Category Archives: Fiction

Son of My Father: Part Three

Inside the pub light flooded from the fluorescent bulb overhead, making for a surprisingly bright and airy atmosphere for a place so far out in the country. The bar was at the very back of the room, facing the entrance, while the room itself was one large, open space with no kind of partition or dividing wall to separate a bar from a saloon or lounge area. There was no carpet, just slightly sticky beige linoleum that sucked a little at his trainers with each step, before releasing them with a small, but audible, squelch. Above the bar, the wall was covered with a huge collection of beer mats, some of them quite racy, advertising beers of all descriptions. The cheery look that the beer mats lent the place was offset nicely by the barman. A short, wiry looking bloke with a crew cut and tattoos, who glared at Scott’s every step of progress as if Scott owed him money. He was also devoting a lot of attention to Scott’s crotch, to the point where Scott was wondering what kind of pub he had wandered into. Then he remembered why his crotch might be the centre of attention. He pointed at the offending damp patch.

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Son of My Father: Part Two

Scott slowed down considerably as he entered the village, scanning the buildings as he went for some sign of a shop or other business were he could get directions to Carlisle, Penrith or somewhere else that he could find a motorway from. In the back of his mind was the thought that perhaps there was a bed and breakfast or a hostel in the village, somewhere that he could get a meal, a hot bath and sleep off the remains of an almighty hangover. Not far into Ingleton he spotted a small shop, obviously open for business judging by the lights and the grandmotherly shape behind the counter.

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Son of my Father: Part One

Creative Commons License
Son of my Father by Daniel Brown is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://waffleandwrite.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/administrative-notes-about-the-license-my-work-is-attributed-under/.

It was a grey and miserable afternoon. It suited his mood perfectly. Scott had been driving his dad’s old estate car all day, trying to find a lake or reservoir to fish in without success. Two weeks after the funeral he had gone on a massive bender, waking up 48 hours later, inside his sleeping bag in the back of the Volvo, somewhere in the Scottish borders as it later turned out. After spending several minutes thanking God, Buddha, Allah, Gitche Manitou and any other deity he could think of, that he hadn’t killed anyone or been arrested, he looked around the car and besides empty beer cans he could find only his old fishing rod and a bottle of Glenlivet. The same rod his dad had bought him for his twenty-first birthday, and a bottle of the old man’s favourite tipple. Realization dawned, harsh and cold.

Dad was dead.

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New story update: Serialization!

Remember that new story I mentioned a few days ago? Well it’s turned out to be a bit longer than I anticipated (It’s closing in rapidly on 10,000 words), so in an unusual move for me, it’s going to be serialised. I’ll be putting the first section up later, just as soon as I’ve double and triple checked for typos an so on,  so check back for that. The other parts will be going up each day until the story is complete.

Good grief! It’s like I’ve never been away…

Hello again. Life’s been a bit all over the place of late, but things are beginning to settle down a bit. A few general updates of what I’ve been up to… Real life stuff, which I’m not going to post about publicly because, well frankly anyone could read this.

I’ve also done a couple of online things, namely over at a web forum called DreamWorlds, I’ve posted a new story. A quasi-mythological “fable” with a pre-Celtic feel to it. That distant grinding sound you hear, is Robert Holdstock slowly turning in his grave. Go to DreamWorld via this link: http://www.dream-worlds.net/forum/default.asp sign up, because the story is in a members only area, then read it here: http://www.dream-worlds.net/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=580 and tell me how much I’ve trampled on Mr Holdstock’s tradition of story telling. Then go back, look around and join in, because they really are a lovely bunch of people. In time, I may run it here as well, but for now I’m going to leave it over at DreamWorlds because it’s a lovely community and they deserve as many new sign ups as possible.

In other news, I’ve begun a football blog, which can be found here: http://worldcupwaffling.wordpress.com/ If you’re interested in the beautiful game, then head on over, read my ruminations, then disagree vociferously in the comments.

Remember folks, sign up to DreamWorlds. They need the input of creative people and I know that everyone who reads this is a creative type as well.

Handwavium

So, in order to distract myself from the fact that my wife is in the hospital right now, I’ve been thinking really hard about whether or not I’ve got it in me to write a science fiction story. An old fashioned space opera kind of a thing. The thing is, once you get beyond basic Newton, Browning and Kelvin, as taught in high school, my brain struggles to comprehend anything not presented in a very basic and easy to swallow “Lie to Children”, such as those people like Michio Kaku or anyone who gives a lecture at TED put out there. Not the actual truth, but a close enough lie that laypeople can pretend they understand it. With that in mind, I’ve been asking myself the question “How much is it possible to hand wave in a sci-fi, space opera style of story?” I even invented a molecule of strange matter against future plot convenient technologies , named in the title of this post.

Taking into account the Fermi Paradox it is more than reasonable to ignore the possibility of alien races, and even alien biological systems in general by taking the idea of terra-forming to its full conclusion; the problem comes when trying to hand wave the technology. While it is a plausible solution to ignore the problem altogether it won’t make for a very satisfactory story to even a mildly experienced
reader of science fiction. The problem isn’t that the character doesn’t know how things work, it’s that I don’t know how they work.

Sometimes I think to myself that in a story set in the contemporary world, I don’t have to explain how a microwave oven works to allow the protagonist to have an instant pizza. Then I realize that this is because I know what a microwave oven is and how it works- sort of. (electro-wave thingies jiggle the food molecules and they get angry about it, hence the heat. Sometimes groups of Zen Buddhist molecules group together and reject their brethren’s anger, leaving cold spots. See, easy.) I can also assume that any potential readers of my potential work have a rough grasp of what a microwave oven is and does, hence the brilliant and incisive technical data above isn’t necessary to the story.

I can probably trick a relatively lazy reader, such as myself, with a phrase along the lines of “The I.S.S. Cauto Star was powered by a mark VII sub-light Orion drive*, fitted with series nine inertial dampeners and equipped with fully functional Grav simulators throughout the inner hull.” The problems come from more technically minded readers, who would take in the above passage and immediately wonder how all that fancy-schmantzy gear actually works (theoretically) and promptly fire off e-mails asking me how it works, the only possible answer to which would be “Buggered if I know, have you tried reading Asimov instead? That bloke knows his techno shit!” and a reader is lost to me forever, just because they guessed, correctly, that I am an idiot.

Does this mean that techno dummies of a faintly scientific bent like I am should keep off the sci-fi grass, so to speak? I certainly hope not, since the fringes of a space faring society are a truly exciting place to set a work a work of fiction after all. Does the average science fiction reader worry overly much about the technical aspects of any given story that they might read, so long as the fictional technology is employed consistently throughout the story and follows the implied rules of the fictional universe? I know that I don’t, but then I don’t know that I constitute a reasonable model of an average sci-fi reader. Unless your survey is very small, with very hazy questions. (Survey all of the people in my front room called Daniel, then ask them if they think too hard about the tech stuff mentioned in any sci-fi they might read.)

* By the way Wikipedia carries a pretty good article about the theory behind the Orion Drive, or Nuclear Pulse Propulsion.  Look it up. As for inertial dampeners and Gravity simulators? Buggered if I know, have you tried reading Asimov instead? That bloke knows his techno shit!

The Twelve Days of Halloween, the final version.

On the Twelfth day of Halloween my true love gave to meeeeeeeee,

Twelve spiders being all horrible and UGHHHH! I hate the damned things,

Twelve spiders being all horrible and UGHHHH! I hate the damned things.

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The Twelve Days of Halloween, part eleven

On the eleventh day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeeeeee,

Eleven Werewolves howling,

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The Twelve Days of Halloween, part ten

On the tenth day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeeeeee,

Ten Ghosts a-haunting,

Ten Ghosts a-haunting.

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The Twelve Days of Halloween, part nine…

On the ninth day of Halloween, my true love gave to meeeeeeeee,

Nine witches dancing,

Nine witches dancing

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