The World is Broken: Who Can Find the Key?

“Lots of cool action and drew me well in.” – AHF Magazine.

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There is a RIP in space and time. Om and Bri are trapped. All humanity; wiped out after seven cycles of destruction, Unless Om and Bri can unite to find the source of the rip.

A curtain of rainbow light shimmers and two people see their lives shift, in this tense, epic thriller. Om and Bri gradually become aware that they have met before – in previous lives. They begin to recall a mission that started with the discovery of Iron in ancient Atlantis. A gravitational rip was triggered by the Ischians, and water became impure, causing the gradual loss of memory and the Cup, a grail to hold the Holy blood of the first tree.

The blind Seer predicts that Earth’s health will never be restored until the Cup, the Holy Grail of legend, has been restored.

It’s their last life, their last chance. Om and Bri must find their way back through the rip to Atlantis, and to the cave where the last Val-yr, vampire priests, wait.

But the Cup needs a Key.

Continue reading

17 Days to War?

17 Days to War? This was the innocent looking subtitle for an episode of a recent high profile BBC series to mark the Centenary of World War One. It instantly upset me, not deeply – I mean I wasn’t throwing things at the TV or thinking about writing a letter because I was close to tears. But the grammar of that phrase bothered me! I think the Beeb made a shocking error here because their grammar is ambiguous and could mean something insulting. Let me explain:

17 Days to War may seem like an innocent phrase to you but it grates on me, as a writer, editor and reader. It grates especially because I know a thing or two about war, although I have never had to fight in one, for which I thank God in my heart almost every day! I am not a war-lover, despite writing fiction about it. I have an affection for the technology used but more than this, I love writing about people, people in difficult situations, and there are no more extreme situations than war. I would like to think it’s an emotive subject for anybody.

That’s why it is particularly important that the BBC get it right. That’s why I was disappointed that the BBC – known as Auntie Beeb to some of us since childhood because of its supposedly ‘teacher’ attitude to delivering content. One is supposed to be able to rely on the accuracy and correctness of anything they show us. I think the Beeb made a shocking error here because their grammar is ambiguous and could mean something insulting. Why do I think this?

Of course, such language might be part of this new trend to ‘dumb down’ everything for the masses. I hate the trend in adverts of taking good songs, even great songs, like All You Need is Love and not only getting a choir to sing them but actually changing the unusual original time signature to 4/4 and cutting out half a bar just so that ‘normal people’ can hum it more easily! How the hell did it become one of the biggest sellers of the 60s then if people couldn’t hum it! Are people becoming more stupid? Perhaps they will do if advertisers treat them that way. I also hate the poor grammar now used in adverts. All of this just makes BBC’s slip worse.

According to dictionaries:
Oxford Dictionary
The word ‘War’ can be a noun; 1- A state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state (ie Japan declared war on Germany), 2- A state of competition, conflict, or hostility between different people or groups (ie she was at war with her parents), 3- A sustained effort to deal with or end a particular unpleasant or undesirable situation or condition (ie a war on drugs).

4-The word ‘War’ can also be a verb; Engage in a warm (ie small states warred against each other)

5-According to Macmillan Dictionary it can also mean: b) [COUNTABLE] a particular period of fighting between countries or groups of people

Let’s look at possible uses of these terms in sentences

I may as well say in advance that I don’t think any of them do but if you think differently, please let me know:

However, the usual construction for indicating a period leading up to war would be ’17 Days until War’, not ’17 days to War’. Nowhere can I find an erudite quote using that sentence construction. It seems to me that the BBC has erred shamefully here. And it’s not even a main title!

I could accept it if it were a main title. There are many book, film and newspaper article titles that do not use good grammar. Just to gran somebody’s attention, I think its acceptable to bend the rules a bit. But here it is just a subtitle so it should fit one of the correct forms

Similar Examples

Another word that is both a noun and a verb is ‘sleep’. It too is a state, can be a period in time and can also be something you do.

You can say, “We are going to sleep.”

You can say, “We are sleeping

But you wouldn’t normally say 17 hours to sleep because that can mean two things; 17 hours of sleep or 17 hours available in which to sleep. They are both quite different.

Yet another word which can be both a noun ( a state) and a verb is holiday

You can say, “We are going to holiday.”

You can say, “We are holidaying

Now if you say 17 hours to holiday, that can only mean that you have 17 hours in which to holiday.

Looking at the phrase in a purely temporal setting:

Can you say 12 hours to noon?
It sounds weird. That’s because it is wrong!

12 hours to live makes you think of 12 hours left to live.

You don’t say one month to Christmas. You say one month until Christmas.

I would love to know that the BBC’s title is correct. But I don’t think it is and I think the meaning suggested by the phrase, ’17 Days to War’ is 17 days within which to make war! This is an insult to all those who suffered in the Great War or remember somebody who did. Not only that but it also contradicts the whole mood of the series, which aims to show how almost everybody did their utmost to avoid war. If I was a conspiracy theorist I might even believe that the War was deliberately started by the British Government and that the BBC is secretly trying to divulge this! Either way, shame on you BBC!

Is there a specific grammatical rule for war and time that I don’t know of? I would like to think the BBC knows some archaic grammar rule regarding the word War. I would be a lot happier if there was one and I knew it. But have searched on the internet and I can’t find it. Perhaps there is, and if if allows the phrase 17 Days to War, please can you let me know?

How do you get a U-Boat through Gibraltar Straits in 1945?

Did you know the typical U-Boat torpedo was steam-driven and had a range of 12 Km?
Below in this post is an excerpt from my forthcoming book December Radio. This part is where a team of fantatical German nuclear scientists are being smuggled out of German held territory in a U-Boat. But I don’t want to give too much away…

I did have to think very hard about how even a very talented U-Boat captain would get through the Gibraltar Straits. Every trick seems to have been tried in the Hollywood movies like Torpedo Run, The Cruel Sea, and Run Silent, Run Deep. What is more, by 1945 the Royal Navy pretty much owned the Straits and no U-boat had got out through the Straits since 1942. They had got in, but not out.

Some of the usual techniques used are:

1. To fire either oil, debris or even a dead body out of the torpedo tubes so impersonating a stricken U-Boat in the hope that the destroyer above assumed you are sunk
2. To lie on the bottom and keep silent so that the enemy thinks you have gone. Sonar (sea-penetrating radar) was not very good during WWII and could not penetrate to depths beyond about 50-60 fathoms (300-400 feet).
3. To stay underneath the destroyer so that it mistook your sonar signal for its own
4. To use the currents; in WWII it was known that there was a cold-water current flowing out of the Straits and into the Atlantic. This was faster – about 5 knots at shallower depths of around 200 feet but it decreased in speed down to the deepest part of the channel at about 700 feet. Conversely, at shallower depths there was a warm-water current flowing in to the Mediterranean. This would probably have been the predominant current near to the land masses of Spain and Morocco where the depth was at its shallowest.

But I didn’t want to use any of these. The Straits are about 9 miles wide at their narrowest point. During even the late stages of WWII they didn’t have nets across the Straits to catch submarines but they did have patrolling submarines, aircraft, destroyers and plenty of mines. So how does my captain get the U-Boat through the Straits? I am looking for ideas which I can include in the book. Please comment below. The best answer will receive a free eBook of December Radio and a credit when it is published.

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

The U-669 began to drift with the current. There were only small pools of water on the floors now so Carl was able to get his breath back. Fifteen minutes went by. Suddenly the tense silence in the Control Room was broken.
“I have activity,” said the sonar operator. “Bearing two-seventy nine degrees. Far away. At least ten thousand metres. Sounds like depth charges but I can’t be sure. One… two…. three… four… fading. Maybe more.”
“Yes! They fell for it!” Riddaker said, slapping the periscope column. “Helmsman. Hold her steady. How are we doing?”
“Three knots. Eastbound.
“Good. A bit slow though. Hm. Up ten fathoms!”
“Up ten fathoms!” echoed the Helmsman.
“You can go back to your bunk Sturmbannführer. Get some rest. I may need you later. And tell that lazy pilot – whassisname – Stengler to get his ass up here!”
Carl made his way, staggering from side to side, back to his bunk. He found Roth being sick in one of the bilges.
“Captain wants you. I think there’s a bit more water to be drained out,” Carl told Roth.
“Fuck Riddaker! Asshole!” If I have to look at another bucket on this stinking hell-hole of a basket-case crate!”
Carl smiled weakly and continued to his bunk. He had just enough strength to clamber into it before falling into a deep sleep.
He was woken six hours later by Roth. The short pilot handed him a black coffee.
“Now it’s your bloody turn.” Roth rested his head on the edge of Carl’s bunk. Carl could see Roth was breathing hard. Carl patted him on the shoulder. He sipped the coffee.
“Hey. Is this real coffee?”
“Yeah… Oh, by the way, the bloody Royal Navy figured out Riddaker’s trick. They are on to us. Expect some action.
“Thanks.”
Carl picked up the bucket dropped by Roth in the Control Room just as the explosion rocked the U-Boat.
“Enemy approached from astern. Estimated 34 knots, distance 1000 metres.”
“How deep is it here First Watch?”
The Lieutenant studied the char on a table.
“Forty fathoms. No more.”
“Damn! They will have us. Engines. Full power. Full ahead. Starboard twenty.
“But that will take us right into the central channel!” exclaimed the First Watch.”
“We have to make a run for it. It’s deeper there,” Riddaker replied pensively.
The Lieutenant, second in command on the submarine, hesitated for a moment before issuing the order.
“Full power – estimated eight knots,” the Helmsman replied.
“Down twenty!” commanded Riddaker.
“Down bubble. Twenty degrees.”
Carl hadn’t seen Schumann arrive but he was standing just inside the hatch of the Control Room. The scientist looked angry.
“I think you have a problem Captain!” he shouted at Riddaker.
“What is it Herr Schumann. I’m rather busy!”
“Hoffe is very ill. Fumes from the battery compartment. I think you have a leak.”
“Yes, well we’ll worry about that later.”
“And what’s in the central channel anyway? Do you realise those crates could be damaged?”
“Subs. The British have at least three submarines patrolling there. Still, it’s our best chance.”
“Well, I hope we make it or else your name is not going to be worth as much as your shirt button, let alone a medal in the Reich!”
“Don’t worry. I’ll get us through!” Riddaker looked like he had eaten something bad. Clearly the two men didn’t like each other.
Another explosion, this time much closer, rocked the submarine. Carl was thrown from his feet and water began rushing in through cracks in the submarine’s outer casing. Carl began bailing. Another, then yet another, explosion rocked the submarine.
“Lucky bastards!” Riddaker yelled.
The red lights went out for a few moments before the emergency power bus kicked in and they flickered back into life. Six more explosions followed before the submarine was beyond the reach of the depth charges.
By now everything was wet and the sound of moaning and women screaming echoed around the stricken submarine.
“God help us!” muttered Riddaker. “I can’t think! Can somebody shut those damned women up! And the men too for that matter! And get these leaks plugged! Level out. Hold at sixty fathoms.”

I have invited the writer of this blog to do a post next week: http://lifelongexplorer.blogspot.co.uk

Attack Hitler’s Bunker! Released today

attack-finalAttack Hitler’s Bunker! – a Wartime action adventure about an air-attack on Hitler in Berlin featuring Short stirlings, Hurricane’s and a love-triangle is newly released on Amazon today @ $.99. http://ow.ly/oNW5w GET YOUR FIRST EDITION NOW!