Blake Crouch’s 2016 novel Dark Matter is a page-turner, no doubt about it. It’s the first novel I’ve read that uses the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics as a plot device. This is a tricky matter to handle in fiction.
I re-read Jorge Luis Borges’ short story ‘Emma Zunz’ last week. It’s a tale of revenge and I went back to it because I was writing my own tale of revenge.
It wasn’t until I transferred the photos from my phone to my laptop that I realised I’d misread one of the words. I thought the sign affixed to the front of the old Midland Bank building on Glastonbury High Street said, ’Covid-19 Cull of Magic’.
I haven’t read a ton of writing manuals (it shows, Ed.), but I have a small shelf’s worth at home, and I’m always on the look-out for something that doesn’t go over the same old ground of adverbs (bad), showing not telling (good), and inciting incidents (necessary).
There is a Radio 4 programme called Great Lives— I was going to call it long-running but by BBC radio standards, nineteen years is positively toddling along — in which a celebrity guest chooses a dead person whom they admire and/or consider significant as the subject.
Good and bad, light and dark, mind and matter, yin and yang, male and female, them and us, Celtic and Rangers — who doesn’t like a telling binary opposition? But given the supposed value placed on diversity in our current culture, it’s noteworthy that talk about race also hinges on binary opposition now.
Anyone who admires Patricia Highsmith’s fiction will forgive her this fondness for the ‘almost incredible’ and will find these coincidences perfectly believable in the settings and atmospheres she conjures. Coincidences are stitched into the fabric of life and we have all experienced them, though perhaps not as frequently and significantly as the inhabitants of fictional worlds.