Sunday, September 19, 2010

Next One Up ... Windowpane

Next backlist book to go electronic, my old-hippie novel, Windowpane. Set in 1988, with -- of course -- flashbacks to the sixties, this one is as close to magic realism as I ever got. It's out-of-print and the license expired, so it's now gone into the cyber-void, too.

A few words about this one:

This is my Sixties novel -- those of us who are writers and lived through those times pretty much have to write about it. In this book are links to a lot of what made me who I am. My regular readers will recognize themes, places, names -- several of the character names have found their way into other books, as have some of the events, in various fictional guises. There's no direct causal connection -- the Long who is a courier in The Trinity Vector is not the same Long who is a courier in Windowpane. Gerrard Hammond is not the great-great-grandfather of Gerard Zuri-Echt. Some of the events, well, you can decide for yourself how real those might be.

When I wrote the book, I was convinced it was going to be a blockbuster that would put me on the map. Instead, it had a small print run from a small press, and sank more or less like a block of pig iron dropped into the ocean from a helicopter. From its publication, I got a) my worst-ever cover, and b) my worst-ever review, from a woman who absolutely hated the sixties.

Doesn't matter. The book has a lot of personal meaning to me, but it didn't -- and still doesn't -- have that wide an appeal. The characters are archetypes, the plot convoluted, and the theme completely unrealistic. (Though to be fair, that's what magic realism is -- the silly made manifest.)

I reached high, but didn't come back with a handful of stars. And yet, if some deity popped up on my computer screen tomorrow and said, "You are about to shuffle off, Steve, old son, and there is only gonna be one book anybody will remember you for -- which one would you like it to be?"

In this moment? Windowpane, I'd say. Yep, I have written better books and I hope I write better ones yet. The Matadors have way more fans, the Clancy books and Star Wars novels sold millions collectively, but this is the one I'd pick. Old hippies will understand without any more explanation. Younger readers might get something from it ...


Anonymous said...

Having found this book at Powell's in Portland about 5 months back, I have to disagree. I've read most of your non Star Wars work, and Windowpane is in my top 2-3 you've written. I loved it, cover to cover. :-D


Some guy said...

Behind as always...

Cool! I just bought it on Amazon - sorry, I prefer paper - for a whopping four cents (plus shipping). Influenced by Anonymous, by the way...

I don't know why some very good sixties novels don't get more interest. I thought George R.R. Martin's Armageddon Rag was a hell of a read- and it sank like a stone.