So I was not so freaked out as you’d expect when I discovered that there was a movie being made with a premise which seemed almost identical to a book I’ve been working on for over two years. Another Earth bears a very superficial resemblance to the central justification of my existence, besides, of course, my family, and that would seem to bode ill for my masterpiece’s chances—except when you take into account the film’s low budget, limited release, lack of popularity, the fact that this idea is not new at all, and th my book has such slim chances of success to begin with that nothing from the outside world could really pose much of a threat, much as North Korea’s near-nonexistent economy has little to fear from something so catastrophic as a default on America’s debt.
I’m hesitant to talk much more about my book because I’m honestly a little superstitious. To speak its name aloud, to whisper it, would smother this little candleflame forever—to spend even a single sentence discussing this book (or to take pride in it) is to veer into the most shameless egocentrism. Like Flaubert, I doubt its qualities intensely; unlike Flaubert, I am not an artist of talent. I’m not sure if I’ve ever written about it here. I’m honestly embarrassed. I’m intensely aware of the fact that few people will notice it and that even fewer, perhaps none at all, will ever enjoy it.
I was also afraid that someone would steal my ideas, as if there is anything so special about a story of colonizing another planet with a late-medieval human civilization thriving on its surface. What gives it a unique kick is its metaphysics: this is not just a science fiction novel, but a book about the stupid absurdity of writing science fiction, or even writing at all in an age where people would rather watch movies than read books. There is also hopefully a decent literary style, an aviary of iconoclastic characters, a blockbuster plot, a melding of highbrow and lowbrow, humor, literary experimentation, ridiculousness, decadence, joy, and horror, that no other novelist could duplicate. The scifi premise is just a premise, and I hope that the book is actually a genreless piece of fiction that will attract readers as a result of its newness, its strangeness, and its formlessness.
So I have confessed. This is the great, or savagely stupid, and weak, laughable, boring, poorly-executed, amateur work of my life. I feel as though whatever I say about it will make you smirk, or shake your head, but it is the project I’ve been working on (at least passively) since the first moment of my conception. And its first part, a section of about a hundred pages, is nearing completion, after months of slaving away on a relentless course of honing and editing.
I hope to have it finished by the end of the week, at which point anyone who expresses interest will receive a free copy while I wait to hear back from the ibookstore.