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The Truth About Cancer
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You better come to terms with your fellow men soon


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 people.


Click here for a sample.




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 nurses.

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 character.
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 the story.
Biographical Details
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 luck.
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 have.
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 novels.
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
John Dowd
First book Iíve got through in ages
Ian Short
(On how cancer works) I didnít know that.  Why donít they tell us that?
Chris Parker
It's funny.  A funny book about cancer.  I actually laughed out loud.
Brian D'Arcy

Other Books


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

Current Status   :               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.

Current Status:                   6000 words