Category: Iron Series

Memories of the 1960s: Issue II – TV. What are your memories?

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.

Free Giveaway
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

Elevator vehicle under Fireflash from Thunderbirds
Elevator vehicle under Fireflash from Thunderbirds

I had several nice comments about Issue I so here is another:

TV programmes
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 Card
Test Card

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.

Pogles Wood - The Pogles, Pippin, Tog and Magic Plant
Pogles Wood – The Pogles, Pippin, Tog and Magic Plant

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 Aeronauts - Tanguy and Laverdure
The Aeronauts – Tanguy and Laverdure

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.

Magpie presenters - (Left to Right) Mick Robinson, Jenny Hanley and Tommy Boyd
Magpie presenters – (Left to Right) Mick Robinson, Jenny Hanley and Tommy Boyd

ITV had a much more laissez-faire attitude to broadcasting. Where else could you get a gorgeous blonde, two middle-aged guys and an Old Father Time pretending to be American Indians while showing you how things worked (How). The gorgeous blonde was Jenny Hanley, daughter of the 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.

HR Pufnstuf
H.R. Pufnstuf

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!

Captain Scarlet
Captain Scarlet

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?

The Banana Splits
The Banana Splits

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.

Wages of Fear
Wages of Fear

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.

Captain Scarlet's SPV with Angel Interceptors
Captain Scarlet’s SPV with Angel Interceptors

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.

Download 3 free eBooks by clicking here: http://bit.ly/3fbsup

Science Fiction book – Too Bright the Sun, Caption Competition

Just a reminder: Love Blade Runner? Download the 5★ Science Fiction novel FREE NOW on Amazon until 7 May: http://bit.ly/102Xt92. It’s currently #845 in Amazon Free kindles and #10 in Science Fiction (see screen grab below). If you don’t have one already, make sure you download a copy!

Toobrightrank040514

Too Bright the Sun is now in the goodread lists: Best Military Science Fiction Books (listed #65) Can’t Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2014 (#96) and Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction so if you have time, please vote for it here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/17664602 by clicking on the list name at bottom of page and then clicking on the ‘vote’ button beside the book title!

Competition
I am soon to release World Like Dust, the next part of the Iron Series. In this episode, the Stamford Torus space station, J5 (looking something like the illustration below) has to leave the Solar System under it’s own power as a final refuge of mankind. I think it should have a new name for this voyage so I want you to choose one. All you have to do is download a FREE copy of Too Bright the Sun, comment here AND share a Facebook post or a Twitter tweet to win the prize of a free copy of Worlds Like Dust. It will be published as two, novel length books so it is a prize worth winning! in addition, your name will be used in the published book and you will also get an acknowledgement at the beginning of the book.

Don’t forget, the main difference between the station in this image and J5 is that J5 has a half-scale replica of the Golden Gate Bridge over a half-scale river, where Jake Nanden spent much of his youth.

I look forward to hearing your ideas! Good luck!

Caption competition - name this station
Name this space station

Science Fiction eBook – Too Bright the Sun – is FREE this weekend!

Love Blade Runner? Download the 5★ Science Fiction novel FREE on Amazon from Saturday 3 May until Wednesday 7 May: http://bit.ly/102Xt92. If you don’t have one already, make sure you download a copy!

Too Bright the Sun is now in the goodread lists: Can’t Wait Sci-Fi/Fantasy of 2014 and Best Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction so if you have time, please vote for it here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/book/17664602 by clicking on the list name at bottom of page and then clicking on the ‘vote’ button beside the book title!

BookCoverPreviewToo Bright the Sun: “Engaging” “Thought provoking” “A good sci-fi battle romp” “The writing style is unusual”
This book has been compared with the work of Phillip K Dick, who wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the book that became the film Blade Runner.

You will find a link to my main page about Too Bright the Sun in the menu at the top of this blog.

Below is an excerpt from the book, below that my thoughts on writing the book and at the bottom is a link to an interview with the main character, Jake Nanden:

Excerpt
When the Sun was almost touching the horizon of Mars, my father said, “Now Jake! Lift up your filter.”
With difficulty, because my fingers were so small, I lifted the outer U.V. filter and gasped. The white disk of the sun almost burned a hole in my head. Its white was so intense it was almost blue and the blue became a corona as my eyes quickly looked up and away from it. The corona gradually faded into a riot of colour that filled the rest of my vision. The purples and oranges were deeper than those in a bowl of the freshest and most tangy grapes and peaches. For a moment I almost lost my balance and felt myself falling forward into a forever-sea of spectral light. We stood on the edge of time – until the Sun had completely disappeared below the horizon and then, eventually, my dad sighed and said, “Let’s go.”

The last part of the trilogy- Iron III: Worlds Like Dust will be published in summer 2014.

Why I wrote Too Bright the Sun
I have always loved sci-fi but at the time I wrote this, I was under a lot of pressure in my day job and going through a dark patch. I have long had a soft-spot for noir films so I decided to write a noir-sci-fi novel. I also love Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and Phillip K Dick – particularly Blade Runner, all for their quirky stories but deep-rooted scientific authenticity. The result is Too Bright the Sun, which I am very proud of. Ultimately, I think it is a very beautiful story of one replicant struggle for identity and the surprising outcome.

If you love character-driven sci-fi, you will love the twist at the end.

Interview with Jake Nanden
https://lazloferran.com/toobrightthesun/interview-with-jake-nanden

Finally, here is the Ischian – alien – Clover Leaf laser rifle from Too Bright the Sun

Alien_laser

If you don’t have one already, make sure you download a copy! http://bit.ly/102Xt92.

Will replicants inherit the Earth?

This week: OCD update and Hot off the Press: an extract from my forthcoming sci-fi novel Worlds like Dust, about replicants in a battle to save Earth.

OCD Update
I finished my course of therapy over a month ago but that is not where the treament ends. My therapist recommended a great book for me – The OCD Workbook: Your Guide to Breaking Free from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. There is a scheme in the USA and now in the UK to get copies of this from your library. It’s called Books on Prescription so go to your library and find out about the scheme, if you need the book. I can recommend it. A link to this book will be available from now on if you go to my OCD page.

I managed the first few chapters without difficulty over the last 2 weeks but when it came to ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) I hit a barrier. My belief that something bad will happen is way higher than the book accepts as practical for this exercise. Too bad they only told me that after I did the exercise. Ha! Ha! THe book recommends a limit of 70% and I am 90%.

So the book then recommended that I skip to Chapter 7 and try Imaginal Exposure. I have never heard of this but it sounded great. I always feel that I have fears I simply am unable to articulate, even to myself. In this exercise you have to write down the situation and outcome you most fear. I won’t reveal my own fears but the document does make pretty grim reading! I am not easily shocked but I was surprised by what I wrote. You then need a means of reading it back to yourself, for an hour each day. I chose to use the Windows application Narrator although I had to slow the speed down a bit to get maximum effect (I need time to visualise each event). This then needs to be repeated until the belief comes down to about 40%

So far, mine went up slightly and now has dropped to 70%. I have a long way to go. The books suggests that this should take about 2 weeks but I guess there is no limit. It’s hard to imagine I will drop to 70% in 2 weeks, but I hope so. At the moment I am finding it really tough. This exercise is, without doubt, the hardest thing I have tried, during my battle to kick OCD. It is putting a strain on my relationship. But I must continue. I hope I will have good news in a few weeks.

Hot off the Press
What is it like to be a replicant? Will replicants inherit the Earth? These questions I explore in my forthcoming Science Fiction novel Worlds like Dust. For any that have followed the Iron Series you will remember that in Iron I: Too Bright the Sun, Jake Nanden started out feeling persecuted and isolated as an alien. All that changed. Now the story continues. The story has expanded somewhat, from my original draft, so Worlds like Dust will be published in two volumes. Below is an excerpt from near the end, where I am in my last but one edit. This is so hot off the press, I revised it between writing the last sentence of the blog and posting it!

Exiting onto Deck 41, we encountered three Ischians guarding the approach to the recycler section. However, their backs were turned to us. I drew my knife silently from its cloth pouch and stealthily crept after the rearmost alien. The noise of battle covered my approach but even so it swung to face me just before my blade reached the jugular vein in his neck. Two of my grunts were right behind me. Grabbing my Ischian as it turned, I drove my blade as deep into his neck as I could. The Ischian’s weight and strength were enough to send me spinning with it as it continued to turn. Orange blood sprayed my face as we crashed into the wall. The alien grabbed my arms and tried to push me away. I released the blade, leaving it in his neck; an old trick I learned in my frontline service days on Io. The Ischian let go of me and grabbed for the blade which was futile. The damaged was already done. I stood up and kicked his arm as it grabbed for the blade, wrenching the blade into his neck at an angle. Something grabbed me from behind just as my victim bellowed in agony and went into convulsions.”
“Got him!” somebody shouted behind me. Suddenly the huge arms released me and I fell to my knees. I glanced behind me to see two men sitting on one dead alien and three more on the other, which was still struggling. As I watched, both aliens managed to get to their feet. Both were cocking their lasers and it looked like it would be all over for us. I searched wildly on the ground for my Ischian’s laser and found; a clover leaf carbine. I wrenched it from its position, half under the alien, cocked it and fired wildly at the aliens. Both went down with gaping holes in their chests, but not before one of my grunts was wounded in the leg.
“Never seen it done sir!” said the nearest grunt to me. “Read about it. We never thought you really could kill an Ischun this way but you showed us!”
“Alright!” I said, gasping. “Let’s keep moving. Give that man a hand!”
Things became a little hotter as we neared Dragodes position.

Do you think its inevitable that replicants will inherit the Earth? Have your say by leaving a comment.

Where could vampires have come from?

This week: An interview with Jake Nanden from the Iron Series and: Where could vampires have come from?

Where could vampires have come from?
I am not going to say here whether vampires exist or not; that is a question I might never find an answer to. But where could they have come from if they do exist? That is an interesting question.

funnily enough, since the beginning of man’s history, vampires have been seen to be some kind of ‘elite’. They are even idealised versions of humans in some stories. Recently this thought has played on my mind a lot.

It would seem logical to assume that the natural suspicion working and middle class people feel for royalty and nobility might naturally lead to an attribution to them of ‘unnatural powers’. I don’t think this is a modern trend and might have even been more prevalent in the age when Royalty were seen to be mandated by by God to rule

Vlad III, known posthumously as Vlad the Impaler because of his cruelty was just one such ruler. His first name, Dragwlya, is the origin of the modern name Dracula and Vlad is most likely the source of the legend of Dracula – a fiend who drank blood.

Then we have Elizabeth Báthory (be patient if I seem to be going over old ground here). She was also accused of drinking the blood of virgins.

What do both have in common? They are both European royalty. What else do we know about European Royalty (and indeed what did common folk know at the time about them)? They tended to inbreed. what sort of symptoms can one expect from inbreeding? An increased chance of haemophilia. Indeed Vlad III is rumoured to have suffered from it.

According to wikipedia: Haemophilia lowers blood plasma clotting factor levels of the coagulation factors needed for a normal clotting process.

In genetics it is linked to the X-Chromosome. Men have an X and a Y chromosome and women to X chromosomes and a Y chromosome. Thus haemophilia in women is very rare: if one X-Chromosome will not support the coagulation, the other X-Chromosome will express it. That is perhaps a good thing because the gene for haemophilia is inherited through the mother. The last thing you want in a royal family is a woman with haemophilia. If she is a silent carrier, her sons are 50% likely to suffer from haemophilia, if she herself shows symptoms, her sonds are 100% likely to suffer. And certainly in the middle ages it dramatically cut life expectancy; few sufferers would even reach adulthood.

But guess who was a silent carrier? Queen Victoria. From her, were born most of the European royalty for the next 100 years. And of course Czar Nicolas’s son suffered from haemophilia. A haemophilia sufferer will tend to be mororse, tend to stay inside and probably exhibit a paler complexion than other children or adults (if they are lucky enough to reach maturity). Is it too much of a stretch of imagination to suppose that haemophilia, and more particularly, haemophilia in royalty may be the source of the legend of vampires?

I am not discounting the idea that Vampires have a separate existance from this and indeed a legitimate place in the tree of evolution. But I propose that one of the legends around them originates in the European Royal Disease – haemophilia.

What is your opinion? Please let me know and join in the debate by commenting below.

An interview with Jake Nanden from the Iron Series

This interview appeared on the Library of Erana blog a few weeks ago. Thanks very much to Alexandra Butcher for permission to publish this.

Tell Us About Yourself

Name (s): Jake Nanden

Age: 34

Please tell us a little about yourself. I am 5’11’, dark hair, short – Army cut, slightly curly. Green eyes.

Describe your appearance in 10 words or less. Getting middle aged, slightly paunchy with drying skin – like paper in places – except my mech arm. That’s synthetic skin on there and as smooth and supple as the day it was sprayed on. I even had mine tattooed but don’t tell anyone.

Would you kill for those you love? I kill every day – most days – to keep my culture intact. I would say that is killing for those I love. Of course there is a moral code… And as a soldier the moral code is almost everything. After a while… killing… it sometimes seems to be the only thing you have left. Family are too far away.

Do you like animals? I love animals. Their love is unconditional. You can never quite be sure with humans, can you?

Do you have a family? Ha! Ha! Yes. A test-tube. No seriously my mother – Mary, my sister Justine and a dog – a collie called Frisky. My adoptive dad was the famous robotics designer Robert R. Nanden but he’s dead. My mother was his assistant and pretty accomplished at that!

Can you remember something from your childhood which influences your behaviour? I am not sure about any of my childhood memories. They are probably all implanted. I am a replicant. The first memory I am sure about is playing on the grass with my adoptive mother watching me playing cricket.

She shouted out, “Jake! You are such a talented cyborg!”

Even at my tender age, I knew a replicant was not the same thing as a cyborg and I knew that she should know, as her first husband had been a famous robot designer. Her words had always stuck in my head.

But anyway, adoptive parents of replicant children are always told to create some vivid experience for their kid in the first few days so that the imprinting takes properly. So it’s probably not significant.

Do you have any phobias? Mirrors. Can’t stand them. They make me sweat and… well, I’m very nervous around them. I avoid them.

Please give us an interesting and unusual fact about yourself. I write books – well, I am writing my first; a detective thriller. It’s kind of Raymond Chandler-ish. I call it Chandleresque, but I guess that’s bad English. My adoptive parents are first generation J5 – that’s a space station – so they kinda inherited a USAC – United States of America and Canada – accent. Anyway, I am rambling. The main character is Dusty. He’d a sucker for the pretty ladies!

Tell Us About your world

Please give us a little information about the world in which you live. Well, I was born on Mars – at least I was adopted on Mars. We lived under a dome for most of my childhood. My most precious memory is of my dad taking me out on a hoverbike to see the real Mars sunset. Of course, you could see sunsets from the dome, but the U.V. protection took out most of the colour and I had nagged him for weeks to take me outside to see one. With difficulty, because my fingers were so small, I lifted the outer U.V. filter and gasped. The white disk of the sun almost burned a hole in my head. Its white was so intense it was almost blue and the blue became a corona as my eyes quickly looked up and away from it. The corona gradually faded into a riot of colour that filled the rest of my vision. The purples and oranges were deeper than those in a bowl of the freshest and most tangy grapes and peaches.

Does your world have religion or other spiritual beliefs? Do you travel in the course of your adventures? If so where? That’s three questions in one! Yes of course there is religion but I struggle to believe in anything other than a goal of justice – for my friend’s death. We have the usual Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, and a few others that go way back on Earth. Plus we have the got Mech! Well, what can I say about him? It started with cyborgs and androids worshipping the God of mechanical things. They believe Mech created humans to service the machines. Lately even replicants are converting. Most replicants find it difficult to have faith in anything other than themselves.

Name and describe a food from your world. We can make what we like using n-gens; nano-generators. ‘Fried’ is my favourite: bacon, eggs, potatoes, beans, fried-bread and mushrooms. I am old enough to remember what these things are called, and what they look like. To most grunts they are just ‘fried’,

Does your world have different races of people? If so do they get on with one another? We are more concerned with Ischians – aliens. We call them ‘Dogs’ because they have evolved from something like dogs. Pretty formidable though… You don’t want to mess with Ishuns. Races? I don’t think anybody notices any more. Still a stigma to being a replicant though. I think that’s where people’s racism has gone.

Name a couple of myths and legends particular to your culture/people. Mech, the god for all A.I. beings, as robots and androids were now permitted to call themselves, lived in a red world of dust which corroded him and he had three sons, Iron, Tin and Wire. They lived in the desert for they were afraid of the sea, but one day Iron, who was the eldest son, committed a sin by openly doubting Mech and Mech banished him. Iron wandered alone until he came to the sea, and left his mark upon a rock but no more was ever heard from him again.

I guess the other one is that God looks after us all. Replicants don’t agree. You should see the size of funeral urns replicants get. Then you would know all about inequality.

Author notes:

Book(s) in which this character appears.

The Iron series: Iron I, Too Bright the Sun, Iron II, Unknown Place, Unknown Universe and Iron III (published soon) Worlds Like Dust

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Why should your main character have flaws?

This week: Sneak Preview, news about an Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate promotion and: Why should your main character have flaws?

Why should your main character have flaws?
All of my main character (and thus protagonists) have flaws. In my earlier books I think it was just instinct that led me to this. In fact you could argue that for James Brennan in The Man Who Recreated Himself and King Vaslav in Infinite Blue Heaven the question of whether they are flawed or not is the main theme examined in the novels. James is perhaps naive and Vaslav is perhaps sexually weak, being a willing participant in incest, something not uncommon in the 17th century. In The Ice Boat, which is my first novel completed, it’s very obvious that David Dee is flawed; naive and confused by life. Physically he is in good health however, as are the other two characters mentioned.

The practice of giving the main character (MC) flaws probably began in Greek literature with Odysseus. He is a superb physical specimen, canny and intelligent far beyond the abilities of most around him. He takes on the Gods and wins. He dreams up the Trojan Horse trick which had become legend. But, he has a kind of self-loathing, and considers himself ‘odious’, from which the author – nominally Homer – gave him his name. However, Odysseus is not part of a tragedy; he does regain his Kingdom, his wife and his son – eventually. In Greek tragedies we have perfect beings that suffer terribly as a consequence or despite of this. King Leonidas (whose name incidentally derives from the root ‘lion’) doesn’t seem to have had a fault; incredibly brave, resourceful, physically strong and tough, and loyal to Sparta beyond consideration of his own life. Moreover he was real; he actually lived. Of course he probably wasn’t perfect but his exploits have become legend. With 300 Spartans of his own personal guard, he held the pass at Thermopylae against at least 10,000 Persians long enough for the Greek navy to assemble and defeat the Persian navy. He and all his men were lost. This is the essence of Greek tragedy: great deads and great intentions that end in disaster for the main protagonist.

It is said that we no longer write tragedies: perhaps we no longer can. All modern MCs are flawed. We even have the ‘anti-hero’ now; a character so flawed he would probably be the equivalent of the baddie in Greek Literature. Perhaps it’s because we no longer look to stories for moral guidance. Nobody likes being preached to and even authors of quite ‘high’ moral literature such as J. R. R. Tolkien distance themselves from any suggestion of allegory in their work. Nowadays we prefer to sympathise with characters. We are looking for escapism. All we want to do is imagine that we are the MC in a book or one of the main protagonists and absorb ourselves in the world the writer has created for us.

In Iron I: Too Bright the Sun, Jake Nanden has his flaws: he has mechanical body parts and is terrified of mirrors. He also has the deep lack of confidence that is the realm of replicants. Jake was a fascinating character to create and write about because he saw himself as non-human so he felt he had a perspective on the whole human race. Stone, in Iron II: Unknown Place, Unknown Universe is a self-proclaimed douchebag. They don’t come more anti-hero than Stone. I loved writing his part because I could make him as selfish, self-absorbed and obnoxious as I wanted. Then of course there are the aliens! Chief among them as protagonist is Kek-suîxjh. Super-intelligent, he nevertheless suffers from an innocent awe of the world that slips dangerously over into naivity at critical times.

My most flawed MC is the anonymous hero in Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate. He has an eye defect, a kind of spiritual’weakness’ and suffers from extreme bad luck. Incidentally one of the other protagonists in this book, Georgina, is much-loved by fans and readers despite the fact that she is a baddie and out to exploit the MC. Strange how such characters can sometimes gain sympathy.

I am about to start work on a pure Vampire novel. Now the MC will have no flaws other than that he is a vampire. Is this a flaw? I don’t know but certainly some people view vampires as super-beings. Perhaps vampires, werewolves and other shape-changers or mutants and the last domain of the ‘perfect’ being, albeit in disguise. It will be interesting to see if a ‘perfect’ character manages to gain audience sympathy. In fact this leads me to my main question this week: could a perfect character gain acceptance from an audience today? I want your views so please post your comments here.

Sneak Preview
This is from my latest project, December Radio:

December Radio
Copyright © 2013 by Lazlo Ferran
All Rights Reserved.

Roger Dyce was beside himself with frustration. His eaglet frame paced up and down inside the small anti-chamber within the Cabinet War Room complex while Mr Brown sat, apparently calmly, on one of the wooded chairs placed against the wall.
“Sit down Dyce! You have nothing to worry about!”
“I’m not worried sir! I’m… well, I’m very angry! And frustrated! Yes, that’s what it is. Didn’t I say…?”
“Yes! Yes! We’ve been all through that. But perhaps this is your chance. Don’t blow it!”
That made Roger sit down. “First of all nobody will listen to me! And then it is implied that I’m somehow to blame for sitting on evidence!”
“Yes. Okay. I know, War is never fair.”
“And I’m nervous! But why here?” he continued. Brown didn’t answer. Dyce stared at the flaking cream paint smeared across bricks. During the last fifteen minutes they had heard the sound of muffled shouting from within the Map Room where the British Prime Minister was about to receive them. At that moment the door to the Map Room was flung open and out stumbled a well-built man whose facial features were so pleasingly regular and whose receding hair was so neatly minimal that they both looked as if painted onto an egg. He was wearing a neat blue suit. He nodded curtly to Brown and smiled curtly at Dyce. Roger could see the man was hurt underneath a brave façade of brisk efficiency. Whoever he was, Roger didn’t want such a powerful man as his enemy. They both followed the man though the door and took seats facing Winston Churchill.
For brown, this was only the second time he had met Winnie but he was no less nervous than Roger for it. Winston was in a foul mood:
“Now, you may wonder…hm, why we are meeting here?” The Prime Minister’s face was graven. “The truth is, from what I have learned yesterday, the War is not as over, as I thought it was! Indeed, we are in the most grave danger! Grave! I have no intention of leaving here until this is resolved. Brown, you’ve met J. J Llewellin, MP and currently serving on the board overseeing the American Nuclear Bomb programme. And this, I understand is the young Dyce!” A fleeting smile from the Prime Minister showed Roger that he alone in the room was above blame. This gave him confidence.
He smiled. “Yes, Prime Minister!”

Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate promotion
I have just signed up to a new website promoting covers and first pages of novels. The website is run by internationally selling writer Laurence O’Bryan, a writer much respected and with nearly 200,000 followers I am hoping to get some decent exposure from this promotion. I have chosen Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate for the promotion because it’s my best-selling novel and is most like Laurence’s own work. The promotion will run for one year from the day it starts (in the next week or two) and to mark the occasion I did one last edit on the novel to create the Third Edition. The website is: http://booksgosocial.com
Apart from some small corrections to the text to make it more readable I have taken out the Author’s Notes and the Secret Codes that they referred to. I felt that the book has stood the test of time and no longer necessarily needs the Secret Codes to be enjoyable and furthermore, they may put off some of the more serious adult readers. I am quite sure the book’s contents are mature enough to please such readers.
However the Secret Codes, for anybody who wants to try deciphering them and nobody has successfully done so yet, will still be available in the Second Edition. For some reason, known only to Amazon, even though this is still available, it’s not associated with the Third Edition and is only possibly to find by searching specifically for Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate – Second Edition.

How does Jake Nanden, replicant from Too Bright the Sun, interview?

There is an interview with Jake Nanden from the Iron Series here today:

http://libraryoferana.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/character-interview-number-seven-jake-nanden-sci-fi/

If you want to read more about Jake Nanden, read the page for Too Bright the Sun or its sequel, Unknown Place, Unknown Universe.

And don’t forget to subscribe to the Newsletter for Chapter One of Too Bright the Sun for FREE!

What is the most effective way to promote a Sci-Fi book launch?

This week: What is the most effective way to promote a Sci-Fi book launch? Also Lazlo Friend Newsletter, Hinduism and HAL 9000

What is the most effective way to promote a Sci-Fi book launch?

Two beta readers have now completed Iron III: Worlds like dust and it is getting nearer to publication. Science Fiction books are always hard to promote: sci-fi simply doesn’t get the attention of other genres, which is a shame, because it allows you to develop characters and explore elements of human nature in ways that no other genre allows. So I am faced with the problem: how do I promote this book?

In both Book I and Book III of the iron series there are video blogs recorded by some of the main characters; the corporation that supplies arms to the USAC army does so in exchange for sole rights to these video blogs recorded only by officers. The viewers are civilians looking for kicks. It occurred to me that since these blogs are done into a small camera (much like a web-cam today) anyway, they would be really fun and easy to shoot for real.

During one of the free promos for Too Bright the Sun, I met up with Dominic Kay – a British actor who has acted in Hollyoaks and happens to look exactly like my personal image of Jake Nanden. I asked him if he would be willing to shoot a Promo Video for the publication of the third and final part of the Iron Series: World Like Dust, and there is a slim chance he will do it – with a full professional camera crew. It won’t be free for me but I am hoping that it will be a nice way to introduce the final episode in what has become a fairly epic story. The scene choice is the three below (at a push Dominic could pass as Hani Deitner – a character in World Like Dust):

Jake Nanden in Iron I

There are two possible scenes for Jake (the star of the show and only character in all three books).

1. This is midway through the book when he is hastily promoted to replace a dead officer:

I glanced at the piles of crates in the corner of the office marked ‘Roanald’. They had been left for me to go through but I couldn’t face them now. The only crate I was interested in was marked, ‘Nanden’. I flipped the catches and peered inside. It contained the only personal possessions of mine to be retrieved from the CMS which was blown up by the IM. I smiled and reached inside. “Marcus!” I lifted out the crushed pot with a pile of dry soil held to the clay shards by the roots of the miniature sunflower. I couldn’t believe he was still alive and I was grateful some grunt somewhere had even bothered to crate it. The sunflower looked almost dead and was bent right over like a crippled old man. I went to the n-gen and ordered four glasses of water and a large bowl. I replanted the flower in the bowl and poured on all the water before setting it on my desk. I would need a UV light but I could organise that in the morning. I turned on the comms unit and recorded my last company commander message for Amtel.
“Record. Today I’ve taken up my new position as Acting Lieutenant Colonel. I cannot tell you where I’m stationed now or what my new mission will be but I just wanted to say thank you to all of you who’ve followed me over the years and I hope you find another commander to follow. Thanks. Over and out! End record. Terminal on.”

2. This scene is filmed on a space-liner (as in 2001 A Space Odyssey) but you could do it so your face fills the camera or perhaps it could be in a booth on the ship.

(This is Jake talking in first person)
I was tired when I woke in my recliner four days in, on the flight to Mars, but I wanted to send a quick message to Jena. I had thought several times over the last few days of sending one to Katie, but the business with Jena was unfinished and it seemed faithless to abandon it. It was easier to send a message rather than record video or set up a vid meeting. I groggily put on my headband and pressed ‘On’.
“Record: message to Jena Ω. Hi Jena. I spent four days with Mum and Justine… I woke up the other day having had an argument with myself. At least it seemed like it… There is part of me I’m just not… connected with. I cannot remember its voice or words. It is something unknown to me… and it disturbs me. At the same time I am curious about it. I wanted you to know… Thinking about u. Jake. End record.”
Then I sent a brief one to Katie. “Record: message to Katie. Hi space boogle. Just spent four days on J5. Going back now to J4. Got promoted to L. Colonel. Cool eh? See u soon. J. End record.”

Hani Deitner in Iron III

The first bit is background leading up to the recording – the video blog bit is obvious.

Lieutenant Hani Deitner returned with his detail to the Operations Room after just over one hour. They had not been able to take the truck far, and he was exhausted. But every last soldier still able to shoot a laser, now knew what he was doing, and to be at the Hanger in 5 hours.
“Reporting, Colonel: all remaining forces now instructed for retreat!”
“Good work, Lieutenant. Now, you better get a few hours’ sleep. I am gonna need you fully alert for our exit. Oh, and one other thing. I am going to put you in charge of a squad. That means you now have to record your activities for the Amtel blog?”
“Yes, Ma’am! But I thought it had been closed down. Surely there’s no subscribers left?”
“That’s probably true. Today’s will be the last possible entry. The transmitter in the MCS wouldn’t reach the Moon or any other likely remaining allies even in peacetime. But with the Ischians blocking transmissions there’s no hope. This will the only chance for us all to record our last wills and testaments. Even the privates have borrowed sets from commanders to leave theirs. Use the third room on the right. It’s Pfeninghaven’s. Record you message and get some sleep.”
“Yes, sir. Sir?”
“What is it?”
“I had an idea.”
“Go on. I need any ideas I can get.”
“I saw this film, once – a nature film, about a bird which pretended its wing was broken, to avoid predators. What I was thinking was that we should deliberately damage the MCS. Take of one of the POD s and make it look like it’s been torn off. Then rig the side of the Hanger to blow out. We then slip out quietly, looking like the MCS has fallen out. If we drift for a while, the Ischians may assume it’s just a wreck.”
“Hm. I don’t like the thought of losing a POD. But something like that … I will get the engineers on to it. Nice idea Deitner. Sleep well.”
Climbing over debris, and negotiating the corridor to the Senior Staff quarters, Hani Deitner found door 3 and sealed himself inside. He wearily pulled on the Trion head-band and said, “Record. Hm. This is the log of Lieutenant Hani Deitner June 3, 2136.”
He sat looking at the small screen blankly for a few moments. His dark brown hair, stubble and goatee made him look like a criminal. Goatees were forbidden in USAC regulations, but since the alien attack, the book had been thrown away and discipline had become secondary to survival. One of his fellow Corporals was the first to try a goatee and had persuaded Deitner to try it.
He tried his first words. “Hello subscribers – on Earth, Mars, the Moon, or wherever you may be now. That is… if any of you are left alive. I don’t know what to say. I’ve never done one of these before!” He laughed nervously. “I don’t have parents, or relatives – what replicant does? I had some time with a foster family in New Brooklyn – on the bad side of the Moon dome! Anyway, I doubt they remember me much now. The USAC is my family now. But I joined late. Ran with the mob in Lunar City; stealing hoverbikes, cars, shoplifting – the usual. USAC made me. I don’t have anything to leave – I had a collection of lager cans, but my bunk was blown to pieces by the Ischian Dogs – should I say that? Oh well, seems a bit late for … protocol. This is going to be a fight to the death. Probably the end for us. Let’s see. I think that’s it. Oh, and if anybody knows me, I got promoted to Lieutenant!” He grinned like a stupid kid. Then he said, “End recording.”

The final step will be to stick it on YouTube and see what happens. By the way, get ready to share this video with all your friends when it gets made.

So, that is my idea for a promo campaign, what would be yours? let me know your ideas. I really want to hear them so please comment below. If I like your suggestion enough, there may be a prize in return.

 

Lazlo Friend Newsletter

As you will have seen in my previous  post, there will now be a Lazlo Friend Newsletter every three months. Please subscribe: you will receive publication dates in advance, news of Freebies and Competitions. There is a permanent link to the Newsletter in the menu at the top of this blog.

 

Hinduism and HAL 9000

A friend of mine is a Hindu. The Hindu religion never ceases to amaze me. If you haven’t already seen it, you should think about watching the Mhabharat. There is a short British version but a much longer one  on youtube so you will need plenty of time. We were watching 2001: A Space Odyssey the other day and of course the scene where HAL is turned off was as impressive as ever. I have never sympathised with HAL. He had already killed. My friend didn’t. Surely only a Hindu would say, “He didn’t deserve to die. They were cruel to him.” The Hindu religion holds all life, and all consciousness in such a high esteem: no other religion could engender this kind of attitude. Only my opinion. Please let me know what you think.

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Blog: How to Commit the Perfect Murder – Lazlo Ferran

This week: How to Commit the Perfect Murder, Rant about Adespresso, updated bio, book price increases.

How to Commit the Perfect Murder
There is no Sneak Preview this week because I am still only slowly progressing with the latest book. If I excerpted every week you would soon have read all of it 🙂 Instead let me write about something which has preoccupied me this week and does for some time during most books I write. There is often a murder and one often has to think through just how the murderer in the book is going to handle it. There are many ways of murdering somebody so that it is unlikely you will be found out but very few people can or actually, do it in cold blood. It is more often done out of passion and on the spur of the moment ( it is more commonly state-sponsored executions that are planned). Serial Killers I won’t count here because they are not generally sane, usually psychopaths and don’t think rationally about what they are doing.

So my main character finds himself with a knife in his hand and the means, and motive, to kill somebody. It is war-time and you might think nobody will notice a missing person, or will care about a body in the street. But you would probably be wrong. Apart from cleaning up the crime scene (if he or she can do the deed) as best they can, the murderer will next have to consider either how to dispose of the body or how to conceal the act and make the death look natural. In my case (ie the character in my book, not me!) the latter is not possible, nor does the character need to fake his own death, but he does want to take the place of the deceased for a while. Therefore he needs to dispose of the victim.

Acid
Acid is of course one method but very difficult to execute: one needs to order large quantities of the acid, transport them, store them and have a device to fully immerse the body parts. You then have to dispose of the slush that results.

Immersion in water
Immersing in a fast flowing river or the sea is better.
This was my chosen method; in the murder’s location there are many ditches and canals. None of these are fast flowing. The next problem is therefore how to sink the body. Initially I just thought of using a sack of coal tied to the poor victim’s feet but this seemed at the same time too easy and  too dangerous. Where do you get the coal? Where do you get the sack? A crate suggested itself and then mud or stones. A combination might be quite good as long as all the soil doesn’t get washed out of the crate.

I had the person doing the concealing (who I must reveal here is not the murderer) using the victim’s belt to attach the crate to the body but then there is the question of whether the crate should be put on top of the body or underneath as an anchor.

Of course in time the body will rot. At first it will sink but then later it will tend to float. It’s hard for anybody doing the concealing to allow for thinks like tide, varying depths of water (in drought for instance), the action of boats, children, even animals chewing through the leather of the belt. Then there is flooding.

It’s a perplexing problem for the concealer and the writer too. The concealer can only hope that the body stays concealed long enough to decay beyond recognition. Of if at sea, that it gets washed out into the great oceans and decays there. I’m glad it’s not something I have ever had to consider for real and I hope I never have to.

Rant about Adespresso (http://www.adespresso.com/)
I tried out a so-called Beta package called Adespresso; software which allows you to compile advertising campaigns and post them to Facebook through the Facebook Ad API. It all looked good but first of all I received warnings saying that neither of my ads had posted! I received to notifications that the tech team were aware of the problem and would sort it quickly.
“Fair enough,” I thought.
Nothing happened and the campaign durations were almost at an end. Then I tried to contact the Adespresso team. The contact form didn’t work in Firefox or Chrome! I couldn’t believe it. I searched on the internet and found that it had the capability to import my existing ads from Facebook. This would be really useful so I resigned myself to the fact Adespresso didn’t work properly but could help me decipher my already-complete campaigns. I found the setting to import the campaigns and clicked the button. I had a jolly message telling me:
“Congratulations. It worked! You will be able to see the campaigns shortly.”
Did I, Hell! Nothing happened at all! I tried several times – nothing!
Oh- I did finally manage to submit the contact form – it only works in Internet Explorer. I thought such days were gone!

My assessment: Okay it didn’t cost me anything but they call it a Beta! Its more like an Alpha if you ask me and in reality its just a pretty web page that does absolutely nothing! Either they are very optimistic (about both their customers and their own capabilities) or very cynical. Its just possible of course they have bitten off more than they can chew but don’t want to admit it to their investors. I did see one of the campaigns appear in the Facebook Campaign dashboard so it’s hard to tell whether it is Facebook at fault, Adespresso or both.

Very disappointing. Avoid Adespresso.

Updated Biography
I have updated my biography across all websites to reflect the new fans I have gained in the Far East, Middle East, and Egypt. Welcome to all of you. I hope you find something of interest here.

Book Price Increases
I have had to put my book prices up – generally to around the £3.99 mark. This is partly because Amazon are charging me a ‘supply’ cost for my kindles of up to 15p each and partly because I think this is just a fairer price for my books. I hope we will soon be far enough out of the recession that people can easily afford these prices. It is very little for projects that take a year of my life. I will be keeping down the price of Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate  to £0.99  for just a little while longer and Too Bright the Sun will stay at that price. Oh and by the way, the title of the blog this week is from a TV series and not a film.

Blog: The World Is Not Enough – Lazlo Ferran

This week: Para-Worlds, Social Network build and Free Offers.

Para-Worlds
I have spent most of this week defining a para-world. When I sit down to work on one of my literary projects now, I often feel hesitant: have I forgotten the thrust of the book; does what I am going to write fit into the world-view o the main character; oes the story express the world view I want to show. With about ten books published it is getting increasingly hard to keep track of the different world-views my stories encompass. moreover its becoming harder to invent new stories that are either so radically different from my existing ones that I don’t have to worry about any incongruity or ones that are similar enough to existing ones that I need to avoid the reader saying, “Hey, this doesn’t fit with that previous story – what’s going on?”

So I decided to think about coming up with a para-world which could encompass my sci-fi and fantasy stories. I am not exactly coining the term ‘para-world’ but I had better define what I mean. I mean by that a world that explains the unexplained elements of our own world; the hidden world as I see it if you like. Actually it is more like a hidden world as I see it; it is not the only view I have and is probably not the one I use in my day-to-day life.

I am not the first to try it either; Tolkien did it on a monumental scale; The Silmarillion can hardly be equaled for breadth of vision. I certainly don’t expect to equal it. I have come up with something though. To my delight I have found that it can accommodate most of what I am writing and most of what I have written. It does make me wonder a bit if it wasn’t there all the time without me knowing it. I have documented it and will develop it in the future. It may well remain a secret although bits of it will obviously seep out.

Social Network Build
If you follow my blog and read last week’s post, you will know that I am developing my own social network; I have the skills from my years in the IT industry and I may well have the will to do it now. Three of my friends have accounts now so that we can develop some ideas.

This week I added an email module to Drupal so that one can sign up on the test version without the admin having to unblock accounts. I also downloaded the Zen theme so that I can mess around with the look and feel. I have an idea or two to try and will probably develop them this week.

Free Offers
Ordo Lupus and the Temple Gate will be FREE on Amazon from 1-5 November for Halloween.
Attack Hitler’s Bunker! will be FREE on Amazon from 6-10 November. This will be its first free promotion so make sure you grab a free copy.

Elsewhere
Has anybody noticed that Eddie Jordan is looking more like Woody Allen every Formula 1 race? I would love to see Woody Allen commentate on F1. He would be even funnier as the pit-lane reporter.
David Coulthard: Woody, did you see that tyre change? What more can you tell us from the Ferrari pit?
Woody: Jake? Is that you? I am having a… what’s the name… a panic attack! Oh my god! This woman with something above an F-cup just walked up to me and asked me for her autograph. She thought I was Niki Lauda.
David Coulthard: I see. That’s great, Woody.
Woody: Yeah, it would be but she didn’t have a pen. She didn’t have paper either but she wanted me to sign her thigh. Needless to say I left my pen in the ladies toilet. I could hardly say, “Come with me and I’ll take you to my pen!”
David: How did it get left in the ladies loos?
Woody: Yeah. Well, that’s another story… Anyway, turns out she’s a psychotherapist so I think I got it made!
David: Thanks Woody for the latest from the pit-lane.

For me, F1 is getting very boring. I rarely even make the effort to watch now. Apart from the domination by a young man who has been spoiled into thinking he is the best, the technology has become somewhat stagnant. I look forward to the return of turbos next year.

I also wish Valentino the best in tomorrow’s MotoGP. Great that Hayden made it onto the front row, a very rare thing for Ducati these days. They really need to get their company philosophy sorted out. Do they want to be the best small manufacturer out there or an average medium-sized manufacturer? Also, it was a terrible error for Marquez last week but he is young: you can’t go through a rookie season without a few big mistakes.