The other 'Blips'

A.P. Atkinson

One of the three novels we have up for free on our site is ‘Blips’, a novel which isn’t really a novel, isn’t free and isn’t on our site. While this might seem like the kind of contradiction you’d expect while trying to rationalise with someone who thinks cancel-culture is a good thing, it actually makes a kind of wibbly-wobbly sense, in a nonsensical way.

Firstly, it might help if we explain what Blips is and, more importantly, what it isn’t.

It is a novel by any measurable means. The narrative meets the minimum word-count to be considered a fully-featured book and is classified accordingly. However, it cheats a little bit as it’s essentially based around a collection of short stories.

Imagine reading a story about quantum realities, devestating bananas and people with rotating identities, safeguarding the universe in randomly manifesting platforms. Now imagine that actually made sense!

Blips began as short stories designed to push the limits of story-telling by working in a restricted framework. Seth and I discussed how best to add an element of challenge and agreed that a 2000-word limit was the best way to force us to be creative beyond what we were used to. We churned out dozens of these short tales and they sat around gathering dust to varying degrees as we had no really good idea what to do with them.

I’m a huge Isaac Asimov fan, or I was until I saw some of his lectures about population control, and grew up reading his ‘Robots’ series of books. The one that always stood out for me was ‘I Robot’, which has about as much to do with the Will Smith movie as Blips has to do with radar technology.

In that book, Asmiov took a bunch of his old short stories and threaded them together into a single narrative. He come up with a new character, Susan Calvin, a robot-psychologist who was discussing a series of old cases that made up the history and evolution of positronic robots from the first faltering steps to a utopian society where machines controlled humanity.

Looking back, I’m increasingly less a fan of Isaac Asimov.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the story, we just thought it looked cool.

It occurred to me that we could link the Blips together into a larger story by including a set of scenes between them to explain what exactly was going on.

Blips had always been intended to be ripples in the Edgeverse universe, things that happened but perhaps shouldn’t have happened. They were those unexplained or unwelcome events that bump reality slightly, but not enough to dislodge it in any meaningful way. All of the short stories we had written somehow fitted into the larger narrative structure of the Edge universe, if you jiggle them about just a little bit.

So, in increasingly bizarre conversations, we ended up coming up with a story that made sense to us, and that we were excited to tell. Who doesn’t love tales of collapsing quantum-realities and discarded bananas?

Seth and I discussed it and decided that we didn’t feel comfortable asking for money for this novel. For one reason, it worked very well as an introduction to the Edgeverse and we wanted to share it as freely as possible. For another, we felt it simply wasn’t the right thing to do. As a collection of short stories, many of which were free on our site, we felt that it belonged as a giveaway title.

Bananas can be dangerous. Quantum bananas, even more so.

The book will be free on our site, but the editing has taken longer than anticipated. The book has been handed over to Seth, who is working on it as we speak. Once it’s done, there’s a quick proof-reading process to be done, which typically takes less than two weeks.

Blips is stuck in developmental hell which means, in less dramatic terms, that the website has taken less time to develop than the book and so it’s not quite ready yet.

We apologise for the late delivery but, sometimes, life just gets in the way.

It is coming and it will be completely free. It will be free to read online as a severely butchered PDF with wild formatting, or you’ll be able to download your own PDF for free.

To get this book, you won’t be asked to log in, to sign up, to give us your email or to jump through any flaming hoops. You just click it and get it.
It is coming, and we can only apologise for the delay.

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