Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Depths of Deception by Ian Fraser

There are only a few good solutions in a world gone mad. America has disappeared some years ago. A neo-fascist Party has come to power in the UK. Russia has expanded south. Ships leaving continental European waters are attacked. China is on the rise.
A submarine hurtles through the cold dark waters of the Atlantic en route to an unknown destination. Only the ship’s doctor knows its true mission, but he is not who he appears to be.
A sweeping tale moving from the violent heart of Apartheid South Africa, to the ruins of the United Kingdom, and down to the edge of the world in the frozen Antarctic landscape, The Depths of Deception is a cruel tale of revenge, served as a shatteringly cold dish.

Ian Fraser is a multi-award winning playwright and author. He grew up in South Africa. Penguin Books published his autobiography, dealing with his army experience under Apartheid. His work was nominated for and gradually began winning most of the South African theatre awards. For a decade, both his solo comedy and dramatic works staged by various Arts Councils won awards and broke box office records at the Grahamstown Festival, Africa’s largest Arts Festival. He relocated to the USA in 2006, and is now a naturalized US citizen. Since arriving, his work has been staged in Wisconsin, Florida, Scotland (in the UK), and in 2009, by Brown University. He’s completed four novels in the last two years. He writes fast.

What will readers like about your book?
Hopefully that they've been taken on an unexpected adventure. I hate books that waste people's time. I want to tell them a story. I don't need their affirmation, just their happy involvement in the world I've created.

Why did you self publish?
My agent passed on this story (I think because it appears at first glance to be a genre piece in the Alastair Maclean, Neville Shute variety) It isn't. But all views of books are subjective anyway. Point being, it freed me to release it on Kindle.

What is your writing process?
I don't plan what I write. I come up with a first sentence, and that leads to a second and a third. Abruptly there's a paragraph. A few of those and then the pages start mounting up. All the time, I watch and wonder what the story is and is going to be. The world of the story starts fleshing out, following its own course. I just put it down on paper and it seems to hang together somehow. I write from around 7am to 4pm, seven days a week. I write fast. As a playwright, none of my various staged plays took longer than a week and a half to complete.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?
This book took roughly a month and a half of writing. I don't do second or third drafts. I do edit, though. For me its brain damage to tread over the same darn story again, once its complete, so I'm a very harsh editor of my own work.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I have absolutely no idea. I never know why I write what I write. Each story is radically different from the other. This one's got all the trappings of high adventure, but there's clearly a very Grotesque aspect to it. The piece is a little genre-blurring. I write to amuse myself, so often there'll be elements to offset my own potential boredom. I like 'upping the ante' in stories. How far can I push the reality of what's unfolding and still keep the reader lost in what I'm doing. I dimly recall, before starting, having the imagery of dead people walking in snow. I don't want to 'spoiler' anything, though.


I woke in darkness and for a moment, my dreams of premature burial seemed real. My eyes adjusted to the dimness. I recognized the underside of the bunk above me. Beyond the closed curtain, I heard soft murmurs as crewmen made their way along the aisle. You made it. You’re on board. The bunk was soft. The thin mattress felt luxurious. Initially I’d had trouble falling asleep, knowing I was finally here. My fingers twitched becoming claws. I relaxed, shut my eyes and let my hand explore the bulkhead beside the bunk, my fingertips tracing the rivets, feeling the curve of the hull. Shouldn’t there be switches? My fingers found the semi-circular depression containing the controls. It had been a while since I was last on a submarine.

an additional / optional section from further in.

'Deep wounds are an educational process. It begins with the realization that a piece of flesh is gone and will never return. The body knows it has been disfigured; the conscious mind must be restrained from self-disgust, and the continual pain must be perceived as merely signals from torn nerve receptors. The jagged perimeter of the wound and its exposed tufts of severed muscles flex perpetually – an internal forest of scratching claws. The nostrils enter the picture; one becomes accustomed to the metallic tang of an open wound.

Deep wounds require daily attention; their owner becomes intimate with its crevices. Few wounds are symmetrical, each has unique features. Lubricated with saline, the fingertips must slide into the wound and pat it with dressings to dry the exposed layers. From doing this, a familiarity comes. The glistening flesh becomes a landscape of points and indicators on a map. Here is blissful nothingness; there a stabbing pain makes the world darken. The secret artwork of the body’s interior is displayed in the wound: vermillion streaks of raw flesh, the tempura brilliance of exposed muscles and tendons.

The owner of a deep wound learns that skin itself is a liquid as the body attempts to seal deep holes with viscous fluid. But when too much flesh has been lost, the body gives up trying to use the seeping liquid. Dark-brown purple clots start gathering like barnacles around the wound’s perimeter. The slowly-shrinking wound resembles the iris of a camera lens, or a dark clotting sphincter. Finally, once this growth is complete, the body abandons the interior crater,a pocket of liquid hidden by a thin veneer. Some catastrophic wounds can never heal. These are my scars. This is my blood. This is my body.'


Buy The Depths of Deception from Amazon US
Buy The Depths of Deception from Amazon UK

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