The Sand Men book cover, with a man holding a case walking across the ridge of a sand dune, with a city in the distance behind him

Win The First Personalised Signed Copy Of 'The Sand Men'

Christopher Fowler

Here's the pitch: In Dubai there's a new world of high-end, high-luxury resorts emerging for the super-rich — but at what price to everyone else?

Lea, Roy and their 15 year-old daughter Cara live in a gated community reserved for foreign workers. Roy has been hired to deal with teething problems at Dream World, a futuristic beach complex. In the oppressive heat the wives appear happy to follow behind their husbands, cooking and arranging tea parties, but Lea finds herself a virtual prisoner in a land where Western women are regarded with suspicion on the streets.
At least there are a few friendly outsiders who don't enjoy the conformity of the ex-pat community - until one night, when the most outspoken one, Milo, dies in a suspicious accident. Milo's death is the first in a string of terrible occurrences that divide the foreign workers. Lea's neighbours start to blame migrants, Arabs and even each other.

Lea is convinced that deliberate acts of cruelty are being committed — but is there a real threat to her life, or is she becoming paranoid? What if the thing she fears most is really happening? What happens in a world where only the rich are important? And what is the likelihood of ancient gods outliving modern ones? That's the premise of 'The Sand Men', set in a future that's less than five minutes away, where rebellion against conformity can lead to the unthinkable. I've written it as a deliberate homage to one of my literary heroes, J. G. Ballard, with whom I used to correspond, and we engaged in lively debates about books and movies. I was thrilled to be compared to him in an early book, although I felt then - and still feel now - that I fall very far below his level. I've also taken a huge risk admitting this intention upfront but felt that it was likely to quickly be discovered by anyone reading the book. So to the compo. It makes sense to ask a question about Ballard rather than one of my Solaris books. If someone gets it right (the answer will be timed on the admin side of my site) I'll sign a copy and post it out on Monday morning, UK only, I'm afraid. If there are no correct answers I'll set another question and keep going until there's a winner. Q. Ballard said lots of wonderful and provocative things about books, including; 'I loathe and detest the bourgeois novel that subsumes itself within reality and accepts the everydayness of life.' So which short novel did Ballard think was the funniest and best ever written?


Nick Larter (not verified) Fri, 21/08/2015 - 08:29

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Waugh - The Loved One

Nick Madge (not verified) Fri, 21/08/2015 - 08:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Burroughs - The Naked Lunch

Christopher Fowler Fri, 21/08/2015 - 08:37

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Jeez, did I make this too easy or are you too smart? Nick, DM me on Twitter @peculiar with your details.

carl (not verified) Fri, 21/08/2015 - 12:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Damn - beaten to it.
It's made me look at Ballard again though, so a result anyway.

Wayne (not verified) Sat, 22/08/2015 - 07:21

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And a question from me, admin, have you found out why there are two versions of the book available on amazon yet? One being pages longer than the other?.....

Wayne Mook (not verified) Sun, 23/08/2015 - 11:32

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Good spot Wayne.

One version is the UK version (8th Oct.), the other (13th Oct.) is the US edition, but as to differences other than that I don't know. The thick plottens.