The Unborn Versus The Undead

A supernatural dark comedy about death, football and enlightenment
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The Plot

John Rush didn’t mean to kill himself, but nobody seems to believe him. The good news is that, apparently, death isn’t the end of anything. The bad news is that he’s been drafted into a high-stakes football match for control of the collective unconscious of Ireland. The unborn are coming, and they want the country for themselves.

He has a temper and some unfinished business, and isn’t enjoying the experience of being undead. He has to deal with a terrifying psychic homeless man and a dreamlike Dublin clogged with its own past. He has a tendency to fall into his own hallucinations and obsess over his ex-girlfriend. All this makes him a strange choice as the hero to save Ireland’s psyche.

What on Earth is it?

This novel took shape in 2005 during some kind of debate in Ireland about the rights of the unborn. To be honest, I don’t remember the details. This debate has been raging for a long time in my home country and I’ve tried not to take any particular position on it. My interest was in the language and the ideas it set to work in my subconscious mind. What does it mean to be “unborn” and for an unborn person to have rights? What is the boundary between “non-existent” and “unborn” and what would happen if that boundary was blurred? I take these thoughts and run with them; that’s how this book came into existence. It started as a joke and became serious.

Will I like it?

That’s the real question, isn’t it? It’s hard for me to answer; I like the book a lot, because I wrote it.

If you like Flann O’Brien, you might like it. If you like weird, vivid, surreal stories that skip between absurd humour and deep, symbolic meaning, you might like it. If you like stories about supernatural sports (and who doesn’t?), you might like it. If you think strange thoughts about life, death, existence, consciousness and reality, you might like it.

You can buy the paperback for £7.99 or the Kindle edition for £2.99. That’s pretty cheap for something that’s guaranteed to give you at least five thoughts and images that have never entered your mind before.