Local author Stephen Oram lives on Cleveland Street and has been a resident of Fitzrovia for over twenty years. Stephen was born and brought up in Kettering Northamptonshire. “It’s a small market town and growing up I felt on the fringe of things and a bit of an outsider,” he says.
“When punk came along in the 1970s it was a big thing for me and marked a watershed in my life and attitude, although I was too punk to be a punk! I came to London in my early twenties and out of necessity became part of the squatter scene in Hackney. In my mid-twenties, for nearly three years, I was a member of a small charismatic Christian church, which actually turned out to be a cult that kept us mentally isolated from the wider world with no mixing allowed except to recruit other members. A family bereavement brought me to my senses and I realised that this church and my fellow followers were not providing any real emotional support and I escaped.
“In the early 1990s I was part of the fledgling software and internet businesses around Shoreditch, helping schools to make the most of these new technologies. We were a band of misfits – good people in a productive atmosphere – and our work won national awards. It was an exciting time in a brand new industry.”
Today Stephen describes himself as an agnostic, who is gently attracted to anarchism (but not 100% certain). “Anarchy has positive elements, community spirit, collaboration, and lack of hierarchy.” His fascination with exploring our darker places prompted him to imagine alternative worlds and then write his first novel, a near-future fiction. “I want Quantum Confessions to primarily be entertaining, but also hope it will challenge readers’ assumptions, explore their own contradictions and take them to a slightly uncomfortable place. There are no good or bad guys, no absolutes and no answers.”
Quantum Confessions was launched in September at the King and Queen, Foley Street. Stephen describes it as a social commentary on the world today and the forecast of near future dystopia.
It’s the story of two youngsters growing up. Grey is a high performing student with attitude. Aled is torn between his morals and his desires. They live in a world where those who believe in absolute truth are on a collision course with those who don’t. Society is becoming dangerously polarised and despite their shared history Aled and Grey take opposite sides in the conflict; Grey is recruited by The Project and Aled is given custody of The Proof of Existence…
The first part covers their young lives from the age of six to their early twenties. The book engages with many existential topics, truth versus liberalism, belief in God, quantum physics, multiple realities and relationships of people working together. The action within the last half of the book as they try to repair a crumbling world is located around Fitzroy Square.
Quantum Confessions was published using a branch of self-publishing called ‘self-funded publishing’. “I have utilised professional help and services in terms of cover design and editing. The publishing company, SilverWood Books (silverwoodbooks.co.uk), manages the project to the point of print and then supports authors as they undertake marketing, book promotion, and developing what’s called their ‘author platform’ using social media. The book is marketed in bookshops and online but I retain control and rights over my work which has grown-up echoes of those early punk ideals.
The book is available through usual outlets but also specially through a new alternative to the industry giants called Wordery.com, an independent book seller. I’m delighted that they have made my book their September newsletter Book of the Month.”
This article was first published in the Autumn 2014 print edition of Fitzrovia News.