a special offer on signed Matryoshka hardbacks

As part of the process of ‘clearing the decks’—in the run up to the publication of The Masters—I want to pay a little attention to my novella, Matryoshka—with a special offer over the next two days on the limited edition hardback (see below).

After ten years working on the Stone Dance, I set out to write something considerably more modest, and Matryoshka was the result. To be honest, I overshot: it was supposed to be a novel but ended up being a novella. Don’t let its shortness fool you: it required a serious effort of world creation.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Matryoshka was to be the stepping stone between the two editions of the Stone Dance. Through countless rewrites, I developed a leaner, terser style that was a reaction against—what I came to feel was—the verbosity of the First Edition Stone Dance. I applied this new style to produce a vastly leaner and reworked Second Edition.

Matryoshka is a response to Robert Holdstock’s wonderful Mythago Wood in which, like Narnia, there is a hidden world in which time passes more slowly; so that visitors to that world from ours experience adventures that last years—decades even—and still return to our world only a short time after they left. I wondered what would happen if time in the hidden world, instead of slowing down, were to speed up: so that, like a spacefarer, returning from a long journey close to the speed of light, the traveller would find that an immense span of time has elapsed on Earth. I suppose that such a story is more Rip Van Winkle than it is Mythago Wood.

Another inspiration for Matryoshka is Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers—from which Tarkovsky made the film Stalker—where ‘rubbish’ discarded by alien picnickers has startling and terrible effects on the physical world. Such a device lies at the centre of Matryoshka—vibrating at relativistic speeds that distort time ever more violently the closer you get to it. Thus, though it appears to be a tale of fantasy, underlying it is a series of fairly ‘hard science’ conceits; those interested in puzzles may seek to decrypt the references in the story. In short, Matryoshka is science fiction. Alas, I did not make this clear to Ian Whates, my editor and publisher at Newcon, and when I received a hard copy of the book, I discovered Matryoshka had been labelled as fantasy. In truth, I may have made the sci-fi underpinnings a tad too subtle…

10 thoughts on “a special offer on signed Matryoshka hardbacks

  1. i will wait for the Portuguese Version!
    And hoping it will be very soon.
    The same for the second editions of the Stone dance!

    1. I’m afraid that there’s no plan for a Portuguese Second Edition at the moment… I would need to find a suitable translator… If one were to appear, I would be prepared to give them a really good deal 🙂

  2. Going into a world where time slows down describes our desire for immortality. Going into world where time passes faster and we age much sooner than in our normal world is akin to a form of partial suicide, of the time we lose. There therefore must be something extraordinarily important needing one’s presence in this other world that would persuade anyone to enter it. What was that ‘thing’, the urgent pulling force in Matryoshka?

    1. isn’t what is critical who you are ageing or not ageing relative to? If time only slows down for you, you might achieve immortality, but only at the cost of watching those you love grow old and die. Being in the world where time moves faster, you may die sooner, but you will share your life with and age alongside those you love.

      If we’re talking about the Eboreans in Matryoshka, they each choose to live in different life streams for different reasons. Septima, and Sexta before her, choose to live quickly so that they can bring back developments from the faster world to their slower world—without that, their older world will be forever falling deeper and deeper into the past… a price paid by people who, to those in the faster world, may appear to be nearly immortal.

      If we’re talking about Cherenkov, he is not running towards anything, but running away from something. First of all from the War and the Holocaust and the horror of what he has witnessed people capable of, but through the peculiarities he suffers from time, he can no longer return, because, while he flees from his world, it flees from him even faster. In the end he is left only with a hope of finding something in the ‘light’… And when he is cheated of that hope he is left utterly lost… adrift in time…

  3. Hi ricardo, your books are like the sand on jaspers beach in a world of mud. When are the new stone dance released? I eagerly await an improved reread of a brilliant diamond in a universe of imagination, sorry if this sounds cloying but you writing is so invocative and depth delving, it’s magical! Thank you, Tony.

  4. I happened to be sitting in a cafe in Stockbridge when your blog alert came through in my emails. I had turned up for a meeting that the other person had forgotten about and not in his office. Having paid £6.20p for parking I thought to take advantage and sat down and soon talking to some people in nearby tables. I thought I would do a little bit of promoting for you and told them all to look you up and your website. I mentioned Matryoshka and they asked me what it was about. I said it was fantasy, but with a good knowledge of science, quantum, relativity, etc etc. I must admit I had not read Ian Whates labeling of Matryoshka.

    1. thank you for promoting my work 🙂 I’m pleased that you saw through to the ‘science’ but, as I say in the blog, I suspect that the story could be a little less subtle on that front…

  5. Thanks, but no thanks, I am pretty chuffed to have paid full price for a hardback copy, no 58, year of my birth as it happens. Or did you engineer it that way?!!

    1. 😀 wish I had engineered it! A sign?!?! 😉 I find it rather annoying when something I paid full price for, is later sold at a lower price. Still, I’m just playing the game…

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