The urban city setting for “Phantom Limb” could probably be any large city a few years hence, but it was actually inspired by London. At the time the story was written, I was working in central London and the streets, park and metro mentioned were all traced out (in my head, at least) based on real places. (The Soho Square area, to be exact). I’m pretty sure at some point on a lunchtime walk, the well-known Boomtown Rats song “I Don’t Like Mondays” must have been playing on my iPod and then I basically had all the ingredients I needed for the story.
The first draft was written on the morning commuter train into London. It amused me greatly that while my fellow passengers sat reading somber newspaper stories about declining share prices and the latest crisis being mishandled by the government, I was bringing havoc and mayhem to London’s streets. For a time I worried about fellow passengers shoulder-surfing my stories and wondering about the sanity of their fellow passenger, but if anyone ever noticed, it was never reported to the authorities.
Interestingly, in my many lunchtime walks around the area, I realized that area truly is the hub for post-production and video-graphics companies. I counted a dozen or so (including big name companies) all within a few blocks) and so somewhere along the way bits of the story started to fall into place. However, there are no surveillance drones patrolling London streets (yet) and I’m pretty sure the Metropolitan Police aren’t using the tactics described in the story.
For the record, I would also like to state that any chips that may have been inserted in my own head during this time were purely of the carbohydrate variety.
Thanks a lot, David!
Check out "Phantom Limb" and the rest of the stories in the awesome August 2021 issue!