A Brief History of Tim is a novel about a boy growing up in the fictional northern / Midlands town of Mudd. Yes, the title is a rather sad play on words, intended to bring to mind A Brief History Of Time, by the great Stephen Hawking. There are a lot of bad jokes in the novel.
The novel is my attempt to write something with a little humour in it. There is no horror, and there is no gas-lamp fantasy. It is simply about a rather pathetic boy struggling through life as he grows up. The boy is definitely not based on the author, even if Tim does share some of the interests of the author.
Do not expect an entirely realistic novel. I kind of like the bizarre, with things happening to Tim which might not actually happen in real life. But a lot of real lives are rather dull, and would not be interesting if distilled down into a novel. Nobody wants to read a dull novel.
Expect ghosts (or at least ghost-hunting), disastrous trips to the seaside and to Scotland, exploding dogs, evil dogs, paper rounds and pornography. Basically nearly every thought which I had, while growing up in a rather dull Midlands town, has been evoked, in what a hope is a comical manner, in the life of my poor victim, Timothy Lagg.
Anyway, as a taster from this novel, here is one of the early chapters:
Chapter Three: Superheroes
Poor young Tim. He was not exactly having the Tim of his life, not with the old dog having exploded. Not that the dog was actually doing any better, for that matter, of course.
He took a week off school, he was so upset (although, when he did return, he was not pleased to discover that his teachers had been saving up his homework, especially for him). He spent that time consoling himself with comics, but only when his mother was not about – he still had not forgiven her for coming between him and Peter Parker. Whenever his mother came up to his bedroom, to see if he was feeling any less depressed, he would have to try and hide the comics under his bed covers. Which of course made the pages all mussed up. It was not an ideal hiding place. But Tim did not trust to hide the comics under his bed.
His dad, Bill Lagg, did do the honourable thing, and bring him a few comics. Even if they were Superman comics, and Tim had never been a fan of Superman. Superman was too powerful. Tim liked the fact that Spidey had lots of problems. Just like Tim had problems, too. But it was the thought which counted, anyway. Some comics were always better than no comics, in Tim’s opinion. He would even have settled or the Dandy or the Beano. Find out what Dennis the Menace was doing now. Tim did not dislike stuff like the Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx. But they weren’t superheroes, were they? They couldn’t swing on a web. And none of them had the proportional strength of a spider.
He read the Superman comics in bed, feeling sorry for himself, poor Tim, poor soul. They cheered him up, just because they were multicoloured little artefacts; red, yellow, and blue ink treasures. Wonderfully disposable, like all comics – except that if you kept them sixty odd years they would be worth a bomb. That would have meant the deletion of mothers, though, as mothers and comics did not go together, for there have been many priceless collections to be which have ended up being collected by the dustmen one Tuesday morning.
Superman won, of course, in the fights in the comics. Superman always did. He was too powerful. There were not villains powerful enough for him (Tim had never heard of Doomsday). Time preferred the Rogue’s Gallery of Spidey. Characters like superman’s enemy the Trickster were just a joke.
Even some of the naff enemies of Spidey had interesting aspects. There was the Vulture, of course, but he was really just an old man who had these wings which allowed him to fly. But flying was cool. Sometimes Tim wished that he could fly, looking down on the buildings from the sky above. Although he would not want to be a bald old man if that was the only way in which he could do it.
Then there was Electro, who had the power to throw bolts of electricity. You could get up to all sorts of wicked stuff if you could do something like that. You could probably blow out all the power in the street, make all of the boring people miss the next episode of Coronation Street. Tim found Coronation Street to be very boring. Which meant that only boring people watched it.
There was the Hobgoblin, the villain who wasn’t the Green Goblin, the original Green Goblin having been a little before Tim’s time. The Hobgoblin was cool, because of all of the wicked items he had – his bombs and stuff, and that little glider which he rode about on.
Then there was the Lizard, the poor, misunderstood Curt Connors, who had only wanted to regenerate the arm which he had lost, but who had ended up turning into a horrible monster. It would be cool to be able to regenerate, but not if it meant that you ended up being covered with scales. Although it would not be so bad if you got a long tail out of the deal. Having a tail would also be cool.
But the favourite villain out of Spidey’s Rogues Gallery, as far as the young Tim was concerned, was the Sandman, just because the Sandman could make himself into just about any possible shape. He could become a hammer, to hit poor old Spidey over the head. Or he could become almost like quicksand, and surround his enemy. He could reassemble himself after he got hit by one of Spiderman’s punches. Was the Sandman really evil anyway, or had he just been misunderstood, somebody who had been born over the wrong side of the tracks? He was not really a psychopath.
These comics, Tim hoped, would just be the start of him rebuilding his collection. He hoped to be able to swap his comics for some Spiderman comics. He would not get too many, just in case his mother threw them away again. Tim reckoned that a few comics would be easier to hide away than some great big stash of them.
There were adverts in the Superman comics for others by the same publisher. Superman was published by DC Comics, while Spidey was published by Marvel. Tim only had a vague idea of the difference between the two publishers.
Marvel published stuff like Spidey, Captain America and the X-Men; while DC published stuff like Superman and Batman and Green Lantern. Tim did not know much about Green Lantern or Wonder woman or the other DC heroes. But he had heard of Batman, before. Batman was another cool hero. He didn’t have any fancy superpowers, like Superman or the Flash. He had to rely on his own highly trained abilities, and all of those gadgets which he had designed. The Batmobile was a cool car. And Batman’s Rogues Gallery was almost as interesting as that of good old Spidey. Like Spidey, the man behind the mask wasn’t perfect. Old Bruce Wayne had problems, in forever carrying around inside his head the fact that his parents had been killed in front of him when he had only been a little kid.
But Spider-man was still the coolest hero of all, as far as little Tim was concerned. Although Spider-man was a lot older than Tim, Tim understood, even then, that Peter Parker had got his super spider powers when he had still been at school. He had had to balance being a superhero with all of the other sorts of problems which a geeky and gawky young man had. Tim could relate to that, although he did not yet understand why.
Sometimes, it is the flaws which make people interesting.
They didn’t get another dog. One explosion had been enough. Nor did they get a cat, or a fish, or anything which might possibly die before Tim became an adult, and by dying, unnecessarily upset young Tim. But that did not mean that death would not eventually impinge on the Lagg household again.
Anyway, Ruby Lagg had decided that pets cost too much money. But Tim seemed to be happy enough without a new pet, with his secret stash of comics, the ones which he thought that she didn’t know about. But she did, of course. Mothers always know.
A Brief History Of Tim is looking for a publisher.