I am over-the-moon to announce that Inchoate, my science fiction story about a time-traveling paleontological investigator, is now available FREE and in Urdu. My deepest and sincerest thanks go out to Atiya Adil, a teacher, for undertaking this huge task and seeing it through to its conclusion. It is extremely satisfying to see this project come to fruition after such a long period of sustained effort.
I have long wanted to provide a free and representative sample of my work to people in Asia and the Middle East, of whom I seem to have many followers (I have more followers in Cairo than any other city and more followers in India than any country other than the UK and USA). I frequently see mountain-loads of downloads in these countries during my free promotions so I know the readers are there and I also know that getting online credit to buy books, let alone having the outlet to buy them, is not easy there. Now, these readers should be have both.
There is a permanent page for Memories of the 1960s here.
This week: Books Available on Wattpad, Free Giveaway Honorary Cliff Robertson Documentary and Memories of the 1960s: Issue II
Books Available on Wattpad
Wattpad is fast becoming the book writers’ and readers’ social network. The website at www.wattpad.com has a nice, neat interface and in fact the whole approach is heavy on ‘simple.’ This allows you to start scribbling a story or building up a library of free reading material in seconds.
The simplicity does make it a bit difficult to figure out some features but I quickly got the hang of it. I have about eight of my books there, mostly short stories, but also the first chapters of Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate and Too Bright the Sun.
If you are just starting out as a writer or want to read lots of free stories, take a look.
From Saturday 14th June until Monday 16th June, erotic odyssey The Ice Boat Volume I will be FREE on Amazon. If you like adult fiction, and be aware, this contains vivid scenes of a sexual nature, then make sure you grab a copy.
Honorary Cliff Robertson Documentary
Just a quick mention that the project has had roughly 50 followers in the last week! Thanks to all those who have liked the page. If you are interested in getting your name up in lights (for as little as $5) on a Hollywood produced documentary on the Academy Award winning actor, please like the project page here: https://www.facebook.com/cliffrobertsonhonorarydocumentary
Memories of the 1960s: Issue II
I had several nice comments about Issue I so here is another:
Most people will remember the most two most prominent aspects of television in the 1960s; no colour and the dreaded test cards!
Colour television didn’t arrive in the UK until 1967 (BBC2) and late 1969 (BBC1 and ITV). There were some early test programmes on BBC2 and I think I remember one featuring a carnival. My father designed television cameras for a living so we were the first family I knew to have a TV set that could receive and display colour. I remember the riot of ultra-vivid colour blasting out of the screen. It seemed to completely transform the world. There were of course hiccups. Many people turned the colour button up to full, which made greens and red so bright that you would quickly get a headache. Paul McCartney had been assured that the Magical Mystery Tour would be broadcast in colour on Boxing Day 1967. But BBC1 still had not made the transition to colour so he was to be disappointed.
Test cards were what you saw when there were no programmes being transmitted. This was usually between about 1 am and 5 am, 10 am and midday and between 2.30 pm and 4 pm (5 pm on BBC2, which was the ‘educational’ channel). During these times, all you would see was a strange grid pattern with the picture of a young girl holding a piece of chalk against a blackboard and a baloon behind her, in the centre of the grid. Classical or, if my memory serves me correctly, easing listening music would accompany the picture. It would suddenly disappear when transmissions started but this was haphazard as schedules would vary by up to ten minutes.
A curiosity was the National Anthem, played right at the end of transmissions, at about 1 am. This would be followed by a continual tone. Many times neighbours would fall asleep, drunk or otherwise intoxicated, leaving the loud tone to drone on all through the night.
It wasn’t unusual for transmissions to be interrupted by atmospheric condition or even other local phenomenons. There were rumours of ‘ghost’ transmissions from crazy amateurs or TV-guerrillas!
I met one of these later in life. A physics graduate, this guy, along with some mates, figured out how to fire their own transmission at the BBC transmitter aerial somewhere in London. if they got the modulation just right and cancelled out the original signal, they could broadcast their own anarchist message. They were not completely successful the first time because some of the original transmission did reach receivers within a very small radius of the transmitter.
Undeterred, the pirates came up with an ingenious solution. They surrounded the tower at the right moment, and let rise a circle of helium-filled balloons. From these, a reflective tube of thin material was raised to form a ‘curtain’ around the tower. When this rose, they were able to block all transmission from the BBC and broadcast their own to the home counties. My friend never did tell me what message they transmitted.
And what of TV programmes themselves? The first, I remember clearly, there was Muffin the Mule, followed by the Woodentops and Andy Pandy. These were closely followed by Bill and Ben, Play School, Trumpton and Camberwick Green, Pogles Wood and of course the ubiquitous Blue Peter.
As I grew and (some would deny) matured, I progressed to a list of classics, which hardly anybody will remember, but I can’t resist listing: Barrier Reef, Skippy, Flipper, The Singing Ringing Tree, Jackanory, Belle and Sebastien, The White Horses, early Japanese anime Marine Boy, Origami, Yoga with Richard Hittleman, Painting with Nancy Kominski, The Magic Roundabout, Hector’s House, White Horses (so romantic that girls loved it) and of course Doctor Who.
The 1970s were ushered in with some of my all-time favourites: The Aeronauts, The Crusader (sometimes called Tibor: The crusader) and The Flashing Blade. I suppose if one thing marks out these programmes, it’s the high level of action and the driving R&B soundtracks. In those days, The Beeb (as we called the BBC) was not above hiring small R&B bands to play their them tunes and in fact Pink Floyd actually sat and played along to the 1969 moon landing, live! Unfortunately, the recordings, if there ever were any, have been lost. These, slightly kitsch, programmes may have been the progenitor of my love for driving rhythm and blues and rock.
In my childhood, we weren’t encouraged to watch ITV. This was the ‘cowboy’ channel. Mind you, some parents forbade their kids to watch it. I was lucky. I could watch it and I did. I quickly discovered programmes like Catweazle and Magpie, ITV’s answer to Blue Peter.
ITV had a much more laissez-faire attitude to broadcasting. Where else could you get a gorgeous blonde and two hippy guys (Mick Robertson and Tommy Boyd) (Magpie) or Old Father Time and his team pretending to be American Indians while showing you how things worked (How). The gorgeous blonde was Jenny Hanley, presenter of Magpie. She was the daughter of comedian Tommy Hanley, and I immediately fell for her. I was love-struck and I think I may have even written and sent a letter to her. She never replied! The Old Father Time was Jack Hargreaves, one-time director of ITV, who wrote How and went on to do another of my favourites, Out of Town. I only recently found out that he made and appeared in Gone Fishing, which I referred to in Memories of the 1960s Issue I. I do remember him saying that chubb tasted like ‘cotton wool filled with pins and needles!’
Who can forget The Banana Splits or the immortal phrase “Uh-oh! Chongo!” The Banana Splits were a wacky team of men in animal suits – a dog, a bear, chimpanzee and an elephant (which never made a sound!) who delivered a crazy menu of jokes, one-liners and zany music, interspersed with comedy or adventure mini-serials like Microcar, Danger Island (Uh-oh! Chongo!) and The Arabian Knights. Their theme tune has been immortalised by punk band The Dickies and anybody who watched it as a kid will never forget the assault on their senses by the colour and sound of the Banana Splits.
I must also make a quick mention of H.R Pufnstuf, which was almost as psychedelic as The Banana Splits and more surreal – I have to believe both serials were invented by guys taking too much acid. In it Jack Wild, the talented youngster from the hit musical Oliver! strutted his stuff while battling through puberty himself. I never understood what the hell was going on, but then I guess that was the beauty of it!
Some more of my all-time favourites were the Gerry Anderson serials; Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and UFO. I am too young to remember Fireball XL5, Supercar and Battery Boy etc, but I loved Thunderbirds.
The first episode, Trapped in the Sky, I watched, as I watched many, with my father. We would have been out, possibly fishing or to Church and come home to chicken pie or roast chicken at Sunday lunchtime. I would beg my mother to let me eat it in the lounge, with my knees stuffed under and ancient, miniature titling stool like a piano stool and, if I succeeded in persuading her, my dad would watch too. The amount of testosterone pumping through my system after watching these superhero brothers dicing with death in futuristic, jet or diesel powered behemoths probably gave me indigestion!
Then there was Captain Scarlet. This was one man against the evil Mysterons. And he was reincarnated! In fact, he died in every episode and his steady stare above a square jaw, only slightly more mobile than Mount Rushmore, gave no emotional hint of his suffering! I was hooked! Unfortunately it was rarely shown. A rumour would go around that there was one on TV (God knows where kids heard about it) or I would see it in the listings and then tune in, goggle-eyed! I would later learn that not only was the theme of death and reincarnation, Captain Scarlet representing a modern ‘Jesus’, considered too scary for kids but apparently Anderson had had his funding cut and all the character represented his revenge’portrayal of senior ITV management personnel. Captain White was Lew Grade, for instance. Soon the programme was moved to a late night slot. It was followed by UFO, which I also loved, but again, it seemed to be rarely shown on TV, unless I was out playing at the time. I did’t get to see the full series until about 2010.
Then there was Star Trek! By 1970, I was allowed to stay up until about 8.30 pm, twice per week, with my father chaperoning me. He loved Star Trek so I was able to drink in the colourful American vision of the future. The other evening programme, which I watched a lot, was The Virginian. This may seem vastly different from Star Trek, and it was, but it featured many stars of the future; Angie Dickinson, Doug McClure, Lee Majors and many others. And how can I ever forget the dry wit and calming influence of Medicine Bow’s sherrif, played by Clu Gulager?
In 1970, my father brought home the first portable television I had ever seen. None of my friends had one, or had even seen one. For me, it wasn’t that surprising – I regularly found bits of TV cameras strewn across my father’s study – but it was a mouth-watering opportunity. With two televisions, and one being portable, I could finally see a way to get access to the mythical ‘European movies’ that my friends whispered about reverently at school.
The portable TV was only black and white and only had a ten inch screen (I think, possibly twelve) but I quickly made excuses to watch it:
“Oh, star Trek is on at the same time as that film, you and mum want to watch. Can I take the portable upstairs?”
My parents, trusting me as they did, let me take it to my room on condition that I would turn it off after Star Trek. Of course, I did. But then, a careful perusal of the Radio Times’ late night schedule would reveal some dubious ‘European’ movie, usually with no, or very little, description and no (in those days) cast list. I would put the TV in my bed, so that the sound and light were muffled. Then, until the early hours of the morning I would watch Sylvia Kristel (only guessing here, I don’t remember who these people were) undressing and committing carnal acts on wiry, shady men, who always wore socks, and usually their underpants, I seem to remember. Thankfully, they usually left their umbrellas and bowler hats at the door. I guess I nearly came unstuck when I saw Get Carter (1971, I know, but indulge me!). The violence in the film didn’t bother me too much but when he murders the prostitute by injecting her with heroine, I was shocked. I think this may have left a lasting mark on me but I do think the late-night films widened my horizons considerably.
The daytime and evening film fare was usually a Western but the first daytime film I (vaguely) remember being impressed withe was The Wages Of Fear. I had to see it again recently to remind myself of the nitro-glycerine, nerve shattering tension in the film. If you haven’t seen it it yet, make sure you do.
Finally, I have to mention other activities resulting from watching TV (apart from romantic, that is). I probably first felt the inspiration to try fishing while watching Out of Town. During the massive interest in the Gerry Anderson programmes, there was the TV21 annual. 21 stood for ‘Twenty-first Century,’ and the annual, much more exciting than the Blue Peter annual, had plans for all sorts of crazy things you could build.
My two favourites were a version of a tree-house, which you actually suspended from the eaves of a house using pulleys, rope and packing crates or bits of destroyed go-carts, and an SPV simulator. The SPV was Captain Scarlet’s vehicle and SPV stood for ‘Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle.’ Of course, nearly every boy I knew had a toy SPV. But to actually drive one? That would be something. The detailed drawing showed you how to make scenery, which would then run endlessly on a conveyor-belt within a cardboard box, cut to look like a TV monitor. In the full-sized SPV (nobody ever built one, but indulge me again here), the driver faced backwards, to save his body from damage during high-G braking, so he could only see the road through a monitor. The conveyor belt was powered by pedals which in turn were powered by the ‘driver’s’ feet. It was all hilariously good fun. I didn’t, but if anybody did build any of these things, please let me know!
Well, I think that’s about it. Please let me know your memories by posting a comment below.
Egypt or any part of Africa through Kobobooks.com, I am told. I need somebody in Egypt to test this. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-gb/Search?Query=lazlo+ferran nb: you will have to convert the book to .mobi using a free software programme called Calibra if you want to read them using a Kindle device.
If you have problems let me know by commenting or emailing me so that I can send you a workaround.
You can always find details of availability and updates on the Catalogue page of this website.
If you live in Egypt please can you test the Kobobooks source and get back to me?
This week, first of my new OCD updates and FREE eBook Offer: Eighteen, Blue
OCD Log 1
To make it easier to find my updates on OCD, I am starting from today to name them Log 1, 2 etc. Too often, these posts might get lost among other subjects and I am aware there are many sufferers out there.
In my last OCD update, I announced my first OCD-Free day. It was really just an experiment and I didn’t expect it to work. But it seems to have worked.
OCD-Free is a strong term however. I think it would be more accurate to say that I have ‘broken the back of my OCD’ or ‘turned a corner’. The OCD is still there; every day I catch myself doing something that I call ‘OCD behaviour’. I just stop myself, say, “That is OCD behaviour. I am not going to do that,” and then ignore the impulse.
This tactic doesn’t always work. Strangely, it works better for physical events than purely mental ones. I am still prone to moments of hesitation or what I will call ‘colour blocks’ – a distaste or guilt, if you like, for looking at cert.
But on the whole, things are much better. My partner is over the moon and suddenly I can eat what I want, and I have much more time each day to focus on writing and practical tasks. OCD was a big waste of time and I knew it.
So how have I made this leap forward?
1. There are complex factors but I think the biggest is the boredom I suffered after giving up music full time in the early 1990s. Music really absorbed me. I was passionate about it but to earn enough money to survive, and produce albums, I had had to busk and this physically exchausted me. At the end, I had severe back pain, so bad I could only sleep on the floor, and I was too tired to move. It was then, I decided to go into IT. I don’t denigrate IT at all, I earned a good living from it for almost 25 years but it was not so interesting as music for a very creative person.
2. My last job, in IT, was extremely stressful. There was a lot of ‘office politics’ totally unnecessary for the job at hand, and this drained me.
3. I must say a word about my partner. She has been a mountain of strength. Her patience and understanding are LEGEND as far as I am concerned. She has definitely been one of the biggest factors in helping me overcome OCD. If you are a sufferer, never underestimate how much support your loved ones can give you. And if your loved one has OCD, never underestimate how much support they need.
I should also mention The OCD Work Book. I am not sure how much help this book was, but I know some of its exercises were so mind-numbingly boring that they gave me a big incentive to ‘make a break’! You can find a link to the book on my OCD page.
So if you are an OCD sufferer, or think you might be, have patience. I had it for 20 years, 18 of those without acknowledging it and without help, and I have managed to make progress.
If you have something you want to say about OCD, please don’t hesitate to comment here and I will do my best to give you an answer.
FREE eBook offer!
To celebrate my progress with the OCD (and because I need the publicity!) Eighteen, Blue: (Short Stories Volume I) is FREE from 24-26 May on Amazon. Here is the link: http://bit.ly/19xmNJq
I have rarely offered this book free and in fact, this may be the first time so make sure you grab a copy. It will be the only chance you have to read the short stories, Eighteen, Blue and the romantic science fiction tale, Another one for No. 19.
On the Rebel held wastelands of North American in the 22nd Century, biker bounty hunters choose their victims according to their playing card rank. But in this life-or-death game of poker, one player holds the trump card.
Another one for No. 19
Machine 19, the last Janitor bot still moving, travels on to its last assignments as Isha and Danel in NewYork District of Central City wonder how to change their meaningless lives.
This book may well soon become available on Amazon because they have banned one of my books which has forced me to seek other outlets. But more of that next week.
I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of translation services on the internet and the quality of those that do exist. For some time I have been gaining a disproportionately large number of fans in Egypt and India. I don’t know why this is, but that’s hardly the point. If these people are interested in me, then I want to publish something that is easy for them to read. In other words I want to publish in their languages: Urdu and Arabic.
You are probably thinking; what’s the point? If they understand English then they can read it and if not, why bother? Well, I just feel that they deserve it!
Until now I have used Google Translate – http://translate.google.com for twitter and Facebook posts. It’s okay for short posts but as everyone probably knows by now, it’s not great. If you have ever received spam from a fake Russian girl looking for a boyfriend you will know what I mean. The result is a sort of gobble-de-gook; a soup of phrases that overlap each other and mean little. I recently tried to translate a tweet into Chinese and then translate it back to see how good/bad it was. I had to make several attempts before I could get anything that retained even the basic meaning of what I was saying!
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Arabic, for instance, comes in many flavours and the Arabic that Google Translate uses is closer to the Koranic Arabic than any modern dialect. That is what my Arabic-speaking friends tell me. It is probably the same for Urdu.
Anyway, in an experimental effort to get things moving I am going to post this blog in Arabic and Urdu and then my short story Inchoate in both languages using Google Translate. I know the result will be terrible but perhaps the result will guilt somebody out there into helping me. I can’t afford professional translators so I would like anybody to correct just one sentence. If you can do this I would be very grateful and I will give you a free copy of Vampire Beneficence – a collection of short stories and three first chapters of my best-selling books. So come on, get cracking! Just comment below with the original sentence and the translation.
Blog in Arabic
أنا أصبحت على نحو متزايد بالاحباط بسبب عدم وجود خدمات الترجمة على الإنترنت ونوعية تلك التي لا وجود لها. لبعض الوقت ولقد تم الحصول على عدد كبير جدا من المشجعين في مصر والهند. أنا لا أعرف لماذا هذا هو ، ولكن هذا لا يكاد نقطة . إذا كان هؤلاء الناس مهتمون بي، ثم أريد أن ينشر شيئا من السهل بالنسبة لهم للقراءة. وبعبارة أخرى أريد أن نشر في لغاتهم : الأردية والعربية.
ربما كنت تفكر ، ما هي الفائدة ؟ إذا كانوا يفهمون اللغة الإنجليزية ثم يمكنهم قراءتها ، وإذا لم يكن كذلك، لماذا تهتم ؟ حسنا، أنا فقط يشعرون أنهم يستحقون ذلك !
حتى الآن لقد استخدمت الترجمة من Google : http://translate.google.com في تويتر و الفيسبوك المشاركات . انه بخير للوظائف قصيرة ولكن ما دام الجميع ربما يعرف حتى الآن ، انها ليست كبيرة. إذا كنت قد تلقيت أي وقت مضى البريد المزعج من فتاة روسية وهمية تبحث عن صديقها وسوف تعرف ما أعنيه. والنتيجة هي نوع من تلتهم دو جوك ؛ حساء من العبارات التي تتداخل مع بعضها البعض و تعني الشيء الكثير . حاولت مؤخرا لترجمة تويتر إلى اللغة الصينية ومن ثم ترجمتها إلى الوراء لنرى كيف جيدة / سيئة كان عليه. كان لي لجعل عدة محاولات قبل أن أتمكن من الحصول على أي شيء حتى الاحتفاظ المعنى الأساسي لما كنت أقوله !
وتتفاقم المشكلة من حقيقة أن اللغة العربية ، على سبيل المثال ، ويأتي في كثير من النكهات و العربية أن الترجمة من Google الاستخدامات هو أقرب إلى العربية القرآنية من أي لهجة الحديث. هذا هو ما أصدقائي الناطقة بالعربية تقول لي . وربما هو نفسه بالنسبة الأوردو.
على أي حال، في محاولة تجريبية ل تحريك الأمور وانا ذاهب لنشر هذا بلوق باللغتين العربية و الأردية ثم ضعي القصة القصيرة غير المكتملة في كل من اللغات باستخدام ترجمة غوغل . وأنا أعلم فإن النتيجة ستكون رهيبة ولكن ربما كان نتيجة إرادة الذنب شخص هناك في مساعدتي . لا أستطيع تحمل المترجمين المحترفين لذلك أود أي شخص لتصحيح جملة واحدة فقط . إذا كنت تستطيع أن تفعل ذلك وسأكون ممتنا للغاية وأنا سوف أعطيك نسخة مجانية من مصاص الإحسان – مجموعة من القصص القصيرة و ثلاثة فصول الأول من كتبي الأكثر مبيعا . حتى يأتي يوم ، والحصول على تكسير ! مجرد التعليق أدناه مع الحكم الأصلي و الترجمة.
Blog in Urdu
میں نے انٹرنیٹ پر ترجمے کی خدمات کی کمی اور موجود ہیں کہ ان کے معیار کی طرف تیزی سے مایوس ہوتا جا رہا ہوں . کچھ وقت کے لئے میں نے مصر اور بھارت میں شائقین کی ایک غیر متناسب طور پر بڑی تعداد میں حاصل کر رہے ہیں . یہ ہے کیوں مجھے نہیں معلوم ، لیکن اس مشکل بات ہے . ان لوگوں نے مجھ میں دلچسپی رکھتے ہیں ، تو میں ان پڑھ کرنے کے لئے آسان ہے کہ کچھ میں شائع کرنا چاہتے . اردو اور عربی : دوسرے الفاظ میں میں نے ان زبانوں میں شائع کرنا چاہتے ہیں .
آپ شاید سوچ رہے ہیں، کیا بات ہے؟ وہ انگریزی سمجھ تو وہ اسے پڑھ کر سکتے ہیں اور اگر نہیں تو ، کیوں پریشان ؟ ٹھیک ہے ، میں نے صرف وہ اس کے مستحق لگتا ہے کہ !
http://translate.google.com ٹویٹر اور فیس بک خطوط کے لئے : اب تک میں گوگل کے ترجمہ کا استعمال کیا ہے . یہ مختصر خطوط کے لئے ٹھیک ہے لیکن ہر کسی کو شاید اب تک جانتا ہے کے طور پر ، یہ بہت اچھا نہیں ہے . کیا تم نے کبھی ایک پریمی کے لئے تلاش ایک جعلی روسی لڑکی سے سپیم موصول ہوئی ہے تو آپ میرا کیا مطلب پتہ چل جائے گا . نتیجہ ہیں gobble -DE- gook کی ایک طرح سے ہے، ایک دوسرے سے متجاوز اور تھوڑا سا مطلب ہے کہ جملے کی ایک سوپ . میں نے حال ہی میں چینی میں ایک ٹویٹ میں ترجمہ اور پھر یہ تھا کہ کس طرح اچھا / برا دیکھنے کے لئے اسے واپس کا ترجمہ کرنے کی کوشش کی . مجھے کہہ رہا تھا کی بھی بنیادی معنی کو برقرار رکھا ہے کہ کچھ حاصل کر سکتے ہیں سے پہلے کئی کوششوں کو بنانے کے لئے تھا!
مسئلہ عربی ، مثال کے طور پر ، گوگل استعمال کرتا ہے کسی بھی جدید بولی سے قرآنی عربی کے قریب ہے ترجمہ ہے کہ بہت سے ذائقوں اور عربی میں آتا ہے اس حقیقت کی طرف جارہی ہے . یہ میرا عربی بولنے والے دوست مجھے بتاو کیا ہے . یہ اردو کے لئے شاید ایک ہی ہے .
ویسے بھی ، چیزوں کو منتقل کرنے کے لئے ایک تجرباتی کوشش میں میں گوگل کے ترجمہ کا استعمال کرتے ہوئے دونوں زبانوں میں اپنے مختصر کہانی شروع کرنا تو عربی اور اردو میں اس بلاگ پوسٹ کرنے کے لئے جا رہا ہوں . میں نتیجہ خوفناک ہو جائے گا معلوم ہے لیکن شاید نتیجے میں جائے گا جرم کسی وہاں میری مدد میں . میں نے کسی کو صرف ایک کی سزا کو درست کرنا چاہتے ہیں تو میں پیشہ ور مترجمین متحمل نہیں ہو سکتا . آپ یہ کر سکتے ہیں تو میں بہت شکر گزار ہو جائے گا اور میں آپ کو ویمپائر فیض کی ایک مفت نقل دے گا – مختصر کہانیاں اور میری بہترین فروخت ہونے والی کتابوں میں سے تین سب سے پہلے ابواب کا ایک مجموعہ . تو ، چلو کریکنگ حاصل ! صرف اصل سزا اور ترجمہ کے ساتھ ذیل تبصرہ .
Update to this Article: I found a translator and Inchoate is now available in Urdo here: http://bit.ly/amincte