Ear­li­er this week, Lavie Tid­har wrote about his fix­a­tion on his­tor­i­cal fig­ures. He will be blog­ging all week for JBC and MJL.

Being com­pared to Philip K. Dick is great, espe­cial­ly when they secret­ly mean will die a pen­ni­less paper­back writer at the age of fifty-three.” In oth­er words, such a com­par­i­son doesn’t exact­ly invite trust.

My new nov­el, Osama, recent­ly came out. It’s avail­able on the Kin­dle, and in a fan­cy hard­cov­er edi­tion from its small, UK-based pub­lish­er. It got reject­ed more times than Andie Macdowell’s char­ac­ter in Four Wed­dings and a Funer­al had sex (“less than Madon­na, more than Princess Di… I hope”). One can see why. For one thing, it’s called Osama.

The com­par­i­son I men­tion is, specif­i­cal­ly, to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Cas­tle, made recent­ly by review­ers for both the UK’s Guardian news­pa­per and The Finan­cial Times. Yes, I’m toot­ing my own horn here. Some­one has to! But of course Osama owes a huge debt to Dick’s bril­liant alter­na­tive his­to­ry, where the Unit­ed States has lost World War Two and is divid­ed between the vic­to­ri­ous Ger­mans and Japanese.

But I was think­ing about Philip K. Dick a lot recent­ly. He’s a con­stant reminder of Gus­tave Flaubert’s max­im, Writ­ing is a dog’s life, but the only life worth liv­ing.” For­get rich­es: for that mat­ter, for­get hol­i­days, new clothes or a square meal more than once a week. For­get fame, either. Even noto­ri­ety is hard to come by these days. And for­get respect: you’ll get reviews com­par­ing your work, var­i­ous­ly, to processed cheese or toi­let paper, and you’ll be glad some­one even noticed.

And yet and still. I can’t imag­ine doing any­thing bet­ter. Maybe I’m a roman­tic, fond­ly believ­ing in the image of the artist starv­ing for his art. I often talk about mov­ing to that myth­ic attic in Paris where I could sit drink­ing bour­bon and punch­ing keys on my type­writer. You know. In the sixties.

I’ll move as soon as some­one invent­ed a time machine.

Maybe I’m just putting it on. I’m hard­ly starv­ing. In fact I could do with los­ing a few. It’s the seden­tary life, you know. You get more exer­cise from shift­ing books than writ­ing them.

I com­mute from the bed­room to the lounge. Writ­ing these days seems to con­sist most­ly of check­ing your e‑mail, Spi­der Soli­taire and Twit­ter, fol­lowed by check­ing your e‑mail again.

Nope. Noth­ing from Steven Spiel­berg today either. Red nine on black ten, red five on black six… is it four o’clock in the after­noon already? Where did the time go?

I’d bet­ter take anoth­er break.

Lavie Tid­hars most recent nov­el is Osama (PS Pub­lish­ing). It has been com­pared to Philip K. Dick’s sem­i­nal work,The Man in the High Cas­tle by both the Guardian and the Finan­cial Times. His oth­er works include steam­punk tril­o­gy The Book­manCam­era Obscu­ra and the forth­com­ing The Great Game, all three from Angry Robot Books, the novel­la Jesus & The Eight­fold Path (Immer­sion Press), and the ground-break­ing Jew­ish fan­ta­sy col­lec­tion Hebrew­Punk. He grew up on a kib­butz in Israel and has since lived in South Africa, the UK, Van­u­atu and Laos. He cur­rent­ly lives in Lon­don, and tweets too much.

Lavie Tid­har (A Man Lies Dream­ingUnholy Land) is an acclaimed author of lit­er­a­ture, sci­ence fic­tion, fan­ta­sy, graph­ic nov­els, and mid­dle grade fic­tion. Tid­har received the Camp­bell and Neukom Lit­er­ary awards for his break­out nov­el Cen­tral Sta­tion, which has been trans­lat­ed into more than ten lan­guages. He has also received the British Sci­ence Fic­tion, British Fan­ta­sy, and World Fan­ta­sy Awards. Tid­har’s recent books include the Arthuri­an satire By Force Alone, and the series Adler. He is a book colum­nist for the Wash­ing­ton Post, and recent­ly edit­ed the Best of World SF anthol­o­gy. Tid­har has lived all over the world, includ­ing Israel, Van­u­atu, Laos, and South Africa, and he cur­rent­ly resides with his fam­i­ly in London.