Dot Dash

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Dot Dash was my entry for Salt Publishing's Scott Prize in 2010/11. The Scott Prize ran from 2009/10 to 2012/13 with four winners in 2009/10, three in 2010/11, two in 2011/12 and one in 2012/13. I first entered in 2009/10, with a collection entitled Hidden Shallows and Other Stories, which failed even to make the shortlist. In retrospect, this was hardly surprising, as it essentially consisted of every story I'd ever written, with hardly anything thrown out.

Fortunately, by the time the next year's deadline came around, I had several stronger stories to add (specifically, rZr and Napoleon, How I Became a New Man and What Good It Did Me, Advice re Elephants and The Last Words of Emanuel Prettyjohn), as well all but one of the very short stories (or dots). Crucially, I'd also come up with the structural gimmick of alternating dots and dashes, which then gave the book its title - or at least something close to it, because my submission was actually given the spectacularly pretentious designation dot (.) dash (-). Fortunately, this was changed to the more prosaic, but way more practical Dot Dash in time for publication.

Publication would normally have been scheduled for autumn 2011. However, by this time, my novel Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens had been picked up for publication by Salt's short-lived science fiction imprint, Proxima, and was also due for publication in autumn 2011. So in order to avoid confusing the public entirely, Dot Dash was held over until autumn 2012.