Saturday, 21 August 2010


Today is quite a notable day. I received my first feedback regarding the DM for a real reader! Jackie, who describes herself (somewhat harshly) as a ‘humble Waterstone's bookseller’ came by a bookproof of the DM from Ron at Quercus. This is what Jackie said:

‘Hope you are fine and dandy! Well - the Demi-Monde is read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the quirkiness of the premise that you were reading an old-fashioned tale of peril and derring-do but within this incredibly well-thought out and constructed futuristic parallel world. It was kind of like the Eagle Annual fused with Neuromancer! The integration of the factual information regarding Demi-Monde and the socio-political/racial components of each zone was inspired and I liked the way that this information was introduced at a steady pace and in a non-intrusive way, whilst keeping you submerged in the central plot. I thought the characterisation was remarkable both in relation to the actual historical figures and the pure fictional constructs from the evil and oily Heydrich/Crowley, to intensely annoying Trixie, the loathsome but comical Burlesque and the wonderful duo of Ella and Vanka - the Dempsey and Makepeace of the Demi-Monde...well maybe not! My only slight criticism would be that the siege of Warsaw section does seem to go on as long as the actual siege of Warsaw but having said that that's not bad only having one criticism! I know it's a bit of a cliché but I was genuinely upset to reach the end of it as it's going to be ages before Part 2 if this isn't out until January (DM 2 is scheduled for January 2012, Rod). I have been whipping up a frenzy of excitement about it at work and there's at least 4 other booksellers who want to read it so if you fancy sending any additional copies to the shop that would be great. It would be good to get 'The Demi-Monde' train on the track as this is perfect for 'fiction' readers who embraced 'The Passage' despite its futuristic bent and I think this could certainly tap into the same market.’

What a nice girl! And very perceptive too if her comment re Vanka and Ella is anything to go by. It will be interesting to see if other readers have the same opinion about the Warsaw section of the book. I’ll also have to read Neuromancer to check out Jackie’s comment regarding the DM being a fusion of that and the Eagle Annual (now bringing Dan Dare into the DM would be a real blast!).

Anyway it’s great to see that the DM is jingling some jangles...writing’s quite a lonely operation and it’s easy to slide into the frame of mind that what you’re writing is crap, so unsolicited words of the kind kind are always gratefully received.

Many thanks, Jackie!


I heard yesterday that HarperCollins have taken the US rights (or is that the NorthAmerican rights?) of the first two books of the Demi-Monde quartet.

I am very happy. HarperCollins is a big compaay with a lot of experience in SF and a lot of muscle in the book market so hopefully by the time DM1 is launched (Fall 2011 for hardback) the web site etc. will be really slick and enticing. The DM is to be published via their William Morrow brand which according to John is a signal that they're taking the book very seriously. All I know is that anything that's OK for Neil Gaiman is OK for Rod Rees.

The guy who I think will be my pointman at HC - Gabe Robinson - seems very enthusiastic too, which is always a good sign. HC are having a re-think about requesting a title change, apparently their readers are split. I was thinking about suggesting 'The Demi-Monde: OutSet', but maybe that won't be needed now.

The HC news has made me think about re-jigging my plans for 2011. I had targetted the end of the year for the completion of DM3 and then taking a break to write something else (my pulp-SF series starring Rocco Rockman which I'm itching to start) but I think it'll be wiser to keep right on with DM4. I've a feeling that 2011 might be a very busy year. Now Ellie's idea of touring the States gigging SF audiences takes one step closer to fruition. She's even talking about delaying university for a year!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


I want to use fashion plates in 'The Demi-Monde: Summer' the 3rd book of the DM series so I've asked Nigel to design them. This is the brief I've given him:




• Very similar to 1870’s Victorian fashion

• Sombre colours – greys and blacks

• Very demur

• Embroidered with Valknuts

• Hats with veils.


• Very similar to 1870’s Victorian fashion

• Top hats more triangular in shape with a coloured band and possibly a Valknut cockade

• Very sombre colours except for bright waistcoat again embroidered with Valknuts

• Moustaches s/be long and waxed


My advice for this Season? For men: stripes, stripes, and more stripes! Trousers should be skin-tight – striped, of course – with a contrasting cod-piece in gloss shellac (red or yellow for preference). Hats should be at least three inches taller than was currently en vogue and decorated with polka-dots. For the ladies I am taking my cues from the more extreme fashions sported by the Be-Real-To-Yourself-ists and those naughty, naughty JADniks. A-line gowns in primary colours and bustles smaller and more pert being this Season’s must-haves and it is the nipple that takes centre-stage this Spring: breasts should be covered – or is that uncovered, ladies – by voile and nipples varnished a colour that complements the gown. And as for masks: black leather leavened with a haze of sequins remains de rigueur for both the man and the woman-about-town.

Extract from ‘ImPure Modes’: Frederick Worth, UnVague Vogues Monthly, Spring 1005


• Think goth Victoriana fashions taken to extreme.

• Remember this is the Sector that has embraced ImPuritanism so everything must be super-sexy

• Masks are worn by everybody in the QC – take your inspiration from Venice

• Mannez is the runic motif used as garnish in the QC

• Colours are bright, clashing, discordant


• Think goth Victoriana fashions taken to extreme.

• Masks, skin tight trousers (think Russell Brand), top hats with polka dots, and bright cod pieces


HerEticalism abhors the sexual objectifying of Women. Decree 998/undressing: In Praise of Modesty, demanded that all Woman respect themselves and refrained from dressing and acting in an immodest or provocative manner which may be construed as having the intent to inflame the heterosexual libido. Make-up was summarily banned. In response to this Decree, Covenite clothing designer Jiang Qing introduced the all-in-one boiler suit made from blue denim which has now became the near-ubiquitous uniform for Femmes and nonFemmes within the Coven. Colloquially this suit is called the ‘jiang’, or, as it has been corrupted in the rest of the Demi-Monde, ‘jeans’.

‘The Young Femme’s Guide to the History of the Coven’; HistorianNoN Fan Ye: Covenite Textbooks and Periodicals

Following the example of MoreBien actor, Marlene Dietrich, Covenite women who have embraced MoreBienism have taken to having their heads symbolically shaved to show that they have cut all their ties with nonFemmes, with heterosexual sex and with the patriarchal nature of Demi-Mondian society.

‘The Young Femme’s Guide to the History of the Coven’; HistorianNoN Fan Ye: Covenite Textbooks and Periodicals


• Shaven heads
• Jiangs

MEN (NONS - eunochs -actually):

When the steamer chugged to a halt and the doors thrown open Norma was attended by a tall, portly man in the flowing silk robes embroidered with the emblem of Mars – crossed through - who was standing protected from the pouring rain by a large umbrella held by an enormously muscular guard. He bowed to Norma. ‘I am Imperial Secretary, Mao ZeDong, First Administrator and Most Senior NoN in the Court of her Celestial Majesty, Empress Wu, ABBA Ordained Ruler of the Demi-Monde.’ The man’s voice was peculiarly high-pitched and he spoke in a strange lilting manner but this, she supposed, was what happened when a guy had had his nuts chopped off.

Excerpt from ‘The Demi-Monde: Summer’

• Traditional Chinese robes (taken to extreme)

• Long fingernails, shaven heads with pigtail.

• Robes decorated with ‘symbol of Mars’ crossed out


WOMEN (OR woeMen as they are called in NoirVille):

• All-enveloping black burqas adorned with the runic symbol Ingwaz


After careful study of the pictograms etched onto the Demi-Monde’s Mantle-ite structures, I have determined the proportionality of ABBA’s body, which I would describe as the Golden Ratio. Using the unit of measure as the Head (from the top of the head to the bottom of the neck), Man should be seven heads tall with the torso, thigh, and shin each being the equivalent of two heads in length. Moreover to accurately replicate the image of ABBA the muscles of a Man must be fully formed, rounded, firm and well defined.

‘My Body is My Temple’: Father Eugene Sandow, NoirVille Machismo Publications

The teachings of Sandow formed the basis of my own theories regarding the mathematical bases of aesthetic bodily perfection. These I incorporated into my sculpture of ‘ABBA’ which strives to demonstrate Man’s ultimate physical perfection incorporating as it does the idealised symmetria of all parts of the male body. ‘ABBA’ has been declared to be ‘divinely inspired’ by the Church of HimPerialism and is now cited as the aspirational model of the male bodily form for all devout HimPerial Men. This form may only be achieved by much strenuous exercise: as His Grace, Mohammed Ahmed al Mahdi has said (‘Transcendental BodyBuilding for Beginners’), ‘by your sweat, ABBA will know you’.

‘The Kanon: A Man’s Guide to a Heavenly Body’: Father Peter Polykleitos, NoirVille Machismo Publications

• Display of their bodily perfection is the aim of all HimPerialist men

• Their dress comprises a kilt (decorated with the Symbol of Mars) and very little else

• They wear the isiCoco – the headring worn by all Zulu Men – and the twin scars on each cheek which proclaims to the world that they had completed the Rite of Passage.


Probably this Summer’s most left-field fashion influences come from the JAD. Everything, folks, is taken to extremes in the JAD. Top hats are taller, pants are more spotted, bosoms even more prominently displayed (swoon!), hemlines are higher (so time for some new lingerie, ladies) and colours must clash. Everything this Season is excessive; so, dear hearts, if you’ve got anything (and I do mean anything) which is in any way bigger or, dare I say it gentlemen, longer than the norm you’ve simply got to flaunt it! Flaunt, flaunt, flaunt are the mots de jour.

Extract from ‘ImPure Modes’: Frederick Worth, UnVague Vogues Monthly, Summer 1005


• Remember that the JAD is the nuJu Autonomous District so think Jewish traditional taken to extremes.

Monday, 16 August 2010



Okay, this is the difficult bit. Can't say too much. But...this is taken in part from the One-Sheet I used to pitch the Demi-Monde.

Civilisation has been so, so lucky…lucky because α-Singularities like Stalin and Hitler – hi-performance psychotics - are so rare that they never seem to manifest themselves more than two at a time. Lucky because civilisation struggles to cope even with just two of them. But what if they came at us gang-handed…?

Cue the US Military’s Asymmetric Warfare Training Program…the Demi-Monde. The Demi-Monde: the most sophisticated and powerful Asymmetrical Warfare cyber-milieu ever produced. The US Military’s neoFights have never had it this good…this bad. But what makes the Demi-Monde unique isn’t that it’s operated by the world’s first quantum computer, ABBA; isn’t that it conjures up the most ferocious, unrelenting and challenging Asymmetric Warfare Environment envisionable; isn’t even that it is the first simulation product to incorporate ParaDigm’s Totally Realistic User Envelopment - TRUE - technology to ensure full and all-pervasive Player/Simulation meshing…

No…what makes The Demi-Monde unique is that amongst its thirty million avatars are seeded a group of PreLived Singularities. Singularities…from whose ranks have risen the tyrants and despots who have shaped the Real World, who have built empires and whose malignant personalities have caused the hurt and anguish that has besmirched history. Singularities…Heydrich, Shaka Zulu, Empress Wu, Godfrey de Boullion, Selim the Grim, Lavrentii Beria…

And it's into this world that the daughter of the US President, Norma Williams, has become trapped.and a young African-American, Ella Thomas, is persuaded to enter the Demi-Monde to lead her out. But as Ella finds out all is not as it seems in the Demi-Monde and Ella just hopes the cyber-walls they have built around the Demi-Monde are strong enough to contain the amount of evil it contains.

But she might be wrong...

Sunday, 15 August 2010


On Thursday just gone I had an e-mail from John advising that representatives of a US publisher (I'll keep the name to myself for the time being) wanted to speak with me. He seemed as perplexed as I was as to why - this isn't apparently a usual modus operandi - but, I guess, when they're thinking of taking a punt on a new writer it's a sensible thing to do.

As it seemed they were particularly interested in how the DM is to develop over the course of the four books I updated the Plot Synopsis I'd done for Quercus and forwarded that plus my revised Character List and copies of the briefing documents for Auralism, HerEticalsim, HimPerialism and Confusionism to John for onward transmission.

We agreed that the Americans would call me at 17:00 and they did, bang on the button (I like that: I'm a pretty exact sort of person myself and punctuality shows seriousness). It was an interesting chat - my first interview about the DM really - and I hope I showed that I'm reasonably compus mentis. I suppose with the amount of media activity associated with book promotion these days it's important for publishers to be confident that their authors aren't pathological introverted or the type who freak at the first sight of a microphone. I hope I did OK.

One interesting question was regarding the DM's title. They don't seem to like 'The Demi-Monde: Winter'. The original idea for the title sorta came in a rush. When John told me that Quercus were interested in the DM he asked me to provide PDQ a Plot Synopsis which I wrote in 30 minutes flat (I'd deliberately tried not to think beyond DM 1 in order not to tempt Fate) so the naming of the books was equally spur-of-the-moment. I liked the idea of the last one being 'The Demi-Monde: Fall' so naming the the others after the seasons was a no-brainer. BUT if there are better titles out there I'm very relaxed about rechristening the books. My belief is that with agents and publishers you've got to (most of the time anyway) accept that they've got expertise you ain't so you've got to trust them and their judgement. If re-entitling the books will give them more of a chance to be read, so be it.

The other question was would I be willing to go to the States to promote the book. You bet! Nelli and I have worked with a lot of Americans over the years and got on really well with them. The prospect of showing Nelli some of my favourite cities would be just wonderful. Ellie - my younger daughter, the one with a brain the size of a small planet - is planning (if this comes off) on us hiring a Rec Vehicle and touring the US. The Rees family goes to look for America.

There might even be a book in it!


We have finally sold our house! The legals have been dragging on for months as the guy at the bottom of the chain sorted out the right of access to his loft or something, but now contracts have been exchanged and a moving date of 3rd September set.

This is a BIG relief.

So folks my blogs for the next month or so are going to be very sparodic. All I'm intent on doing is finishing off the 'What Is the Demi-Monde' series and to report on the events in the USA. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010



The main characters in the first part of the Demi-Monde are a mix of real (PreLived) and fictional (NowLived), the main ones being:

Norma Williams: Norma is the 18 year old daughter of the President of the USA. She's an EMO and something of a rebel. She was lured into the Demi-Monde and is very, very unhappy about it. As she says she's fed up being chased, threatened and tormented by the lunatics who make up the Demi-Monde's population. Although she can be a little trying at times, her heart is in the right place and despite occasional hysterics is a resilient young lady...and after what I've put her through she needs to be!

Ella Thomas: An 18 year old African-American high school student  from the wrong side of the tracks who happens to be very, very bright. She's also a sometime jazz singer, a talent that brings her to the attention of the US military who want someone to enter the Demi-Monde to pull Norma out. Ella has hidden depths.

Ivan (Vanka) Ivanovitch Maykov: A 25 year old Dupe born in the St Petersburg District of Rodina. Vanka's a Licensed Psychic and Occultist; an occasional fraudster and conman; a dealer in illicit blood; and an inveterate womaniser. When we first meet him he's on the run from one of the ForthRight's big shots after seducing his sister.

Burlesque Bandstand: A 35 year old Dupe born in the London District of the Rookeries. Burlesque is a pub owner; an impresario; a pimp; and a Checkya (the ForthRight's secret police) informer.Totally disreputable, totally unreliable and totally reprehensible, Burlesque is probably my favourite character.

Comrade-Leader Reinhard Tristan Eugan Heydrich: Heydrich is a 40 year old Dupe recreation of the Nazi warlord who was architect of the Holocaust. He was born in the Berlin Sector of the Rookeries and  has risen to become Leader of the ForthRight (the amalgamated Rookeries and Rodina Sectors). Classified (belatedly) as an α-Singularity - a hi-level psychopath. Heydrich is the personification of emotionless evil.

Professor Septimus Bole: A Real Worlder, Bole is 47 years old and was born in Cambridge, United Kingdom. He was responsible for creating the Demi-Monde and has been seconded to the US military to sort out its 'problems'. Bole's a bright boy being President, ParaDigm CyberResearch Limited; Head of ParaDigm’s The Demi-Monde Project Team; Head of ParaDigm’s PINC Project Team; Visiting Professor of Cybernetics at Cambridge University; Chairman of UK Government’s Advisory Committee on CyberIntrusion; Head of the Intelligence Bureau. He has all the empathy of an ice-cube.

Lady Trixiebell (Trixie) Dashwood: A 17 year old Dupe schoolgirl born in the London District of the Rookeries. She is the daughter of Baron Dashwood and a real tough cookie being a proto-RaTionalist (a religion banned in the ForthRight).


One of the subtleties of proofing was brought home to be yesterday.

The religions of the Demi-Monde are steeped in Norse mythology so I used the word 'Hel' when Demi-Mondians were speaking as opposed to 'Hell' when the speaker was a Real Worlder.

This I now see was too clever by half. A couple of weeks back Rod Beard of Quercus sent me an e-mail after reading the book saying that he wasn't sure if Hel was a typo so I made an amendment to the book and included a definition of Hel in the glossary of DM Speak. That I thought was the end of it. Unfortunately yesterday Nigel (of web site fame) who has also been reading the book mentioned the same thing so it was obvious that this was a problem.

Fortunately Rich came to the rescue. From now on it's going to be 'hell' and 'Hel' which hopefully will solve the problem.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010



There are a number of idiosyncracies about the Demi-Monde of which the most important are the blood-dependency of the Dupes and the Lo-Set Infrastructural/Technological Modality prevailing in the Demi-Monde.

Blood-Dependency: all Dupes in the Demi-Monde need to have a minimum weekly dietary intake of 10 ml blood to survive. However their craving means that they perceive this very much as a subsistence level. The Demi-Mondians’ thirst for blood is virtually unquenchable: the more blood they consume the better they feel. They get the blood from Blood Banks situated in each District of each Sector which provides 20ml of blood to each Demi-Mondian each week.

Lo-Set Infrastructural/Technological Modality: As most AWE environments have, at best, a Level 3, lo-set, infra-structural/technological modality - a modality additionally impaired and compromised by AWE events - it was agreed that the Demi-Monde should have no electrical power and that weaponry available to Dupes be maintained at a realtively primative level. To achieve this, the decision was made to time-freeze Demi-Mondian technology at a competence level equivalent to that achieved by the year 1870.


In order to provide the appropriately ferocious leadership found in AWEs four PreLived Singularities were seeded into each of the Demi-Monde's five Sectors.

An α-Class Singularity (aka Dark Charismatic, Hi-Level Psychotic) is defined as an individual demonstrating such distorted and aberrational force of personality and singularity of purpose that they have the capacity and the ability to wrest power from existing governments, to overturn the politico-social status-quo and to irreparably damage and change existing cultural, moral, religious and political mores. α-Class Singularities are noted for their vaulting ambition, their great cruelty, their lack of empathy and of remorse and their indifference to the suffering of others. However this discordant personality is effectively masked by a profound charisma, a compelling personal magnetism and an ability to lie and dissemble with aplomb. From the ranks of α-Class Singularities have risen the tyrants and despots who have shaped the Real World, who have built empires and whose malignant personalities have created the hurt and anguish that has besmirched history. The PreLived α-Class Singularities seeded into the Demi-Monde are:

Sector 1. Henry Tudor
Sector 2. Maximilien Robespierre
Sector 3. Shaka Zulu
Sector 4. Ivan the Terrible
Sector 5. Empress Wu

β-Class (aka Mid-Level Psychotics) are those flawed and demented individuals who, although possessed of great charisma and ambitions, never, through want of intelligence or because of flaws of character, achieve the same leadership levels as those achieved by α-Class Singularities. However because of their often immense organisational skills and tireless energy they do much to realise the destructive potential of ά-Class Singularities. Although immensely effective and murderous β-Class Singularities often demonstrate a limited ability with regard to original, abstract thought, being more comfortable when subordinate to a ‘higher power’ (generally an α-Class Singularity). They are the ‘Administrators’ of History rather than the ‘Shapers’ of history, but are no less dangerous or pernicious because of their preference to operate in the shadows, shunning the limelight and caring little for titles or honours. Like Cerebus at the gates of Hades it is the β-Class Singularities who ensure that Hell is run efficiently. They sit at the right hand of Satan. The PreLived β-Class Singularities seeded into the Demi-Monde are:

Sector 1. Reinhard Heydrich
Sector 2. Godfrey de Boullion
Sector 3. Selim the Grim
Sector 4. Lavrentii Beria
Sector 5. Lucrezia Borgia

Of all the classes of Singularity it is perhaps the γ-Class Singularity (aka Lo-Level Psychotic) which is the most viscerally evil. γ-Class Singularities are those who revel in close-up violence and torture, the ones who delight in getting their hands bloodied and in hearing the screams of their victims as they torment them. The Inquisition was staffed almost entirely by γ-Class Singularities. In the hierarchy of Singularities it is the γ-Class Singularity who executes the orders of higher ranked Singularities and who turns madness into reality. The PreLived γ-Class Singularities seeded into the Demi-Monde are:

Sector 1. Archie Clement
Sector 2. The Marquis de Sade
Sector 3. Joaquin Murieta
Sector 4. General Mikhail Dmitrievitch Skobelev
Sector 5. Countess Elizabeth Bathory

In order to ensure that there is the required level of religious tension prevalent in the Demi-Monde, PreLived Singularities of the α-RF Class have been seeded into each Sector. Individuals who make up this class of RF’s are characterised by a fanatical and unreasonable belief that they are ‘special’, that they have been selected or ‘chosen’ by God (or other deity) to lead the peoples of the world to salvation. The PreLived α-RFs selected for insertion into each Sector are:

Sector 1. Aleister Crowley
Sector 2. Tomas de Torquemada
Sector 3. Mohammed Ahmed
Sector 4. Karl Marx
Sector 5. Jeanne d’Arc


I've been busy the past couple of days organising Kit and Ellie' work experience so I haven't done much writing. One thing I did do was check out the September edition of SFX which carried the news that a TV mini-series based on Philip Jose Farmer's 'Riverworld' has been screened in the US.

Now the Riverworld is one of my favourite SF books mainly because it has as its central character Richard Burton, the Victorian explorer, reprobate and linguist. I originally came to the books after having read Burton's biography 'The Devil Drives' and judged him to be one of THE great personalities of the Nineteenth century. I would loved to have had Burton appear in the Demi-Monde but Philip Jose got there first (and did him very, very, well).

As the Riverworld is built around Farmer's exploring of Burton's character as much as the titular Riverworld I always thought it to be unfilmable.Apparently not.

It seems that the hero is now an American reporter and Burton is the bad guy so I've got to say I'm not optimistic. The SFX review was pretty damning too. But I really have to see for myself so I'm now trying to get myself a copy.

Saturday, 7 August 2010



The Demi-Monde is populated by thirty million NowLive Dupes - digital duplicates - each Dupe based on a real person living in the Real World. This has been achieved by ABBA accessing databanks using ParaDigm’s BaQTraQ data-mining package to acquire the DNA profiles and fullscope information regarding the physical and emotional characteristics, the personality traits, the educational/skills and the predilections of citizens of the cities upon which each District in each Sector of the Demi-Monde is based.

Once modelled, these Dupes are conditioned to regard the Demi-Monde as their home: they have no memory of the Real World. They are however provided with an appropriate and fully functional memory of his or her life as a Demi-Mondian prior to the OutSet of the Demi-Monde plus a realistically flawed ancestral memory.

In addition to the NowLive Dupes a small coterie of PreLived Dupes have been infiltrated into the Demi-Monde. These PreLived Dupes are Singularities (aka Psychotics or Dark Charismatics) modelled on historic personages, the use of Singularities being considered necessary to provide neoFights with the hi-level adversarial leadership threat absent in all other AWE simulations. Each of the five Sectors of the Demi-Monde has been furnished with three PreLived Singularities (one each of an α-Class, a β-Class and a γ-Class) and one PreLived α-Class Religious Fanatic. Each of these four über-Dupes flawlwssly mimics the hostroical figure thay represent with regard to their ambition, viciousness, and psychotic disposition. These Singularities provide the requisite level of aberrational leadership to make the Demi-Monde a combative and amoral world mirroring the situation prevalent in real AWEs. The α-Class Religious Fanatic is designed to provide the requisite amount of religious tension and disharmony often seen in AWEs.

In order to achieve the diversity of racial and socio/economic environments available for neoFights to sample and experience, and to generate the requisite level of Intra-Personal and Inter-Sectorial DisHarmonics the Demi-Monde population has been divided equally, at the OutSet of the simulation, between five discrete, diverse but mutually interdependent and antagonistic Sectors, thus:

The Rookeries: The OutSet population is predominantly Anglo-Saxon, the common language English and the dominant religion UnFunDaMentalism. Populations are drawn from London, Berlin and New York.

The Quartier Chaud: The OutSet population is predominantly of Mediterranean stock, the common language French and the dominant religion ImPuritanism. Populations are drawn from Paris, Rome, Venice and Barcelona.

NoirVille: The OutSet population is predominantly Arabic/African (with the gender mix skewed 2:1 in favour of males), the common language Arabic and the dominant religion HimPerialism. Populations are drawn from Cairo, Istanbul, Delhi and ZuluLand.

Rodina: The OutSet population is predominantly Slavic, the common language Russian and the common dominant RaTionalism. Populations are drawn from Warsaw, St Petersburg and Odessa.

The Coven: The OutSet population is predominantly Chinese/Japanese (with the gender mix skewed 2:1 towards females), the common language is Chinese and the dominant religion is HerEticalism. Populations are drawn from Tokyo, Beijing and Rangoon.

Each Sector is also the home for a nuJu minority constituting 16.67% of each Sector’s OutSet Population.

TheDemi-Monde has sx religions/belief systems each of them incompatible and disparaging of one another.

UnFunDaMentalism: UnFunDaMentalism is a cohort of political, racial, metaPhysical, sexual and social ideas and philosophies relating to the purification of the Demi-Mondian race, the triumph of the Aryan people and the rehabilitation of the semi-mythological Pre-Folk. Adopted as the State religion of the Rookeries, the ultimate aim of UnFunDaMentalism is, by a process of selected breeding and measured culling, to eliminate the contamination of the UnderMentionable races from the Demi-Monde’s Aryan stock.

ImPuritanism: ImPuritanism is the official religion of the Quartier Chaud. It is a staunchly hedonistic philosophy based on the belief that the pursuit of pleasure is the primary duty of HumanKind and that communion with the Spirits can only be achieved during orgasm, or as ImPuritans call it, JuiceSense.

HimPerialism: HimPerialism is the official religion of NoirVille. Based on an unwavering belief in male supremacy and the subjugation of women (or, as they are known in NoirVille, woeMen). HimPerialism teaches that Men have been ordained by God to Lead and to Control the Demi-Monde and that woeMen’s role is to be Mute, Invisible, Supine and Subservient (the Doctrine of subMISSiveness).

RaTionalism: RaTionalism is the avowedly and uncompromisingly atheistic creed developed by the Rodina thinker and ardent Royalist Karl Marx, which strives by a process of Dialectic ImMaterialism to secure logical explanations regarding the Three Great Dilemmas (the philosophical and religious arguments relating the Creation, the Confinement and the Purpose of the Demi-Monde).

HerEticalism: HerEticalism is the official religion of the Coven. Developed by the Empress Wu, HerEticalism is a religion based on the innate supremacy of Femmes (aka Women) and the belief that if the Demi-Monde is to survive and flourish it must be protected from the problems caused by MisMANagement, which, in turn, will require the subjugation and ultimate elimination of nonFemmes (aka Men). More radical HerEticals – the Suffer-O-Gettes - are of the opinion that the ultimate expression and apotheosis of MostBien will require the total extermination of all nonFemmes.

nuJuism: The unrelentingly pessimistic religion of the nuJu diaspora which teaches that suffering and hardship is life-affirming, and that life is endured to prepare the followers for the coming of the Messiah who will lead them to the Promised Land

Friday, 6 August 2010



I've finished the rough draft of Demi-Monde 3, Summer. I thought it would take a little longer but the final two chapters came in a rush. It's topped out at just shy of 180,000 words and I'm quite pleased with it. The problems I now face are three fold:

1. the book falls into three sections (The Coven;NoirVille; and the denouement)  but I don't want it to be too segmentated so I'll have to give some thought to this, maybe intermeshing all the action;

2. the final section is a little ponderous so that needs to be streamlined; and

3. I'm got to cull 30,000 words. I'm determined it won't exceed 150,000 words.

There are some new characters I'm pretty pleased with - Fresh Bloom, Dong E; philosopherNoN Xi Kang; and NoirVillian Xolandi - and I think the new religions - HerEticalism, Confusionism and HimPerialism - work well too. The set up for the final book is quite good: even though I'm not precisely sure how the finale will go I've got a whole bunch of quite cool ideas. So for the next four weeks or more I'm going to be pruning and polishing.

Heard that the Waterstones presentation went well. Apparently Waterstones have a panel of 20 SF readers who give their verdict on a book. The bookproof will go out to them next week: I hope they like it.

Thursday, 5 August 2010


I thought I spend the next couple of blogs giving a sort of potted history of the Demi-Monde.


By 2012 the US miltary found itself involved in a variety of Asymmetric Warfare Environments (AWE) around the world. The low score of Battle Performance Indices registered by neoFights (soldiers/officers without previous combat experience) caused by battle-naiviety persuaded the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to commission a a hyper-realistic AWE simulation that would allow neoFights to enjoy pre-fight experience of the visceral emotional impact of warfighting in an AWE.

The tender was won by ParaDigm CyberResearch Limited of the United Kingdom with their product, the Demi-Monde.

The Demi-Monde is the most  sophisticated and powerful warfare simulation product ever. It is the first simulation product ever to be platformed on and operated by the ABBA quantum computer, a computing engine of such power that it has enabled ParaDigm to populate the Demi-Monde with 30 million fully independent, discriminating, cogent and self-motivated digital duplicates (Dupes). These Dupes have been placed in five diverse (diverse both racially and socio-politically) Sectors designed to faithfully mimic the discontinuous, disharmonic and diverse warfare milieus of Asymmetric Warfare Environments.

Such is the prodigous process ing power of ABBA that the Demi-Monde is the first and only simulation product to be Heuristically Capable allowing the Dupes to evolve over time and to interact with neoFights in a wholly convincing and totally unpredictable manner. So succesful was this that in β-testing the Demi-Monde achieved a Realism Quotient of an unprecedented 9.9. Such a score means that, to all intents and purposes, for all Players the Demi-Monde experience is indistinguishable from Real Life. Moreover in β-testing the Demi-Monde has achieved a Battle Performance Indice of 167.56%. vis a vis currently employed training metodologies.
In summary: the Demi-Monde provides the perfect environment where US Combat Personnel - be they neoFights, seasoned BattlePersonnel, grunts, NCOs, officers or squads - can be trained and evaluated in both a cost-effective and performance-effective manner in AWE situations of the most accurate, convincing and challenging kind, and where new TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) may be subjected to Extreme Action Testing. It is estimated the Demi-Monde will save the US Military over $54.35 billion in training, hospitalisation, welfare and mortuary costs in each fiscal year. The Demi-Monde truely is a 5th Generation solution to the problems of fighting 4th Generation Wars.

The Demi-Monde is a sealed, circular world with a diameter of 30 miles. It is surrounded by an impenetrable, though transparent, Boundary Layer, beyond which the world appears to be grass/woodland which disappears off towards the horizon and which is known as the Great Beyond. Only light, wind, the excreta of ExCreatures and the waters of the Spoke Rivers penetrate the Boundary Layer.

The Demi-Monde is divided into four distinct bands, distinct both Geographically and Edaphologically:

  • Terror Incognita: the central area of the Demi-Monde which is off-limits to Dupes and is earmarked for future cyber-development.
  • The Hub: four mile wide band of undeveloped band of grassland which is home for the ferocoious Hub nanoBite. These nanoBites occupy all but the 6 inches below the surface of the HubLand topsoil. As these are the most voracious of all the nanoBites found in the Demi-Monde, no deep-rooted plant or burrowing animal can survive in the Hub. The Hub nanoBites are active from the 60th day of Spring (‘ThawsDay’) until the 90th day of Autumn: they are in hibernation through Winter/early Spring.
  • The Urban Band: the six mile wide band which is home for the 30 million inhabitants of the Demi-Monde. This is the 6 mile wide band stretching between the Hub and the Boundary Layer. As Urban nanoBites are only found below a depth of over five feet and are less voracious and destructive than their Hub-dwelling cousins, it is possible to build into the 30 foot of topsoil and for burrowing animals and more deep rooted plants to survive in this area.
  • The Industrial Zone: the outer band of the Demi-Monde from where all agricultural and industrial products eminate.
The surface of the Demi-Monde is composed of soil of variable consistency which reaches down to a depth of 30 feet beneath which is an impenetrable Mantle composed of a cyber-substance called Mantle-ite.

The Demi-Monde rises in height from the Boundary to centre of Terror Incognita, the centre being 200 feet higher than the Boundary Level.

There are six rivers in the Demi-Monde which radiate out from the Terror Incognita and divide the Demi-Monde (rather like slices of a cake) into five Sectors. The Spoke Rivers rise in the central Hub lake - Mare Incognitum - flow Boundary-wise and define the borders of the Sectors. These Spoke Rivers are: the Thames, the Rhine, the Volga, the Yangtze and the Nile.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


The number of hits on the web site rocketted today to well over 800 which brings August's total hits to over 1400 way over double the best monthly score. So something must be happening out there! Maybe it's the new front plate I had Nigel put up on the web site. I like Nigel's strap line; "The past couldn't be more Intense, and the Future more Imperfect". Very clever.

Working on a new chapter which isn't going too badly at all.

I was asked today why I called my book 'The Demi-Monde' so I suppose it's best to begin by defining what the Demi-Monde (or as it's sometimes referred to the demimonde, the demi-monde or the Demi-monde) is. The term itself derives from the name of a comedy written by Alexander Dumas in 1855 called "Le Demi-Monde"

There seem to be standard defintions for the term:

1. a subclass of society whose members embrace a decadent lifestyle and evince loose morals. This Demi-Monde is often associated with courtesans who exist by stimulating (often in very naughty ways) the generosity of their rich patrons;

2. a shadow world where the norms of civilised behaviour have been abandoned. It is often the artistic and intellectual cliques who are thought to inhabit this Demi-Monde as these are populated by individuals who find it difficult to accept/obey the precepts and morality of "civilised" society.

Of course, I've had to add to these two definitions thus:

3. a MMP simulation platformed on the ABBA quantum computer and utilising ParaDigm CyberResearch's Total Reality User Envelopment technology to recreate in a wholly realistic cyber-milieu the threat-ambience and no-warning aspects of a hi-intensity, deep-density, urban Asymmetric Warfare Environment; and;

4. Hell.

Monday, 2 August 2010


DM3 = 176,057 words
Target for completion (pre-read thru) end August.

Sort of a nothing of a day.

I couldn't really settle, though I did managed to rehash a major chapter in DM3 so all was not lost.

I went on the 'statistics' analysis of to see if the mailing out of all the bookproofs by Quercus was having an impact and it seems it is. At the end of 2nd August the site has had 283 hits which might not appear to be a lot but when the total for the whole of May was 315, for June 160 and July 395, I think that's real progress. Quite a few of the hits are coming from France which I am hoping indicates that maybe a French publisher is getting interested in the books.

One thought I had was that now's it's probably worthwhile that I give readers - potential readers, who am I kidding - of this blog a precis of the Demi-Monde so tomorrow I'm going to do just that.

The Waterstone's meet has, apparently, been put back to Thursday which is a bit of a disappointment, but no matter.

I'm also trying to arrange a meet between me, Nigel (who designed the web-site) and Mark Twaite who's the new Digital Marketing Manager for Quercus to iron out how the site is going to develop in the future.

As I said, it was a funny day.

Invent-10n PART 3

I spent Saturday and Sunday morning going thru Invent-10n, and in all I thought it was time pretty well invested. I followed John's advice and tried to pull back a little on the sex and to make some of the descriptive elements a little less flowery and I think the story benefitted. I also included two new scenes for the principal, Jim Smith, two of which I thought worked well, the third I'll await John's opinion on. Fortunately the additions are balanced by the cuts so the story still weighs in at just north of 36,000 words.

JJ's going to pitch it to InterZone first. This is, I think, a long short, after all nobody knows me from a hole in the ground but it'll be interesting to see their comments. It would though be great to get it into InterZone: it's the longest running and most revered SF magazine in the UK. Unfortunately, according to JJ, it takes months for magazines to respond to stories pitched to them so I guess I'm gonna have to be patient.

One surprise yesterday: someone has put a reference to 'The Demi-Monde' on the demiminde Wiki article. I'm trying to track down who it was.

In the afternoon I went to see Toy Story 3 with the girls: brilliant!