Authors: M.J. Nicholls
© 2016 by M.J. Nicholls
Book design © 2016 by Sagging Meniscus Press
All Rights Reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Set in Williams Caslon Text with L
ISBN: 978-1-944697-06-8 (paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-944697-07-5 (ebook)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2016936259
Sagging Meniscus Press
you skilled with words in an age when words are sqaunderously piddled down so many unthinking drains? Are you a spinner of yarns, a whirler of sagas, a rotator of epics? Do you take pride in the sibilant syllable, the luxuriant noun, the plosively placed preposition, in sentences that sing like angels in a cosmic opera? Does your heartbeat dance to the flick of the cursor? Can you fill a blank page with enough razzle-dazzle, fuzzbox, and too-rah-rah-ray to make the everyday reader spurn his duncehood? Perhaps your parents have praised your spooky fictions about inventive slashers and cunning killers, loved your vivid descriptions of sleazy cities, sorry tinkers, hoary winters, or smiled at the way you make your people hum with life using only twenty-six squigs. Perhaps you’re an inveterate artist with forty unseen novels fraying and yellow in your drawer, lonesome for the light, or an amateur hobbyist ready to party with the professionals, or a defeatist who cynically smote his penman’s dreams for a cushy deadheaded life as a ScotCall phone monkey. You dudes, in all your multitude, have reached
The House of Writers.
We strip the sorrow from screams and send you spinning into dreams in ecstatic and awfully inky twirls. Who, and wherefore, art us? Here we are—we are here! We are a forty-storey structure situated in the peaceful Crarsix wilds, twenty minutes off the Aldercrux sliproad past the Gibson Museum, only forty minutes from the secluded marshes of the former ComFuPlex (now a stock-dump farm). We promise every employee the means and motivation to take on the challenge of making it as a writer in the genres available, to survive in this hostile climate, in this lexicographically limber universe presided over by call centres, fast-food futures, and the realistically near threat of a deoxygenated atmosphere slowly extinguishing the human race. By browsing our prospectus, we hope you will find many boons and booms to bring you closer to our face, and when you arrive, ready for the fresh intake of change, you will find everything you ever believed unimaginable will manifestly overtake your so-deeply entrenched cynicism. Still not convinced? Perhaps these parting lines from J. Frank Glazo, author of over three thousand novels, will convince? “The House has turned me into a totally different person—a successful one.” Say howdy to your future. Say
to the new you.
The House of Writers.
House of Writers has undergone several structural metamorphoses, firebombing mishaps, and mismanagement disasters before becoming the vertical victor of today and tomorrow. The building was opened on Nov 3
1989 and designed by Anglo-Norwegian architects Portia Entwittle and Limber Alsöö who, in their own words, were “after a sort of filthy pigsty aesthetic.” Originally a housing scheme designed to accommodate rehabbed paedophiles and pederasts and keep them at remove from Aldercrux town, the building became a popular spot for—to quote Limber— “acts of fragrant and abundant rear-ward fucking.” A group of activists, Paedofinder General, singled out the tower block for a firebomb attack during the media “nonce-bashing” campaign of 1999, and the building fell into disuse over the new millennium when the residents were relocated or buried. In 2008, the computer manufacturing firm ComFuPlex opened their largest warehouse in the UK on Crarsix farmland, and the tower block was renovated for use as a separate office facility (costing almost twice to renovate than erecting a new one—we’re happy the accountant was drunk). A relatively uneventful thirty years (in Crarsix) passed. By Jan 2038, ComFuPlex had become the UK’s leading manufacturer of computer software—Apple and Microsoft the main contractors—until a short-sighted engineer made a mass-mistake resulting in a mass-meltdown. In a Microsoft CEO’s words: “The squinty-eyed preening vanity refused to wear specs while engineering and missed a crucial screw and screwed up crucially, sending the West back to the Palaeolithic period, or 1972—same thing.” In other words, a design flaw was replicated in every machine made after 2035, and complications with the internal cooling mechanism (or “fan”) and various far-too-technical-to-explain motherboard hiccups and crackles led to every computer in the country uniformly exploding after four years, forcing every business to revert back to arcane filing systems and telephone use. ComFuPlex dumped their useless stock in the surrounding fields upon bankruptcy, and local inventors occasionally “farm” through the rubbish to create new contraptions. In the wider world, over the last fifty years literature became an increasingly niche pursuit—the public nibbled on narratives via film-phones, TV-lenses, and other technologically implausible means to force youngsters away from digesting texts. By 2040, writers were perceived in society as intellectual snobs and treated with casual contempt by the public. To clamp down on hate crime, the Tories introduced Artists’ Licenses, whereby every work was made to conform to two rigid dicta: 1) Make it wholly understandable to even the dumbest, most bumbling alien. 2) Make it funny and light and utterly unthreatening to even the most delicate flowers. Literature went underground, forcing literary artists and experimenters into the wilderness (in some cases, literally roaming forests writing their seditious works under trees), until two redundant husband-and-wife entrepreneurs (Marilyn Volt and James Teaver) leased the building and opened House to straggling writers desperate to ply their craft. Soon, exiles from the country signed up to head our diverse range of genre-programs, accommodating the needs of a select but loyal readership throughout the country. Thanks to an agreement with the local government, The House is exempt from the Artists’ legislation, since our readers are private, and we provide an essential service in rounding up straggling scribblers who would otherwise be criminals or suicides.