One of the risks of being the kind of writer who has more ideas than they can focus on at any one time (and that pretty much is *all* writers, right?) is that sooner or later one of your really good back burner ideas will get picked up and used by someone else. Their treatment might be different from the one you had planned, but that doesn’t matter. Most often, the idea has been tarnished. It’s lost its spark, it’s dead. If the other writer’s story is brilliantly executed, that’s annoying. If it’s poorly done, the frustration at the lost opportunity can be hard to bear.
This hasn’t happened to me recently, but I felt a little of the anxiety that it might on reading in the British Fantasy Society’s mail-out a nice promo piece on the utterly fabulous Ghost Box record label. I love Ghost Box and their aesthetic mix of electronica with seventies TV and the cosmological horror stories of the early 20th century. No writer of the fantastic could listen to Belbury Poly or The Focus Group and not feel a tweak in their inspiration buds. In fact, I know that Al Robertson’s excellent “Of Dawn” was partly inspired by Ghost Box recordings.
So, for the record, I’m staking my claim. I’ve got a part written horror story (yes – me, writing horror) about the lasting effects of the frankly terrifying efforts to educate children through the medium of TV in the 1970s. It’s called “Charlie Says”. It’s high on my list of stories to work on, but I won’t be able to until this novel is done (and possibly the one after that too). So if I see anything remotely resembling this cropping up in the horror press over the next few months, I’m coming round your gaff unannounced, and we’re going to play with matches. Got me?
While we’re on the subject of horror, I was thrilled to read Lynda Rucker’s thoughts on the recent horror debate. When you have writers of the quality of Lynda and Nina Allen vowing to re-engage with horror, to be part of making it better, well, that can only be a good thing.