Category Archives: Human 76
I know, it’s a crap word, but I couldn’t think of a clever one. If you do, let me know and I’ll edit this and credit you. They say you should always find a unique title for your book, but given the vast sweep of history and all its words, that’s not always possible. I set out to find out what other books share a title with mine.
First up, there’s a 64-page version of Tolstoy’s War & Peace presented using photographs of rabbits dressed in clothing. It’s called ‘Rabbit Warren Peace’ and it looks BRILLIANT. Also, famed science-fiction writer Bob Shaw has written a couple of comedies about a cardboard-like, sitcom-like hero, Warren Peace, called ‘Who Goes Here’ and ‘Dimensions’.
Warren Peace Title-twins: 2
I expected to find that “there’s loads of books called Fog”, as a visitor told me at Indie Litfest last year but, although a legion of books have the word within a longer title, only James Herbert’s ‘The Fog’ comes close to the singular, and as I pointed out to my surly visitor, his doesn’t have a cool running man in the letter ‘O’.
Fog Title-twins: 1
In my innocence I imagined that ‘Moth Girl’ (even without her bats) would be unique, but no! Here comes ‘Moth Girls’ by Anne Cassidy, so called because girls are drawn to a particular house like moths (that’s light, Anne, not houses), rather than because, like my heroine Thea, they look like a moth when dressed in a weird cloak and flying goggles.
Moth Girl Title-twins: 1
This one surprised me. Who’d have thought there’d be other ‘Blood on the Ground’s? There are, though. There’s Paul Usiskin’s torrid tale of murder, dangerous love, and techno-porn (I know!) across the Israel-Palestine divide. Not a lot of laughs in that one, I’ll warrant. I’d prefer Lenora Rain Good’s ‘Blood on the Ground: Elegies for Waiilatpu’, 22 poems about the 1847 Waiilatpu massacre. Sod it, I’m buying that one.
Blood on the Ground Title-twins: 2
Happily, my other titles – Cubic Scats, Soul of the Universe, Cutthroats and Curses, Human 76 and the imminent The Museum of White Walls – appear to have no title twins at all. Which I choose to interpret as a 5-4 win for me, so ner.
I’m chuffed to little mint balls to be in such august company as the other nominees, quality writers all (well, mostly) who include one Alex Brightsmith I’m pleased to see.
Voting starts on September 1st, and I’ll bang on about it at length then, no doubt begging for your votes.
Lisa Shambrook has written about the origins of Human 76, I have written about its development, and all sorts of people are contributing their thoughts on the characters and stories that have moved them. Individual authors have expressed their own points of view.
Alex Brightsmith has talked about how her character Chrissy developed when she crossed paths with my own Glint.
Denise Callaway has published a short extract from her story, Underneath, as has Michelle Fox from her frankly terrifying Human X. Another snippet, this time from Steven Paul Watson’s non-stop The Hunted, can be found here.
Just two more links for you – the ePub version is free at the moment, but will soon rise to a reasonable price. You might want to grab your download sooner rather than later. Might I recommend, though, that you shell out for the paperback, which is a thing of beauty. Not only will you find that it contains a map of Ghabrie’s journey not in the eBook, but you’ll also have a warm glow of satisfaction from knowing that you’ve helped a worthwhile charity.
The opening of my first story in the imminent Human 76. Enjoy. The book will be available in a few days if you want to find out what happens next.
Lauren strove to move, even to twitch. Her brain dispatched electrical impulses to motor neurons, but her paralysed muscles would not shift. She could not move a single millimetre; even her eyes were fixed straight ahead, gazing directly up at a grey ceiling. Her breathing, though, was unaffected, and her heart still pumped blood, reassuring her that her automatic motor functions continued to work normally. Peripheral vision showed white-coated figures moving about. They had told her that she would feel nothing because she would be unconscious during the operation, but they had been wrong. The back of her neck itched. Draughts caused by the bustling figures caused slight movements of the simple shift that covered her and stimulated her sensitive skin. She could feel. Terrified that they would cut into her while she was still conscious, she concentrated on moving even something as small as an eyelid to alert them. Nothing.
One of the figures reached above her and pushed a switch, turning on a bright light. The woman glanced down with a slight frown; perhaps she’d seen Lauren’s pupils dilate. The woman leaned in close and, in a whisper that tickled Lauren’s ear, said “You think we don’t know that you’re awake? Awareness is necessary for successful implantation. I know that is not what we told you, but to be honest we don’t really care how you feel. Now, try not to struggle; it will do you no good at all. Besides, the pain will only last an hour or so.”
Human 76, the new linked-tale anthology that I’ve been trumpeting, will be available in a matter of days. Any and all profits from sales of the book will go to the charity Water Is Life, who provide clean drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education programs to schools and villages in desperate need worldwide. The charity fits well the main theme of the anthology: helping those displaced or struggling to survive in a harsh world. WiL is a global charity, reflecting the fact that our authors are scattered all around this small blue planet.
Let me tell you a little about the remarkable evolution that took place around Lisa Shambrook’s simple premise of a girl searching for her lost sister. At first, most of our authors simply got on with their own stories, but then slowly, almost organically, a new level of writing began to emerge.
As we chatted – in the Human 76 Facebook group, on Twitter, or by email – we began to pick up ideas from each other. We read and commented on each other’s stories as they appeared in draft. We became inspired by our peers, and edited our own work so as to include cool stuff invented by fellow Seventy-Sixers.
Eventually some of our tales intertwined like lovers (Glint and Behind These Walls), while others made amusing references. One story (Sand) was entirely inspired by another (The Oasis). This process of cross-fertilisation led to Ghabrie’s world becoming very real to all of us. Of particular pleasure was the way that characters other than our sibling protagonists took on a life of their own. KJ Collard’s David, at first a simple (though vital) walk-on part in her Sheshwahtay, now has a complex, moving story arc of his own. MS Manz’s Leader causes ripples that even he would find difficult to predict. And Jeff Hollar’s Hieronymous Planck eventually … but let me not spoil the fun. You’ll have to find out about him by reading the book.
So please bear in mind that, yes, Human 76 is a collection of tales, but it is also more than that. It is a single book-length story. The saga of Ghabrie, the girl and the myth, and her determination to make her own future in a fractured world.
As an introductory offer, the eBook version of Human 76 will be available FREE for a short period of two weeks. Release day is only a few days away now. Watch this blog for more news as it happens.