Sunday, 4 July 2021


Yes.  Believe it or not, chapter 15 is now finished.

I'll be proof-reading it over the next few days. I doubt that any of my old beta readers (what we used to call "pre-readers") are still anxious to do the job, so the posted version may end up being the beta. But we'll see.

Monday, 10 May 2021

A slight update

My web-page has probably been offline for a few days. This is due to my having some difficulties with the company that hosted my web (and also email)…namely, that the company went totally belly-up.  However, I have now (I hope) got everything working on a new hosting platform, and all should be working again.

While I was at it, I’ve also reworked the main SM4200 page a bit.  Apart from a minor tweaks, the changes were:

  1. Chapter 15 has been retitled. (Yeah, that chapter you're waiting for so patiently.)
  2. All chapters are now HTML-only. (The text versions are still there, but there's no longer any link to them.)  This is mostly because the forthcoming Chapter 15 will be HTML-only; I'm not planning to create a text-only copy.

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Podcast Fame

The Retro Fanfic Retrospective podcast about SM4200 is now online.  You can check it out here.

Monday, 10 August 2020

An Update, and a Little Background

So. Still alive, still writing (now and then). I am literally on the last sequence of Chapter 15, and the other night I surprised myself by churning out over a page of copy.

I was contacted recently by the people at Retro Fanfic Retrospective with the news that they intend to discuss SM4200. Incredibly flattering, of course! (Er, whatever they end up saying.) This led me to re-read the Author's Note to chapter 7 (which is their stopping point), and that led me to send them some further author's notes…which, of course, they may or may not use.

I thought I might reproduce them here, with a little editing.

I gave a few hints about the further shape of the story at the end of chapter 7. Quite a lot more has been revealed since then, of course; I hope my hints have been borne out satisfactorily!

I commented back then that my characters’ names didn’t have the double meanings or linguistic wordplay of the original characters.  However, when I did get access to a good Japanese dictionary, I picked kanji spelling for a few of them that does have a hidden significance (though possibly only to someone who doesn’t know much Japanese).  For example:
  • Miyo: 三世
    The individual kanji can be read as “three/generation” which I thought was a nice reflection that she’s in her third lifetime.
  • Ochiyo: 稚代
    Actually her name is just Chiyo, with an “O-” prefix that she picked up as a child (possibly due to bossiness).  The kanji can be read as “younger/generation”—the significance, of course, is a bit obvious.
  • Sadako: 節子
    This can also be pronounced "Setsu-ko"…and is basically just her little joke.
The story is plotted out all the way to the end—though not generally in a great deal of detail, because when I planned it out I didn’t want to put myself in a straitjacket.  Plot points have shifted around a bit since I first planned it out, but not in a really major way.  I wrote the epilogue (“Coda”) back when I was writing chapter 9, or somewhere around then, and it still holds up pretty well in the light of the chapters written since, which is a comfort.

There are some plot points which have crept into the story where I don’t know how they’ll ultimately be resolved, and I’m keeping an eye on those (i.e. I have a file with a list of things I need to work out sometime), but I won’t be too upset if minor points are left hanging in the end: after all, real life is never really very tidy.

Mostly, my motivation for plotting it out in some detail was so that I could let Itsuko/Rei have visions of the future which I knew would come true.  A few of them have already occurred: for example, from her visions in chapter 3, we’ve already had Serenity’s ghost speaking to a kneeling figure, and the man wearing gloves (the Chairman of the Serenity Council, of course; we’ll learn more about those gloves in chapter 16), and Itsuko’s office in ruins.

Of the visions in chapter 11: well, the shadowy figure holding a fire-pot is herself, moving the Sacred Fire. The puppy should be obvious now. And Sailor Moon embraced a naked woman in chapter 14.

Still a few unfulfilled prophecies to go, of course!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Still alive

In the immortal words of GLaDOS...I am, in fact, still alive.

And I haven't given up on SM4200.  Really.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Aujourd'hui, moi aussi, je suis français

I lost a friend today.

She wasn't someone I'd ever met in person; I only knew her over the net. But we'd been talking for a long time, remotely; she'd shared a lot of herself with me, and I with her. I knew she was pretty right-wing, but it didn't matter all that much. We were close.

Then came the Paris attacks. In the aftermath, it all came spilling out of her: how she blamed the Syrian refugees for everything; how all Islamic people were to blame; how mad it was of President Obama to be welcoming ten thousand refugees into the USA.

I told her that, actually, I favoured helping Syrian refugees in any way possible. She told me that France should nuke the lot of them.

I said goodbye.

She was still swearing and typing insults at me as I unfriended her and set a block so that I wouldn't hear anything from her again. But that wasn't what disturbed me the most.

What really disturbed me, and still does, is that her attitude…her blind, unreasoning hatred of Islam, her eagerness to see them all slaughtered or nuked…is exactly the same—exactly the same—as the attitudes of the terrorists themselves.

My friend, and ISIS…I can't tell the difference. That bothers me. Actually, it terrifies me.

I'll pray for her. Somehow, somehow, this hatred has to end. On both sides.

Monday, 29 September 2014

So, yeah, not dead yet...

...But damn I'm not finding many opportunities to write.

Married life.  Buying a house, being a landowner.  Getting seriously involved in something which takes quite a lot of spare time (and also requires me to edit a quarterly magazine, and write big chunks of it as well).  What with one thing and another, most of my spare time goes into, well, unwinding.  I hardly even read fanfic any more, which is a shame because when I do get the chance, I'm finding some pretty good stuff.

But.  Well.  Now and then I do get a chance to crank some new words out. 23,647 words at last count.

It's still coming...

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A new update!

So...yes.  I've been writing.  About 4000 new words...
(Not dead yet!)