The Truth About Cancer is a
composite novel telling the story of an everyman character
and his journey to recovery. It presents science in a
popularist way as well as being a human story about real
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Steve Smith attends a friendís
wedding where he confesses he is worried about a lump in his
neck. A visit to the doctorís confirms it is cancer. He
has immediate surgery and starts to adapt to hospital life.
A visit home shows him how things have changed now he is
ill. He returns to hospital where he undergoes staging and
sperm banking. He settles down to the chemotherapy and
while questioning his own mortality falls for one of the
Eventually he is cured and starts a
relationship with the nurse.
The Truth About Cancer is made up of
a single narrative interleaved with a series of short
vignettes, stories, scripts and factual pieces. These take
the following forms:
Timeline Segments (C+ or -).
These contain the basic narrative and serve as a
description of what has actually happened to the
Elsewhere and Elsewhen
Cancer is about people and as the central narrative
progresses we encounter other people who are
experiencing the same events as the main character in
These are effectively independent short stories which
describe the lives of the main characters and how cancer
has affected these lives.
Tales of Good and Bad Luck
Cancer is a matter of luck, but this is a difficult
concept to understand. These stories attempt to explain
what luck is and explore the true nature of good and bad
Random thoughts on hospital life.
Truth About Cancer
A series of factual pieces or short stories explaining
what cancer is, how it is treated and the effects it may
Letters to a Friend Unsent
The main character expresses his thoughts and feelings
through writing letters to a friend, despite the fact
that he never sends them.
Woke Up This Morning
The incidents in the cancer ward are told in script
form. The inhabitants of the ward discuss a variety of
topics including the meaning of life.
All these different strands are brought together by the
end of the book (you probably need to see the whole book
to see how this works, but it does).
The Truth About Digital Media
Because The Truth About Cancer employs a non-standard
story telling technique, it would be easily adapted into
a computer application.
Readers would be able to choose their own paths through
the narrative, choosing to read each of the strands
separately. Illustrations could become animations,
links could be added to external sources interactive
content could be integrated.
This would make it one of the first true multimedia
A small number of people have proof-read this book for
me. Here are some of their comments.
Feels like Iíve just read something important
First book Iíve got through in ages
(On how cancer works)
I didnít know that. Why donít they tell us that?
It's funny. A funny book about cancer. I
actually laughed out loud.
Although The Truth About
Cancer and its constituent stories all work as stand-alone
tales, some thought has been given to how the project could
move on. The overall story arcs of the following books have
already been plotted out and some of the content has been
has already been written.
The Truth About Love
Steve Smith is a ten year
old living on a large council estate in Sheffield. Across
the road live Candy and George Williams whoís relationship
is coming to an end in a very public fashion.
The book also contains a
series compatibility indices as well as magazine style
questionnaires to help determine the type of lover you are.
Current Status: 15000 words
The Truth About God
Steve Smith is from an
Anglican/agnostic family but a number of incidents (a
wedding, a bar mitzvah a death, a confirmation) leads him to
question his belief and starts him on a spiritual journey
with an unexpected destination.
The book includes interviews
with people with unconventional beliefs as well as summaries
of a variety of faiths. It also includes a new Gospel for
the 21st century, the Book of Hair
Current Status: 6000 words
The Truth About Sex
Steve Smith is 17 and a
virgin. He lives in a world where everyone is having sex,
and he would like to have sex too, but achieving this is
proving harder than he would expect.
The book includes a look at
the wide variety sexual practices and the positive and
negative aspects of physical love
: 15000 words
The Truth About War
In a not too far distant
future war has broken out and like many others, Steve Smith
is called upon to defend his country.
The book includes interviews
with soldiers, historical details and tries to explain why
anyone should give their life for a cause.