I've spent the last few weeks finishing Railhead, which will be published by Oxford University Press next October.  Here's what it looks like at the moment...

It's not really finished, of course, because it now has to be handed to a copy editor who will find lots of errors and inconsistencies which will need correcting or explaining away. But I've been reading it (via Skype) to Sarah McIntyre (who has been sworn to secrecy, of course) and it finally feels like a complete story.

Illustration: Sarah McIntyre

In some ways Railhead is a return to the style of Mortal Engines - it's set in a sprawling, far-future civilization, and it has evolved from many different drafts, written over many years. But it's turned out to be less jokey than Mortal Engines, and somehow less English, I think - nobody could ever claim this one is 'steampunk'.  And it's a much bigger world than Mortal Engines, so, although Railhead is going to be one of my longer books, there's still a lot which I haven't had a chance to explore yet. Once Christmas is out of the way I shall be looking into the possibilities of a sequel.

That's all I'm going to say about Railhead until nearer to the publication date, and I may not say very much then. I think one of the dangers of the internet is that we writers talk too much about our books, happily explaining where all the ideas came from, what the influences were. Part of the pleasure of reading a book is working those things out for yourself!


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