A few things I can tell you about the House;
1. It knows
2. It knows more than you know
3. It doesn’t know everything you know, but it likes to guess
Oh, it loves to guess. Guesses are its big thing. If you could limit it to three guesses only, like in the fairy tales, that would be something, but you’re not allowed to do that. There’s no moment where you can say, ‘okay, enough, House, you lose,’ so eventually it will beat you, whatever else happens. It just guesses and guesses until it has you.
The final thing I can tell you about the House is that no one knows whose side it’s on. There aren’t meant to be sides. But you know as well as I do that there are always sides.
I’ve got a new story I’m beginning to send out. This one has been in the works for a while (a WHILE, understatement). It’s called Ruby and House, and you’ve just read the first few paragraphs.
The story is about trying to get by in a world where London housing is expensive (lol, barely science fiction, then), it’s about using social platforms to fulfil basic needs, it’s about smart homes, it’s about power. It was partly inspired by the Ray Bradbury story The Veldt. Over the last few years I’ve written at least three completely different versions of it; one had three characters each giving their own point of view on events (a bit like #CivilWarVintage), and another had the framing device of a journalist using found footage and interviews with characters to construct the narrative. The final version is a straightforward first-person story from the point of view of one of the main characters, a teenage girl called Ruby.
At the moment it is loooong – under 10k words, but not by much. The problem with that is that fewer short story outlets/competitions are interested in taking such a long story. I’ll try cutting it in half (obviously that might even improve it!) but I might also make the long version available online at some point, or even in a limited edition physical version. If you’d be interested in that, sign up below and I’ll let you know if it becomes available.
I’m also wondering about the title. Ruby and House, or Ruby and The House, has been a working title, and I don’t love it. It might change. This is always a weird moment, when a story seems almost done but there are still so many small things to do to make it just right. Part of why I’m talking about it here before it’s actually published is to give myself the last push to get it out in the world.