Risingshadow has the honour of publishing a guest post by Tony Ballantyne.
Tony Ballantyne's latest novel, Dream London, was published in October 2013.
Tony Ballantyne is the author of Twisted Metal, Blood and Iron and the Recursion series. He has also written many short stories. Tony grew up in County Durham in the North East of England. He studied Maths at Manchester University before moving to London where he taught Maths and IT. His first SF sale was 'The Sixth VNM' which appeared in Interzone 138. Since then he has had short stories appear in magazines and anthologies worldwide. He has also written romantic fiction and satirical pieces for various magazines such as Private Eye. Recursion, his first novel, was published by Tor UK in 2004. He has been nominated for the BSFA and Philip K. Dick awards. He now lives in Oldham with his wife and two children. His hobbies are playing the piano, accordion and cornet. He also enjoys walking and cycling.
Click here to visit the author's official website.
Creating a different kind of London (by Tony Ballantyne)
I didn't deliberately set out to create a different kind of London so much as to extrapolate and remix the more grotesque and fantastical parts of it. Dream London is in some ways a cartoon version of our world, although in a Tim Burton/Studio Ghibli sort of way.
There is very little in Dream London that is completely imaginary. London contains or has contained most of the things that appear in the book. Workhouses, brothels, cranes, football hooligans, press gangs, a powerful financial sector: all these have played their part in London's story. What license I did take was in bringing together elements from different times and then deforming them, exaggerating or elongating them.
Some things were more of my own invention, but then nothing is ever wholly original. The blue monkeys put in a guest appearance from another source, but their actual inclusion was inspired by the existence of the rose-ringed parakeets that flock around London. One of the great things about cities such as London is the way that people and cultures from all over the world are mixed together to create something new and exciting. But it doesn't stop with the people. Animals, music, diseases, jokes, architecture. All of these things are dropped into the pot and stirred together and no one knows what's going to emerge. No wonder that, around the world, so many leaders are fighting for decency and old fashioned values. Never mind that the values they fight for were once thought new and dangerous. Cities are petri dishes for virulent new forms of life. No one can predict what's going to emerge from the mix in the future.
If I had to make my guess, I'd say that whatever does arise will make the Dream London I created look as safe and prosaic as a pair of carpet slippers...