Just to note a date, more to allow for my own faulty memory than any other reason, and knowing that one day I will need this to remind me: today I finished and delivered The Adjacent. Looking back at diary notes (again kept as a precaution against fading brain cells) I discover that I began work on it at the beginning of June 2009, when it was briefly entitled The Retreat. This was itself a change of title: Gollancz had it in their database (perhaps they still do) as a novel imaginatively called Untitled. Anyway, The Retreat ground to a halt within three weeks, but I began again on 1st July, and by then it had become, and remains, The Adjacent.

I worked on it fairly consistently after that, but there were several interruptions I could not avoid. Firstly, I wrote a short story called “Widow’s Weeds”, then the novel The Islanders (for many weeks I was writing The Adjacent and The Islanders in tandem), and finally the stage-play version of The Prestige. Throughout all these distractions, The Adjacent remained alive and interesting, and I went back to it whenever I could, but I have been working on it exclusively for most of 2011 and 2012.

It’s the longest, most complicated book I have written. Nothing whatever I can say about it now would make sense, to me or to anyone else. This is the usual unsubtle hint to rush out and panic-buy a copy whenever you can.

One minor fact. Under contract I was supposed to deliver this novel by 31st August 2012. I should like everyone to know that I am more than three weeks ahead of the deadline. This a first for me, and at a guess a first in the entire history of authorship. I should like to dedicate this achievement to my old pal Douglas Adams, who had an admirably escapist way of dealing with deadlines.