#1812 History, Pride and Hilarity

March 23, 2015

1812ship

If you ask a Briton what the date 1812 means to them they’ll respond with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with its crash of cannons and memorable theme tune, often accompanied with fireworks. A magnificent work of music written to commemorate the Russian defeat of Napoleon’s Grande Army of over half a million battle-hardened soldiers.

Ask an American and they think of the 1812 war with Britain, a war that is barely mentioned in British schools but which means much to Americans. To them they won that war after the English defeat at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. In fact the war was officially ended before that battle and yet another battle occurred later which the Americans conveniently forget: the Battle of Fort Bowyer, which the English won. It’s moot to argue who won that war because it should never have been fought. Google the details on Wikipedia or the many history forums and laughably you get different interpretations of the same facts depending on whether the writer is American, British, Canadian or a Native American. It’s one of those topics where the facts either don’t count or can’t properly be ascertained. The Americans wanted the British Navy to desist boarding American ships and stealing the crew (impressing) and they were trying to annexe Canada. America failed to take Canada but won the ending (more or less) of the impressments of their sailors.

The American regiment at Mobile, 1812

The American regiment at Mobile, 1812

Apparently the Americans (I can be accused of generalisation here, and I’d be guilty) believe they won the 1812 war because they solidly beat the English in the Battle of New Orleans. However, they conveniently ignore the fact that the Treaty of Ghent had already been signed the previous month and so the war was already over with no one winning or losing before the Battle of Orleans happened. Funny though because the English withdrawing from Orleans sailed around to Mobile and laid siege to Fort Bowyer.

The British army in 1812

The British army in 1812

They took the fort but their celebrations were short-lived. The ship carrying the mail from Europe finally arrived with the news that the war was over in December two months earlier! The embarrassed English commanders, Cochrane and Lambert gave the fort back to the Americans with sincere apologies for the inconvenience!

 Nelder News

Kathleen Bullock (illustrator) and I (writer) have completed the first of our Scoot illustrated books for infants. It’s a surrealistic story about string with no end which they follow through their favourite shops, woods and playgrounds. Now getting the query letter ready to send to agents. Here’s the front cover

Front cover of String Theory - WIP

Front cover of String Theory – WIP

//

To grab a copy of one of my ARIA books here are the links

Kindle – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Volume-1/dp/1905091958/

Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Geoff-Nelder/dp/1905091958/

Publisher’s website with more details and formats.http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html

Buy it quick before you run out of memory!

Heavens Above!

March 22, 2015

geoffnelder:

Shared from fellow science fiction author and BSFA member, Rosie Oliver. Such a useful and inspirational blog here.

Originally posted on Rosie Oliver:

It’s all been happening in the heavens… there was the spring equinox late Friday (well at least in the UK), the solar eclipse on Friday morning (it seems appropriate that Richard III should be buried shortly after the solar eclipse, given his Queen is said to have died during one)… and for those of you who are interested there’s a science fiction story about an eclipse by Thaddeus White over at Kraxon magazine – see here.

…and now there’s a nova brightening up in Sagittarius!

This is where you can find it in the south eastern skies…

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The nova appears to have the classic hydrogen red surrounding a yellowish centre where the explosion took place. For more information check here.

So I’m wondering if there will a short science fiction story about a nova somewhere handy…

Whatever next? A friendly alien spaceship coming our way?

View original

In a Glass Darkly #book review

March 12, 2015
Sir Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett

starlings murmeration

starlings murmeration

This blog is published in honour of Sir Terry Pratchett, who passed away from Alzheimers’ at the early age of 66 today. I met him once in Northwich Library in the early 1990s with my son, Robert. He gave a talk about what inspired him and that he possessed too many story ideas than he’d have time to write. How true, sadly. We all like different styles in books but his first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic remains one of my favourites – the way he described dawn in terms of darkness reluctantly withdrawing across hills and dales inspired my own style – much to the annoyance of some in the Chester Fantasy Writers’ Group. I recommend too, The Carpet People. Pratchett populates a lounge carpet with tiny folk, who as in Truckers, live their lives as an unintentional parody of the human society above them. It’s this socio-political angle in his books that makes the apparent childrens’ books as most definitely for grown-ups and thinking teens.

The more poignant meeting with Terry Pratchett was experienced by my school pal, Trevor Taylor. Near his own home in the Mendips are water marshland areas such as the Somerset Levels and the Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Trevor stood there to watch thousands of starlings doing their air sculpture murmurations. To his astonishment he realized he was standing next to a dark-cloaked man wearing a large black fedora. They talked about the starlings. I wish I was there.

I couldn’t attend the monthly bookgroup meeting so here are the notes to my reading of:

 

In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu (1872)

Notesinaglass

This classic collection of ‘horror’ mysteries was chosen to be read and discussed at the Chester science fiction & fantasy bookgroup The Esoteric Bibliophilia Society (TEBS) that meets monthly in the Custom House public house.

The mysterious metaphysical with hint of paranormal cases of the German physician, Dr Martin Hesselius.

Green Tea

Rev. Jennings sees a black monkey apparition even after attempts to be ‘cured’.

He kills himself with a razor.

The Familiar

Captain James Barton hears footsteps behind him; a strange little man (kind of shape shifter as a bird?) sometimes singing, ‘still alive, still alive’ – but who is? Barton carried guilt of a foremast man Yelland whose daughter Barton appears to have had an affair with?

He dies of fright / guilt.

Another quite sad, dystopian story. (using dystopian not as a place here!)

Mr Justice Harbottle

Sentenced a forger to death but saw the man and now the judge has been charged with his murder. Judge found dead by hanging. Another sad case.

Great quote on p93 “that ancient haunt of crutches and chalk-stones, Buxton.” Chalk stones could be the deposits in joints from gout although the deposits are really crystals of sodium urate (diet rich in purines such as sardines and liver,  and beer and spirits.

The Room in Le Dragon Volant

A period piece set in 1815  just weeks after the Napoleonic Wars in the Paris region. Based on the Mortis Imago affect where a drug induces apparent death. This idea is not new in fiction. I’m sure several ancient Greek dramas use potions to simulate death in the living. The Bruce Willis film Hudson Hawk (1991) has poison darts with curare to paralyze victims.

Young Englishman Richard Beckett falls instantly in love with a beautiful married woman who is allegedly a Countess. He is lured by entrapment to part with his money to help her by buying her fake jewels. However, a ‘secret service’ man who also befriended Beckett finally outed the scam and saved Beckett from dying inside a coffin after having taken a mortis imago drug for the second time.

Great quote on p125  “A bald-headed little military surgeon of 60, with spectacles, who had cut off 87 legs and arms to his own share after the Battle of Eylau, having retired with his sword and saw, his laurels and his sticking plaster to this, his native town, was called in, and rather thought the gallant colonel’s skull was fractured; at all events, there was concussion of the seat of thought, and quite enough work for his remarkable self-healing powers to occupy him for a fortnight.”  (82 words!)

Although a period immediately after a war in an occupied country is fascinating, Beckett seemed too unconcerned at his dangers (compared to my dad after WW2 in Germany where occupying British soldiers and civilians had to be careful of Germans out for revenge – sometimes in desperation trying to find lost loved ones as I witnessed in Osnabruck in the early 1950s) and the events that befall him are too predictable for the modern reader. I was hoping for a better twist at the end. Awful POV switch when Beckett was in the coffin and so he couldn’t possibly know what was going on out of it.

Theme of an innocent in peril was popular in early and Victorian literature.

One interesting fact I learnt from this story is that nobles didn’t take their own horses on long journeys but rented them even though they owned the carriages.

Carmilla

Female vampire story where the innocent lone child, Laura, is besotted with a similarly beautiful Carmilla who has to stay at her schloss while her mother is away.

Hints of lesbianism. Again the clues are too obvious for the modern reader.

I hope this helps the book group to fill in where they gave up reading In a Glass Darkly. Apparently most gave up in boredom by halfway and so missed out on the atmospheric and more intriguing ideas in Carmilla, and in The Room in Le Dragon Volant – my favourite. Most of the stories were sad but the latter two at least possessed great atmosphere, a fascinating contrast read for me in sunny Lanzarote.

Thanks, Graham for suggesting it although I more enjoyed reading The Martian by Andy Weir.

Nelder News

I received my author’s copy of “Monk Punk & The Shadow of the Unknown” Edited by Aaron J French – a great collection of short horror / unusual stories including two by me. Kindle here

I should go away more often

February 27, 2015

I spent a week with my lovely wife on the volcanic island of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Idea: get away from her work pressures and the frozen north of England; get me away from the web and writing. We took books both Kindled and papered and enjoyed our apartment in Arriete overlooking the sea as you see here.

Our holiday walking route in Lanzarote 2015

Our holiday walking route in Lanzarote 2015

In fact the view is north towards the quaint village of Punta De Majeres where I stayed last June with UK Authors. Note the not-so-calm sea as the Trade Winds kept us cool.

While there I read several books, Meter of Corruption by Wolfgang Schimanski: A thriller in which beautiful women are as eager for sex as they are clever at finance, fighting and getting into trouble. A page turner for those readers liking escapism, an action book without worrying too much about cliches and odd typos. ASIN for your kindle at B00II9LKLS

I read The Martian by Andy Weir, an interesting hard science fiction in which astronaut, Mark Watney is left for dead on Mars. He survives and so he should with his masterful engineering and botanical knowledge. I think he could have grown the legumes as well as spuds but I really enjoyed the nerdy aspects. If you think his way off and back to Earth was rather too much like the film, Red Planet (2000) then so do I. I also think Mark could have guessed he’d be watched by satellites and be able to make a radio from all the parts he had but it is a great geeky book. I would have had Martians even if like sand amoeba but hey ho.

Also read Into a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu. Liked the Conan Doyle / Walter Scott style but what might have gripped a reader in 1872, the conflicts’ resolutions are too obvious for modern readers.

Goth girl in The Horror Zine March 2015

Goth girl in The Horror Zine March 2015

Meanwhile I discover that my short horror story, IMPULSE, which is based on the childhood ditty, As I was going up the stair I met a man who isn’t there… A chap is so burdened with work and relationship stress he ducks it all and takes a holiday to Gozo near Malta. Except that he finds his past not catching up with him as vanishing too much! Here it is and FREE to read along with other great stories.

I also discover two marvelous reviews of ARIA. I’m tempted to be naughty and cherry pick their best bits but here they are in full.

Would Make a Great Movie! Compelling and provocative Story!,February 18, 2015

By

Mark Fine | The Zebra Affaire

This review is from: ARIA: Left Luggage (Kindle Edition)

A mysterious out-of-this-world suitcase found wedged on the International Space Station triggers a viral catastrophe of apocalyptic end-of-days proportions on the humans habitants on the earth below. Unlike the typical B-movie type scenarios of less sophisticated science fiction, “ARIA Left Luggage” avoids the gratuitous and the obvious–sparing the reader passages about seamy bodily fluids and dismembered limbs. Hence, I really enjoyed this book because it added such intelligence and integrity to the genre, without sacrificing drama and body count.

The fact that the alien contagion was manifested as rapidly overwhelming amnesia–is so relevant to this baby boomer generation that’s facing an epidemic of real-world diseases that impair memory and cognitive functions, such as Alzheimer. By tapping into our collective fears in this regard, Nelder certainly had my attention.

The author ably describes the consequences of losing one’s mind by describing acute scenarios; a pilot en route over the Atlantic loses his way, with tragic consequences, when he forgets the flights final destination. It was truly frightening to witness, through the author’s eyes, how civil society can so rapidly deteriorate back into the Stone Age as humanities memories fade to naught.

My personal interpretation of Geoff Nelder’s Sci-Fi allegory is a near-future modern day twist on the Dark Ages or Middle Ages–a period devoid of inspiration and culture possible due to famine and disease including the dreaded “Black Death” (Bubonic plague); it began at the fall of the Roman Empire and ended at beginning of Italian Renaissance – The Age of Discovery. Possibly the Italian doctor featured in the story triggered this thought, as well as the choice of “ARIA” being Italian for “Air” as the acronym for the virus.
This is a cerebral, thoroughly researched, and most enjoyable. The characters are vividly rendered, with their flaws and smarts displayed for all to see, making them memorable. For me it took only a minimal suspension of disbelief, and the plot felt thoroughly plausible. Just substitute ARIA for an another earthbound airborne virus, accelerated throughout humanity due to population density, easy accesses to transcontinental travel, unrestricted borders, and the potential transmission speed of the disease would be like no other time in history.

As for those interested in survivalist prepping, but with an intelligent scientific / medical twist, ARIA promises to be a satisfying read. For those fans of science fiction, here you will find an immediacy and relevance (note the recent Ebola scare) that will trigger within you all the “it-came-from-outer-space” drama and tension you’d ever desire. Character-driven and a diverse cast, plus the compelling plot, suggests ARIA: Left Luggage has the makings of a fine motion picture.
+++ Thanks Mark!

This is from Jean Gill author of One Sixth of Gill.

Just finished ARIA:Left Luggage by Geoff Nelder and would definitely recommend it. Here’s my review ‘Classic ‘what-if’ world-threat sci-fi: What if an amnesia bug went viral? Who would remember enough to be able to fight it? What decisions would you take to survive?

Very convincing ‘what if’ sci-fi disaster novel as exciting as the classic invasions of Triffids and Midwich Cuckoos. The range of the novel shows global consequences through detail of a few places geographically far apart (London, Houston, north Wales, Banff, Australia) A variety of characters draw the reader into everyday human dilemmas and relationships in such an inhuman situation, all very nicely done (although ‘nastily done’ is probably more appropriate).

I don’t like violent scenes but, for my taste, Geoff Nelder keeps the story entertaining, showing plausible conflicts – and deaths – without dwelling on gory detail. The working relationships reminded me of the petty rivalries and allegiances in any job and the wry humour lightens the depressing consequences of ARIA.

I was intrigued by the premise but what really impressed me was the detail of the way ARIA spreads and its impact. I can’t say whether the technological details are accurate but the logic, the portrayal of people and places and the twists of the narrative kept me fully involved.

My only disappointment was that there wasn’t more of a conclusion. I know there’s a sequel and I look forward to that but I do like more of a resolution at the end of a book even if some loose ends are left dangling for the next one.

 

Note from Geoff

Apologies to Jean about the ending. Always tricky to leave readers wanting more but without leaving too many frustrated loose ends. I thought I’d trodden that slippery path with an airborne device and with readers reasoning what was likely to happen to those left behind. I can assure Jean that in Book 2, ARIA: RETURNING LEFT LUGGAGE loose ends are tied up and questions are answered. Ah, but more questions bubble up, the aliens sneak in and romance crops up in surprising circumstances. Is it completely tied up by the end. Sorry, Jean – well there’s Book 3…

 

To grab a copy of one of my ARIA books here are the links

Kindle – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Volume-1/dp/1905091958/

Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Geoff-Nelder/dp/1905091958/

Publisher’s website with more details and formats.http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html

Buy it quick before you run out of memory!

You tube video trailer
http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU

How Butcher made me #Vegan

February 4, 2015

Definitions: A vegetarian is someone who abstains from eating meat but consumes dairy products.bull

A vegan is someone who abstains from eating any animal product. In spite of what some café and hotel chefs think, that means no milk, cheese, fish, eggs nor honey. Veganism is a philosophy that encompasses a vegan diet and a lifestyle of respect for animals. Hence not wearing leather or wool, not using animals as playthings, for entertainment or transport.

 

I responded to a call for short essays on Why I will always be vegan* for an anthology of that name. My piece was not selected because I refer to diet in a paragraph whereas the editor wanted a near-100% piece on the philosophy of veganism rather than why a plant-based diet is right for me. Fair enough. Even so, my desire to be vegan has come from a idealistic abhorrence of the way most human societies and individuals treat animals. From slavery (rabbits in hutches) to wholesale imprisonment, torture and murder in farms, would we treat other species the same if they could all talk English? I’d like to think not although the way some terrorists / freedom fighters treat their human captives perhaps there’s a latent insane nastiness in humans that sometimes overwhelms the latent good in us.

The following 400 words is the essay I wrote for Why I will always be vegan. Perhaps it is too lightly written. I have a tendency to use graveside humour too much these days.

+ + +

When your wellingtons become stuck, sucked down into deep mud and the only feasible extrication before a bull reaches you is to stomp with socks through the field, your mind elevates beyond the mundane. As a teenager I worked on a farm. I found Friesian #582f to be the most curious, while Friesian #411d enjoyed a sense of humour, nudging my back and knocking over buckets. Numbered but each with an individual character.

What a shame we had to eat them. Imagine my shock in Cheltenham library when reading The Ethics of Diet by Howard Williams (1883), I discovered that humans do not need to eat animals to be healthy. My father, engineer by day, illustrator of a science fiction magazine by night, quoted his favourite playwright,

Pen & Ink sketch by my dad, William C Nelder of GB Shaw

Pen & Ink sketch by my dad, William C Nelder of GB Shaw

George Bernard Shaw: “Animals are my friends—and I don’t eat my friends.”

From then on, eating animals became the new obscenity and I couldn’t understand why intelligent, free-thinking humans would do it. Until I challenged them. They didn’t want to think about it. Even when I pointed out the only reason for eating meat was for the taste and not the nutrition, many winced and turned away. Even so, I didn’t become vegan overnight. I ate dairy products as a compromise for family, until in a Geography class I found out that 8 million calves were killed each year in Britain so people can drink their milk. Not long afterwards (1973) I joined the Vegan Society.

However, life isn’t straightforward. A keen cyclist I assumed my veganism and activity would assure me a long life. I hadn’t bargained on genetics—in particular, the Nelder love of cake. It astonishes people how many vegan foods are unhealthy: sugar, crisps, some ice-creams, salted peanuts, jam, and much more. I ate healthy stuff too, but too much fat led to damage in endothelial cells furring up my arteries. I popped into A&E last year to enquire if these odd pains in my sternum meant anything. They rushed me to Broad Green, Liverpool where the nice doctors put stents in my coronary artery. They said my cycling and veganism mitigated the damage and has aided my recovery but fat is fat whether it’s vegan or not. It helps that I consume zero cholesterol but the liver makes it when you eat sugar anyway! Thanks to the Caldwell Esselstyn diet, which is vegan and only 10% fat, I now have to be vegan forever to reverse the CHD damage.

That bull, ironically named Butcher, tried to eat my wellingtons and turned out quite friendly afterwards. He was vegan too.

+ + +vegan society

I get asked if there are vegan or vegetarian characters in my books. In general I try not to use my fiction writing as propaganda. It is hard enough to gain respect among readers for my writing style, wayward three-dimensional characters and fascinating plots without trying to force my own lifestyle choices onto the pages. However, now and then it is only natural to include a character with a veggie stand. One example is Jena, the feisty woman astronaut in my ARIA Trilogy.

http:// smarturl.it/1fexhs

Another is a short humorous story, Vampire Non Sequitur, in which a vampire makes the mistake of biting, Claire, a vegetarian. This has devastating consequences for both characters. This story is published in Twisted Tails VIII available as a Kindle and edited by J Richard Jacobs

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Twisted-Tails-VIII-Richard-Jacobs-ebook/dp/B00LOQSMWW/

 

The delightful book cover is from the children’s book, Vegan Love by Ruby Roth

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Vegan-Love-Having-Taking-Action/dp/1583943544/

 

* See the blog on Why I will always be Vegan including purchase links to the ebook already available

http://thevegantruth.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/introducing-new-e-book-why-i-will.html

vegan-is-love-2

 

Nelder News.

I won a Kindle Fire in a writers’ competition to write a pithy book review at Books Go Social here

I won a Kindle Fire at BooksGoSocial. Can you spot ARIA?

I won a Kindle Fire at BooksGoSocial. Can you spot ARIA?

To grab a copy of one of my ARIA books here are the links

Kindle – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback Amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Volume-1/dp/1905091958/

Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Geoff-Nelder/dp/1905091958/

Publisher’s website with more details and formats.http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html

Buy it quick before you run out of memory!

You tube video trailer
http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU

 

The Origins of #ARIA

January 23, 2015

The Idea Dawns

From the slopes of Drum looking NW towards Anglesey. Anafon valley on the left

Steep cycling gave rise to an original idea in ARIA and this is the ‘secret’ Anafon Valley used in the book

 

As I puffed, riding my bicycle up a steep Welsh hill 5 years ago, an original idea inveigled itself into my head. The trigger as I started up Horseshoe Pass, was remembering my mum’s lack of short term memory after she suffered a stroke back in 1982.

Then… what if amnesia was infectious? Then what if no one was immune? I researched like crazy for months to discover a) there was no known medical event of infectious amnesia, and b) that the concept – especially with retrograde amnesia (lose say a year’s worth per week backwards) – hadn’t been used in published stories, nor film. It took a year to create the first 100k draft.

Emblem of the P&E Winner 2012.

ARIA: Left Luggage WINNER!

Scottish publisher, LL-Publications snapped it up and ARIA had its release on August 1st 2012 then won the P&E Award for best science fiction novel of 2012.

Short Synopsis

A silvery case is found in space. It’s opened on Earth releasing a virus that causes retrograde amnesia at the rate of a year’s memory per week. No one is immune.

It is tragic – as after a week or so people forget where their new homes and jobs are, and children lose speech, medicines are not produced.

Yet there is humour – who is that you wake up next to, and did you both make out? Ryder realizes what’s going on in time to persuade a handful of professionals to barricade themselves in a remote Welsh valley. The uninfected crew of the ISS join them.

Can they survive intruders? This is a human disaster yet with romance, betrayal, survival, mystery and an exploration into what is so important in life it must be preserved.

Ryder’s friend, Manuel, in the US, once he caught ARIA kept memo notes but soon realized he had to think what was the most important things he needed to know everyday he woke up. That idea became a crucial concept in the whole book.

Extract


CHAPTER 22
Monday May 4 2015 Moraine Lake 18 days since ARIA started. Most people have lost up to 2 years and 4 weeks of memory.

Manuel struggled through to consciousness. A new alarm clock hammered away making him throw an unseeing arm at where his bedside cabinet should’ve been. One eye opened and found a pinewood ceiling. He could smell coffee but the unfamiliar log cabin tugged at his worry bone. He remembered going to bed in his own room; pale-green walls, white ceiling, cobwebs.


He admired the dawn light hitting the carpet. Pine trees with a busy resident woodpecker met his eyes. The alarm clock had feathers.

He scratched an armpit. “So, I’m definitely not in Baltimore.”

After finding the bathroom, his nose detected toast along with the coffee. He ventured into the kitchen.

“Oh, you’re up,” said a scowling young woman sitting at a rustic table.

Manuel searched his shot memory but failed to locate a white-faced girl with long jet-black hair among his acquaintances. “Before you throw a wobbler, read that.” She pointed at a NoteCom on the table. A milky coffee, just as he liked it, waited for him. He looked up again. Yellow T-shirt and jeans; he looked at his own clothes – black trousers, white shirt and a NASA tie. Good God, he’d dressed for work.

You are Manual Gomez, employed by NASA as their Education Officer.
Except you are on leave along with most of the population because you have ARIA. An infectious amnesia throwing out your memories at the rate of 50 days worth each day. This started for you on 15th April 2015. It is now Monday 4th May 2015 so you have lost 950 days or two years, seven months and two days of memory.


You have remarried to Jat, who also has ARIA and is sitting at the table with you. She’s diabetic but cut down her Humilin dose – see notes.

“You’re Jat? My wife?”

 

“I am Jat but I have no recollection of marrying you. Don’t get any ideas.”

“Hang on. My head is spinning coping with waking up with a disease in Canada instead of my home in Baltimore. Look at us, Jat. I’m mid-fifties, you’re what, eighteen?”

 

“Twenty – that’s not the big deal.”

“No? What is?”

“Look at you. You obviously don’t look after yourself, you’ve deserted your other wife, because of this amnesia and how do I know you don’t have any STDs?”
Manuel, glad he received the broadside while sitting down, shook his head.

“Jat, as far as I know I have no diseases except one that’s robbed me of what must have been a helluva courtship and a cracking wedding night. Me wife left me for an insurance salesman. And though I grant you I’m hiding a six-pack stomach under a keg, I have more muscles than I used to.” He did a strongman impression. She turned to face the window so he couldn’t her smiling.

“There’s a load of chopped wood out back so I guess you might have been working out,” Jat said. He saw her reflection fighting a grin.


# # #

Endorsements

Jon Courtenay Grimwood “Geoff Nelder inhabits Science Fiction the way other people inhabit their clothes.”

Robert J Sawyer ARIA “is a fascinating project.”

Brad Linaweaver “Geoff Nelder’s ARIA has the right stuff. He makes us ask the most important question in science fiction–the one about the true limits of personal responsibility.”

Mike Resnick “ARIA has an intriguing premise, and is written in a very accessible style.”

Purchase Links

Kindle – Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Volume-1/dp/1905091958/

Kindle UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-ebook/dp/B008RADGYC/

Paperback UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Left-Luggage-Geoff-Nelder/dp/1905091958/

Publisher’s website with more details and formats. http://www.ll-publications.com/leftluggage.html

Buy it quick before you run out of memory!

You tube video trailer
http://youtu.be/oh0AAXIe8VU

 

Viruses are pretty yet deadly

Viruses are pretty yet deadly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Experimented with font sizes in this post. Not sure it worked well. Let me know.

Geoff Nelder is a professional liar, badass editor, and fiction competition judge. His must-read novels including Exit, Pursued by Bee; ARIA trilogy, and thrillers: Escaping Reality, and Hot Air.

Website http://geoffnelder.com

ARIA facebook page http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy

 

 

A #review of Mark Fine’s The Zebra Affaire

January 22, 2015

The Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine

Paperback: 352 pagesZebraAffaire

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (15 May 2014)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1494762609

ISBN-13: 978-1494762605

Reviewed by Geoff Nelder

This is more than a daring, multi-racial romance set in a racist South Africa in 1976 on the cusp of abandoning apartheid. The best section by far for me is the beginning where black Malawian, Stanwell, crashes his pickup and is illegally cared back to health by a white family and in particular by Elsa (23). The tension is palpable and a marvellous introduction to the girl as she had only just arrived at the house for a job interview and up to this point had not really clicked with Lydia, the lady of the house. I immediately relished a personal connection when Elsa mentioned her namesake was the lion in the book and film, Born Free. I met Joy Adamson in the library in Cheltenham, UK when she gave a talk to us kids in the early 1960s.

There is much to praise in the writing style of The Zebra Affaire   with respect to settings and description. Colours, smells and action are all there along with sounds, eg ‘The thunderstorm roiled across the Highveld plateau like the marauding Zulu impi on the warpath… lightning’s vivid scar.’  Sometimes the descriptions borders on being too purple but the reader is left in no doubt where they are and what is happening.

The characters, too, are vivid as are their backgrounds. Sometimes there is too much backstory although I understand the need to lay out the rationale for their behaviour. I liked the way the narrative matches the character. For example the gutsy captain of industry, DGF, has his scholastic background summed by his school motto: Forti Nihil Difficilius*, which ‘filled him with the piss and vinegar to take on the world’. Talking of one of those attributes I relate to Elsa saying how when she peed in a remote part of the bush it was probable no one had ever peed there before and this gave the moment a special thrill. I do the same at ancient places—not the peeing but just to find a niche, say a far-flung corner of Gozo’s Ggantija and put my toe on it savouring the notion no one had stood there for thousands of years.

I would have edited The Zebra Affaire differently. One issue is Point of View (POV). Too often the POV head hops and sometimes with no section breaks. Having said that I enjoyed the POV swap to the dog early on with: ‘An uncomfortable tension descended over the charming tea party. Leo sensed the shift in the wind, got up, stretched, circled a few times, glanced  cautiously at the two women, and then settled back down at the same spot with an empathetic sigh.’

Another issue is the relative lack of concern by these influential white families flagrantly breaking the apartheid laws and behaving all sweet and nice to Elsa and Stanwell. In fact there seemed to be no real conflict tugging at the reader until about halfway through when, thank goodness, evil in the guise of a bigoted Security Branch Agent tackles the niceness head on in his brutal way. The last half of the novel becomes grittier as a result and reflects that bit more what most readers want to find in such settings. I would liken aspects of this book to that Booker winner, Disgrace by JM Coetzee, which, instead, is set in post-apartheid South Africa but is jammed with the racial tensions black on white and vice versa. I wonder if Mark Fine nods homage to that masterpiece by naming a secretary as Ms Coetzee?

The author explains his rationale for using sectioned-off italics as mini-encyclopaedias. I can imagine his editors fighting this solution, as would I. Even if some readers didn’t know the details of what Marmite is, or the history of South Africa was, I don’t think a novel is the right place to inform, especially as when the italics end the narrative often remains in the info-dumping. If the author feels there is a need he could have had appendices. The editing guru, famous for his ‘Hunting down the pleonasms’, says there’s never a need for Tell no matter what the genre. However, a little information can help but here I fear it is far too much.

In spite of the info-dump overload, I can recommend this novel. It is Romeo & Juliet meets To Kill A Mocking Bird; it has many touching moments; and embracing a difficult period with aplomb. The title is particularly apt and I found several nuances in the plot that relate to it superbly.

The author’s Amazon page is worth a look too here at

http://www.amazon.com/Mark-Fine/e/B00KOIP05S/

 

*For the brave, nothing is too difficult. Jeppe High School for Boys, Johannesburg

Nelder News

I’m still waiting to hear from Wee Creek Press to see if they want to publish my series of Scoot books for infants illustrated by the talented Kathy Bullock. Once we have String Theory ready we’ll consider other options. If you know of a children’s book publisher looking for illustrated surreal stories for 3-8 years old kids, please let me know at geoffnelderATyahooDOTcom

Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy and tweets at @geoffnelder

http://nelderaria.wikia.com/wiki/NelderAria_Wiki

http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/nelder_geoff

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff’s Author page on Amazon UK http://amzn.to/19EtTMe US http://amzn.to/1dtGsZJ

Lust 4 #SciFi? Apocalyptic award-winning ARIA by @geoffnelder for #kindle now http://amzn.to/1daTUUn  UK – http://amzn.to/1gn3iHI

Exit at #ElCapitan

January 15, 2015

What a marvelous achievement for Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson who have been climbing the Dawn Wall of Yosemite’s El Capitan, taking 19 days to reach the summit. The rock is huge and smooth, but there might be other reasons why it might not have been scaled before.

I researched the mountain for my science fiction novel Exit, Pursued by a Bee in which alien spheres, buried in the Earth’s crust for two billion years emerge under specific places like El Capitan, Ayers’ Rock and Glastonbury. All of those places have some kind of spiritual significance to ancient peoples, including El Capitan. In my story time is maintained as a linear, continuum on Earth and its vicinity by the alien artifacts that gathered time decoherences. In my research I discovered that a Native American tribe in Yosemite had declared El Capitan to be a haunting place, where mere humans were not permitted to deface. Presumably that kept people from climbing it in the past. Or did it? I also found references to a climb of the rock in the mid-twentieth century, but then there were no TV crews and helicopters to record it. Even so I applaud Tommy and Kevin for the first official recorded climb.

This isn’t the first time that the news reminds me of Exit, Pursued by a Bee. Every now and then mysterious circular holes appear in the landscape – Beijing and South America I recall and blog about it here https://geoffnelder.wordpress.com/2011/04/28/holes-keep-emerging/

Maybe my novel is more Nostradamus than science fiction after all! If you are interested check out Exit, Pursued by a Bee at http://geoffnelder.com/exitbee.htm

cap

Don’t Bite My Finger…

January 7, 2015

omnibusTwo of my short horror stories have been published in Monk Punk and Shadow of the Unknown Omnibus.

Often on the back covers of anthologies I am listed in the ‘Others’ so here I am listing ALL the writers.

I am in red. I enjoyed the tease with the Monk Punk short story, Don’t Bite My Finger… It sounds gruesome but aficionados of Zen Buddhism will know the koan (a kind of saying, mind game or paradox), ‘Don’t bite my finger… I am pointing the way.’ Haha, you still have a mini story all of its own in that koan. Links to buy this terrific omnibus as print or kindle are at the end.

I am sandwiched in there between these clever writers:

Foreword to New Edition by Aaron J. French

Introduction to Monk Punk by D. Harlan Wilson

Fistful of Tengu by David West

Don’t Bite My Finger by Geoff Nelder

The Power of Gods by Sean T. M. Stiennon

The Key to Happiness by R. B. Payne

Wonder and Glory by Adrian Chamberlin

The Just One by Willie Meikle

The Liturgy of the Hours by Dean M Drinkel

Brethren of Fire by Zach Black

The Second Coming by Joe Jablonski

Nasrudin: Desert Sufi by Barry Rosenberg

Suitcase Nuke by Sean Monaghan

The Last Monk by George Ivanoff

The Cult of Adam by Mark Iles

Snowfall by J.C. Andrijeski

Xenocyte: A Kiomarra Story by Caleb Heath

Vortex by Joshua Ramey-Renk

The Birth of God by Jeffrey Sorensen

Rannoch Abbey and the Night Visitor by Dave Fragments

Citipati by Suzanne Robb

Black Rose by Robert Harkess

The Path of Li Xi by Aaron J. French

Where the White Lotus Grows by John R. Fultz

 

OMNIBUS EXCLUSIVE MONK PUNK STORIES

Evil Fruit by Joshua M. Reynolds

Weaned on Blood by Richard Gavin

Visionaire by Stephen Mark Rainey

The Perplexed Eye of a Sufi Pirate by Geoff Nelder

The Bountiful Essence of the Empty Hand by John R. Fultz

The White Lotus Society by Aaron J. French

 

THE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN

Foreword to original edition by Aaron J. French

 

It Tears Away by Michael Bailey

Graffiti Sonata by Gene O’Neill

Blumenkrank by Erik T. Johnson

To Unsee a Thing by Richard Marsden

Memories of Inhuman Nature by Rick McQuiston

What’s in a Shell? by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

When Clown Face Speaks by Aaron J. French

The Music of Bleak Entrainment by Gary A. Braunbeck

The Chitter Chatter of Little Feet by Fel Kian

Watch for Steve by Ricky Massengale

Uncle Rick by M. Shaw

Caverns of Blood by PS Gifford

JP and the Nightgaunt by Robert Tangiers

Sister Guinevere by T. Patrick Rooney

Alone in the Cataloochee Valley by Lee Zumpe

Quietus by A.A. Garrison

Amends for an Earlier Summer by Geoffrey H. Goodwin

Sanctuary of the Damned by Cindy D Witherspoon

The Festering by James Dorr

The Rose Garden by James Ward Kirk

In the Valley of the Things by L. E. Badillo

The Devil’s Kneading Trough by Sean Page

The City of Death by Jason D. Brawn

Terror Within the Walls by K.G. McAbee

The Laramie Tunnel by RB Payne

Amundsen’s Last Run by Nathalie Boisard-Beudin

Antarktos Unbound by Glynn Owen Barrass

Azathoth Awakening by Ran Cartwright

 

OMNIBUS EXCLUSIVE SHADOW OF THE UNKNOWN STORIES

The Courtier by Mike Lester

The First and Last Performance of Varack by John Claude Smith

Back Acres by Jay Wilburn

In Silence by K Trap Jones

 

Amazon Print: http://www.amazon.com/Monk-Shadow-Omnibus-Aaron-French/dp/069227569X/ref

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Monk-Shadow-Omnibus-Aaron-French-ebook/dp/B00RUC8U30/ref

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monk-Shadow-Omnibus-Aaron-French/dp/069227569X/ref

Kindle http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monk-Shadow-Omnibus-Aaron-French-ebook/dp/B00RUC8U30/

Nelder News.

Author’s Page And/or Book Page Links At Cold Coffee Press.com
Geof Nelder Author’s Page At Cold Coffee Press
ARIA: Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 1)
ARIA: Returning Left Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 2)
ARIA: Abandoned Luggage (ARIA Trilogy Book 3)
Dimensions
Escaping Reality
Extreme Planets: A Science Fiction Anthology Of Alien Worlds (Chaosium Fiction)
Exit, Pursued By A Bee
How To Win Short Story Competitions
Hot Air

“We are sailing, we are sailing, across the water…”

December 6, 2014

Cruisers’ AA by Jackie and Noel Parry

Cruisers' AA: Cruisers' Accumulated Acumen

Cruisers' AA: Cruisers' Accumulated Acumen

Buy from Amazon

Cruisers’ Accumulated Acumen is a guide in 27 chapters of over 1800 helpful hints and tips on sailing made alive with a hundred anecdotes bringing alive their adventures during their 9 years afloat.

ASIN: B00OQ938WI

$3.99 or free currently on Amazon Prime

Also available in paperback for $26.99

ISBN-13: 978-0987551504   Pictures https://jackieparry.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/cyclone-diagram-single-picnew.jpg?w=960&h=720

My sailing experience is limited to school days tacking up the River Avon from Tewskesbury to Stratford-on-Avon in the UK although I have a silver medal in my cabinet from a race on a lake in Peterborough. Those few years of being on the water were brought back by my reading this book so thanks Parrys for that!

Advice that wouldn’t have been possible when I was a schoolchild includes having a pack of baby nappies on board – nothing better for absorbing spillages. Also, we discovered when my wife’s nose wouldn’t stop bleeding that they’ll take a lot of blood!

Did you know about the problem of using stainless steel bolts with aluminium? Haha – I kind of did because of my science background but I hadn’t realized how serious the problem can be on sailing cruisers until I read the section on galvanic corrosion and electrolysis. Well done for making a potentially deep subject easy to understand and with practical advice.

Chapter 22 is on Theft and Piracy. Plenty of sensible advice here along with Jackie and Noel’s own theories on how to thwart thieves and pirates. No suggestions of acquiring heavy-duty sonic projectors—after all we are talking sailing cruisers not liners. A problem with piracy and small-time thieves is that ordinary folk are made to feel vulnerable by the media. It’s inevitable that they highlight the few terrible incidents. Jackie points out that after 9 years, 50 countries and over 70,000 miles they’d not met a pirate and only dealt with a couple of minor theft issues. It can happen to any of us any time. I was walking with my wife in a crowded Malaga, Spain when a man pushed up against me. I thought, hey, he’s being rather fresh then realized his hand was in my pocket. I grabbed hold of his wrist and yelled as loud as I could. He yanked his hand away and ran but the crowd grabbed and held him until the police arrived. He wouldn’t have got much. Like the advice in Cruisers’ AA my wallet contained the bare minimum for an enjoyable day out.

The book is brought to a finish with many pages of useful references from sarongs to navigation aids, weather to anchoring techniques.

Finally, there are other groups of readers than sailors for this book. I am a writer of fiction and I’ve written stories for anthologies and magazines that involve a techie knowledge I didn’t have to ensure meaningful dialogue and action. This isn’t nerdy it’s important, at least to me. So if you are a writer of contemporary sea-faring tales, you’ll need this reference too.

Nelder News

It’s not too late to grab copies of my ARIA Trilogy or other books. Here is my Amazon page with links.
UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
Geoff facebooks at http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy and tweets at @geoffnelder

STOP PRESS****************

As part of a Read Tuesday promotion the second book of the ARIA Trilogy was almost free on Kindle at 99 cents on Tuesday 9th December. Well, if you missed it then it is still less than a coffee – see it at


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