This week’s is a unique (to date) look at a book I have been working on on and off for two years.It has no title as yet but for the purpose of this I will call it Escher’s Staircase It’s not easily categorized so I think I will just give you the excerpt and let it speak for itself.
Copyright © 2012 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved.
“I’m not fucking going down that! You gotta be crazy!”
I pulled away from the open hatch. “Don’t anybody think about pushing me either! Six hundred and eighty bloody feet! That’s … that’s like as high as a bloody sky-scraper!”
“Well, if you don’t do it, you will never get beyond Cadet Helmsman. Up to you matey!”quipped Shorty, lifting the glass bottle’s open neck to his scowling lips. Everything about Shorty was a tattoo – gaudy, colourful and in bad taste.
“Give me that!” I shouted, swiping the old bottle from his ham fist.
“Oh-ho! Way-hey! He’s gonna do it lads!” said Shorty, before a noisome belch escaped from his gut.
“Now, you know what you gotta do,” said Gooch, directly into my left ear, clutching my bicep. “Drink some of that and then do exactly like I say. Like I told you before… Brace yourself against this side of the hatch, push off with your strongest leg here.” He tapped the lower right corner of the hatch – behind me, with the toe of his boot. “… Take a deep breath and go for it. As long as you make it to that panel there you’ll be fine. Gravity will do the rest! Loads have done it and survived!” “Yeah…. and a few have died!”
“Not for years!” He looked hurt. His pale blue eyes in that steely face that perched on his six-foot plus frame peered down at me and a look of sad affection seemed to ooze from them.
This was one tradition I had been dreading. The Leviathan Class of ore-carriers were the biggest moveable objects man had every built. Much bigger even than the super-tankers of the late 20th Century. On Earth the only place they could be at rest was floating on the oceans. Too heavy to support themselves on land, and too expensive, to keep aloft in Earth’s dense atmosphere, that was the only place they could be loaded. Measuring up to two miles long, and nearly one-thousand feet from the keel to the top of the bridge – or flight deck, depending on the mode at the time, they were awesome to behold, wherever they were. That’s why I enlisted in the Merchant Service. Mainly used on the iron-ore run from Io to the newly rejuvenated Earth, the three biggest were most Ensign’s dream assignment. And I had made it onto one! The Abraham Lincoln was about to leave, on my first voyage to Io, and the moment I had known would come, but had dreaded since the Academy First Year, had finally arrived. We had moored about twenty miles west of the Hawaian islands, an area that was popular with Laviathan crews for its seclusion and idyllic weather.
I pulled on the lip of the bottle, and a slug of the hot rice wine spurted down my dry throat. “Jeesh! Hate Saki! Why Saki anyway?”
“Kawasaki innit matey? Japanese ship – Japanese toast! Ha! Ha! Ha!” Go on Goochy. Get ‘im out there!”
“Okay MacIntyre! You can do it!”
“Thanks Gooch!” I said sarcastically.
I stared at the Holy Grail- the panel five feet or more from the rear edge of the hatch. It had black scuff marks on it where the rubber of countless heels had wiped off on its shiny surface. Like an altar, it had been maintained in exactly this condition for the whole of the Abraham Lincoln’s fifteen years in service. And I would be the thirty-ninth sacrifice. My heart was pounding so loud – now I had decided to do it, that I thought it might split open my ribs. If I wasn’t so young I would be worrying about a heart-attack.
Shit! Gotta do this and then the easy life of a Oresman will be mine! Easy money, even easier women, drink… I braced myself with one hand – my weaker left hand on the frame behind me, my right gripping the frame just inside the rear edge. I had rehearsed this in my mind a thousand times. I didn’t want to look down but I told myself one last time, “If you fall the curvature of the hull will take you to a vertical drop and you will fall to your death on the hull far below.” Panic crawled up my spine and I wanted to scream. I forced my eyes open and sought for the Holy Grail panel.
If I reach that, it will be a joy-ride! Like the biggest slide in the park! Or pool! But I never went on a slide in a pool! And what the hell is a slide in the park anyway!
I am well into the last act of Iron III but I think I need a break from it. I have now arranged all the pieces on the chess board and I will have to watch the game unfold in my head to the end before writing it down. Now all the characters are in play, and their options limited, I shouldn’t have to think anymore; it should just write itself. I will probably finish editing Attack Hitler’s Bunker!, which incidentally, we have been working on a cover for.
The press agent for Cliff Robertson, with whom I had a brief correspondence just before his death, is working to raise funds for a biographical film (biopic) of Cliff. I must say, I was disappointed at the time that there was no tribute season of films on TV and so far I haven’t seen a biopic either. It will be nice if this can be completed. If you want to contribute, for as little as $25, you can get a t-shirt with a mention on the website, and if you have a spare couple of thousand dollars you can even be named as Executive Producer on the film! You can keep updated on it by following me on twitter or facebook. Details here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cliff-robertson-documentary