For many years I have been talking about my intention to write exactly 1000 stories before giving up the writing of fiction. By ‘stories’ I actually mean items, as some of these stories will be novellas and novels. I was recently asked by editor Tiago Gama, publisher of Phantases, what would happen if I finished that 1000th story and then had more story ideas…
This set me to thinking about that final story and I now have an idea what it’s going to be about. It will be entitled simply ‘My Thousandth Story’ and will feature gladiatorial battles between all the characters who have ever appeared in all my previous stories. They will pair off and fight each other and the winner will progress to the next round and so on… I have no idea who will ultimately win, probably a character I haven’t even invented yet.
It’s quite likely, of course, that I’ll never write that final story. Since I began this project 15 years ago I have written 389 stories. I’ve almost finished my 390th and I hope to get close to a total of 400 before the end of this year. But even the halfway point of 500 stories seems a very long way off!
Tiago Gama of Phantastes is Portuguese… In the past few days two more of my stories have been published, ‘False Dawn of Parrots’ in Postscripts #7 and ‘But it Pours’ in Whispers of Wickedness #13, and both are connected in some way to Portugal… Clearly that country exerts a hold on me! ‘False Dawn of Parrots‘ features some of Anthony Lewis’s excellent cartoons and is a particular favourite among my own stories. I’m also pleased with ‘But it Pours‘, which has inaugurated a new story cycle set on an adjacent world called Happenstance. I plan to collect all my Happenstance stories into a small book entitled The Less Lonely Planet.
Meanwhile, I noticed this message from my Slovenia based publisher, Eibonvale Press (click here) that discusses the reprint of my story collection The Smell of Telescopes and includes two illustrations from that book. Almost all the stories in this volume are going to be illustrated in a similar style. I’m delighted by this!