Friday, 23 May 2008

On books, basketball and forgetful authors

Dear Reader, if you previously read this blog, read again! This is an updated version.

On Monday a package was awaiting me when I got back from College; my own copy of The Infinite Day. Three quarters of a million words finished! I was tempted to mutter ‘Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace…’, but there’s plenty of other things do yet. Anyway it looks very fine and to those who like to see such things, here are all three together in a complete set.

Frankly, there have been times when I thought we wouldn’t get this far. And we have! Well God is faithful but I am also grateful to you, my fans who have kept the project alive.

I have barely dared open the new book for fear that some horrible spelling error or grammatical infelicity would leap out and assail me. However Alison, my wife, editor and dedicatee, started to read through it again and seems to be enjoying it. However she was extremely irritated about one petty point. On one page Merral and his team are described as playing basketball on the ship.

Now if you read the first version of this blog, you will note that we presumed an editor or proof-reader had changed this from the original teamball. But no, after writing the blog I received a very gracious message from my editor. She pointed out, which I had completely forgotten, that the author himself decided to ‘revive basketball’ because there was not enough room for teamball on the ship. I apologise profusely to my very careful editors, another of whom queried what I’d done on the grounds that in the other books the game was always teamball.

Actually, the invention of teamball (which is never properly described in the books) is significant in a deeply profound way. How so? The fact is, almost all sports have national overtones: Brits play football, Americans play baseball, the Welsh like to think they lead the world at rugby, and so on. And basketball is, largely speaking, American. Now this is important because in the Assembly we are envisaging some sort of millennial society and I was trying to do my best to avoid it sounding no more than ‘Yanks in Space’ or the ‘Return of the British Empire’. (Incidentally one of several unwritten rules in this household is that if ever anyone wants to make the films, one condition will be that the emblem of The Lamb Among The Stars must bear no resemblance whatsoever to any current national emblem, whether it bear stars or not.) But let us allow the Assembly to play any game they like, without our nationalist overtones. (I will let you spot a reference to another widely-played game for yourselves when you get the book.)

Teamball or basketball is a minor point. The Infinite Day is a super production and I want to publicly thank Tyndale for all their hard work.

Have a good week