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I’m delighted to announce that the fifth in the series of “Hotel Stories”, Ask for Scarlett, is now available. If you have a Kindle, or a Kindle app on your iPad, laptop or other digital device, you can download it instantly with six other stories in Hotel Stories: the Complete Collection.
I wrote about Ask for Scarlett in a previous post, including the fact that it lets us, for the first time, see parts of the story from the point of view of Ms N – the most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager in the world. It may also, perhaps, introduce a couple of comparatively sympathetic male characters.
The Seven Hotel Stories are available in a single, wonderful, novel-length volume.
But what are the stories? Here’s a quick summary.
The first Hotel Story is called The Two Rooms. It involves an obnoxious guest; a Prime Minister on a moral crusade; a high-class call-girl; some Russian ice-hockey fans; an angry Japanese sushi chef; and a startling twist. Is it my favourite? Perhaps it is.
The second Hotel Story, set somewhere in the Former Soviet Union in a hotel with some ugly problems including bribery; corruption; and a guest with deeply unpleasant proclivities, is The White Blouse. This one has a couple of scenes which are not for the squeamish. Actually, all of the Hotel Stories are intended for adult readers.
My new novel, Biotime, is coming. It’s like 1984 with jokes.
Imagine a world where you can transfer life from one human being to another for cash.
Biotime is a life-exchange fluid of which one gram equals one year. The rich can buy life expectancy from the poor and live for ever. But, Biotime is so valuable – $3 million dollars a gram when the main story opens – that no-one need ever be poor again. If you’re short of money, sell some life expectancy. What could go wrong?
Biotime has created horrific new crimes and warped societies – some more than others.
Morro Bay, California, features in Biotime – Photo Robert Pimm
As part of creating the world of Biotime I start each chapter with a quotation. Many quote One Lifers – people who refuse to consume Biotime, believing this makes them more creative than Biotime users (who they call “sleepers”). One Lifers change their names to reflect their beliefs.
But the first quote in the book is by a real person. It’s Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios. He said:
1. “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life.”
Do you want to live forever? Think carefully about your answer. And remember Tithonus.
Here are four other quotations from the chapter headings in Biotime:
2. “Why swap wives when you can swap lives?” – Sunday Times, 7 July 2031
3. “For most people, the word “progress” implies forward motion. But “progress” doesn’t always take you forwards.” One Lifer Hope Deadman
4. “Chimaeric Brain Mouse Speaks Out: ‘I WANT MY BABIES TO BE HUMAN BEINGS!'” Schlaraffenland Chronicle
5. “EXTREME SUFFERING JUSTIFIES EXTREME MEASURES” – One Life Army atrocity verification code
Over the coming weeks I shall publish more tasters from Biotime. If you’re interested in hearing more, follow this blog by e-mail (Home Page, top right, “click here”); or follow me on Twitter @RobertPimm (Home Page, left hand side). It’ll be a fun ride.
NB I owe the title of this blog to some good advice from the Moz Blog. Check it out.
‘I told my gal the future looked a scary place to be.
Don’t worry Dad, it’s cancelled.
I saw it on TV.’
When someone transforms the 10,290 residents of the Hughes Procreation Center in Santa Monica into what journalists describe as a gigantic dried-up clam and tomato dip spiced with Tabasco, the media at once blame the One Life Army, a terrorist organisation opposed to the use of Biotime. But enforcement agent Jake Moonrath is sure that he has witnessed a Biotime crime.
In a world where terrorism is privatised and tightly regulated, Jake believes Hughes is linked to volatility in the price of Biotime, a life-exchange fluid of which one gram equals one year and whose value now forms the backbone of the US financial system. Whoever has destroyed Hughes has also murdered every one of Jake’s Biotime enforcement colleagues in the Home Security Bureau of the Central Authority of the United States. Only Jake has escaped – and now they’re coming for him.
To survive, Jake must unravel a plot which takes in Santa Monica, Harlem, Uzbekistan, Laos, London, Warsaw, Pandang and, finally, Vienna. He must learn how mortality affects creativity; (more…)
The complete collection of Hotel Stories is now available on Amazon. The volume contains all of the Hotel Stories, set in luxury five-star hotels. All star the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager, Ms N; and Tatiana, her beautiful but naive accomplice.
Rather than have me tell you about them, let’s see what reviewers have said about the individual Hotel Stories:
– “You’ll never make a fuss at a hotel again”
– “Tatiana is Watson to Ms N’s Sherlock Holmes”
– “A slick read, lots going on here, finely paced and loved the subtle unsheathing of a hidden cutting edge in 5-star hotel-keeping.”
– “A cross between The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and Fawlty Towers”
– “Delightful, dark, twisted, ingenious humour”
– “This is strong stuff. When the beam of Tatiana’s torch swings round in stifling darkness to reveal handcuffs and workmen’s tools,we know it’s time to right some truly awful wrongs”
In response to popular demand, I have published on Kindle an omnibus of my famous Hotel Stories.
The price is much better than buying the stories individually.
In the early days, back when I’d only written four Hotel Stories, I threw in an old, strange story of mine which I wrote back in the early ’90s in Moscow. I wrote several short stories and even a novel about Russia in those days. This is one of my favourites.
Novy Bor (it means “new forest” in Russian) is not a hotel story. But it does, like the Hotel Stories, have a female narrator. It’s set at a time – the winter of 1991-92 – when the Soviet Union suddenly ceased to exist.
Street scene near Kyiv Station, Moscow, 2005. Photo: Robert Pimm
1991-92 was a period of turbulence, uncertainty and corruption in Russia: as the narrator observes: “with more dollars sloshing around in what people are beginning to call Russia than at any time since 1917, only a saint would have nothing to hide, and saints don’t make it big in Russian politics.”
“Novy Bor” is not at present available in full; but I might publish it on this blog sometime, if anyone says they’d like the read the rest of it. You can read a taster here. Let me know what you think via the “Contact me” page.
Novy Bor (excerpt)
A short story by Robert Pimm
The piece about the Russian rocket boffins and the Pyongyang vacation jobs catches my eye in some guy’s copy of AIDS-INFO as I step onto the platform at Lubyanka. I see it over his shoulder – I’m pretty tall – but read only a line or two before the usual crowd of jostlers sweeps me up off exitwards. Shoving back against an elbow in the breast I break my knee on a crate of oranges on wheels which is being pulled along like a dog on a string by an old man in a black coat who chooses this moment to stop dead. (more…)
Good news: I’m planning lots of writing and new material for this site over the next few months.
I recently published my fourth “Hotel Story”, Britches, featuring a Scot in a kilt; a hotel owner who bullies and abuses his staff; and a link between the two which leads to an immensely satisfying resolution. Check it out for free.
Istanbul sunset – Photo Robert Pimm
I’ve been working hard on my new novel, Istanbul Rising. I’ve begun to link the powerful, myth-flavoured opening set at the time of the Conquest of Istanbul in 1453 with a modern-day thriller. The first draft is complete – watch this space for more details. (more…)