If you are interested I have collected a few thoughts here:
The opening image of a field of barley derives from the Ken Loach film “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” and my defuse memories of watching it almost a decade ago. Other films that come to mind with long grasses and war include Gladiator and The Thin Red Line. As someone that is more interested in image than narrative this seems worth mentioning.
The first drafts of this story were written in the months after my time at Lumb Bank being taught about writing science fiction by Simon Ings and Geoff Ryman in 2015. Another story from that period, W’s Robot Girlfriend, has yet to be finished.
The early iterations of 44 Fields end in the farm house scene moments after the introduction of the family. I still like this cut of the story for its abruptness and lack of context. However viewed within the wider cruelties being inflicted upon peoples around the world I feel that it is a good idea to make a communitarian statement.
My major work endeavor for 2017 was something that I cannot write about and will probably never see the light of day. Setting that to one side as a relevant piece of background information, I hope that story finds a balance between condemning pointless jobs carried out in the worst circumstances but celebrates, slightly, the personal value that such work can produce for individuals. Many hours may have be wasted, but such labors are not without its rewards.