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Hall, Steven

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1975-    ) UK author and Videogame writer who has scripted radio dramas for the Doctor Who franchise. His first novel, The Raw Shark Texts (2007), is a Fabulation whose central conceit is the notion of a sharklike conceptual predator that devours information and Memories. The protagonist Eric Sanderson awakens with near-total Amnesia to find a series of complex letters of instruction from his former self "The First Eric Sanderson", conveying semi-scientific, semi-magical rituals that can protect to some extent against the "Ludovician" entity that (again) threatens him. For example, too-pertinent information – the conceptual scent of blood in the water – can be masked by layers of camouflage, with a dangerous Communication shrouded in random junk mail; a later refuge is a physical Labyrinth built from books. Also posited is an inimical distributed intelligence, the now perhaps Posthuman fruit of a nineteenth-century experiment in Identity Transfer through Hypnotism, which occupies multiple human bodies and seeks to acquire more. A potential resolution is for the Ludovician information-shark – frequently represented via typographical concrete poetry – to be brought into contact with the group mind, destroying both; Sanderson and his allies launch a conceptual ship into the sea of information in hope of achieving this end, with multiple echoes of Jaws (1975) directed by Stephen Spielberg. The Raw Shark Texts is a remarkable tour de force which received the non-genre Somerset Maugham Award presented by the UK Society of Authors to writers aged under 35.

Besides the 36 chapters of the published first edition [see Checklist below], there are supposedly 36 "negatives" or "un-chapters" of greatly variable length, which Hall has released by various routes: some online, some as additional content in later editions and translations, some not yet found. According to the author, "The negatives are not deleted scenes, they are very much a part of the novel but they are all splintered from it in some way." [DRL]

Steven Hall

born Derbyshire: 1975



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