Who Reads my Books? Zak Ferguson

Hello Neal, so I thought I’d give this a go, the “Who Reads my Books” submission and as a pretty much unheard of, unread writer – like an ever opportunist shartist (shit artist)- I’ll take great advantage of plugging my “work” in anyway possible, and no less, in this awesome Blog space you give to many people.

Yes, I am a cheeky git, but also to be anyway in association with Neal Asher himself, is an honour. Truly it is.

I started reading very late. Aged 9 years old. My affinity was with films. But, Fantasy was a gateway into the realm of my eventual deep delve into Sci-Fi/Fantasy… be it, M. BANKS, CLARKE, BALLARD, BURROUGHS, HAMILTON, STRUGATSKY Brothers, and many more, it was the Sussex-based writer and illustrator collaborators, Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell, who got me into reading. I have autism – high functioning – and I’ve never ever been as engaged than when watching films, but as soon as I discovered the works of Paul and Chris, it opened up a new way of expression and escape to me.

BEYOND THE DEEP WOODS, part of the The Edge Chronicles book series got me into genre and reading in general. Those two are the reason I write and have tempered my unease in my own skin, and why I am here today. Dramatic but true. Same with every writer I have read. Now a wide variety of worlds are ever accessible to me, in books and films, and through my own writing.

Down the rabbit hole of books, books, books, Terry Pratchett became a personal hero and from there on, as ever, I discovered many different writers and genres.

But I’d always struggled with Sci-Fi, it just wasn’t holding my attention. A lot of people believe if you read or write in a niche, alternative scene, or are party to anything usually assigned as mildly highfalutin, you are assumed to be, lofty, toft pretentious types. Far from it. I LEFT SCHOOL AND COLLEGE WITH NO GRADES. No uni background and such. Genre and writers and creators have been my only education.

We are assumed to not be the types to enjoy genre or populist fare. This is an oversimplification and a lie. I am as pop culturally entrenched as anyone else. And love Heinlein and other pulp sci-fi masters more than anyone else.

But, the first Sci-Fi author I got hooked on, was Asher.

You wrote stories that captured my attention, held me, something so vast, expansive, filmic. That encouraged me to stay with the ruthlessness of some other science fiction writers and have benefited from it. But, my go to is always your work.

I would be lying if I didn’t say those covers by John Sullivan were the starting block, but as soon as I opened one of your works, I knew I’d become a devotee, a devoted fan.

Your worlds and its scale, detail, action, ever relatable form and rhythm was up there for me as the greatest most entertaining form of science fiction I had yet so far experiences through films and TV. It was up there with any Space Opera Television series or film; and that book was, The Departure, book one of your OWNER SERIES, and from there I have become hooked to all your works, especially your long running book series, The Polity. My favourites so far being Brass Man, Line of Polity, Gridlinked and Line War.

The scope, the detail, the ever prescient pivotal and ever relevant commentary on current events, technology, AI, consciousness, had/has me truly inspired, entertained and never, ever bored.

I love them. And you’re a writer who knows how to grip, entertain, push the envelope in the field you are writing within. Superb stuff. And I have always stated I want to write Science fiction or Space Opera novels. But, though I wish to do this, most of my own works are filled to the brim with memoir, autofiction, experimentation, irrelevance, irreverence, lunacy where I pull apart and play with every kind of genre. A mad mixed bag, my own works deal very heavily with art and its relation to my autism.

I am an experimentalist. Plain and simple.

I work with many mediums – video, collage, prose – and have been lucky enough to be recognised by such writers such as Dennis Cooper, who featured me on his own famous blog a few years ago.

My work is about destruction, expansion, corruption. About the irrelevance of structure and rules. Satire. Mess. Madness. Heavily influenced by the Cut Up Method, all except mine is Cut Up Consciousness. A means to expose my inner most anxieties and autistically inbued problems. I have re gently been experimenting with the Digital means of extrapolation and distortion – where I break into the format, the typography, and apply visual elements, where I take awful antiquarian devices, like paint, and try to imbue it with a new sense and purpose.

My recent release, Interiors for ? (A four book series) was written during the first lockdown where emotions and confusion came to a boil. Part autofiction, fiction, memoir, essay, journal, and a manic, extremely hectic scrapbook of artistically autistic breakdowns put onto page. My therapy and my full being in these exposures.

And I just splurged/continue to splurge everything from within onto that digital page. To cope and better align what it is I am feeling. As my writing is very much in relation to my autism, my struggles, my behaviour, my hyper attenuated awareness of it, my “art” and work is always, always relevant to my daily life, my inner most mind and my id flow. And I try to capture this in my stories and way of writing/creating. To give over an experience rather than a narrative.

I live in the seaside town of Brighton and I also Co-Found my own publication house, with my girlfriend Laura (I know right, someone on the autism spectrum with a girlfriend) – Sweat Drenched Press, where we have published 5 chap books and two novels since its genesis last January, including my own work.

Thank you for letting me have this opportunity. As always, write them, release them, I’ll always be returning to buy them.

Apologies for my rattling on and on

One thought on “Who Reads my Books? Zak Ferguson

  1. Inteesting!! I bought The Edge Chronicles for my daughter, and as I had done with Harry Potter before that, devoured them whole. GREAT writing; I can see why you got pulled in. Incidentally, same thing happened with the Narnia series (my little sister owned them) when I was 20 or so, and she was 12 (45 years ago B-). Thanks for the post, Neal and Zak!

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