had written at the age of 14 and began the process that would take me another four years before I was satisfied with a complete draft 2 of the Changeling King.

In 2003, I went and performed the Hajj pilgrimage, to date the hardest thing I’ve done in my life. Inspired and spiritually recharged, I went and got married. In 2005, we got a mortgage on a house and moved in a month before my darling daughter was born. 2006, I finished draft 2 of the Changeling King and set up the http://www.trollking.co.uk website.Two years later, in 2007, my son is born.

At the same time in the world, natural disasters seem to be happening on an annual basis, ranging from massive earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes and flooding. Worse, David Gemmell, my favourite author growing up, passes away.

Fast forward to 2010. We’re in the second year of a global recession. The New Labour government has been defeated in the General Elections by an unlikely coalition between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. They take a hatchet to the country’s spending and generally make everyone more miserable than they were during the first year of recession and decide to carry out a ‘Happiness’ consultation. A much redrafted Changeling King is shortlisted for the Brit Writers Award 2010 Unpublished, but doesn’t make it to the finals. I do another redraft. Now its being looked at by the panel of the Times Chicken House Competition. I’m working on the second draft of the Adventure of Some Kid, the first draft of Red Dawn and the sequel to The Changeling King. What will the new decade hold for me and for the world?

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