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About Rohan Quine
Rohan Quine is an author of literary fiction with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. He grew up in South London, spent a couple of years in L.A. and then a decade in New York, where he ran around excitably, saying a few well-chosen words in various feature films and TV shows, such as "Zoolander", "Election", "Oz", "Third Watch", "100 Centre Street", "The Last Days of Disco", "The Basketball Diaries", "Spin City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (see www.rohanquine.com/those-new-york-nineties/film-tv). He’s now living back in East London, with his boyfriend and two happy free-roaming house rabbits - a white down-ears and a black up-ears.
His novel THE BEASTS OF ELECTRA DRIVE (a Finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards 2018) is a prequel to his other five tales, and a good place to start. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-beasts-of-electra-drive-reviews-media for reviews by "Kirkus", "Bookmuse", "Bending the Bookshelf" and others. From Hollywood mansions to South Central motels, havoc and love are wrought across a mythic L.A., through the creations of games designer Jaymi, in a unique explosion of glamour and beauty, horror and enchantment, celebrating the magic of creativity itself.
In addition to its paperback format, his novel THE IMAGINATION THIEF is available as an ebook that contains links to film and audio and photographic content in conjunction with the text. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-imagination-thief-reviews-media for some nice reviews in "The Guardian", "Bookmuse", "indieBerlin" and elsewhere. It’s about a web of secrets triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories, the magic that can be conjured by images of people, the split between beauty and happiness, and the allure of power.
Four novellas - THE PLATINUM RAVEN, THE HOST IN THE ATTIC, APRICOT EYES and HALLUCINATION IN HONG KONG - are published as separate ebooks, and also as a single paperback THE PLATINUM RAVEN AND OTHER NOVELLAS. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-novellas-reviews-media for reviews of these novellas, including by Iris Murdoch, James Purdy, "Lambda Book Report" and "New York Press". Hunting as a pack, all four delve deep into the beauty, darkness and mirth of this predicament called life, where we seem to have been dropped without sufficient consultation ahead of time.
All titles are also available in audiobook and video-book format, performed by the author.
Jaymi is an independent games designer living on Electra Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Opposed to him are his former colleagues at Bang Dead Games. Their mounting competitiveness regarding his own extravagant game-creation reaches a point where they attack him physically with a flying drone.
Bang Dead is preparing the global release of a game called Ain'tTheyFreaky!, centring on five tabloid-flavoured social-media "Newsfeeds" for the victimisation of certain people by others – the "Gal Score", "Guy Score", "Trivia Score", "Arts Score" and "Cosy Score". Jaymi decides to fight back, for self-protection and to counteract this game's destructive effects.
He takes an irrevocable step: after creating Amber, the most dangerous of the characters (or Beasts, as he calls them) who will populate Jaymi's project The Platinum Raven, he releases Amber from that game, such that Amber slithers out of Jaymi's computer monitor. Appearing human, this now-incarnated Beast is sent to stalk Ain'tTheyFreaky!'s creators in real life.
While Amber terrorises them, Jaymi creates a second Beast, Evelyn, from his project The Imagination Thief. Incarnated too, she joins Amber in sabotaging a Bang Dead venture in the physical world.
As Jaymi's output spawns three more titles, he jumps into the creation cycles and incarnations of five more human-seeming Beasts.
Targeted by a more lethal drone attack, he decides his Beasts' missions must escalate: they will infiltrate the very substance of Ain'tTheyFreaky!. So Evelyn, Shigem and Kim sneak into one of the game's visual environments, where they try to put an end to some of its casually-programmed cruelty. Shigem and Kim shame two Bang Dead employees into secretly working for Jaymi instead.
Five Beasts proceed to sabotage Ain'tTheyFreaky! at a deeper level still, turning its own server farm into a radically different environment. Their sabotage breaks the game down into its constituent glyphs and pixels – then electrifies these, recombining them into brand-new forms of such enchanted love and wickedness and originality that they'd certainly have been forbidden by Bang Dead.
Amid the resultant conflict, a Beast is sent to kill a human; a Beast is arrested, before escaping and wreaking revenge; and another human is lashed to the transmitter tower above the Hollywood Sign, where...
After the ensuing convulsions of destruction and violent creation, Jaymi's Beasts slip away to their appointed onscreen destinations, one by one; and he is left alone again, as he was before he brought them into being.
Alone in his skyscraper office one night, Jaymi undergoes a transformation that will change his life: he acquires the power to see into others’ minds, and then to control and project their thoughts.
Realising the potential of this gift, he hypnotises a media mogul into agreeing to broadcast an electrifying extravaganza of sound and vision emanating from Jaymi, the like of which has never been witnessed before, that will captivate millions. However, one of the mogul’s underlings has more subversive plans for milking Jaymi’s talent, involving the theft of others’ imaginations and intimate memories for commercial gain.
The broadcasting of his visions plunges Jaymi and his best friend Alaia on a journey into the underbelly of Asbury Park – a seaside town once full of life but now half-forgotten. The town’s entire oceanfront is now almost a ghost town: ruled by gangsters and drug dealers, headed by Lucan, it is populated by lost souls and the beautiful who have fallen on hard times. Blackmailed into thieving the most private and primal memories and experiences from these people’s imaginations, Jaymi discovers a web of secrets and provocations simmering beneath the surface of the town, about to explode.
When a waxwork of Lucan’s decapitated head is anonymously planted in his own bar, fear bubbles up, as everyone becomes a suspect in this unforgivable challenge to Lucan’s dominance. Then when another provocative waxwork appears – a naked full-body modelling of Lucan’s beautiful but tortured lover, Angel – Jaymi knows he must use his own gift to discover the perpetrator before Lucan does.
Delving into and celebrating the most beautiful and extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and love, The Imagination Thief is literary fiction, with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. It explores the universal human predicaments of power, beauty, happiness, hopelessness, good and evil.
literary fiction, litfic, magical realism, horror, dark fantasy, cyberpunk, contemporary, scifi, gay, transgender, LGBT, visionary, imagination, imagery, spectacular, Asbury Park, New Jersey, NJ, New York, NY, NYC, seaside, small town, psychic, broadcast, projection, enhanced ebook, multimedia, film, video
In her cubicle high in the Shard in London, a sweet-natured, raven-haired receptionist named Raven is even more rudely mistreated than usual for a Monday morning. Recovering from this, her daydreams propel her into the fantasy life of a richer and more glamorous version of herself, who lives higher up in the world’s tallest skyscraper—the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai. Raven thinks of this woman as the Chocolate Raven, owing to her chocolate-coloured hair, which frames a face that’s just like her own; and straightaway, Raven cannot get enough of watching this glamorous creature.
The Chocolate Raven is a party girl whose lifestyle has a certain flash, albeit a certain flatness too. Standing on the vertiginous 152nd-Level terrace of the Burj Khalifa, she gazes across the desert at dusk, to the rock-slopes of the Hajar Mountains—and a mad-faced nightclub tower of shadow sprouts up, there on those slopes, from her gaze. This tower is run by a woman with a face just like the Chocolate Raven’s, but with platinum-blonde instead of chocolate-coloured hair, who lives a yet more empowered and intensely-coloured life: for she is the Platinum Raven, no less. And tonight she will preside over the launch of a revolutionary new club drug called mirror mist.
Between this uber-glamorous Platinum Raven and her companions Scorpio and Amber, there unfolds a sequence of events whose fusion of extraordinary beauty and violence and sensuality so bewitches the watching Chocolate Raven, that she is miserably desolate as soon as these events finish at dawn when the rising desert sun destroys that nocturnal tower on the rock-slopes. She therefore sets out on a mission to regain the voltage of the vanished building and the allure of its exotic denizens … whereupon a stark piece of evidence of the Platinum Raven’s realm is channelled through the Chocolate Raven and is pulled right back down to earth in the original daydreamer Raven herself.
literary fiction, litfic, magical realism, horror, dark fantasy, cyberpunk, contemporary, scifi, gay, transgender, LGBT, visionary, imagination, imagery, spectacular, Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, London, Shard, tower, skyscraper, desert, fairy tale, daydream, blonde, brunette, glamour, beauty, nightclub, drug
Brilliant software engineer Rik and executive Jaymi work at digital agencies in London (surely unaware that their fates are destined to echo those of Basil and Dorian, respectively the painter and the subject of Wilde's novel). Rik uses Jaymi’s appearance as the model or “skin” for a cutting-edge interactive hologram that navigates the Web in enhanced ways, tailored to every user. The dissolute bigwig “Champagne” Marc makes this into a business reality, and through his cynical eloquence electrifies Jaymi with the knowledge that Jaymi will hereby become the face of the Web. Throughout the film-shoot of Jaymi for the making of the skin, these honeyed words of Marc (like those of Wilde’s Lord Henry to Dorian during the portrait’s creation) light powerful fires of vanity and hubris behind Jaymi’s eyes.
As this holographic Web-guide’s hold over global information grows to a near monopoly, Jaymi is lionised, finding no door closed. But he yearns for still more: to see what the hologram itself can see online. So by trickery he succeeds in getting hold of a unique copy of the prototype hologram, with all regular filters removed.
In private files online he thereby discovers a not-yet-published novel that will come to be called The Imagination Thief, by Alaia Danielle, with whom he has an intense romance (echoing Wilde’s actress Sibyl Vane with Dorian). But when Jaymi brutally dumps her, triggering her suicide, he is shocked to observe, on the same evening, that the face on his private prototype hologram has become crueller. Fascinated, he realises its appearance is changing in accordance with his own behaviour—and he hides it in his attic.
For years he uses his unique online access for ever more megalomaniacal ends, ruining the lives of many whom he lures down into excess, addiction and suicide. While the hologram in the attic deteriorates into quite terrifying corruption, Jaymi’s appearance remains as sweet and youthful as the day he was filmed … until the inevitable reckoning unfolds.
literary fiction, litfic, magical realism, horror, dark fantasy, cyberpunk, contemporary, scifi, visionary, imagination, imagery, spectacular, London, Docklands, Ontario Tower, Mayfair, wealth, hologram, software, search engine, Web, online, attic, corridor, hatch, ladder, evil, corrupt, elite, Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde, fame, The Imagination Thief
As their plane takes off, Jaymi is warmed by the presence of his beloved friend Angel beside him. They are bound for Hong Kong, to perform a grand concert of unearthly music from a stage set high on the Peak. Jaymi starts to doze … and enters a fog of horror in seeming to remember that this concert lies in their distant past, not their imminent future: it happened nine years ago, and straight after that triumphant occasion there occurred unexpected disaster and the permanent catatonia of Angel. Those terrible events were rendered all the more poignant by the idyllic chapter they had experienced upon first meeting and falling in love, which he now recalls in great detail.
In reality (it would seem), Jaymi is on this flight alone, on a mission to put a compassionate end to Angel’s life, in view of his continued catatonia. And in an atmosphere of escalating nightmare and disjunction, incongruously set against the beauty of night-time Hong Kong as seen from the Peak and the Midlevels, this grim mission of euthanasia is accomplished—perhaps. That nightmare atmosphere is magnified by the obsessive flicker of Jaymi’s mind through complex permutations of his own possible guilt at betraying Angel, and the latter’s possible knowledge of this guilt … because hadn’t there actually been a mirror on the ceiling above the bench where Angel lay supine years ago, unnoticed by Jaymi at the time but in fact revealing to Angel certain things about Jaymi’s movements that he hadn’t known Angel could see?
Sliding from joy to nightmare, then back to a joy stained by the flavour of vanishing nightmare, Hallucination in Hong Kong explores those hellish possible events lying beneath the surface of our present and future, always ready to break through into reality if they become so inclined. In this journey, it conjures up from Jaymi’s and Angel’s polarised identities and perceptions an obsessive fantasy of dark androgyny, ironic horror and apocalyptic beauty.
literary fiction, litfic, magical realism, horror, dark fantasy, cyberpunk, contemporary, scifi, gay, transgender, LGBT, visionary, imagination, imagery, spectacular, Hong Kong, Victoria Peak, Mid-Levels, Central, plane flight, concert, catatonia, paralysis, mirror, nightmare, beauty, city, love, obsession, night
Having partially regained a power of second sight that he’d once possessed but lost, Jaymi Peek uses this ability in a live weekly television show online, where he channels onto the screen those unexpected places, hidden colours and hatching plans that he can perceive throughout New York City. He applies this sight to the task of relocating his old friend Scorpio, who has gone missing, but succeeds in catching only a glimpse of him in some unidentified corner of the city’s underbelly.
Across a subway station, Jaymi notices an unwelcome visitor from his and Scorpio’s past—Kev Banton, who has now become a prominent evangelical preacher intent upon a moral cleansing of the population. Jaymi tails Kev discreetly through the subway, and is surprised when Kev’s journey ends at a waterfront waste ground in an industrial corner of the Bronx, where Kev slips out of sight amid an odd hum of underground engines…
The monstrous population beneath this waste ground, and the malign purposes for which the preacher and his wife have been feeding it, are revealed in the course of a triangular cat-and-mouse pursuit involving Jaymi, Scorpio and the preacher. This unfolds in Scorpio’s physical pursuit of Kev through the crackle and night-pulse of the streets, from Times Square to the marginalised fringes of the city; in Jaymi’s psychic pursuit of Scorpio, whether streaking up high through the skyscrapers’ shine or secreted on a tanker as it rattles through the Bronx; and on screen, in the colourised shimmer of what Jaymi broadcasts live.
In its rollicking journey through these hidden planes of New York, to the simplicity and sensuality of its ending, Apricot Eyes is a blast of fun that trumpets boldness, tolerance and voltage, celebrating the mystery and dangers furled just behind the surface of the everyday.
literary fiction, litfic, magical realism, horror, dark fantasy, cyberpunk, contemporary, scifi, gay, transgender, LGBT, visionary, imagination, imagery, spectacular, New York, Bronx, Hunts Point, Meat Packing District, subway, TV, broadcast, reservoir, worms, poison, city, sex worker, prostitute, evangelist, preacher