The Host in the Attic by Rohan Quine is a hologram of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, digitised and reframed in cinematic style, set in London's Docklands in a few years' time.
Brilliant software engineer Rik and executive Jaymi work at digital agencies in London (surely unaware that their fates are destined to echo those of Basil and Dorian, respectively the painter and the subject of The Picture of Dorian Gray). Rik uses Jaymi's appearance as the model or "skin" for a cutting-edge interactive hologram that navigates the Web in enhanced ways, tailored to every user. The dissolute bigwig "Champagne" Marc makes this into a business reality, and through his cynical eloquence electrifies Jaymi with the knowledge that Jaymi will hereby become the face of the Web. Throughout the film-shoot of Jaymi for the making of the skin, these honeyed words of Marc (like those of Wilde's Lord Henry to Dorian during the portrait's creation) light powerful fires of vanity and hubris behind Jaymi's eyes.
As this holographic Web-guide's hold over global information grows to a near monopoly, Jaymi is lionised, finding no door closed. But he yearns for still more: to see what the hologram itself can see online. So by trickery he succeeds in getting hold of a unique copy of the prototype hologram, with all regular filters removed.
In private files online he thereby discovers a not-yet-published novel that will come to be called The Imagination Thief, by Alaia Danielle, with whom he has an intense romance (echoing Wilde's actress Sibyl Vane with Dorian). But when Jaymi brutally dumps her, triggering her suicide, he is shocked to observe, on the same evening, that the face on his private prototype hologram has become crueller. Fascinated, he realises its appearance is changing in accordance with his own behaviour - and he hides it in his attic.
For years he uses his unique online access for ever more megalomaniacal ends, ruining the lives of many whom he lures down into excess, addiction and suicide. While the hologram in the attic deteriorates into quite terrifying corruption, Jaymi's appearance remains as sweet and youthful as the day he was filmed ... until the inevitable reckoning unfolds.
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About the Author
Rohan Quine grew up in South London, spent a couple of years in L.A. and then a decade in New York, where he ran around excitably, saying a few well-chosen words in various feature films and TV shows (see www.rohanquine.com/those-new-york-nineties), such as "Zoolander", "Election", "Oz", "Third Watch", "100 Centre Street", "The Last Days of Disco", "The Basketball Diaries", "Spin City" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit". He’s now living back in East London, as an Imagination Thief. His novel "The Imagination Thief" is published in paperback, and also as an ebook containing hyperlinks to film and audio and photographic content in conjunction with the novel’s text. See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-imagination-thief-reviews-media for interviews and some nice reviews in "The Guardian" and elsewhere. Four novellas – "The Platinum Raven", "The Host in the Attic", "Apricot Eyes" and "Hallucination in Hong Kong" – are published as separate ebooks, and also as a single paperback "The Platinum Raven and other novellas". See www.rohanquine.com/press-media/the-novellas-reviews-media for interviews and reviews of these. All five tales are literary fiction with a touch of magical realism and a dusting of horror. They aim to push imagination and language towards their extremes, so as to celebrate the beauty, darkness and mirth of this predicament called life, where we seem to have been dropped without sufficient consultation ahead of time. They may be read in any order. His upcoming novel will be "The Beasts of Electra Drive", now barrelling down the pipeline… www.rohanquine.com | facebook.com/RohanQuineTheImaginationThief | @RohanQuine "Rohan Quine is one of the most original voices in the literary world today – and one of the most brilliant." –"Guardian" Books blogger Dan Holloway "The swooping eloquence of this book had me hypnotised. Quine leaps into pools of imagery, delighting in what words can do. The fact that the reader is lured into joining this kaleidoscopic, elemental ballet marks this out as something fresh and unusual. In addition to the language, two other elements make their mark. The seaside ghost town with echoes of the past and the absorbing, varied and rich cast of characters. It’s a story with a concept, place and people you’ll find hard to leave." –JJ Marsh, "Book Muse" "Quine is renowned for his rich, inventive and original prose, and he is skilled at blending contemporary and ancient icons and themes." –Debbie Young, "Vine Leaves Literary Journal"