My next story, The Quantum Twins, is a romantic, comic, sci-fi fantasy about an extra terrestrial rock star. But all of that is the candy coating, what it really explores is the journey of recovery from childhood sexual abuse. Without the escapism, fantasy and happy ending, it would be a bitter tale.
I have questioned the morality of my actions, it feels wrong making an entertainment out of tragedy. Probably some paedos will read it for kicks (though they may be disappointed). It also feels like I’m cashing in on the scandal currently rocking the political establishment. So here’s the case for the defence.
1) Fantasy and sci-fi can tackle issues too toxic for realistic styles of drama. I believe the first interracial kiss on American television was on Star Trek. And concerning paedophilia, the novel Let The Right One In conveys the real horror of child abuse more than it does the fantasy horror of vampirism.
This problem has been hidden for too long. Currently we are having an hysterical over reaction to it and it feels like another way of avoiding the issues. You may sign a petition, or tweet something nasty about Jimmy Savile, but that is not the same as understanding. Often victims do not behave the way expected of them. I hope I show how a basically good person can be damaged and what form that damage may take.
2) By writing a fantasy I can explore my own personal mythology, especially the ideas of alienation, innocence lost and the gravity of time. I can also use magic, or extra terrestrial technology to fix the things that are broken. Or at least speculate on a better world.
3) Victims of trauma often escape into mystical fantasy. Tolkien, for example, not only lost most of his family while young but also endured the horrors of WW1, so he needed an alternative reality. But for him Middle Earth was not just a place to hide, he used it to confront those same demons that haunted him.
For years I escaped into a time travelling space opera, I am now using that same world to exorcise (or maybe just exercise) my demons. Indeed, the character of Simon/Button always was a part of that inner world, but up until the Quantum Twins, his part of the story had not been told. As I wrote it was like a jigsaw falling into place and it felt like I had uncovered his true history. I had several uncanny experiences while putting it on the page, as described in an earlier blog, but also, since then, its subject matter of a powerful paedophile conspiracy has hit the news. I have heard victims on television almost say Simon’s words.
4) The story is personal. Joe and Simon are aspects of myself. Wherever I had a choice of commercial or idiosyncratic ways of telling the story I followed my heart rather than the money. Moreover I don’t expect to make any real financial gain from this, I just want to tell a story.