I forgot to take a book to the hospital today. I didn’t need one after all even though I waited for an hour in the audiology department for my replacement hearing aids. The Countess of Chester Hospital, like many, has a nightmare parking problem. Of course the shunting and swearing is all amusement to me because I’m a cyclist – hah. The audiology department has no magazines or newspapers for the forgetful to read, but it has windows all along one wall overlooking a hospital carpark. Today, the carpark was full by 9:30 AM. So I was sitting with my cycle helmet under my chair watching, with a growing smirk, the carpark rage. To park at the hospital you have to buy parking tokens in order to get out again through unmanned barriers. Your car has to queue and wait behind an entry barrier before a computer decides there is a space for you – when a car leaves. So us deaf ones were watching an elderly chap – lets call him Victor Meldrew, after the TV grumpy but comical character. His car was in front of the queue waiting for a car to exit. He tried to cheat by exiting his car and waving at sensors, and he seemed to be putting a token – or bottle top – into the exit machine no doubt hoping for his entry barrier to then rise. Where he thought he could then park when all the places are full? His ruse didn’t work so he did a rage jig waving his arms. If only he could have heard the sniggering in the audiology department. Actually most of us couldn’t either and we were IN there! Ah, eventually a car decides to leave its parking space and head for the exit barrier. So Victor leaps into his car just as his barrier lifts and the electonic FULL sign flickers off. Sadly, for him, the barrier waits only 2 seconds before it descends. Poor Victor had no chance. So he storms out of his car and does another jig, yelling something. We shouldn’t laugh really, but the compelling chuckle muscles out number the empathy sighs. The nearly deaf woman beside me can lip read but wouldn’t repeat the profanities. I can see what happened. Somehow an extra car must have tailgated another and snuck in an hour or so before but with no where legal to park has stopped on some pretty yellow painted criss-cross lines. So the computer believes the carpark is still full.
Victor has had enough and has either missed his appointment now, or prefers being ill. His reverse lights illuminate the front of the next car in the queue. No chance. There’s at least six cars and they cannot easily all reverse. But another parked car is leaving.. Hooray, but no. The man opposite me in the waiting room stands and excitedly points at another illegally parked car in the carpark. Nevertheless, Victor has put his car back into neutral and smoke comes out of his exhaust as it seems hes’ going for the greatest accelerated carpark entry in history.
“Mr Nelder!” yells a nurse. They all have to yell in here. “It’s your turn!”
“Oh no. Please nurse, let someone else go in my place. I want to see Victor do another rage jig!”
My agent has asked me for a paragraph to sell my sci fi Left Luggage on the agency website. My problem is that LL has an original premise known only to the few critique readers at the BSFA (British Science Fiction Association) and the handful of other agents and publishers who have read it. I have a niggle that if I broadcast the unique storyline that someone famous will scribble it down and I’ll have to remortgage the house to take court action – not that you can copyright ideas…
So here is the blurb I’ve come up with…
Left Luggage is more than a science fiction novel. Aliens are involved but you don’t see them. There is an original premise in this novel and the idea of it will shatter you – simple yet unheard of.M.Kenyon Charboneaux (award winning author and tutor) has this to say:Geoff Nelder has got to be one of the most remarkable and original thinkers in science fiction today. In Left Luggage he toys with yet seriously examines the concept of memory and the part it plays in making us who we are. Without our memories, we are not ourselves, so burdened with a past that affects our future; we are no one at all, in the sense that an infant is not yet an individual. The psychology of this tale is solid, the science is solid, the physics is solid and the story is tightly written and solid in its own right as literature, not just another genre novel. In Left Luggage, Nelder accomplishes the mighty rare and mighty fine feat of transcending genre without sacrificing good story-telling in doing so.