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All Fiction Is Wish-Fulfilment

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(Literature, Manners not Morals, Self Writ, To Know Know Know Him)

Sprawled on the car­pet, Jam­ie was nib­bling his lower lip in a thought­ful rap­ture.
Wot’cha doing ?” enquired Paul. Whil­st glad he was actu­ally doing some­thing, and not star­ing inwardly; the ever-active Paul mis­trus­ted the con­tem­plat­ive impulse: not­ing that Jam­ie, unusu­ally for him had been read­ing the Sunday lit­er­ary sup­ple­ments and scrib­bling away for the last hour. His pretty little brother had given up on oth­ers’ crit­ic­al the­ory when he was ten, not just on lit­er­at­ure.

Mak­ing a game..” Jam­ie mur­mured in soft dis­trac­tion; then shak­ing his plat­in­um head explained: “One cre­ates ten titles with synopsis-blurbs for well typ­ic­al mod­ern books  —  fiction’s gon­na be the easi­est ‘The crap we read now’ to be Trol­lopi­an…” not that Jam­ie had hardly read Trollope in his young life… “then lists ten adject­ives com­monly used in such heated minds as write blurbs to describe the prot­ag­on­ist; and ten adject­ives used to encap­su­late such rot. The oth­ers than have to match up the cor­rect two adject­ives to each book to win. Remem­ber: All fic­tion is wish-fulfilment. The skill of the author lies mostly in how they can dis­guise this truth. Mod­ern authors can barely even try; which is why their her­oes and heroines are all bril­liant, multi-skilled, sexy geni­uses.”

After a while he handed Paul his first list, “Knock your­self out.” he said cheer­fully.

 
I. Miss Jazzy Queen­ing it Down The Gap. — The adven­tures of a mixed race Black/Puerto Ric­an drag-artiste hust­ling in Times Square to fund his sex-change oper­a­tion.

II. The Potting-Shed in Autumn.  — In the garden of a country-house in 1935 an age­ing garden­er, once an Oxford gradu­ate, recalls how he came to the ruin of his dreams and his present status, and con­siders the tapestry of life rep­res­en­ted by the den­iz­ens of Mad­dingleigh Hall from the ser­vants’ quarter to the Osterley-Browns, the wealthy but cor­rupt fam­ily who now own the land.

III. The Gash of Time.  — A Scotswoman’s vig­or­ous fight for self-improvement again­st the oppos­i­tion of fam­ily, friends, chil­dren and all the men­folk she ever meets. Until at last she gains a doc­tor­ate in Coun­cil Stud­ies, makes the largest for­tune in Scot­tish his­tory as a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­wo­man, and finally becomes the first woman first min­ister of Scotland’s Par­lia­ment.

IV. The Seabirds of Yalta.  — Charlie Wern­er, troubled mav­er­ick of the SIS, has five days to stop Wal­ter Schellenburg’s most dar­ing plot of all: to assas­sin­ate the Big Three at their meet­ing in 1945. Facing the sin­ister ex-lawyer Ulrich von Kar­tof­feltopf, now SS Bri­gade­führ­er and con­fid­ante of Himmler, he has only the beau­ti­ful Laris­sa, once sec­ret­ary to Yagoda, only allowed to buy her life by ful­filling the most dan­ger­ous of all mis­sions, and Una, ‘The Lovely Valkyrie’, a Prus­si­an aris­to­crat play­ing a double game, and ‘Dutch’ O’Murphy, a tough wise-cracking US Master-Sergeant, eager and will­ing to pay off old scores. These four are pit­ted again­st Otto Skorzeny and an élite band of assas­sins formed from a com­pany of the sur­viv­ing para­chut­ists of Crete sworn to dark and mys­tic­al oaths which have to do with revenge on trait­ors respons­ible for the near débâcle and the ran­dom recov­ery of ancient objects of great occult power. Can they pro­tect the lead­ers of the Free World, or is there a trait­or in their own ranks ? How will they pair off into bed ? And in what order ?

V. The Bread-and-Butter Pud­ding Club.  — Polly, Gail, Rosie and Miri­am all want their men to settle down and take things ser­i­ously: they form a pact with the rest of the girls in the firm and it’s a side-splitting race to see who becomes preg­nant first.

VI. The End of the Pier.  — July 1914: The Twelve Joeys, a strug­gling party of Pier­rots and Pier­rets work the South Coast dur­ing the splen­did Sum­mer. What will Autumn bring ?

VII. Rid­ing A Rain­bow.  — Dainty vowed nev­er to be depend­ent on any­one after her par­ents split up; now a bril­liant suc­cess as the best mar­ket­ing exec­ut­ive in the tough world of pub­lish­ing ever, she wants a child. But at 26 she has to act fast. Who shall she choose as the father ? Josh, her live-in lov­er of three years, geni­us research sci­ent­ist, but irre­spons­ible and feck­less; Rudy, the sweet gentle impov­er­ished motor­cycle cour­i­er, only 19 but liv­ing in a com­mun­al squat in Brix­ton; or Simon, suave multi-millionaire busi­ness entre­pren­eur who will give her a life of per­fec­tion, but demand mar­riage as the price ? Dainty has to make the most dif­fi­cult decision of her life.

VIII. Dead of Day.  — A seri­al killer is mur­der­ing women, all of whom are young, clev­er and excess­ively attract­ive: can the J9 team, a crack police squad formed to foil these crimes  —  old­ish gaf­fer, young female second-in-command, black male, com­puter geni­us, black female, sev­er­al gays of either sex, ordin­ary plods with com­bat skills  —  work out why he uses these cri­ter­ia in time before he slays another six vic­tims ?

IX. The Holy Ball.  — Latvia in the early four­teenth cen­tury is a grim and dan­ger­ous place, ruled by the cruel Sword-Brethren. Some men fight in rebel­lion, oth­ers knuckle under: but all, ulti­mately are depressed. A group of their wives how­ever refuse to yield, and defy the imper­i­al­ist­ic oppress­ors and their hypo­crit­ic­al Church by invent­ing foot­ball. The infuri­ated rulers must strike back and des­troy the game and all memory of it, or it will spell the end of all their anti-democratic power. Inspir­ingly, after the mas­sacre one girl escapes and, abjur­ing all else, spends every moment of an immensely long and minutely detailed mediæval life trav­el­ling to every coun­try in Europe, Africa, and Asia to secretly spread the know­ledge of this inspir­ing game, with it’s prom­ise of ulti­mate lib­er­a­tion, among­st all dis­af­fected peas­ants.

X. Fresh Meat  — Hor­ror: an espe­cial group of Sûreté invest­ig­at­ors put togeth­er an alarm­ing col­lec­tion of facts. All over the globe, butchers return home to find their fam­il­ies gone: there are no clues, except the abduct­ors left sev­er­al hun­dred kilos of saus­ages sit­ting in each liv­ing room. Mar­vel as the author­it­ies take sev­er­al weeks before some­thing clicks and they call in what saus­ages remain for forensic exam­in­a­tion.

 
 
1. Feisty
2. Strong
3. Fiercely-independent
4. Fiercely-intelligent
5. Love­able
6. Tra­gic
7. Ador­able
8. Endur­ing
9. Bright
10. Tough-minded

a) life-enhancing
b) wise
c) gentle-fable
d) bril­liant
e) hil­ari­ous
f) astound­ing
g) amaz­ing
h) witty
i) assured
j) myth­ic

 
Paul read this in silence. “Some of your sod­ding pre­oc­cu­pa­tions are present;”
Jam­ie smirked.
I wouldn’t talk about ‘Lovely Valkyries’ much if I were you.” he con­tin­ued sourly.
Jam­ie bit him. At least he tried to. Cer­tain sub­jects were taboo.

 
Child Witch

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Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
This work by Claverhouse is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.