In September of 2010, Olivia Hambrett and Sandi Sieger asked me to take part in a short story anthology called Sincere Forms of Flattery, in which participants would pen a tale in the style of their favourite author.
I didn’t even need time to consider potential authors. I immediately chose that towering giant of the written word, Douglas Adams, a man so influential in my upbringing that I’ve tried to have him inserted into my family tree. To the outside world, he’s a writer who made jokes about computers and towels. To those who really understood his work, he illuminated the human condition more succinctly and with greater insight than most of the dramatists so often credited with.
And that presented a conundrum: I had a severe allergic reaction whenever anyone who wasn’t Douglas Adams tried to be Douglas Adams. Yet in late 2010 I found myself pledging to do the very thing that I’d criticised others for doing: attempting to ape the man. The challenge had me breaking out in cold sweats.
Then it occurred to me that I shouldn’t pretend to be him, nor should I even play in his yard. I would simply pay tribute to him. And remembering briefly that Adams was a man who once wrote an introduction to a book on the subject of what it’s like to write introductions to books, I realised what I had to do.
…except I won’t tell you what it was. Not here, anyway. To find out, you’ll have to pick up a copy when it’s released on e-reader on June 2. I’m told that if you pre-order it here, you’ll receive it at a discounted price! The anthology is edited by Olivia Hambrett & Sandi Sieger, and also features stories by Therese Raft, Olivia Hambrett, Foz Meadows, Antonia Hayes and Kailash Srinivasan paying tribute (respectively) to Ann Radcliffe, Colette, Neil Gaiman, Ian McEwan and Raymond Carver. There’s some incredible artwork (some of which can be seen at the top of this entry) by Amandine Thomas.