'How science shows...' is now available on Kindle

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Just a quick note to say that my science book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' is now available as a digital ebook from the Amazon website. It’s available as a digital download for £2.29, $2.99 or free as part of Kindle Unlimited. The digital version of the book is shorter than the paperback version. I've left out the chapter on ancient history, mostly because it's not part of the core ideas of the book and also to keep the file size down. To be honest, that chapter only ended up in the paperback version because I was trying to put in enough material to make a substantial-sized book. I've also set that if someone buys the print version, they can get the digital version for free but I've no idea if it's working or not, as that is very much amazon's business. The images in the digital version are low-res to try and keep the file size down, so apologies in advance if they're a bit grainy. Apart from all that, I'm pleased with how it looks and I think it's well worth what is now the price of a coffee in London. But then again, I probably would say that! :-)

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New address for correspondence

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Just a quick note to say that I've set up an address for snail-mail correspondence. It is:

Box 202, 61 Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4JX, United Kingdom

The email option is still available but I think a physical address has the benefits of being a) fun, especially if people send hand-written correspondence (to which I will definitely reply), b) popular with anyone who's become unhappy with the increasing lack of digital privacy in our modern world, and c) possibly more reliable. Spam and junk filters can play havoc with one-off electronic messages.

New Philosopher Magazine short-listed article

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Just a quick note to say that an article of mine on the subject of Luck was shortlisted in the latest New Philosopher magazine writing competition. I entered the competition because I enjoyed the recent issue of New Philosopher on the subject of Nature. Not surprisingly, the issue was dominated by climate change but it was very refreshing for the contributors to speak candidly about the subject. Unlike many popular magazines and newspapers, the articles in New Philosopher were direct, thoughtful, imaginative and knowledgeable.

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Anyone who has read my recent non-fiction, popular science book How Science Shows (that almost everything we've been told is wrong) will find a lot of the article's content familiar but it does have a unique twist, and it's shorter. Here's the article:

‘Luck’ by Adrian Ellis

Most people would like to be lucky; they’d wish that random events such as a lottery draw would swing their way and give them a windfall. They’d love to know that when they’d meet their future soulmate, they’d not - in the inimitable words of Alanis Morissette - then ‘meet his beautiful wife’. But everyone knows, at the end of the day, that the world is ruled by random chance. What happens is entirely beyond a person’s control and is simply pure chance.

Oddly enough, science can show us that the very opposite may be true. To explain this, we’ll need the help of a warmongering ex-Hungarian with a penchant for memorising telephone directories, a deeply uncertain cat and a man with a very large moustache. Read More...

The Pink Robots of Loving Death - first two chapters sample

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As I've reached the 50,000 word mark on my science fiction comedy novel 'The Pink Robots of Loving Death', I thought it would be fun to make available the first two chapters as a sample (which is about 27 pages; they're snappily quick chapters!).

For those readers who can't even face downloading and opening a pdf to check out its contents (what is the world coming to?), here's the first few pages' worth of text:

Chapter 1: Onager

A skinny man and an athletic woman stood in an underground chamber on a desolate planet, facing a pair of enormous, stone doors. The doors were each forty-foot high, made of granite and covered with carvings of cryptic figures; they were also closed.

The skinny man looked at the carvings. He ran his hand through his mop of unkempt, brown hair and shivered. “We’re going to die.”

“We’re not going to die, Murk,” said the woman. She sighed, looked at the doors, then examined one of her sheets of paper. On it was a dense collection of hand-written notes and diagrams.

“We’re going to die, Aura,” Murk repeated, “and I’m not talking eventually, in our beds. I mean soon, while we’re awake and
really paying attention.”

“We are not going to die!” She snapped back. “We’ve been working for here for a year and the evidence,” she waved her notes, "shows that beyond those doors is the Vault of the Tau Gifts; a collection of perfect gifts created by a benevolent ancient race, thousands of years ago."

“A race who are dead,” said Murk. “That’s the key thing, Aura, the dead bit.” He waved his arms. “Those ancients died, like every other civilisation in this galaxy. The Dark God Hubris gets all the clever people and we’re next on the list!” His breath frosted in the chamber’s cold air. He rubbed his gloved hands. “They probably suffered a battery catastrophe.”

Aura rubbed her forehead. “Okay, Mr Gloom, I give in, what is a battery catastrophe?”

“One of the most notorious ways for a civilisation to die,” explained Murk. “You’ve never heard of a battery catastrophe?”

“No.”

Murk frowned. “Have you been taking forgetting pills again?”

“I do
not take forgetting pills!”

“But how would you
know?” Murk added; “That’s your biggest problem, Aura, overconfidence.”

“I do
not take forgetting pills,” she said, emphasising each word. She glared at him. “Then again,” she added, closing her eyes, “having spent the last year with you, they sound tempting.”

“A battery catastrophe is a very simple, but terrible event,” said Murk, paying no attention. “As a civilisation advances in technology, they inevitably build more and more powerful batteries. Always desirous of greater power, they
continually accept the inflated claims of their battery salesmen that the latest generation of batteries are entirely safe, as well as being very quick to charge. Eventually, one day, as a result of a combination of several rare but critical circumstances, one of their hyper-batteries fails all its safety checks and explodes.” He mimed an explosion. “In their dense cities, the explosion inevitably hits other hyper-batteries, causing them to blow up too. A terrible hyper-battery chain-reaction is created; a superbova. It emits an electromagnetic pulse of such strength that all the batteries in the planet’s other cities blow up too!” He lowered his head; his voice grew grave. “In one brief, horrible event, that entire civilisation is destroyed, its achievements gone, its population decimated.” He shook his head. “A few, pitiful citizens survive, struggle out of the ruins and flee to the forests. There, they regress to a more primitive existence, living on, their knowledge and history gone. All they have left is a few myths, some strange trinkets and a deep and profound fear of heavy rectangles.” He put his hands together.

Aura crossed her arms. “You talk such crap.”



If all goes well, the novel should be finished by Spring of next year.

'How science shows...' is now available to buy

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My new non-fiction, popular science book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' is now available to buy as a printed book stuffed with 300 pages of intriguing ideas, fascinating info, cute illustrations and the odd spelling mistake. It can be bought directly from the FeedaRead website, priced at £7.99 plus postage. It will also be available to order from major booksellers in three or four weeks time, after the files etc feed through to the distributors. Its ISBN-13 number is: 9781786970916. Here's the cover blurb:

“Nowadays, our scientific establishment makes out that they've pretty much understood all the important bits about reality, life, death, ourselves, the universe and well, everything. Unfortunately, this isn't true. In fact, many very important physicists in the last century pointed out that a fundamentally different view of the universe was needed to solve major paradoxes in science such as Schrödinger's Cat and the very nature of the Big Bang. This book describes what they discovered and more, thereby explaining the true nature of reality, life, death, God, ghosts, the brain, the Big Bang, evolution, aliens, pyramids, particles, Atlantis and, most especially, corn-on-the-cob. It also has lots of appealing illustrations and the odd joke, so you won't get bored half-way through.”

For more information on the book, check out its section on this website's home page.

Art and new work

I haven't been blogging much so far this year, mostly because it's quite hard to continually think of things to blog about. I've also been busy with new projects. In addition, I've been doing some artwork pieces for a friend. Some pics of the panels I've made are below. The panels have been fun to make and they're more lucrative than self-publishing, in that I actually turn a profit! ;-)

With regard to the writing, I'm going to update the web site with a few things in the next few days. I've also finished writing and illustrating a non-fiction book entitled 'How science shows us that almost everything important we've been told is wrong.' It uses a lot of the material from Chloë's Quantum Quest, along with many of the non-fiction articles I've written and published on this web site. I'm pleased with it and I'm hoping a lot of people will find it fun, interesting and illuminating. After it's been proof-read and I've got some feedback, I'll submit it to one or two literary agents I've corresponded with before. If no one picks it up, I'll self-publish it both digitally and as a paperback with an ISBN.

While I work on publishing 'How Science Shows', I'll also be forging ahead with a science fiction comedy novel or graphic novel; I'm not sure yet which it will be. I guess I'll work out which it will be pretty soon. I have written a large chunk of the novel already, so it might be both!

That's it for now; I'll post a blog entry when the website is updated or there's more news on the publishing front.

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Climate change Paris agreement published

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Just a quick note to say that the Paris climate change summit has published its agreed text. Here's a copy if you'd like to read it.

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I've had a read through it and unfortunately all I've spotted so far is a lot of good sounding sentiments (as in 'we've all got to try hard to keep the temperature down' and 'we'll keep checking how we're getting on every five years' and 'developing countries need help') but precious little in the way of actual numbers. The only hard numbers I saw in the document were an agreement to club together to provide a $100 billion global annual pot to finance environmental improvements. Unfortunately, the U.K.'s own Trident nuclear replacement programme will cost this much and it was also the cost of recently bailing out one small U.K. bank (Northern Rock), so as a global pot to end climate change, it's a ridiculously small figure.

Jim Hansen, the famous American climate change scientist, is highly critical of the Paris agreement. He said in a recent Guardian newspaper interview:

“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”


It's worth noting that the earlier commitment in the draft agreement to phase out fossil use between 2050 and 2100 was abandoned. In other words, even an agreement to stop burning fossil fuels long after the major negative feedback mechanisms will have kicked in was abandoned. This is in the face of concerted requests by major business figures to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.

In some ways, the naive and wishful reactions to the final agreement by major charities in the last hour is worrying in itself. To quote the live feed from half-an-hour ago:

Avaaz: “a turning point in history, paving the way for the shift to 100% clean energy that the world wants and the planet needs”

WWF UK: “We have a clear vision in the strong long term goal; mechanisms to address the gap between that aspiration and the countries’ current commitments; and the foundations for financing the transition to a low-carbon future.”

Greenpeace: “The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. There’s much in the text that has been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new imperative to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.”

Fortunately, some of the charities are a little less dewy-eyed and a little more practical:

ActionAid: “what we have been presented with doesn’t go far enough to improve the fragile existence of millions around the world”

350.org Co-founder Bill McKibben, said: “Every government seems now to recognize that the fossil fuel era must end and soon. But the power of the fossil fuel industry is reflected in the text, which drags out the transition so far that endless climate damage will be done. Since pace is the crucial question now, activists must redouble our efforts to weaken that industry. This didn’t save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet.”

But again, it's only the words of politicians. As I said in my earlier blog article, we can all make an effort ourselves to work towards a better planet. We can treat climate change as a personal challenge and do what we can to reduce the collective effect. It's not important how significant what we do is globally but how significant our effort is to us, so that we can be proud of ourselves, knowing we all made our own personal effort. The importance of this came home to me again this morning when I watched a short video on the BBC by the British astronaut Tim Peake, talking about the special perspective on Earth that he gained by going into orbit. I found it both emotional and meaningful. Enjoy.

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Comments enabled and future projects

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Just a quick note to say that I've enabled comments on many of the pages on this website. I haven't put them in blog entries (I don't have a way at the moment of doing that with this web software) but they are present at the bottom of most of the Anomalies articles. They're also present on The Great Secret page and Chloë's Quantum Quest. This gives interested parties the opportunity to leave some feedback that's hopefully friendly and positive.

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While I wait for feedback to roll in from the graphic novel (digital version), I'll be working on an animation project. I'm keen to do an animation in the style of the videos made for BBC 4's philosophy season which are also available on YouTube. I'm a big fan of these videos (created by the team at Cognitive in Folkestone) and I'm keen to do one in a similar style that explains and promotes one of the theories present in the Great Secret graphic novel. Unfortunately, as this will take quite a few weeks, the science fiction comedy material and Chloë's Quantum Quest will have to sit on the shelf for a while. Juggle juggle juggle…

The Great Secret graphic novel is now available to buy

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The Great Secret graphic novel (190 pages of visual story adventure) is now available as a digital download for Kindle and for the iPad. I’ve asked a few friends to check out the digital version and it all looks good so far, but I’m keen to get as much (helpful) feedback as possible. If you do buy a digital copy (currently £4.99) and you like it, I’d be most grateful if you put in a review on the vendor’s site. If you have any problems with your copy of the graphic novel, do please let me know via the contact form or in the comments field on ‘the great secret’ page (currently under construction) which also contains more info on the book. Read More...

Graphic novel 'beta' revisions under way

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Just a quick note to say that the 'beta testers' for my graphic novel 'The Great Secret' have been feeding back to me their comments and impressions of the story. There has been a lot of positive comments (which is good!) but they've also pointed out problems they had with the flow of the story. Unfortunately, I think they have a point (grinding of teeth). I do need to make some modifications to the book to make it flow better and not confuse the reader.

Therefore, I'm going to have to do some more work on 'the great secret'. This will take a few days. After that's completed, if all goes well, I should be able to announce that the graphic novel is ready to buy and supply links to the appropriate web pages.

I have completed the graphic novel 'The Great Secret'

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I'm very pleased to report that I've finished my graphic novel 'The Great Secret'. Hooray! The novel is about 210 pages long. It is set in the 1920's and concerns a man who stumbles upon an ancient mystery, a mystery that takes in the Giza Pyramids, Tutankhamun, Ancient Sumer and Ancient Greece. The story is primarily a fun adventure tale but it also puts forward a fascinating new theory or two that I've developed, based on extensive research I carried out in 2010. These ideas include an answer to the 'Sirius Red Controversy' as well as a science-only explanation of the true purpose of the Giza Pyramid. Sample pages of the graphic novel and a sample chapter are available on the Great Secret page.

My plan is to publish the graphic novel in digital form first. I'm currently putting together an Apple iBooks version of the novel and I hope to complete a Kindle version in the near future. Once those digital versions are complete and available, I'll order a short print run of the book and sell copies through eBay. It might sound a bit odd for me to sell the graphic novel as if it was an unwanted bicycle, but eBay only takes about 10% commission on sales and PayPal only takes about 4%. By comparison, according to my research, Amazon and book stores take between 35% and 60% of the cover price per sale. If the cost of printing is then factored in, which is high for short print runs of a graphic novel, I would be left barely making a profit per book or be forced to charge an unappealingly high price. Printed version of the book bought through eBay will also be signed, which would be nice.

I'll post more news as I progress.

Graphic novel nearing completion

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It's a misty day here in London, the day after Halloween, and I thought it would be fun to post a misty, atmospheric page from the graphic novel I'm currently working on (which is currently entitled 'The Great Secret'). We're having an unsettlingly warm Autumn here in the South East of England (breaking news: the hottest ever November day in Britain was recorded today)
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but otherwise, it does look very Traditionally English weather in the foggy streets beyond my window. 'The Great Secret' graphic novel will be finished soon, which I'm very pleased to announce, partly because I'm keen to see what people think and also because the book has taken AGES to make and it'll be a huge relief to sign it off as complete.

I have also been working on a science fiction comedy novel this year; its current working title is the Pink Robots of Loving Death (which gives you a good idea of what it'll be like). I've reached the half-way point on writing it; I've done all the story development and written 40,000 words. I'll post the first chapter of the novel soon on this website, so people can have the opportunity to read a sample. So much to do…

More material added to 'Ancient Astral Secrets' article

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Just a quick note to say I've added more material to the 'The Greek Myths, Method of Loci and stars' article, which I'm now calling 'Ancient Astral Secrets'. The new material continues the quest to understand what the Greek Myths were really about and begins to investigate the connections between the Greek Myths and the earlier Sumerian/Babylonian/Egyptian zodiacs that seemed to inspire and precede them. The new material includes a section on the Dendera Zodiac and finishes with a chat about the Wow! signal. Yes, it's true, those two things are somehow, in a strange way, connected. It begins like this…

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Our ancient past is weird. There are monuments and myths that don't seem to make sense. In the last few years, I've been conducting research to find an explanation for these buildings and odd stories. The article on this website about a laser transmission from Sirius has come from this research (based on the Sirius Red Controversy) along with an article on the Great Pyramid and 2787BC. If both articles are correct, then we're faced with a strange but fascinating fact; that there is intelligent life on other stars in our part of the galaxy. Not only that, but the intelligent creatures living around those stars have taken an interest in Earth during our ancient past.

Science Fiction Future at the BFI in London

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At the end of this month (Sunday May 30th), Simon Ings from the New Scientist magazine is hosting an afternoon of talks and short films on the subject of our ‘science fiction future’ and ‘why stories, games and falsehoods may be our best guide to tomorrow'. This event is part of the 'Sci-Fi-London' festival. The highly successful science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds will be giving the keynote talk and that’ll be followed by short films and panel discussions. The event is taking place on the South Bank in London at the British Film Institute.

The title and strap-line for the event has got me thinking; what is our science-fiction future? More broadly, since a lot of people think science-fiction is about the future, with special emphasis on techie stuff, the question really becomes: What is our future? (note: remember to talk about techie stuff).

Read More...

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The second teaser trailer for the new Star Wars film has appeared and it's good! (I still have a hang up or two about the original film, but I love it all the same) Check out the wrecked Star Destroyer! Check out Harrison Ford! and Carrie Fisher's hand! (possibly) and Mark Hammil's mechanical replacement hand! (possibly) and a-stormtrooper-that's-not-a-cardboard-bad-guy! I'm not excited, I'm very excited…

Wind power is flying high

This week, my post about the Climate Change march on the 7th March started positive and then fell apart into a morass of despairing futility. Sorry! To make amends, here's a really positive article about the progress of renewable power generation.

For a long time now, wind power has been criticised as being an eyesore and an inefficient and hopeless method of power generation, but these criticisms are fast looking ridiculous. For example, wind power is Denmark is so successful that it is meeting their entire energy needs during periods of the year! They constantly monitor and display the output in the country and the net difference between energy produced and energy consumed (source: energinet.dk):

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Read More...

First chapter of 'The Great Secret' graphic novel is available

The first chapter of 'The Great Secret' graphic novel is now available to view on this website. Enjoy! :-)

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Climate Change March - London 7th March

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Next Sunday on the 7th March, there will be another climate change march in London. I really enjoyed going to the last Climate Change march in London. It took place in September 2014 and it was attended by 40,000 people. That sounds a lot but then again, more people go to watch Arsenal play every weekend, so it's not that amazing. To be honest, it's a minuscule number when the subject of the march was stopping something that is going to transform our entire planet for the next thousand years or more into a state of existence that will support only a small fraction of our current population. If we don't do something major soon, children being born today will spend the latter part of their lives on a planet that is a cauldron of extreme weather, famine, war and pestilence. The four horseman often ride together and they will definitely be riding around our globe before the century is out if nothing major is done to halt climate change.
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If anyone is interested in a careful thorough study of what climate is going to do to our planet in the next century-or-so, both politically, geographically and environmentally, I recommend the book 'Climate Wars' by Gwynne Dyer. The book is readable, thorough and quite scary.

It's tempting to say that the worsening of the climate in recent decades has been less than expected and this indicates that perhaps the predictions are excessive and hysterical. Unfortunately, there's a very simply reason why they've been relatively mild; our oceans have been soaking up a lot of the CO2 we've been producing. According to recent measurements, they can't soak up much more, so in the next few decades, warming effects will be far worse than we've experienced up to now. If we collectively make a big effort only when we experience those effects, it will be too late. Tipping points will have already been passed (sea ice melt decreasing reflective albedo of arctic, permafrost melting causing methane release) that will produce more warming in a vicious cycle that we will not be able to stop.

In all honesty, I think climate change cannot be stopped. Fossil fuels have become the backbone of global civilisation, we have thirty-five time as many people as were living at the time of Christ and the majority of people on this planet are not change their lifestyles one iota to reduce their carbon footprint. Perhaps the best way to approach this tragic scenario is as individuals. If we individually decide to cut back our carbon footprint, by avoiding cruises and flights around the world (if possible), by having less children (a major carbon footprint decision!), buying gadgets second-hand, lowering the heating of our homes, cycling and walking more, living closer to work (if possible), sharing houses with others (if possible), repairing our clothes rather than buying new ones, then at least we'll feel at the end of our days that we personally made an effort and have nothing about which to feel ashamed. That's my hope.

Compare and contrast

It's back to the graphic novel work today. I'm redrawing a few pages before I submit the first sample chapter of 'the great secret' to a publisher. Here's today's re-drawn page. I'm pleased how fast I can produce the work nowadays. It's exciting to find that it isn't just the quality of the work that improves when you put in the practice but also the speed at which you can produce the work.

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This might a good moment to compare and contrast the new version with the old one. Here's my original version of the page, drawn in 2013:

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I remember being very pleased with it. I felt I'd gone up a level. Now, eighteen months later, I'm trying to work why I honestly thought it was good. I seem to have drawn a child's toy tugboat and tried to pass it off as an ocean-going passenger liner. Also, the buildings on the right seem to be made out of Lego and half the passengers have clothing made from plasticene. The logo and the left-hand crate aren't bad, but that's about it. Ow!

There's definitely an embarrassing side to making progress as a writer or illustrator. In the early stages, you think you're doing great work and you can't understand why you're not being picked up for publication. 'What's wrong with those publishers, why aren't they interested!?' A year-or-so later, after several hundred more hours of practice, you look at the same work again and the reason is painfully clear. D'oh!

Chloë's Quantum Quest

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Greetings! It's cold here in Blighty but it's beautiful in the sunshine.

The beginning of February is only a week away. I was planning to bring out the second issue of 'Visiting Alien' magazine. Unfortunately, there haven't been enough downloads to justify putting out another issue at the moment; but that's okay, as putting the magazine together and working on its contents has already reaped creative dividends.

While assembling chapter 2 of 'Chloë solves the Universe', I delved a little deeper into the history of the Neumann-Wigner hypothesis. This is the idea, put forward by two brilliant scientists, that our minds must be outside of the physical system and influencing it, in order for ghostly quantum superpositions to turn into real objects like photons and electrons. I discovered that this viewpoint wasn't just the view of two mavericks. It was actually fully or partly supported by a host of famous quantum physicists, astrophysicists and mathematicians. Wolfgang Pauli, John Von Neumann, Max Planck, Arthur Eddington, Erwin Schrödinger, Eugene Wigner and Werner Heisenberg were all of the view that materialism was no longer valid. Quantum physics had effectively killed that belief. Instead, they concluded that reality had to be dependent on the mind, either being a creation of the mind or a separate construction to the mind that the mind actively influenced. They debated about this matter for decades. Like any long-running debate, the views of those involved shifted but for many of them, the mind-first idea became more valid over time, rather than less.

I think it's very surprising that this important debate has never been written about in a popular science book (as far as I know). That may be because popular science books are usually written by senior scientists who are still active in science. The problem with this approach is that it may lend weight to the scientist's views but nowadays, any scientist who espouses a view that isn't materialist is endangering his or her scientific career, whether or not the evidence supports such a view. In recent decades, many senior scientists, doctors, biochemists and neurologists have produced evidence strongly indicating that the materialist view is wrong but in most instances, they've been careful not to make any statements but simply present the evidence. This is a shame, and it's not scientific, but there you go. Eugene Wigner, who won a Nobel Prize in 1963, wrote of this problem in his article 'remarks on the mind-body question':

"In the words of Neils Bohr, 'the word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation'. In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that 'life could only be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws' could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists. The reason is probably that it is an emotional necessity to exalt the problem to which one wants to devote a lifetime. If one admitted anything like the statement that the laws we study in physics and chemistry are limiting laws, similar to the laws of mechanics which exclude the consideration of electrical phenomena, or the laws of macroscopic physics which exclude the consideration of 'atoms', we could not devote ourselves to our study as wholeheartedly as we have in order to recognise any new regularity in nature. The regularity which we are trying to track down must appear the all-important regularity, if we are to pursue it with sufficient devotion to be successful."


I'm therefore rewriting 'Chloë solves the Universe' as 'Chloë's Quantum Quest'. Its central focus will be this historical debate between these Nobel Prize-winning physicists. Chloë will find out about quantum physics and then hear of the Big Argument between the physicists about the nature of reality. When she hears that the mind-first view has been abandoned by modern physicists, she is indignant and decides to do something about it.

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That'll be my job for the next couple of months. Roll on Spring!

Festive Greetings!

Festive Greetings!

As it's the bleak midwinter here, but also the season of good cheer, I thought I'd post these two videos. I'm still amazed at what they show; that some years ago, a polar bear turned up at an arctic outpost and instead of attacking the chained-up sled dogs on the site, he (or she) played with the dogs instead. Not only that, but it's become a regular event!





Best Wishes,

Adrian.

Visiting Alien issue 1 is now available


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After a lot of work and many teas and coffees, I've completed Issue 1 of Visiting Alien, my new quarterly collection of 'science fiction, comedy, ancient mysteries and popular science articles'. A pdf copy of the first issue now available for download. Apologies in advance if you spot some mistakes or certain things don't work. The visiting alien website and the first issue are definitely both in beta. If you spot any glitches, do please let me know on the comments page or via the contact link at the bottom of the website's front page. I used to think I was pretty good at spotting faults, but in recent years, friends of mine have shown me quite how naff I am at proof-reading my own work!


The first issue of the magazine is
free, which is partly to get people interested, but also because some of its contents has already appeared on this website or in other publications. I couldn't really ask people to pay money for material they've already read! :-)

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Issue 1 contains:

Chapter 1 of
the Great Secret, an ancient mysteries graphic novel, set in the 1920's, in which a young man stumbles on an ancient enigma that turns his world upside down.

Chapter 1 of
Chloë Solves the Universe, in which a young girl develops a new theory that explains how the universe works, with a bit of help from her dad and a shed (see illustration below with some decidedly unconvincing cats). This is an updated and expanded version of the material I published on this website a year-or-so ago.

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18% Happier, the science-fiction comedy short story that won a runners-up prize in the first issue of Arc Science Fiction Magazine.

The Lost Emotion, the science-fiction comedy short story that won first prize in the fifth issue of Arc Science Fiction Magazine.

An extended version of my article about the strange possibility that evolution on our planet could have been guided by tailored viruses sent to us from another star, entitled
Darwin and Alien Viruses.

Issue 2 should appear in February 2015. If I don't talk to you before the 25th, have a lovely Christmas!

Digital magazine on the way

Greetings,

Next month, I'm planning to bring out a digital magazine called 'Visiting Alien'. A new issue of the magazine should come out every three months, making it a quarterly publication. The first issue of the magazine will be about eighty pages and contain two science fiction comedy short stories, the first chapter of a serialised graphic novel, the first chapter of an illustrated story about a young girl's quest to understand the Universe and a popular science article exploring some interesting new ideas. At the moment, I'm writing and drawing the entire content of the magazine but I'm happy to involve contributors that fit the magazine's ethos once it's up and running. The first issue of the magazine is
free and subsequent issues will probably be 99p each (which is roughly about €1.1 euros or $1.50). The magazine will be available from its own website at <http://www.visitingalien.com>.

I'll post another blog entry when it's available for download.





Dolphins and self-delusion

The kind people at the New Scientist magazine have published another one of my letters. Here it is:

"In her article exploring whether dolphins live up to their reputation for intelligence, Caroline Williams tells of being forcefully rebuffed by a dolphin after attempting to connect with it (27th September, p46). In this era of climate change, the possibility that dolphins don't want to be friends with humans makes them seem more intelligent and emotionally developed than ever."


The mention of climate change led me to think about its connection with another recent topic,
Milgram's Experiment. For a long time, many psychologists have been deeply unhappy that Milgram's Experiment seems to show that most people would willingly cause pain and death to an unfortunate target if they were gradually coaxed into it by authority figures. Humanity isn't like that, they say, people aren't that bad!

But a form of Milgram's Experiment is going on as we speak. It started a while ago when some people were coaxed into hurting a living target in return for personal reward. The level of harm they inflicted was slowly ramped up. They willingly continued to harm the target, even though they could see how it was suffering. Now, the experiment has reached the stage where the people involved are inflicting lethal levels of harm on the living target. Yet, they are still continuing
even though they profess to be concerned about the target's welfare. The experiment I'm talking about is climate change. The living target suffering is the Earth's biosphere and the people concerned are, well, nearly every affluent individual on the planet.

Perceptive creatures, dolphins.

The Climate March was fun!

Just a quick note to say that the Climate Change March yesterday (Sunday) was lots of fun! The atmosphere was very relaxed and sociable, the sun was out and the whole event felt like a slow moving folk festival without a beer tent. There were lots of fun things to look at. The Hare Krishna electric band whose amps and drum kit were being wheeled along on a small wagon was a hit; musically I'd say they sounded like George Harrison playing good pub rock. I saw Vikings (I think), a polar bear and what looked like a wookie masquerading as an endangered species. Then again, wookies are fictitious, so does that mean they're endangered? Here are some photos:

climate-march-bannersclimate-march-greenpeace

There would have been more but I only had my creaky old mobile phone with me and its battery life is geriatric. I was planning to carry an inflatable globe (see earlier post) and was on the point of buying one in the excellent map shop near Covent Garden on Long Acre when I noticed that it was made in China. Hmm. Buying a lump of plastic carted half-way around the world to use as a symbolic prop in a climate change demonstration didn't seem quite right, so it stayed on the shelf.

Best quote of the day comes from the actress Emma Thompson whose advice on the threat of climate change and the urgent need for serious action was both accurate, succinct and charmingly direct:

“Unless we’re carbon-free by 2030 the world is buggered.”


London Climate Change march - this Sunday

peopleclimateposter

This Sunday (21st September), there will be a climate change march in London and other cities to promote and highlight this huge and incredibly important issue. A lot of different organisations are taking part, including Friends of the Earth, Population Matters and the Campaign against Climate Change. The march is along the Embankment from Temple Place, starting at 12:30pm and will end up in Parliament Square. The whole event should wind up around 3pm. For more detailed info, check out the websites of the various charities etc that are involved or click on the picture above. I've heard talk of all sorts of fun activities during the march, including a samba band, so it might even be fun!

I'll be taking part. I'm hoping (if I can find one) to carry an inflatable Earth with me. It'll make a good symbol and if I get bored, I can bounce it up and down like a beach ball. ;-)

It'd be great if lots and lots of people come along. Although it might not end climate change overnight, or even possibly make any significant change, it's still worth doing. You could even help to reduce the effects of climate change for entirely selfish reasons, as I chatted about in this earlier blog, but you could also do it because you want to be a person who stood up and made an effort. Later on, when things get tough and people start asking questions, you'll know that you tried. That could be a really good feeling to have.

Here's a great article from Jarvis Cocker in today's Guardian newspaper, putting forward his thoughts on Sunday's march.

Here's a more general report from the Guardian, including comments from a host of celebrities.

For those of you who might be motivated by watching a programme about the forthcoming worldwide climate change march on Sunday, here's the official documentary:



For everyone else, please come. It really, really, really, really is important!

September news

Hello everyone,

Autumn is here in the UK and I'm working merrily away on a new version of my graphic novel. It was formerly entitled 'Prof Millpot and the Golden Web' and then 'The Golden Web Mystery' but it's now 'The Great Secret'. I completed a full version of it in May of this year and showed sample pages to several people in the British graphic novel industry. I received some very useful feedback, particularly from Dan Franklin at Jonathan Cape, the Costa Award winning author Bryan Talbot and Corinne Pearlman at Myriad Editions. Their comments made me look again at what I'd done. I was also able to look at the work with fresh eyes, as I'd taken a short break from the 'graphic novel page creation treadmill'. There were clearly several things wrong with the story. There was a lot of poor artwork, the story pace was too fast, there was no clear focus, it was too demanding on the reader, its target audience was unclear... and those were the major points! Since then, I've been working on a new version which, fingers crossed, solves those problems. This new version is called 'The Great Secret' and I'm hoping to finish it by the end of this year, so I'd better crack on! :-)

back-to-the-desk

May news

Hello everyone,

Apologies for being quiet this month, but I've been racing to finish the Golden Web graphic novel and finally, after a week-or-so of reviewing pages and printing out a physical copy, it is actually finished. Hooray!

golden-web-cover-page

The novel is about 210 pages long and is almost all drawn pages, apart from a small glossary in the middle. Once I've tidied up a few final bits and bobs, the next step in the process will be to find a publisher. Hopefully, I'll be able to report on that in the next few months.

My next major project will either be a novel or an animation, or possibly both in parallel.

Cheers!

A.

April news

It's the evening of the last day of April and so I think I'd better produce the April news! ;-)

My graphic novel is half-way through the last chapter and should be complete, as planned, by the end of next month (May). The last chapter switches between New York in 1925 and the Amazon in 1923. It's been fun drawing New York in the twenties; a very elegant time for that city and its new wave of Art Deco architecture.

golden-web-new-york-snow


I've also added a new article on the influence idea website. That one's about the strange correlation between the Influence Idea's description of the creation of the universe and an Ancient Egyptian book's description of the same event.

Next month's news should be exciting as I will hopefully, catastrophes aside, have finished 'Prof and the Golden Web'. Yay! \o/ :-)

Off-Pitch Productions graphic design project

Earlier this year, I designed a logo for a friend. She was setting up a voice-overs company and was looking for advice on a web presence, a banner, logo and the other related bits and bobs required to let people know about her service. Along with an extended waffle about websites, I offered to put together a logo for her. Here's what I came up with:

off-pitch-productions

It was fun to do. I really enjoyed the challenge of creating a visual, iconic version of a organisation or endeavour (in this case, a voice-over company). It was also enjoyable laying out different versions and seeing how small changes can affect the impact of the design.

off-pitch-designs


Fortunately, Alison was very pleased with the result and it is now her official logo. If you need some voice-over work done, you can contact her through her Facebook page and on her website (which is currently under construction).

Although I really enjoyed this graphic design project, I'm not sure I'd want to do it as a profession. I can imagine that some fee-paying clients might get very demanding and I can get tetchy even when helping my friends. I remember talking to a former graphic designer years ago and he did admit there was one pernickety client he'd have happily throttled. Luckily, I don't have to. Hooray! :-)

I'm doing a 100 mile charity cycle ride in August

100-miles-no-folding

On Sunday 10th August, the Prudential Ride-London Surrey 100 mile charity event takes place on closed roads between Central London and the Surrey Hills. I'll be taking part, fundraising for the charity Population Matters, which works to educate, inform and support the aim of a smaller global population. Their mission, stated on their website is to:

'raise awareness of the cost to humanity and other species of unsustainable human numbers and promotes smaller families as part of a sustainable future'


airnimal-chameleon
I'm going to cycle the route on a folding bicycle, an airnimal chameleon to be exact (check out the pic; it's a great bike). I'm even planning to wear a shirt, tie and shorts for a full commuter look (but they won't be cotton. I don't want to collapse with heat exhaustion half way through the course). I thought a folding bicycle would be an interesting choice of bike, as on first glance, it seems a mad, impossible idea, but in fact is perfectly feasible with a little effort, just like reducing our global population.

I should be very visible on the day, as I'm planning to be wearing a big sign saying '100 miles without folding', along with the Population Matters logo. If you'd like to sponsor me, I have a JustGiving web page set up for donations. Wish me luck! :-)

March news

The buds are out, the fruit trees are in blossom and two starlings have been stuffing their faces on the mealworms I've been leaving out on the garden bird table. I'm a bit shocked at them; they're the messiest eaters I've ever seen. Bits of mealworms fly everywhere. The robins and tits, by comparison, are precise and dainty, although they can get very picky. The tits are happy to throw most of the bird-feeder food to the floor and just pick out the bits they like. The robin ignores half the food on the bird table and gives me a hard-stare, as if to say 'this is the best you can supply?' I have felt intimidated by robins in the past. I was digging in a friend's garden and I was harassed out of the garden by a robin who wanted the worms I'd dug up.

Anyway, that's the garden bird news this month. On the writing front, Prof Millpot and the Golden Web is ticking along fine. I'm still on schedule to finish in May.

congregation

It's looking good. I won't tell you why that Catholic congregation is staring blankly at the viewer; you'll have wait for the book to come out.

This month, I've also popped two more small articles on the influence idea website. The first one explains how the influence idea isn't syntropy. This was an odd article to write and a lot of readers won't be interested, but I've added it in for thoroughness's sake. I needed to write it because some Italian scientists contacted me, saying the Influence Idea was a form of syntropy and I had to explain to them that it wasn't. There's also a new article on the site in response to Matt Ridley's assertion that the quandary of life overcoming entropy is explained by the closed system argument - that organisms turn energy into order. I point out in my article that this theory is flawed as energy does not produce order, only more vigorous activity. Waves can pound more strongly on a beach, but that won't make it any more likely that sandcastles will appear.

To be honest, neither of the articles are particularly exciting, but if any readers are keen to study the Influence Idea and how it stands up against competing theories, those articles are for you.

That's all for March. Enjoy the Spring! :-)

February news

Greetings to One and All on this grey but mild February day,

February's been a quiet month for me. I've spent the time focussing on getting more of my graphic novel 'Prof Millpot and the Golden Web' done. It's ticking along nicely and the whole graphic novel should be finished in early May. It'll be great when the project is completed but, to be honest, it has been a slog to keep churning out the pages through this recent winter. I will be super-chuffed to have completed my first graphic novel, but that feeling seems a million miles away when you're sitting at the desk on a wet, rainy day, working on picture 745, knowing there's another 328 to go… But that's me just feeling sorry for myself, so I'll stop! Fortunately, the latest chapter of the story has involved a dark, foggy London so that's been pretty easy to render on the page:

prof-foggy-london

That's all the news for now, apart from the fact that Spring is in the air in London and the daffodils are coming out. It's even stopped raining for a few days. Hooray! :-)

January news

The big fun event this month has been the first ever magazine publication of one of my short stories, 'The Lost Emotion'. Arc science fiction magazine published it in their latest issue. I've already waffled away about it here but it's still a fresh event so I'm gonna gush a little more. Hooray!

influence-gecko
Also this month, I've added some more articles to my influence idea website. I've stuck them in the site's blog for now but I'll add them in to the appropriate page sometime soon. The first article was about Benjamin Libet's fascinating experiments on conscious decision making and the second article was about young chicks and a robot, which should appeal to many of the male engineers among you. ;-).

That's all I can think of for now. I hope everyone's enjoying the beginning of this new year!

Best Regards,

A.

'The Lost Emotion' is in the latest issue of Arc Science-Fiction magazine

arc-2-1-cover
Good news! After a long break, Arc science-fiction magazine is back and my short story - 'The Lost Emotion' - is in its new issue, 'Exit Strategies'. This story won their last short-story competition, back in the winter of 2012-2013, for which I am very grateful. Arc science-fiction magazine is a digital publication, developed by the staff at New Scientist magazine. You won't see it on the shelves of WH Smiths, but you can buy a copy at zinio.com and download it to your computer or tablet device. It's also available for Kindle at Amazon.

'The Lost Emotion' is about the discovery of a lost emotion by a corporate researcher. In a future world where corporations can patent emotions, a gifted employee decides to seek out emotions lost to humanity. After finding what he can amongst the primitive tribes remote from civilisation, he stumbles upon an obscure piece of research. The science paper states that stimulating the muscles of a person's face can trigger an associated emotion for that person. For example, if someone makes a smiling face, they will actually feel happier as a result [this is perfectly true!]. To take advantage of this strange phenomenon, the researcher constructs a device that can stimulate any combination of a person's facial muscles. By systematically testing every combination of muscles on a test subject's face, he hopes to discover a muscle combination that will trigger, in that subject, a hitherto lost emotion. The researcher tests it on a young man, the narrator of the story. After many days fruitless testing, they discover a new emotion, one that profoundly changes the young man's viewpoint. Initially, the young man is overwhelmed by what he feels but, like Pandora's Box, this new knowledge brings all sorts of problems.

As ever, any and all feedback is most appreciated (but please don't swear too much… :-).

Graphic novel progress

After a few more weeks of solid drawing and vectoring, the prologue of 'Prof Millpot and the Golden Web' is now complete. I'd put it off for quite a while, as I wasn't sure whether it was necessary or not, but then recently decided after all that it was worth doing. That means that chapters One to Six (plus prologue) are complete. Next stop, chapter seven. There are twelve chapters planned in all. Unless another project gets in the way, the graphic novel should be finished in the Summer of this year.

After completing the prologue, I took a short break from drawing story pages and knocked together a pastiche of a Mucha illustration. Mucha was a wonderful artist and was active in the 1920's, when the story takes place, and so I thought it would be fun to do a Prof version of one of his illustrations.

That's all the graphic novel news for now; I'll post info on other bits and bobs in the next few days.

gw-chp1-header

www.theinfluenceidea.com is now live

While I was writing the illustrated story 'Schrödinger’s Shed' this year, I stumbled upon a very interesting idea. The idea is as follows:

The Law of Entropy states that everything in the Universe gets increasingly disordered over time. This is an immutable law. Every physical thing in existence should get messier and less organised from now until the end of Time.

But… There's a big problem with this Law. Something in the Universe doesn't obey that law at all. In fact, it does completely the opposite. Life doesn't get more disordered over time, it gets more ordered. Read More...

December news

Happy Christmas Festive Period Everyone!

I haven’t got any new announcements to pass on, apart from a reminder that my short story ‘The Lost Emotion’ should be due out next month in the next issue of Arc science fiction magazine, if all goes to plan.

For those interested in how my graphic novel ‘Prof Millpot and the Golden Web’ is getting on, here’s the latest completed page:

prof-reading-room

Part 1 of the book is complete, and Part 2 is planned out, ready for artwork. There’s a hundred pages of artwork to do, so it’ll be about six months before the whole story is finished.

I can’t think of anything else to mention. I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and New Year!

Arc Magazine 2.1 is due 22nd Jan 2014

sci-fi-news-logo
After quite a long wait and a fair bit of speculation, a date for the next issue of Arc Science Fiction magazine has appeared on the Arc blog. The next issue, entitled ‘Exit Strategies’, should be released on the 22nd January 2014. According to the information I have to hand, my short story ‘The Lost Emotion’ should appear in its pages. If there’s any change to this, I’ll post an update here. Exciting! :-)

October news

Hello All,

It’s been a quiet but busy October for me, here in sunny London. I’ve completed Part 1 of ‘Prof Millpot and the Golden Web’. I’ll begin working on Part 2 shortly with a tentative completion date of April next year. Before then, I’m spending a short time reviewing ‘Simon’s Brain’, my first science-fiction novel. A literary agent has asked me to send her the first few chapters of the novel and it needs a polishing up before it’s packaged up and sent out the door (Actually, it’ll probably just be emailed, but that doesn’t sound as evocative. Bytes just don’t have much, well, bite).

If a literary agent does take on ‘Simon’s Brain’ or ‘Prof Millpot and the Golden Web’, I’ll post it here.

Enjoy November!

Schrodinger's Shed is complete

schrodingers-shed-banner
Schrödinger’s Shed is now complete. It’s an illustrated story that explores an interesting idea; that a controversial but logically sound solution to the observer problem in quantum physics also can solve a problem in another field, that of the life-entropy paradox.

For those readers that would like an idea of what the theory is now, rather than having to read the whole story, here it is in a few sentences: Quantum physics tells us that nothing is real until it is observed. Several famous physicists concluded that our minds must be affecting the quantum events to make them physically real. While exploring this idea, I wondered what would be the consequences if our minds could affect quantum events in general. I then noticed that key processes associated with life - water, proteins, DNA, neurons - are all heavily influenced in their structure and activity by quantum events. I realised that this could explain why life works counter to entropy, the inevitable process of increasing disorder that affects every physical thing in the universe. In other words, through the positive influence of minds, life is able to overcome the negative effects of entropy.

The whole story, at the moment, is available to read on my website. If I do get a publisher interested, I’ll probably have to remove all but a sample amount. Until then, it’s available to read in its entirety (but still copyrighted!). :-)

Part1 of 'Prof Millpot & The Golden Web' is complete!

Part1 of ‘Prof Millpot and the Golden Web’ is complete. It’s about a hundred pages long so far. Part2, completing the story, should be done by next April (as a rough guess). Here’s the last page of Part1:

prof-watches-vickers

I think the quality of the artwork has really improved over the course of drawing Part1. As Neil Gaiman has pointed out, the work you do while you’re not enjoying the process is just as good as the work you do when you are enjoying it, and I was definitely dragging my heels over the last fifteen pages of Part 1. A fair amount of fatigue had crept in, but I think the enthusiasm will be back after a short break.

I’m going to start Part2 in November. Until then, I’ll do something different. Until then, best wishes!

September news

prof-reads-shock-small
Beautiful skies here in London this month. On the creative front, I’ve been working hard to complete Part 1 of ‘Prof Millpot and the Golden Web’, which should add up to about 110 pages. Part 2, in which Prof returns to England and the plot thickens like a dodgy stew, will be about another 70 pages (I think) and that’ll conclude the story. Here’s a few frames to give you an idea of how it’s going:

prof-sample-chp5

I had to alter it a little to prevent any plot-spoiling. :-)

Apart from that, it’s been a pretty quiet month. Have a good Autumn!

August news

I got paid some money! Hooray! The Hope & Glory PR company have very promptly paid me for the article I mentioned in my July news. I’m extremely pleased as I was half expecting that, being a relatively unknown freelance writer, I would have trouble getting paid for a commission because I don’t have a gang of legal people to chase up bills. Fortunately, Hope & Glory have been faultless in their approach to the commission, for which I am extremely grateful. The cheque reminded me of a wonderfully informative article in BrainPickings.org with the writer Ray Bradbury. Here’s Ray talking about the first decade of his life as a full-time writer: Read More...

July news

Wow! July has stormed by. It’s been very hot here in London and I’ve had to retreat from my normal writing/drawing spot in the conservatory to the kitchen where it’s cooler.

I’m still working on the graphic novel. I’ll pop yesterday’s picture at the end of this post so you can see how I’m getting on.

On the science-fiction front, I was commissioned this month by the hope and glory PR company, on behalf of O2 mobile, to write a 1,000 word piece on the subject of the new 4G wireless technology. It’ll be part of half-a-dozen pieces on that topic, mostly written by experts in the field, that’ll be illustrated and turned into an ebook. If it does all come together, I’ll post a link to it in a later blog.

That’s all I can think of for now. For all those Northern Hemisphere people out there, have a great Summer holidays! :-)

golden-web-3-15

A series of interesting articles

Afternoon!

To make up for a lack of blog entries over the last year, I thought I’d try to post an interesting article every few days on this blog. They won’t be written by me, at least the vast majority won’t, as I really want to focus on the graphic novel until it’s complete. Also, there’s no reason to write an article on a particle idea if someone else has already covered that idea successfully.

All the article will be related to the mind, consciousness, strange anomalies and everything we’re learning about the world around us that is fascinating but also raises some thorny questions. Along with the link to the article, I’ll also pop in a short description to summarise the article’s content.

Off we go!...

June news

Greetings everyone!

Here’s another picture from ‘Prof Millpot and the Golden Web’. I’ve now reached page 52. It’s ticking along nicely and I should reach 100+ pages by late autumn.

mechanical-stars

Still no sign of Arc Magazine issue 2.1 containing my story. I’ll post a note when it appears on the digital (and possibly physical) news stands. They did pay me a very substantial prize for the short story and things are going on in the background, so I’m guessing it will appear soon!

I’ve added a new article to the Strange Anomalies section called The Tryptamine Key; something for those of you out there interested in the borders of reality, dreams and ayahuasca. I’ll also add an article about maize soon, along with info on near death experiences.

Schrodinger’s Shed, an illustrated story exploring the logical consequences of quantum physics is still progressing well.

That’s all I can think of for now. Enjoy the long days!

May news

Greetings All,

May has come to an end and the days are warm, long and sunny here in London. I don’t have a lot of news to report; the next issue of Arc Science Fiction magazine still isn’t out so everyone (including me) will have to wait a bit longer to read the print version of my short story ’The Lost Emotion’. I think the delay is due to the Arc team carrying out a major re-vamp of the magazine. Hopefully, Arc Issue 2.1 will burst on to our digital, and possibly physical, shelves in June.
Read More...

April news

Greetings All,

The cold weather has finally eased off (Hooray!). Now that the studio is hospitable again and no longer decorated with icicles, I’ve been working on the
graphic novel again. I haven’t posted the new work but I will post a new version of Chapter One when it’s done. I’ve also made some changes to the beginning of Simon’s Brain, my first science fiction novel. There’s more to do on that but it’s a lower priority than the graphic novel so I’ve no idea when it’ll happen. I’ve also updated Schrödinger’s Shed, an illustrated exploration of the fundamental questions of reality by a nine-year-old girl and her dad, in his shed. It isn’t finished yet but I’m pleased with where it’s going.

There’s also some more activity at
Arc Science Fiction magazine. I’ve written a book review for them and an edited version is up on their site now. I will have some more Arc related news to announce soon. I’ll post the info as a blog entry once Arc have released their next issue.

Um, what else? I’ve written 10,000 words of what looks to be a new sci-fi novella called ‘The Tri’. In it, a group of astronauts return from Titan to find that the Earth has become a tough, harsh environment and humankind has adapted to survive in it in strange (and satirically humorous) ways.

That’s all I can think of. Enjoy the rest of April!

Update: I’ve been Mr Quiet on this, so that it doesn’t look like I’m stealing Arc magazine’s thunder, but they’ve now mentioned it, so I can. At the end of my book review on the Arc blog site, they say:

“Look out for Adrian Ellis’s competition-winning short story The Lost Emotion in the next issue of Arc, coming soon.”


So there you go, you have been warned!

Graphic novel is ticking along


graphic-work-logo
Hi All,

For those interested to know how the graphic novel is progressing after reading
the sample first chapter, it’s ticking along fine. I’m still working on the story and producing thumbnail versions of the pages, along with some pencil-drawn versions of full pages. Here’s an example frame:

london-bridge-1920s

Read More...

New graphic novel is underway

After spending the last six months writing a science fiction novel, I’ve started 2013 with a new big project; a graphic novel. I’ve now finished the first chapter and it’s available to read on this web site. Enjoy!

c-badge-prof-millpot

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

December has been and gone and it’s now 2013. The world hasn’t ended (phew!) although, when you think about it, with the extensive and thorough scientific information that shows us that our climate is heading inexorably towards planetary Armageddon, the world as we know it has just ended; it’s just that the process will take a couple of centuries, rather than 24 hours. Civilization is officially kaput, there’s just a bit of reshuffling to be done in the next 200 years to get it all in place. Read More...

The novel is complete!

I’ve finished the novel. Hooray! It’s called ‘Simon’s Brain’, is 82,000 words long and is a comedy thriller about one young man who is the sole person on the Earth who notices that the entire human race has been infected by an alien parasite, due to his unique property of having almost no brain whatsoever. I’ve submitted it to the Terry Pratchett / Transworld ‘Anywhere but here, anywhen but now’ competition and my fingers are crossed until Spring next year, or at least until cramp sets in. The novel is very much in the style of the science fiction short stories I wrote this Spring.

Unlike earlier novel-length work I’ve done, I made a special effort to write a comprehensive synopsis - 8,000 words long - for ‘Simon’s Brain’ before I started writing the novel itself. This has been a life-saver. In the past, I often tried to make the story up as I wrote the novel and I soon got into terrible difficulties, having to re-write entire chapters because I’d strayed so far from my original idea. This time, with a detailed synopsis on the desk, so to speak, I never strayed very far and therefore had to do very little re-writing, which kept the prose fresh and kept me away from the ‘tearing the hair out’ situations.

I’m very pleased with ‘
Simon’s Brain’. I think it’s the first truly professional novel I’ve written.

That’s it for now, enjoy the rest of November!

New website

Hello!

Just to let you know that I’ve patched together a new look for the website. I’ve also slimmed down some of the content, partly because a fair chunk of the work was old and, to be honest, not that great. I
am pleased with the batch of science fiction short stories I wrote this year and so they’re definitely available. I’m still working on my new novel - currently entitled ‘Nigel’s Brain’ - which will hopefully be ready in November. I’m planning to enter it for the Terry Pratchett - Transworld Publishing ‘Anywhere but here, anywhen but now’ competition. After that, I’ll hopefully start work on a past-lives thriller, if I don’t do the other science-fiction project I want to do, or the graphic novel…

New science fiction project

Apologies for not posting anything for a while but I’m working furiously on a new project. After the success of winning a runners-up prize in the first Arc magazine short story competition, I’ve focussed on writing some more science fiction short stories. Unfortunately, I can’t post them on this website yet as it makes them ineligible for submission to many short-story science fiction magazines; if you’ve put it on-line in any form, they don’t want it in their magazine. Because of that, I’ll only be posting the stories when they’ve already been published elsewhere.

On a more positive note, several of these new short-stories should be available soon (fingers crossed) in a new science-fiction magazine. I’ll post information on that when things have proceeded to the next step.

Enjoy the week!

'18% happier' wins a prize in the 'Arc' magazine short story competition

Good news! My short story ’18% happier’ has won a runners-up prize in the recent ‘Arc’ magazine short story competition. £200 should be wending its way to me soon but more importantly, it’s a great endorsement. For anyone interested in the science fiction genre, Arc magazine is a new digital quarterly magazine created by the people at NewScientist magazine, focussing on science fiction stories and non-fiction articles. You can download a copy of it to your computer/tablet/phone etc through the Zinio service.

Here’s the announcement of the competition results from Simon Ings, the editor:

Today we are delighted to announce the results of the first Arc/Tomorrow Project short story competition. While we are a quarterly we have virtually no room in Arc for writing that comes at us from odd angles. The competition is the one chance we have at the moment of developing new talent. So how did it go? Pretty impressive, I'd say: we received around a hundred proper stories (none of your "flash fiction" here), representing thousands of hours of effort and struggle (and, I hope, at least some fleeting pleasure).

Was choosing the shortlist difficult? No. The first rule of judging and reading fiction (and saying this puts the fear of God into new writers - but it's true) is that you can tell within seconds if a story is alive. It's something to do with the way the prose and the ideas lock together. It's a rhythm, a cadence, something you only pick up by constant practice - and it's unmistakable. If the competition hadn't gone well, we'd have been wading through passable stories for days. As it is, our shortlist is made up entirely of stories that sing.

And while we were reading, half a world away in San Francisco,
the Tomorrow Project was building our new website. Together, Arc and the Tomorrow Project will be generating conversations around our winning fiction, giving writers an exciting, inspirational platform and valuable feedback on their work. All Arc's shortlisted stories are here.

I thought that was a very encouraging comment from Simon. Insightful criticism is probably the most important feedback - so a writer can improve their work - but I never say no to a whopping big compliment.

The story is available to read as a pdf from their website. You can also read it on my webpage.

I’ll let everyone know about any more related news when it comes out.

Enjoy your day!

Sci-fi short stories are go...

blogEntryThumbnailJust a quick note to say that the graphic novel has had to take a back seat (again) as I'm now working on some humorous science-fiction short stories in a similar vein to '18% happier'. That story has had a lot of good feedback (more on that soon) and so I feel I should go with the flow and write some more of that ilk. Hopefully, I'll come up with a dozen or so and put them together in a collection.

Until then, here's the emblem/logo I came up with for the collection: Read More...

The Golden web: Part 1 is now available on the FeedARead website

Morning all!


Just a quick note to say The Golden Web: Part 1, my non-fiction investigation into ancient mysteries, is now available to buy. I could do another proof read but I don't think that's necessary. At the moment, the book is only available from FeedARead's website (they're handling the publishing) but it should soon be available from Amazon.co.uk and major booksellers. It is also available from Amazon.co.uk as a digital download but I need to test the quality of the file first (by getting a friend with a KIndle to buy a copy). Once all that's sorted and checked, I'll add a banner to my website and populate the Golden Web page with the appropriate information.

I'll also improve the content on the Golden Web page on this website so that it's more informative. To be honest, you really need to read the book but I'll do what I can.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

The updated manuscript for 'Faery Engines' is now complete and is wending its way to the literary agent. It's been fun to update it; I've learnt a few more things (I think!) about writing just from doing the update. This latest version of the fantasy comedy is now much more character driven than it was before. Previously, everything in the story was aimed at the fun ideas. Now, I've made the relationship between the main characters an important part of the book with the fun ideas as a backdrop to their interactions. Hopefully, these changes will improve readers' enjoyment of the story.

Now the fantasy comedy update has been completed, at least for now, my next tasks are getting 'The Golden Web' available for purchase and writing a new script for the television script agent. I'll post any important news regarding those projects as and when they occur.
Have a great 2012!

A.

New website design and intense scribbling!

You've probably already noticed this but I've put together a new design for the website. I think I got bored with the old one. I hope you like the new look. Also, a London literary agency has written to me saying that they liked the sample chapters I sent them of 'Faery Engines' and want to read the whole manuscript. It's very welcome news! They may still not want to represent me but it's a big step forward for my first fiction novel. The only problem is, everything in the manuscript apart from the sample chapters is out of date so I have to do a thorough revision of the document. I'm therefore busy, but motivated. :)

'The Golden Web: Part 1' is nearing publication

My non-fiction book 'The Golden Web' is nearing publication through Amazon.com. I've ordered a proof copy which should arrive in the next week. Once that's been checked, the book should then be available through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, both in paperback form and digital download. I'm planning on setting up a website for that book as part of its promotion, along with some advertising in appropriate magazines. I'll also try to submit articles to those same magazines that relate to the book, to generate interest.


I've tried to keep the book light-hearted, even though it puts forward a radical new theory. As an example of this approach, here's the blurb I'll be putting in the description field:

Read More...

My sci-fi now competition entry, 'The film that scared me the most', won!

Just a quick note to say that my competition entry for the sci-fi now competition, 'the film that scared me the most', won! A bag of blu-ray, books and other merchandise is on its way to my door.

Read More...

October news

Hope everyone's enjoying their Autumn (unless you're in the Southern Hemisphere in which case I hope you're enjoying your Spring). Just to let everyone know that I've updated/made new pages describing my progress with my Ancient Mysteries story, my fantasy comedy and my comedy scripts. I've also added an article talking about some of what I've learnt through several years of writing. I've already blogged about the subject here but I thought I'd give it its own page. Apart from that, I'm furiously working on several projects and drowning my sorrows over regular rejections with large amounts of tea. I've also been tearing a shed apart. For anyone frustrated and angered about the modern world and the human condition, I strongly recommend tearing a shed apart. One caveat; choose a rotten one. They come apart fairly easily...

My Star Wars: conception article is on the Sci Fi now website

A modified version of my earlier article: Star Wars is about conception is now on the Sci Fi Now website. They've run a series of entries from different people describing their memories of that great film. It's fun and a bit weird to see my musings on a professional website. Fortunately, it seems to be liked so far! :) Read More...

I've joined CND

I've joined C.N.D, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. I'm not an impulsive type (I bought a new bicycle frame last week after two years of searching around and weighing up the pro's and cons) and joining CND has also taken years of thought. Read More...

Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story 2011

Here's my four page entry for the 2011 Jonathan Cape Graphic Short story competition. I entered the competition last year with a mad dash entry reported here. This year, I've tried to make it a little more adult, more about an emotional drama. Read More...

New twitter account - oddscribble

I've set up a new Twitter account. I'm 'oddscribble'. I'm not sure how much I'll use it but feel free to follow me (and I'll try and follow you). I'll add twitter features to this website in the near future.

Isn't it a lovely day? :)

Graphic novel progress - first chapter done

Well, I've been living like a hermit for the last two months but it has produced something. Here's the first chapter of the graphic novel 'Cziltang Bone and the Reality Shifter' that I've been working on. I was going to make it available as a pdf but the file's 60Mb so, instead, I've put in this post as screen shots. Read More...

The graphic novel is finally underway

Just a squidgen of news to tell you that after months of other things taking priority like submissions, television comedies and other bits and bobs, I've finally got started on a graphic novel. After doing the excellent Arvon foundation graphic novel course last Autumn, I've been all fired up to write and illustrate a graphic novel. (I've blogged about the Arvon course here) and I'm still keen. The plan is to spend March to September doing the novel. It's a long time but it's a big undertaking. There'll be about one hundred and sixty pages to draw.

At the moment, I have a first draft of the script and I'm producing sample pages exploring the various different ways I can illustrate the graphic novel. There are many possible approaches. For example, I could paint each page with gouache or watercolour. That is the approach taken (I think) by the excellent graphic novel Blacksad, talked about here. Alternatively, I could pencil draw a page, ink it manually, scan it in and colour it on the computer. That's the approach used by Kazuo Ishiguro for his Copper series, explained here. A third approach is to do the pencil sketch, scan it in, create a vector art black line version of the illustration and then colour that on the computer. Which one is best? I've no idea. I think it'll almost certainly be a trade-off between quality vs time. Beautiful fine art on every page would be good, but not if each page takes a week. That would stretch the time spent on the graphic novel to three years! I need to aim at a page a day.

I'll soon be posting sample work on this site. Feedback is most appreciated!

Just the two of us - TV comedy script

During last month and this month, the BBC have been running a television sitcom or 'narrative comedy' competition. Even though I haven't had much luck with the BBC up to now, I'm still very keen to keep trying. For this competition, the BBC wanted entrants to write a one page description of a narrative comedy idea along with a sample episode of between fifteen and thirty pages. The full details are here at the Laughing Stock website. I've now submitted an entry called 'Just the two of us'. Read More...

Feedback from Cornerhouse theatre

I've got some feedback from the Cornerhouse theatre in Surbiton about the play I sent them entitled 'Can't see, won't see'. You can read it here: Can't see, won't see. Unfortunately, they won't be putting it on. This isn't much of a surprise since I only spotted at the last minute before submission that they were after family friendly plays!

Read More...

Copper Book just keeps on developing

There's nothing like chatting to people about your work to really get you interested in it again. I visited the london expo last sunday at the Excel centre in docklands. During my meanderings around the comic village stands, I struck up a conversation with the owner of the Mogzilla publishing company. They publish novels for a young readership and were happy to take a lot at Copper Book. They couldn't promise anything and didn't take on too many authors at a time, but they were willing to see what I've got. Read More...

Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story competition

When the Arvon graphic novel course finished, I was all ready and motivated to do some comic work. Unfortunately, a very sad event occurred on the way back which I won't go into in a blog. Suffice it to say, that strongly affected the whole of the next week. What I was able to do though was get together an entry for the Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story competition. The competition had been recommended to me on the course by Hannah Berry and I checked the details on my return home. I had a little over a week to produce a four page graphic short story. Yikes! I decided there wasn't time to think up a new story. I would have to use one I'd already written. In the end, I went for the frog poem I'd submitted to a climate change competition.

Here's what I produced: Read More...

The Arvon Graphic Novel course was great!

On the week beginning the 20th September, I went on an Arvon Foundation Graphic Novel course (http://www.arvonfoundation.org/) at their Shropshire centre. It was very good. The tutors - Bryan Talbot and Hannah Berry - were encouraging, knowledgeable and lots of fun to be with. The emphasis of the course was on the writing side (since Arvon is for writers) and so we explored story structure, editing, setting, dialogue and character. I think what impressed me most about the course was the atmosphere of the graphic novel and comic world. It seemed far more down-to-earth, relaxed and a collection of enthusiasts than other creative areas. Read More...

New site!

Hello everyone!

This is the new version of my web site. Unfortunately, the old version suffered a terminal crash when WordPress (the blogging engine software) suggested that I upgrade my version of the software. I dutifully agreed. The software upgrade occurred and promptly crashed my site. I tried to apply the fixes. I then tried to install a clean version. I then tried to install the previous version. All to no avail. As a result of this, I've decided to take the opportunity to use a different web creation system. Instead of using WordPress to run the blog and iWeb to create the static pages, I'm now going to use RapidWeaver to do everything. Fingers crossed, it'll produce a better, easier to maintain and more stable site than the previous setup.

This currently isn't the final layout of the site. It's simply a temporary, simple version until the final layout is completed.

All my old blog entries will be recreated on the new site. It'll make a mess of any sense of chronology for events, but most of the entries weren't specifically about particular dates, so I don't think it'll be too big a problem.

Let me know what you think! There'll be a contact page as in the past if you don't know my email address.