All posts by Mick_Kelly

Revolution!

WoWFest in Liverpool runs writing competitions of several kinds, one of which is the ‘flash fiction‘ – a 500-word story on this year’s theme. The theme for 2017 is Revolution.

Here is my entry, Revolution!

‘What does this mean?’

The People’s Evaluator for Merseyside pointed at the strange two-humped plastic device that projected from the wall on two supports. The label read ’Solid of Revolution of the Light-curve of a Nuclear Explosion’. Underneath was the artist’s name – Erika Fernandez. The PE’s nose wrinkled in distaste. German first name, Spanish surname. He was suspicious too of the word ‘Revolution’. Some had called the rise of Greater Britain a revolution. They were wrong. It was a reimposition of natural law under His Majesty, no more, no less. The Director answered him:

‘Well, the light-curve of a nuclear explosion has a characteristic two-humped graph and if this is rotated around the x-axis, one gets a shape like this. Erika saw it as a metaphor…’ He got no further. Metaphor was not a welcome word.

‘Is it of use to the people of Greater Britain?’ The PE inclined his head to one side and the uniformed guards stiffened as they recognised the tone in his voice. They weighed the slight stature of the Director against the thickness of their muscles and the weight of the butts of the rifles they carried. This would not take long.

‘We have spent over twenty minutes in your…’ (The PE paused and the guards tensed) ‘…institute’. He managed to convey a considerable amount of disgust with the term.

‘We have yet to find anything useful.’

The Director readied himself for a defence but thought better of it.

’This is not The People’s Art. The People’s Art is uncomplicated. The People’s Art is inspirational. This is the corrupted art of the liberal elite. Those that sneer at the aspirations of the People.’

The guards relaxed a little. They had heard this several times. It would take a little while before they were needed.

‘Correct Art informs the People of the Truths which are self-evident.’

‘That which is not self-evident cannot be understood.’

‘That which cannot be understood cannot be tolerated.’

‘That which cannot tolerated will not be tolerated.’

‘Mr Director, your institute is hereby closed. The reassignment committee will decide a better use for the building. I cannot see a similar useful purpose being determined for yourself.’

With that he turned to the guards. They readied themselves.

The Director seized the Solid of Revolution and brought it down with all his strength on the head of the People’s Evaluator. The first curve corresponded to the flash heating by radiation of the air around the bomb and this knocked the uniform cap from the PE’s head and scraped a small gash on his close-cropped head.

The second, larger curve corresponded to the explosion proper and this crashed through the skull of the PE, splashing grey matter and blood over the smartly pressed uniform jacket. The People’s Evaluator fell to the ground.

The Director dropped the plastic club as the rifle butts caught him and he went down as they continued to smash against his elitist liberal skull.

Magic Dan is published at last!

Well, ‘Magic Dan’ is finally published. It is up on Amazon as a paperback and an ebook.

The print publishers are just about to print the first batch of physical books for me – mainly for promotional activities.

It is both a relief and a worry that the writing / revising / re-reading phase is over.

A relief because the main task is finally over and a worry because the bigger secondary task of promoting it is now upon me. I will be starting off with a giveaway on Goodreads.com (end of March) and some posting out of copies to the great and good. Hopefully this will garner a few reviews and I can go on to advertising proper.

Then the normal round of advertising and bragging about it to everyone who asks!

Other suggestions are very welcome!

 

 

More final revisions

Where does the time go? I’m up to version 15 of my final draft and I am sure that the final, final, final version will be ready soon and I can begin the process of getting it printed and getting the ebook up on Amazon.

Meanwhile, I am in the process of researching a historical novel! Yes, me who has a strong dislike for both history and historical novels. Amazing – but more on this when Magic Dan is ready for the press.

Final revisions

Well my latest novel ‘Magic Dan’ is now a month overdue and on it’s ‘final’ draft. So what’s so difficult?

Well – polishing a story is a slow process. You revise. You read. You spot the typos and mistakes you have have missed on the previous revisions. Then you notice where a vital piece of the plot is missing. Then you have to put the thing away until you regain your confidence. Then you revise. You read. You spot the typos…..

Then you give it to a trusted collaborator (Sue) who reads it and spots the typos and mistakes and the vital missing pieces of plot.

You revise……

But I’m nearly there and then it will just be the cover design, the formatting, the checking and the final revisions before I start the process of promotion.

Still – it really still fun. But in writing this blog I’m just distracting myself from revising, reading, spotting the typos….

Science fiction in the Golden Age

I wrote this  on Goodreads as a part-review of ‘The Andre Norton Mega-Pack’ – a ebook compendium of 15 of Andre Norton’s novels – which are mostly science fiction written in the 1950s and early 1960s….

I’m going to write a review of this book, even though I’m only part-way through this – i.e. I’ve read 5 novels out of the 15 it contains!

This book is pure nostalgia for me. When I was between the ages of 12 and 15 (1963 – 1966), I would wonder up Brunswick Street in Liverpool and look in the 3 or 4 second-hand book shops there. Most of the street is now demolished in favour of easier access to the motorway and, anyway, the notion of 3 or 4 bookshops being viable in the same road?

The shops used to have large numbers of American comics and pulp SF/Crime mags, and these were my staple diet until I became sophisticated enough to enjoy the contemporary SF coming from Britain. Andre Norton was one of the best of the pulp SF writers and re-reading these has confirmed how good he was. Of course the depictions of the future are really portraits of the 1950s but even realising this gives the stories a depth my 13-year old self never possessed, and makes them even more enjoyable.

They also bring back the smell of the old shops – musty and dusty with an overlay of fruit and veg from the greengrocer’s and petrol fumes from the traffic. No catalytic converters in those days – or even un-leaded fuel. I don’t regret the passing of the old days of second-hand pulp novels and comics, but I do regret the passing of my 13-year-old wonder at the flying saucers, purple aliens and space-suits that seemed utilitarian on the male astronauts but surprisingly skin-tight on the female ones.

So, if you read these as a kid – they repay another look. If you didn’t they might still be a valuable education in what the future used to look like.

Memories of Eric’s…

I just did a review (on Goodreads.com) of the book ‘Sit Down! Listen to This’ by Bill Sykes –  and it reminded me of why I wanted to read the book in the first place. The book is the biography of Roger Eagle who ran Eric’s – the premier punk and new wave club in Liverpool in the late 70s. I was often down there on a Saturday lunchtime, Saturday and Sunday evenings, listening to whoever was on (X-Ray Spex, Big in Japan, John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett, Deke Leonard, The Pirates and many others).

Like all good music clubs it was scruffy and dirty with expensive beer and better drugs available in the toilets. And like all good clubs, it felt like home to me and the drifting crowd of people with nothing better to do than listen to the music that their generation was producing. It left a big hole in Liverpool’s music scene when it’s licence was revoked my magistrates on the advice of the police. I’m sure they thought they were doing the right thing – but I’ve never trusted the police since!

I hope todays youth have similar places where, for a few hours, they can feel as if they are making the future not re-living the past as I am here.

 

 

My Goodreads giveaway

My Goodreads giveaway ended yesterday and I have been packing up books, sealing parcels and posting them. It’s an odd feeling that accompanies these activities. I feel strangely close to the people who have won the books and I hope they will all enjoy the story. But if they don’t – I still hope they review the book. I’m a rookie author and I need negative feedback as much as positive – both to tell me if I’m going wrong, and to toughen me up.  Hope to hear from you….

Publication day for Mr Logic

Well, all the editing and drafting (6 cycles of editing and corrections) is over and the files are submitted to Amazon. So, after an uneasy night’s sleep, anyone is now able to purchase my first ebook – the print edition is still being reviewed, but should be available soon.
It’s an odd feeling. I used to play guitar (badly) in a heavy metal band, some thirty years ago. I remember the feeling just before you went on stage and this is like a decaffeinated version of the same thing – jittery stomach, no ability to concentrate and a search for something to take your mind off it. Unlike getting on stage, though, there is no resolution to this. I just suppose that the feeling will gradually fade as I get used to the fact that people will be able to read my stuff and pass judgement on it.
I hope other people are as interested as I am in sex and drugs and double-entry bookkeeping!