Chion has received numerous comments of praise, which you can read for yourself on the Chion page. One negative aspect that a few people have commented on it that it’s too short. The novel is just over 40,000 words long, which translates to 145 book pages. My friend Chris Winter pointed out that this attitude is not necessarily a criticism; it expresses a desire to stay in the world I created; the disappointment is mainly in an enjoyable experience being over too quickly. Conversely, when you’re reading a novel you don’t like, you want to get it over with as fast as you can, don’t you?
As a writer, my policy is always to let a story find its own length. Anything more is padding. I had a discussion about the shortness of the novel with Michael Quayle (who wrote a script for a sequel to Saul’s Pupils). Mike made me realise that, had I been willing to let the story stray away from the perspectives of Jamie and Tara, there was a lot more scope for interesting sub-plots. I still believe I made the right decision, because the novel is much more intimate (and claustrophobic) when the perspective is so restricted, but it’s good to realise that the novel’s premise holds the potential for so much more than I tapped into. Others have expressed how they couldn’t help imagining themselves trapped in their houses by the phenomenon in the book, wondering how they would go about saving themselves.
This request might fall flat on its face, but I would like to put the word out that I am interested in reading “sister stories” to Chion, with a view to publishing them on the site, either in written form or podcast. Can you think of an interesting situation to be in when the calamity struck, or an interesting sub-plot involving an incidental character from Chion? For instance, what happened when the two gunmen held up the supermarket? Did Mr. Darrow try another stunt, or perhaps get a chance to redeem himself? Imagine being a helicopter pilot during the disaster: would you run? Were other parts of the world affected? Here’s my favourite: can you imagine what might have happened at the entrance to the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain to France? I would love it if a few people wanted to take a shot at something like this.