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Breath

17/06/2004. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Christopher Fowler's new novel, Breath, is 'The Office' meets 'Night of the Living Dead'.

Just got some details in on 'Breath' ... read on pulp horror fans.

All is not well at SymaxCorp.

The work is piled high, people are toiling overnight to meet deadlines, and the supervisors are keeping their beady eyes on everyone. But staff are complaining of feeling sick, and the last health and safety officer disappeared one evening never to be seen again.

Its down to new boy Ben, together with temp Miranda, kick-boxing Meera and overweight June to try and get to the bottom of the problem.

As colleagues are progressively transformed into mindless, blood crazed zombies, Ben and his friends discover that there really is something in the air...

Christopher Fowler explained to the Nest: "A word of warning. If you're at all familiar with my writing, the following novella is not what you'd expect from me. In fact, its unlike anything I've written in a long time, and there's a specific reason for this. I think as writers mature, they gain the confidence to launch into new styles of narrative, but sometimes they also lose something. There is a directness and an innocence in early books that can be hard to recapture. The most disheartening thing a reader can tell you is that he or she loved your first novel."

"Breathe developed from three different directions; some research I did for short stories, the idea for a movie, and a desire to write simply and directly again. It was intended as an experiment in returning to roots, and what is known in the film industry as a teether, a tale to encourage neophytes. It is very difficult to write simply when you have become addicted to complex sentence structures and oblique ideas, so I deliberately limited myself present tense only, no lengthy descriptions, no literary tricks, characters defined by their actions, no carefully buried subtexts."

"In the last few years I've tried every short-form genre I can think of, from noir to romance, satire, parody and farce, but I haven't turned my hand to pulp horror in years. The exercise a fast blast of fresh air for me. I made extensive notes, then sat down and wrote the first draft in one sitting. The intention, after all, was to not let you catch your breath. Oddly, Ive since discovered that the idea is not as far-fetched as it may appear; A Japanese company has been offering a very similar service to the one proposed by the Symax Corporation. Without the zombies, of course."

Our Christopher lives and works in central London, where he is a director of a film & design company The Creative Partnership. After writing several humour books, including How To Impersonate Famous People, he shifted into Dark Urban writing. His first short story anthology City Jitters featured interlinked tales of urban malevolence. He has since had eight further volumes of short stories published; City Jitters Two, The Bureau Of Lost Souls, Sharper Knives, Flesh Wounds, Personal Demons, Uncut, The Devil In Me and Demonized.

His story The Master Builder became a movie starring Tippi Hedren and Richard Dean Anderson. Seven other short stories have been filmed as short films, and almost all of his novels are currently under option as features for a wide variety of actors and directors.

The film version of Left Hand Drive won Best British Short Film of 1993. Wageslaves won the 1998 BFS Best Short Story Of The Year. On Edge, was a theatrically released short starring Doug Pinhead Bradley and Charley Boorman. Other stories have been published in Time Out, The Big Issue, the Independent On Sunday and the Mail On Sunday.

His recent short stories have appeared in The Time Out Book Of London Short Stories 2, The New English Library Book Of Internet Stories, Dark Terrors 5 & 6, Best New Horror, London Noir, Neon Lit., A Book Of Two Halves, Vengeance Is, Love In Vein 2, Years Best Fantasy & Horror, Destination Unknown, 100 Fiendish Little Frightmares, and The Time Out Book Of New York Stories, among others.

You can order it from the publisher at www.telos.co.uk.

:wassat:

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