Planet Nine and the end of our last ice age

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Today's Guardian newspaper reports on a new twist in the theory that a massive ninth planet exists in our solar system, travelling in a very long (17,000 year) orbit around our sun. At the beginning of this year, astronomers put forward the idea that a massive planet, a little smaller than Neptune, was causing the strange orbits of objects in our Kuiper belt; the remote region at the edge of our solar system (only beaten by the even more remote Oort Cloud).

This week, the researchers explained that the existence of such a planet also explained the strange tilt of our sun in relation to our known planets. This new supporting fact makes the 'Planet Nine' hypothesis (not planet ten as pluto is officially no longer a planet) much more convincing. Here's the video explaining what they've found:



The reason I'm blogging about this, apart from it being really interesting new science, is that it could be the missing piece in the strange events at the end of our last ice age. About 12,000 years ago, according to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, our planet was showered with a large number of meteorites. These meteorites caused huge wildfires, threw up a lot of soot and dust into the atmosphere and cooled the planet for many years. In my book, 'how science shows…', I point out that Plato's ancient dialogues ‘Timaeus’ and 'Critias' - the source of the legends about Atlantis - also talk about a 'declination of the bodies' in the sky and a corresponding conflagration on the Earth in very ancient times. In one passage, the Ancient Egyptian priest states:

“There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals.”

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Up until now, the reason that our planet was bombarded by asteroids in 10,000 BC was unknown. I therefore had to speculate in the book as to its cause, but this latest research about Planet Nine could be the missing piece of the jigsaw.

It is likely that Planet Nine, if it does exist, is currently at the far side of its orbit, which would explain why astronomers haven't spotted it. If this is correct, then Planet Nine would have entered our solar system around 10,000 ago (approximately), the period of the Younger Dryas impact event. What's more, the arrival of a massive planet in our solar system, travelling through our Kuiper Belt, would understandably throw a lot of planetoids and asteroids out of their normal orbits. These objects could then have plunged into the inner solar system and bombarded our planet. It all fits together very well. If the evidence is correct, then the Younger Dryas Impact Event did happen in 10,000 BC and it was caused by Planet Nine's arrival in our solar system.

This theory also leads to a very strange possibility; that Zechariah Sitchin's theory about a mysterious extra planet, Nibiru, that he states is written about in the Ancient Sumerian records, may not be as far-fetched as it seems. I haven't studied his work in detail so I can't comment further, but it is another possible area of interest.

Fascinating stuff! :-)

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.

The simple logic of a new view of reality

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In the last two months, I've been receiving some good feedback on my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong'. People do seem to be enjoying the humour and the clear explanation of the scientific topics. So far, no one's complimented me on my illustrations, which is a bit disappointing :-(.(Maybe they appreciate them subconsciously?) but otherwise, the comments have been complimentary and encouraging.

One interesting pattern so far in the feedback is that readers will read the whole of the book but then take issue over a minor point, rather than discuss the book's core points. For example, readers have taken issue over the idea that the Ancient Egyptians actually sent their pharaoh god's spirit to Thuban on a ray of light. I do make it clear that such an idea cannot be proven with science and remains simply a supposition, a reporting of the Ancient Egyptian belief. The actual solid evidence on that topic shows only that the Ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid to beam a ray of light at the star Thuban in 2787 BC, the moment in history when it was actually, physically possible to send a ray of light successfully to another star from a fixed structure located on Earth.

Even though the 'Great Pyramid, Thuban and 2787BC' theory is solid and significant, it's not the truly important element of the book. I'm going to describe, below, THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE BOOK in just three statements. These statements are entirely scientific but their conclusion is profound. Here goes:

1) Everything physical in the universe, if left to its own devices, becomes more disordered over time. This is known as the Law of Entropy or 'the Second Law of Thermodynamics'.

2) But there is a problem; Life becomes more ordered over time. Life turns simple matter (gases, water) into highly complex structures (DNA, proteins, cells). The phenomena of Life cannot be explained away as a result of the sun's energy, as energy and order are not related; a hot gas is no more ordered than a cold gas. In fact, increasing energy invariably increases disorder, not the other way round. Life's ordering effect therefore cannot be coming from a purely physical cause.

3) Therefore, since Life is
increasing order in our universe and everything in our universe, if left to its own devices, decreases in order, then Life must be being influenced by something outside of our universe, outside of physical reality.

It's definitely worth reading the third statement more than once, to get one's head around it. Once one has done that, the statement's consequences start to take shape and they are extensive and profound. 'How science shows' explores some of those consequences but not all (there's too many to fit in one book!).

Although the above, third statement may seem controversial, in many ways, science established that conclusion decades ago. In cosmology, the riddles of the Baryon Asymmetry Problem, the Fine Tuning Problem and Boltzmann's Well-Ordered Universe Problem can only be solved by accepting that an intelligence created our universe and that intelligence continued to exert a positive, organising influence over the universe. For more on that topic, do please read this earlier blog post.

Therefore, it can be scientifically proven that Materialism, the idea that only physical things exist, is wrong. Materialism is impossible in our universe. Our universe has to have been created by an organising intelligence, originating from outside of physical reality. In addition, all living things in our universe have to be physical manifestations of organising influences originating from outside of physical reality; that's the only way they can exist and defy entropy, according to our scientific understanding.

What's fascinating is that once a person accepts the above three statements, then everything about our lives and reality becomes profoundly different; that's why I chose such a provocative title to the book. All the extra stuff in 'How Science Shows…' about pyramids and Atlantis and corn-on-the-cob is fun and valid, but of secondary importance to the third statement written out above. It's that statement that is so important, as it is the Galileo's Telescope that brings the Holy Church of Materialism and Atheism crashing down to the ground. Viva La Revolution! ;-)

Adrian Ellis, 12th Oct 2016

Someone made the cake

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This week, I though it would be good to blog about cosmology. I've been reading week's New Scientist magazine for years. In its pages, on a regular basis, there'll be an article on how physicists are trying to come up with a solution to solve thorny problems regarding the Big Bang; the beginning of our universe. Unfortunately, this has been going on for literally decades with no sign of any significant progress. A big part of the problem is that there are several glaring problems with the current, Materialist view of the universe's birth. They are 'Boltzmann's Well Ordered Universe Problem', 'The Baryon Asymmetry Problem' and the 'Fine-Tuning Problem.' These problems are clear, straightforward and simply refuse to go away. What's interesting is that they can all be solved if one adopts a particular Dualist view of the universe. In my new non-fiction book, 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong', I've explained how that works and I thought it would be fun to post it here:

Scrambled Egg

At the beginning of the twentieth century, several astronomers noticed something odd about galaxies. When they studied the motion of remote galaxies by measuring their red shift (similar to a Doppler Shift), it seemed that all the galaxies were all moving away from us and each other. There seemed to be only one conclusion, that the universe itself was expanding. It was as if the universe was like the surface of a balloon and everything on that surface was moving away from everything else as the universe ‘inflated’.

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This startling fact did match a consequence of Albert Einstein’s General Relativity, which predicted that the whole universe should be expanding. In 1927, Georges Lemaître, a Belgian Catholic Priest and astrophysicist, took note of this new information. He concluded that if everything in the universe is expanding away from every other thing in the universe, then the universe must have originally started from a single point. Lemaître called this single point from which the universe sprang the ‘Primeval Atom’ or ‘Cosmic Egg’. These names are evocative and apt, but they aren’t half as much fun as ‘Big Bang’. This description was coined by astronomer Fred Hoyle during a 1949 BBC radio broadcast. Hoyle didn’t believe the universe was expanding and his choice of phrase, whether deliberate or not, wasn’t exactly complimentary or scientifically accurate. Since space and time also started at that first moment, nothing had any size, nor was there anything to explode into, thus making a ‘big bang’ impossible on all counts. Nevertheless, the phrase stuck. Read More...

Psi-Earth - 5 - Technology - Smartphones

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Just to recap, Psi-Earth is an Alternative Earth story where the world is the same as the modern-day but it is a world where the ideas I've developed in my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' are correct and are being actively used by secret groups. The tragedy of the 'Psi-Earth' story is that human-kind is capable of psi-abilities but unfortunately, secret and powerful groups are keeping humanity blind to their own abilities in order that the ones who do use psi-abilities can maintain a critical advantage and control of power on Earth. It's a dark, dramatic, tense scenario that could make a very good novel or two. Rather than hide its development away in a notebook, I thought I'd blog its development instead while I work on my science fiction comedy novel.

In the first blog article, I talked about the basic premise of the story. In the second article, I described a potential main character, Xander, and the dangers he faced as soon as secret and powerful group became aware of his progression as a remote viewer. So far in the story, Xander has narrowly avoided being killed after being led into a trap by henchman working for one of the secret elite groups, or at least he thinks he avoided a trap. As every danger in the story is elusive and strange, it's very difficult for the main characters to be sure that they are in danger. In this way, the story is a lot like a classic spy story where agents must make life-or-death decisions based on the most enigmatic of clues. In the third article, I described part of the historical background for the Psi-Earth and the origins of the secret elite groups from the early and very influential Mystery Religions of Antiquity. In the fourth article, I talked about identity chips and how each person in the developed world could have on inside themselves without knowing it.

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This week’s blog article on ‘Psi Earth’ continues the subject of technology and is all about smartphones.

In the entire history of surveillance and population control, nothing comes close to the power of the smartphone. It combines the influencing power of the television, the surveillance power of the secreted bug and many more besides. Infamous secret elites throughout history would have given their right eye to have access to a device that the common masses would willingly walk around with all day, a device that they would constantly stare at and a device from which they would gain most of their knowledge of what was going on. The potent combination of a smartphone and the social networking system, run by a small number of huge corporations, has all the potential to become an iCult, a system in which all members only hear what their iCult leaders want them to hear and even that information is heavily distorted to fit with the leaders’ agendas.

At the moment, the main concerns about smartphones are their ability to track people’s location and download a copy of the information they place on their phone. This concern is well-established and Edward Snowden, the U.S. N.S.A. whistleblower, has talked extensively about software packages secretly installed on target phones that carry out such tasks (endearingly given names from the Smurfs). Snowden has also recently been involved in developing a case that can tell the owner when the phone is connecting to bluetooth and wi-fi without the owner’s consent.

But there is another field of activity that a smartphone is capable of that has not been mentioned (to my knowledge). The power of recent smartphones has enabled voice assistants to become a viable piece of installed software, with Apple’s ‘Siri’ being a well-known example. These voice-assistance programmes are now able to draw upon information stored about their users on the phone and use that information to suggest or give recommendations to the user. This is all very useful and can be a great tool. In addition, smartphone software is now also able to analyse their owner’s sleep patterns in order to advise and help them with healthier routines, sleep problems and other related issues. If we combine these two developments, someone's smartphone can help and assist them 24 hours a day, when they are awake and asleep.

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But if we combine these items together - the voice assistant and the sleep analyst - then someone’s smartphone has the potential to do something dark. Someone's smartphone has the potential to mesmerise their owner while that owner is asleep. For anyone panicked by this idea, keep in mind that no one’s reported this happening (as far as I know) but it is theoretically possible. The setup is straightforward. If a person goes to sleep with their phone beside them then if the phone has been hacked, it can listen to them throughout the night, even if it is 'officially' turned off. The phone can analyse their breathing patters, the sound of their movements in bed and calculate when they are at their most receptive to suggestion. It can then speak to them in whatever voice is most influential to them, from the voice-assistant's library, based on information gathered about that person. As a result, in a low-key but effective way, the phone can mesmerise or at least significantly influence its owner. What’s more, this entire process can be carried out automatically, following a complex and sophisticated algorithm. Since smartphone microphones are of excellent quality nowadays, akin to the microphones of professional sound studios thirty years ago, the programme can even monitor if anyone else in earshot wakes up or enters the scene. If that happens, the programme can immediately go quiet until that interloper has gone or returned to slumber. What’s more, this process can go on, night after night, the hacked phone executing a programme that could last months or even years.

As I’ve already mentioned, I know of no recorded evidence for this actually happening but it’s both theoretically possible and it is something dark and dramatic. As Mark Twain once said; ‘it’s not whether it happened or didn’t happen but that it could have happened’. As a result, I’ll definitely be adding it to the Psi-Earth story. It can be one of the dangers our heroes face in the early stages, when they’re the target of the secret elite.

Psi-Earth - 4 - Technology - Identity Chips

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Just to recap, Psi-Earth is an Alternative Earth story where the world is the same as the modern-day but it is a world where the ideas I've developed in my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' are correct and are being actively used by secret groups. The tragedy of the 'Psi-Earth' story is that human-kind is capable of psi-abilities but unfortunately, secret and powerful groups are keeping humanity blind to their own abilities in order that the ones who do use psi-abilities can maintain a critical advantage and control of power on Earth. It's a dark, dramatic, tense scenario that could make a very good novel or two. Rather than hide its development away in a notebook, I thought I'd blog its development instead while I work on my science fiction comedy novel.

In the first blog article, I talked about the basic premise of the story. In the second article, I described a potential main character, Xander, and the dangers he faced as soon as secret and powerful group became aware of his progression as a remote viewer. So far in the story, Xander has narrowly avoided being killed after being led into a trap by henchman working for one of the secret elite groups, or at least he thinks he avoided a trap. As every danger in the story is elusive and strange, it's very difficult for the main characters to be sure that they are in danger. In this way, the story is a lot like a classic spy story where agents must make life-or-death decisions based on the most enigmatic of clues. In the third article, I described part of the historical background for the Psi-Earth and the origins of the secret elite groups from the early and very influential Mystery Religions of Antiquity.

In this week's blog entry about Psi-Earth, I'll be talking about identity chips; implanted markers in the body of the people of Psi-Earth that the secret elite use to watch and monitor their behaviour, looking for anyone that could be a threat to their power.

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One dark element of the Second World War Holocaust was the branding of inmates with a serial number. In this awful, dehumanising act, the Nazis attempted to reduce thinking and feeling individuals to little more than entries in an IBM database. (It's now hard to believe but according to several documented reports and a book by Edwin Black, these machines were present at the Nazi concentration camps in the form of pre-digital, punch-card, mechanical calculators. There were also serviced by IBM engineers as part of their service contracts; astonishing if true).

Fortunately, ordinary people in our modern-day world are not branded with identifying numbers by a cold, ruthless, authoritarian regime and the Psi-Earth story won’t include such methods but there is another, more sinister way to theoretically mark every person nowadays; through the use of tiny, implanted chips.

The presence of small chips with unique identification numbers is already a common part of our society. For example, RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification) chips on many shop goods enable scanners to pick up from them a unique number. The scanner thereby knows what item to which that RFID chip is attached. Such chips are now a relatively crude item, technologically; they have no internal power supply and all they can do is respond with a number. Nevertheless, there is interest in people having such chips implanted in them, as discussed in this BBC article. This is an ominous idea as such an operation may not look as repulsive and abhorrent as the branding of Auschwitz Jews, but it has an equally significant result.

The Psi-Earth story won't be using RFID chips, as much more sophisticated chips are now available, even in the civilian sphere. These chips have been developed for medical purposes. Chips the size of a grain of rice are now capable of monitoring our heart-rate, blood sugar levels and other health markers. These chips are often only temporary inhabiters of our body, designed to pick up information while powered by a finite, tiny battery until they leave the body. More sophisticated versions of these medical chips can actually power themselves by drawing in glucose blood sugar, but they are very expensive items to create. They also require the consent of the patient and need to be implanted in an operation. In the Psi-Earth story, both of these issues are bypassed.

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In the Psi-Earth story, the secret elite develop a way to implant a chip in everyone in the developed world without the individuals knowing anything about it. They manufacture the chips in the billions using cutting-edge military technology. They then implant the chips in people by winning the contract to supply a vaccine for a mass vaccination programme. As each is no wider than a human hair and a millimetre long, it is small enough to be embedded in the body as part of a seemingly simple vaccine injection. Since the vaccines are manufactured as one-use only and the vaccination programme is mandatory, the secret elite know that by including one of their 'hair-sliver' chips in each vaccination capsule, they will end up inside each person in the countries concerned.

The secret elite design these 'hair-sliver' chips to pick up brainwave patterns, along with other vital signs, and to store that information for 48 hours. This allows the secret elite to secretly monitor how people are thinking. In particular, if someone is developing good psi-abilities, this will show in the preponderance of that person's alpha, theta and delta brainwaves (rather than the 'distracted' beta waves). The secret elite can therefore monitor how much a psi-adept is progressing, day-to-day, by regularly picking up information from that person's 'hair-sliver' chip. If that person is appearing to be getting too good as a psi-adept, the secret elite can mark them as a danger.

In line with this idea, the Psi-Earth story will include our psi-adept characters finding out about the 'hair-sliver' chips in them. They'll know about these chips but how do they get them out? Early on, they won't be able to get them out or even be sure where in their bodies the chips reside. Instead, they'll be forced to try and prevent the foot soldiers of the secret elite reading the chips (which will probably, in the story, be done by someone simply pointing a modified smartphone at the target individual and reading the result on their screen). Cue strange machinations where our characters are watching for people pointing smartphones at them; an unnerving, near-paranoid scenario.

PLEASE NOTE: If any reader is concerned that the above idea will put people off vaccinations, which are a very important element of public health, do remember that Psi-Earth is being developed as a fictional story and is not a conspiracy theory. Any responsible adult, when reading, should always keep in their minds what is scientific fact and what is fiction.

For readers who'd like to explore more on the subject of sinister identity chip possibilities, I do recommend this interview from the Disclosure series. Unfortunately, it's not possible to chat to the person giving the interview as he died of a sudden illness a few years after making the video, but the information he did impart is nevertheless fascinating:



In next week's article, I'll continue on the subject of technology in the Psi-Earth story. Until then, have a good week!

Psi-Earth - 3 - Keeping Ancient Secrets

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In this week's blog about my drama story idea, Psi-Earth, I thought it would be worth writing about historical secret societies and how evidence about their existence could be used to good effect in the Psi-Earth drama.

Just to recap, Psi-Earth is an Alternative Earth story where the world is the same as the modern-day but it is a world where the ideas I've developed in my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' are correct and are being actively used by secret groups. The tragedy of the 'Psi-Earth' story is that human-kind is capable of psi-abilities but unfortunately, secret and powerful groups are keeping humanity blind to their own abilities in order that the ones who do use psi-abilities can maintain a critical advantage and control of power on Earth. It's a dark, dramatic, tense scenario that could make a very good novel or two. Rather than hide its development away in a notebook, I thought I'd blog its development instead while I work on my science fiction comedy novel.

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In the first blog article, I talked about the basic premise of the story. In the second article, I described a potential main character, Xander, and the dangers he faced as soon as secret and powerful group became aware of his progression as a remote viewer. So far in the story, Xander has narrowly avoided being killed after being led into a trap by henchman working for one of the secret elite groups, or at least he thinks he avoided a trap. As every danger in the story is elusive and strange, it's very difficult for the main characters to be sure that they are in danger. In this way, the story is a lot like a classic spy story where agents must make life-or-death decisions based on the most enigmatic of clues.

Before continuing a description of what our main characters face in the story and what will happen to them, I thought it would be worth exploring some factual evidence and testimony to develop or flesh out the scenario some more.

To start with, it's worth reading 'Stellar Theology and Masonic Astronomy' by Robert Hewitt Brown. Not only does Brown, who was a 32nd degree Mason, explain a lot about the origins of Masonic practice, but he also talks about the Mystery Religions of the Ancient World. These Mystery Religions are often associated with Ancient Greece (in particular the Eleusinian Mysteries and the Orphic Mysteries) but they may truly originate in Ancient Egypt or earlier. In particular the Temples of Isis, the wife of Osiris, was a key member of the Mystery Religions. Brown reports in his book that the Temple of Isis, now open to the elements, clearly shows that it was designed and built to create illusion and magic, in order to psychologically transform (or perhaps brainwash) its acolytes into true worship of its god. The architects and builders who were responsible for creating these tools of illusion (secret passages, moving platforms, false walls, speaking statues) were sworn to secrecy but it there was any sign that they wouldn't keep mum, other tools were used. For example, the Temple of Apollo at Delphi had a mysterious grotto. As Brown's book states:

"The individual whose name this cave bore was an architect of great skill, and in conjunction with his brother Agamides, was the architect of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi and they were, of course, the designers and constructors of all the mechanical secrets of that temple, no doubt far more ingenious and terrifying in their nature than those of the oracular cave just described. The Mysteries being also celebrated in the Temple, the demand for secrecy was imperative and the priests, fearing that the initiation of Trophonius and Agamides would not insure their silence, resorted to assassination. The brothers were desired by the god, through the priests, to be cheerful and to wait eight days for their reward. At the end of which period, they were found dead in their beds - the result of poison or some other secret means of murder. (See Salverti's "Philosophy of Magic", vol 1, Chapter XI)."

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It's worth noting that it's perfectly possible that direct descendants of these Mystery Religions still exist today. Supposedly, the Roman Empire did ban the Mystery Religions when it adopted Christianity as its official religion but Brown's book makes it clear that in fact, the Romans quietly allowed the Mysteries to continue. As a result, they were 'celebrated in some form as late as the eighth century A.D'. Dr Oliver in his 'history of initiation' says that they were 'celebrated in Wales and Scotland down to the twelfth century'. Salver, in his 'Philosophy of Magic', states that the occult sciences, possessed by the secret societies of the middle ages in Europe were derived from the learning taught by the Ancient Mystery Religions. He goes on to say that; 'Liebnitz (the famous Mathematician and contemporary of Newton) penetrated into one of these societies at Nuremberg and obtained there instructions which he might perhaps have sought for in vain elsewhere.' It's worth noting that Newton himself spent more time in studying the occult than in what we would now call respectable science. Many readers will immediately note how close such an example is, in time and location, to the notorious Bavarian Illuminati and Hitler's infamous fascination with the occult. For more information on those topics, I definitely recommend Peter Levenda's books; they don't make for happy reading but they are well-researched and eye-opening.

All-in-all, it's clearly possible to making a compelling case in the 'Psi-Earth' story that the secret elite who are trying to kill our heroes are directly descended from Mystery Occult Religions formed in the earliest period of human civilisation. What's more, these secret elite groups are using the same techniques they perfected thousands of years before; psychological manipulation, brainwashing and the cunning strategy of killing their enemies so that it's not even clear that they were murdered, never mind leaving any clues as to who murdered them.

In the next blog article on this topic, I'll look into technology and how these Mystery Religion secret elites might have updated their tools of control.

Have a good week!

Psi-Earth - 2 - A targeted hero

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This is the second in a series of blog articles developing a story idea that I've called 'Psi-Earth'. Psi-Earth is an Alternative Earth story where the world is the same as the modern-day but it is a world where the ideas I've developed in my book 'How science shows that almost everything important we've been told is wrong' are correct and are being actively used by secret groups. The tragedy of 'Psi-Earth' is that human-kind is capable of psi-abilities but unfortunately, secret and powerful groups are keeping humanity blind to their own abilities in order that the ones who do use psi-abilities can maintain a critical advantage and control of power on Earth. It's a dark, dramatic, tense scenario that could make a very good novel or two. Rather than hide its development away in a notebook, I thought I'd blog its development instead while I work on my science fiction comedy novel.

The previous and first blog on Psi-Earth explained the setup, of a group of heroes, newly developing their psi abilities, who become the target of these secret groups.

In this article, I thought I'd focus on a single character and flesh out how he develops his ability, ends up in the cross-hairs of the secret elites but stays alive. Let's call him Xander (as it's quite a cool name and has a 'X' in it). Xander is a young man who becomes intrigued by the writings of people like Ingo Swann, Robert Jahn, Jim Marrs and others. He uses resources on the internet and practices doing the psi abilities they describe. Xander finds he does have an ability at these psi-skills. Unfortunately for Xander, he makes the naive mistake of sending examples of what he's achieved to a remote viewing organisation. What he doesn't realise is that the organisation is a 'honey pot', created by one of the secret elite to unearth anyone with psi abilities.

Xander's first realisation that he's made a mistake and that he's a target comes when he senses that he himself is being remote viewed. One evening, shortly after sending his material to the organisation, Xander 'sees' the presence of two individuals in his own front room. [When Xander was young, the house he lived in was haunted. At first, Xander didn't know there was a ghost present but bad dreams, a cold 'presence' and the behaviour of his cat convinced him that a bodiless spirit did inhabit his house. He tried to focus, to be aware, to perceive where the ghost might be. After some effort, he realised that he could make out the location of the ghost; it wasn't physically visible but it was detectable. Xander describes it to a friend as though 'the light in a certain part of the room is polarised, as if something is standing there and influencing that space so it becomes altered, like the faintest of mirages']. In his living room, Xander realises that the two individuals whose presence he can detect are like ghosts. He also realises that they are remote viewing his home. Those two individuals are physically somewhere else but they have moved their mental location to his home in order to report on it and him; they are checking him out.

Xander realises with cold dread that he's made a calamitous mistake. No one is going to write back to him and congratulate him on his newly developed psi abilities. Instead, he's now marked as a problem, a rival, a potential pebble in the shoe of those that secretly influence and control Earth.

Shortly after this experience, Xander is invited to an event at the South Bank Centre in London. He's pleasantly surprised that he's been invited and is looking forward to it but in the night, he has a dark portentous dream. Shaken by the experience, he uses his remote viewing skills to explore what might happen at that future event in London. The result is immediately clear; his 'view' of the event is dominated by a large pool of blood. If his remote viewing skills are correct and if everything proceeds as expected, then someone's going to stab him to death at that location on that day. Xander decides to go regardless; he can't honestly believe anyone would kill him just because he had some low level psi skills. He travels to the South Bank Centre but he stays alert. On the way to the event, he notices suspicious characters, tough-looking men who seem to be acting as lookouts. At the last moment, he turns away from the normal route to the venue and approaches it from a side-route. The rest of the day proceeds as normal, but Xander is rattled; did he just survive an ambush or not?

Thus begins Xander's period as a targeted man. He is torn between different views. Is he really being targeted? Is a secret group really trying to kill him? Is it just paranoia? He knows that almost no one else would believe him if he explained his suspicions. He is entirely on his own.

'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.

Psi-Earth - 1 - An 'alternative Earth' story

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This blog article is related to my new book; ’How science shows that almost everything important we’ve been told is wrong’, which will soon be ready to buy from the FeedaRead website and available to order from large booksellers as well. It has an ISBN-13 number (9781786970916). More info on the book is available on its web page.

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To sum up the book again, ’How science shows…’ explains that the waking reality that we inhabit is a light-energy pattern that our minds collectively influence at the quantum level. In other words, reality isn’t a hard, solid place, a collection of independent objects that we can’t influence. Instead, reality is an ephemeral construction, a collaborative mental creation. Not only that, but our minds don’t come into existence from physical reality, we, as thinking minds, perceive and influence reality from a source outside of reality. As a result, our minds create our physical brains and bodies, not the other way around. It’s effectively turning the current official scientific view upside down, but by using evidence and theories put forward by eminent scientists; weird but true.
While thinking about the ideas in the book, I realised that the ideas in the book could be used to create a thrilling drama about a group of talented individuals up against a powerful and secretive elite. I thought it would be good to blog ideas about it on this website, as a sort of on-going production diary. I’m currently focussed on completing a science-fiction comedy novel, but it might be fun to develop and blog about another novel story, with its accompanying ‘alternative Earth’ theme, at the same time. I’m going to call this ‘alternative Earth’ Psi-Earth, after the Greek letter Psi (which looks like a three-pronged fork), which is traditionally associated with extra-sensory or paranormal abilities.

Psi-Earth is just like our Earth now, our current-day situation, except that Psi-Earth is a place where the ideas put forward in ‘How science shows…’ are both correct and are being successfully used, akin to the Ancient Egyptians or the Tibetans. Just to recap, if the book’s ideas are correct, then human beings can potentially (with a lot of effort) develop the following abilities:

The ability to gather information and perceive places, events and details remote to one’s location, both in space and time. This is currently described as ‘remote viewing’ but was also called ‘scrying’ in the past.

The ability to sense or be aware of potential events in the future. This is currently described as ‘precognition’, while the word ‘prescience’ is more associated with calculated anticipation.

The ability to move one’s mind and ‘spirit body’ to another location, separate from one’s physical body. This is usually referred to as ‘astral projection’ or ‘spirit travelling’.

The existence and potential ability to communicate with other minds that are not currently connected to a physical body, or minds existing at very remote locations.

The ability to generate power and create material using mental manipulation of energetic phenomena at a quantum level.

(Note: For readers interested in the historical and modern evidence for people actually possessing these skills, I recommend the books ‘Magic and Mystery in Tibet’ by Alexandra David-Neil. For a more recent study of people developing skills in this area, I’d recommend 'Margins of Reality' by Prof Robert Jahn, ‘Psi Spies’ by Jim Marrs and almost any non-fiction book by Ingo Swann, who worked as a remote viewer for the U.S. Military).

It doesn’t take much thought to imagine that Earth would become an incredible and amazing place if such paranormal abilities were possible and also that the majority of people on Earth could use them. Our civilisation would become filled with super-druids, Tibetan Masters and Buddhist Bodhisattvas all making use of zero-point, cold-fusion technology, It all sounds extremely cool but it would be almost unrecognisable compared to our current situation, which isn't really the idea of the Psi-Earth story, so I won't be writing about that.

Instead, the Psi-Earth story would be a darker, everyday, 'almost like normal' story based around the idea that certain powerful and secretive groups had known for some time that reality was a light-energy pattern and that our minds influence and shape reality. These groups have, by the present day of the story, developed mind-assisted zero-point energy generators, mind-assisted cold-fusion units, telepathy skills, remote viewing, out-of-body journeying, prescience etc. Not surprisingly in the story, these groups have, as a result, gained a huge advantage over everyone else, all the ordinary people who continue to believe that only physical things exists and that our minds are nothing more that the side-effects of chemical activity. These secretive, elite groups are the real Lords of Psi-Earth, the people who really control the planet and everyone on it.

In comparison, nearly all the ordinary people of Psi-Earth believe something fundamentally different. They all believe in Materialism or in some irrational religious belief-system. These belief systems keep the ordinary people blind to the true situation, that they all have the potential to do amazing things, to do things that they think only belong to the ‘gods’ or fictional wizards. The ancient Hermetica tellingly said that; ‘a god is an immortal man and man, a mortal god’ but the ordinary people of Psi-Earth are blind to this fact. They have been hobbled by believing falsehoods. This makes the Psi-Earth story darkly oppressive because everyone on Earth is in a prison of their own beliefs. They are not being subjugated through brute-force by oppressive overlords putting up huge billboards threatening punishments or sending gestapo-like-squads hunting down perpetrators, but by a more powerful and subtle obstacle; the widespread adoption of a convincing false belief, which is a far more effective barrier.

In Plato’s ‘Critias’, the Egyptian Priest states:

“In the days of old the gods had the whole earth distributed among them by allotment… They all peopled [populated] their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure; thus did they guide all mortal creatures.”

The Psi-Earth story is a 21st Century version of this very situation; of a small number of elite groups controlling all the ordinary people of Earth through clever persuasion. In the story, Earth’s history can be re-interpreted. The strategy of the Catholic Church to violently suppress all shamanic and wicca practices for two thousand years was not part of a Christian ideology but simply a plan steered by secret groups within the Catholic Church to eradicate any development of psi-skills among ordinary people. In addition, the development of secular science was also infiltrated by secretive, powerful groups who steered that movement to promulgate a mistaken belief in Materialism. That establishment then pushed a secular message, that ‘paranormal’ abilities were a waste of time, indicative only of stupidity or insanity. In that way, the secret power groups of Psi-Earth used both the religious and scientific establishments to keep the ordinary people ignorant and powerless.

At this point in the Psi-Earth story, we need a hero or two enter the stage. Just as in any thrilling drama, we need a group of people who find out the truth, find out what they can do. In that way, it’s like the TV series ‘Heroes’, except that these people in Psi-Earth realise that everyone can have these abilities, not just some select few.

At the beginning, most of these individuals are naive; they think that everyone will want to know what they’ve found and the good it will do to humanity. They don’t realise that the secret elite don’t want everyone to know because if that happened, the secret elite would lose their advantage over everyone else, their power and control. The secret elite groups may fight each other sometimes but they are united in one goal; to stop all the ordinary people of Psi-Earth discovering what they themselves are capable of.

Our heroes, freshly aware of the truth, are immediately in great danger. As soon as they begin openly talking about what they’ve found, the secret groups spot them and close in. The secret groups can spot them quickly partly because they've set up organisations that pretend to help develop psi-skills as ‘honey traps’. These organisations draw the newbie psi-people in, thereby uncovering anyone with strong abilities so they can target them specifically.

The only thing that prevents our heroes dying at this early stage in the hands of the secret elite's assassins is that the secret elite don’t want to kill our heroes blatantly. If our heroes are clearly assassinated then that would draw attention to them and what they were working on, which is the last things the secret elite groups want. The secret elite therefore do want to kill our heroes but at the same time, they want the deaths to look like suicides, accidents, unlucky illnesses etc.

All these elements should make for a darkly dramatic situation that has an element of black-humour; a modern-day world where some curious people are putting forward ideas that are actually true but are officially said to be rubbish and generally laughed at. Our heroes face ridicule, crises of confidence and disinformation even before the lethal dangers appear. Then, they are embroiled in a life-threatening but paradoxical situation where secret and powerful groups (who don’t officially exist) are trying to kill them while making sure that the murders will be regarded as suicides or some sad twist of fate.

I’ll blog again on this topic soon. In the meantime, it's back to the science-fiction comedy.

Weird facts create great fiction

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a prediction about what would happen to us in the next thousand years. It wasn't exactly heart-warming or utopian but with climate change gathering pace, I find it hard not to be pessimistic. I could poo-poo global warming or predict that we would use our amazing technological skills to find a way to reverse the effects of climate change, but that would be bollocks, since we're currently, every year, producing billions of tonnes of CO2, along with methane (fifty times more warming than CO2) and Flourine-based chemicals (ten thousand times more warming than CO2).

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Also, the average westerner burns up 200,000 calories of energy a day (not in his or her food, but the energy he or she burns). No human machine can undo this scale of heat and chemical pollution. This human-created chemical output isn't even going down. For example, India has made it clear it plans to ramp up its coal burning in the next few decades as part of a programme to increase its GDP. Oh dear.

But rather than looking at our future from an emotional and ethical point of view and get depressed, why not look at our near future as a great opportunity for a science fiction story? We don't even need to create any weird aliens, sinister secret government groups and hidden, powerful cults for our story, we can simply make use of the aliens, sinister government groups and hidden, powerful cults that many people say already exist on Earth. If you want useful sources on these topics, try the writings of Peter Levenda, Jim Marrs, Richard Dolan and Mark McCandlish. We can even throw in some 'super-powers'. For example, in an earlier blog post, I described my experiences when I tried remote viewing. A lot of people don't believe this ability is possible, but I certainly experienced an information gathering ability that was way above chance, and RV has a highly developed history, so I'm comfortable with it. Also, scientifically, RV is fine, at least if you accept the consequences of the Influence Idea. Read More...

In praise of 'Galaxy Quest'

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I spotted a little nugget of news this week that's reporting that the 1999 science fiction comedy film 'Galaxy Quest' may be made into a T.V. series some time soon. It got me thinking and I've come to a strange and surprising conclusion:

'Galaxy Quest' is the best-written science fiction movie ever made.

I know, it sounds barmy. 'Galaxy Quest' is a fun, tongue-in-cheek sci-fi romp that came and went in the annals of sci-fi moviedom. Why am I choosing it over '2001: A space odyssey'? Or 'Star Wars', or 'Battle beyond the stars'? (okay, maybe not 'battle beyond the stars') Or 'Solaris'? The list is long. The thing is, 'Solaris' and '2001' and 'Star Wars' are wonderful movies. 'Solaris' and '2001' have brilliant ideas. 'Star Wars' has brilliant acting, top-notch production values and cutting edge special effects that haven't actually been bettered in terms of immersive involvement. But I won't be swayed, 'Galaxy Quest' is the best-written science-fiction movie I've ever watched. Read More...

Arvon is medicine for writers

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It can take a long time for a writer to become successful. Neil Gaiman recommends that an aspiring writer needs to knock out 120,000 words or more before he or she will reach a competent level. For some, it can take literally decades. Here's Ray Bradbury's wonderful description of his struggles:

The amazing Blackstone came to town when I was seven, and I saw how he came alive onstage and thought, God, I want to grow up to be like that! And I ran up to help him vanish an elephant. To this day I don’t know where the elephant went. One moment it was there, the next — abracadabra — with a wave of the wand it was gone! In 1929 Buck Rogers came into the world, and on that day in October a single panel of Buck Rogers comic strip hurled me into the future. I never came back.


It was only natural when I was twelve that I decided to become a writer and laid out a huge roll of butcher paper to begin scribbling an endless tale that scrolled right on up to Now, never guessing that the butcher paper would run forever.


Snoopy has written me on many occasions from his miniature typewriter, asking me to explain what happened to me in the great blizzard of rejection slips of 1935. Then there was the snowstorm of rejection slips in ’37 and ’38 and an even worse winter snowstorm of rejections when I was twenty-one and twenty-two. That almost tells it, doesn’t it, that starting when I was fifteen I began to send short stories to magazines like Esquire, and they, very promptly, sent them back two days before they got them! I have several walls in several rooms of my house covered with the snowstorm of rejections, but they didn’t realize what a strong person I was; I persevered and wrote a thousand more dreadful short stories, which were rejected in turn. Then, during the late forties, I actually began to sell short stories and accomplished some sort of deliverance from snowstorms in my fourth decade. But even today, my latest books of short stories contain at least seven stories that were rejected by every magazine in the United States and also in Sweden! So, dear Snoopy, take heart from this. The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.


Fourth decade! How did he last that long? Was he inspired, dedicated, surrounded by supportive, motivating people or was he just plain nuts? Writing, particularly when one is not getting published, is mentally tough, although I still think it beats commuting. Even successful writing may not be much better. George Orwell had this to say about writing a book:

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”


George, it seems, would have plumped for Ray Bradbury being nuts.

if writing is like being ill, then writers need medicine from time to time. They don't want the medicine to cure them of their affliction, as they don't want lose the strange, heady malady that bewitches them, but they usually want some of its worst symptoms - low confidence, dwindling motivation, creeping loneliness and patchy ignorance - to be alleviated.

I know of a medicine that can turn a hermit-writer that's moaning and scribbling uncontrollably into a motivated and more knowledgeable member of the creative world. The effect doesn't last forever but boy, it's a shot in the arm. That medicine is a week on an Arvon course. The Arvon Foundation organises one-week courses in its own properties around the UK on a wide variety of writing subjects. Course attendees spend a week in the company of fellow writers, living in beautiful rural surroundings, and receive motivation, guidance and knowledge from industry professionals. It can be a wonderful change from sitting in your room, pounding away on your keyboard with nothing for company but the radio. An Arvon course won't necessarily transform you into a writing demigod and catapult you into literary stardom like a flaming missile from a siege catapult, but it really benefitted me. The last course I went on was a graphic novel course taught by Bryan Talbot and Hannah Berry, which I chose on a whim. Since then, I've completed a graphic novel; an achievement I would have barely believed five years ago.

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For those of you who are working to become science fiction writers, Arvon are running a science fiction course next month, tutored by Simon Ings and Liz Jensen. Simon is the editor of 'Arc' science-fiction magazine, the digital magazine developed by New Scientist. 'Arc' has played a huge part in my science-fiction writing development and so I'll be forever grateful to Simon for that help. It's taking place at Arvon's Totleigh Barton site, in the beautiful county of Devon.

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They even have house-martens! :-)

Arc Magazine 2.1 is due 22nd Jan 2014

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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! :-)

Schrodinger's Shed is complete

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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!). :-)

02 4G article is now live

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Just to let everyone know that the thousand word article I wrote for the O2 mobile phone company is now available to read here. It’s part of their eBook collection of articles exploring the benefits of 4G wireless technology for small to medium businesses (SMB’s) and is mentioned on their site here. My article begins by explaining the difficulties of predicting future use of technology (with examples) but then has a stab anyway, focussing in particular on the importance of latency in multimedia communication and its effect of the psychology of those taking part. There’s also some funny sci-fi ideas to make the technology pill easier to swallow. I did enjoy writing the piece; having a technically solid framework and clear remit can really get the creative juices flowing. Enjoy!

Neil Gaiman on writing (again!)



Here’s a little gem of a YouTube video in which Neil Gaiman talks about writing. He sounds great and the music and footage accompany his words well (I think). He doesn’t mention a couple of his established nuggets of good advice: Firstly that if you want to write, find a room where you can either write or stare out the window. When staring out of the window is your only alternative, writing suddenly becomes much easier. Secondly, write something and finish it, as that makes you more of a professional writer than anything else. It’ll mean that when someone asks you to give them something to read, you’ll have something, rather than excuses. As Woody Allen once said, ‘ninety percent of success is showing up’.

Advice from Bill (Calvin & Hobbs) Watterson

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I heartily recommend this article from Brainpickings.org in which Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbs, talks about his experiences and gives advice on what it means to pursue a creative life. Along with Ray Bradbury’s thoughts, I think they do a brilliant job of bringing across the life of someone wishing to be a full-time creative person.

I’ve popped a cartoon from the article here as a taster. Hopefully, they won’t mind. Enjoy! Read More...

Ray Bradbury on rejections

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Here’s another gem from the Brainpickings website. This one’s from an article about writing tips and includes a quote from Ray Bradbury about getting rejections. It’s succinct, personal and very encouraging:

The amazing Blackstone came to town when I was seven, and I saw how he came alive onstage and thought, God, I want to grow up to be like that! And I ran up to help him vanish an elephant. To this day I don’t know where the elephant went. One moment it was there, the next — abracadabra — with a wave of the wand it was gone!

In 1929 Buck Rogers came into the world, and on that day in October a single panel of Buck Rogers comic strip hurled me into the future. I never came back.

It was only natural when I was twelve that I decided to become a writer and laid out a huge roll of butcher paper to begin scribbling an endless tale that scrolled right on up to Now, never guessing that the butcher paper would run forever.

Snoopy has written me on many occasions from his miniature typewriter, asking me to explain what happened to me in the great blizzard of rejection slips of 1935. Then there was the snowstorm of rejection slips in ’37 and ’38 and an even worse winter snowstorm of rejections when I was twenty-one and twenty-two. That almost tells it, doesn’t it, that starting when I was fifteen I began to send short stories to magazines like Esquire, and they, very promptly, sent them back two days before they got them! I have several walls in several rooms of my house covered with the snowstorm of rejections, but they didn’t realize what a strong person I was; I persevered and wrote a thousand more dreadful short stories, which were rejected in turn. Then, during the late forties, I actually began to sell short stories and accomplished some sort of deliverance from snowstorms in my fourth decade. But even today, my latest books of short stories contain at least seven stories that were rejected by every magazine in the United States and also in Sweden! So, dear Snoopy, take heart from this. The blizzard doesn’t last forever; it just seems so.

Complaints made in the margins of illuminated manuscripts

blogEntryThumbnailHere's another gem of an article from brainpickings.org. This one's a list of comments, well, grumblings mainly, left in the margins of illuminated manuscripts. I liked the last one in the list most of all. Clicking on the image will take you to the original brainpickings entry.

Enjoy!



Austin Kleon: Steal like an artist

Among the interesting nuggets in this week's newsletter from Brainpickings.org is an article about Austin Kleon's book 'Steal like an artist'. It's very visual but does a good job of it, as far as I can tell so far, and has some wise comments to make. Here's one of its banners:

Read More...

Short story submission for the new 'Arc' magazine

The staff at New Scientist have brought out a new digital magazine called Arc. It's a mix of articles about the future and short stories and is available on the iPad (which I don't have), Kindle (nope, don't have that either) and Mac (hooray! I have one of those).

They've also asked for short story submissions for the next issue. The theme of submissions is 'The Future always wins'. Being a big fan of science fiction, I've put together my own contribution. Initially, I thought about writing a serious narrative story describing loss of identity, invasive technology, the sort of stuff elegantly described in books by William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and Philip K. Dick, but I didn't really come up with much.

Instead, I decided that it would be fun to write a dialogue exposing the banality of peoples' use of technology and how it still can't help them understand their partner. We have incredible kit at our disposal, such as the modern smartphone, but most of us have no understanding of how it works and we use smartphones for the dumbest of reasons. It's a strange world where a GPS satellite network, thousands of gigabit processors, clocks that lose a second every billion years and other marvels are employed so someone can pass around a video of their mate throwing up. The future, I think, is highly unlikely to be like Star Trek. As Scott Adams perceptively pointed out in 'The Dilbert Future' and Terry Pratchett has stated in various articles, it'll probably be a lot more cringeworthy.

If you'd like to read my short story, ''18% happier' then click on the link.

Share and Enjoy.... share and enjoy...

New comedy television script: 'Aftermaths'

I've completed another television comedy script. This one's about four male teenagers who wake up in their school library to find that something strange and terrible has happened, leaving everyone else in the world either unconscious or missing. Unlike more traditional disaster movies, they're not thinking about how they can rebuild society, help other survivors and find a cure for what's happened. Their main questions are 'have any attractive females survived?' and 'if they haven't survived and have become un-dead instead, is it okay to get off with one?'

Here's the script. I've sent a copy and an episode synopsis to Dominic Lord at the JFL agency who asked to read any new scripts I created. Last year's script, 'just the two of us', hasn't yet been commissioned but it's early days yet. I've also added 'aftermaths' to my scripts page.

Self publishing in the UK - my progress so far

There's a bit of a lull for me at the moment - I'm waiting for various stuff to be done by other people - so I thought I'd jot down my experiences so far in self-publishing.


I'm in the process of self-publishing my non-fiction book, The Golden Web. I'm following the self-publishing route for the book because the standard non-fiction publishing route isn't really available to me. Since I'm not a television presenter or senior scientist or academic, it's unlikely a publishing house would want to commit funds to try and sell my book. I also don't have any personal connections in the UK publishing industry so I can't call on any favours or phone any ex-school publisher friends asking them to add The Golden Web to their list. That's okay though, because you don't have to be well known person to get a non-fiction book published and sold nowadays. Hooray!

Read More...

A new 15 minute stage play called 'stuck'

I've completed a 15 minute stage play for the REDFest drama festival at the Old Red Lion theatre in Islington called 'Stuck'.

This was very much a 'chase the deadline' piece of work. I knew the deadline for the competition was looming and I hadn't been able to come up with something. Friday morning was my last chance. Fortunately, with the pressure of that deadline, I wrote 'Stuck' between 10am and noon. It's a simple setup; a man and a woman are stuck in a lift. Read More...

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...

My writing mistakes - volume 1

I thought it would be good to write about all the writing mistakes I’ve made. When writing is done well, it looks simple and effortless. Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ is a good example, along with anything by John Steinbeck. The problem is that a fledgling writer can easily think that excellent prose is simple to do because it looks simple. I made that mistake. In fact, I made so many mistakes that I’ve lost track of all of them. Writing good prose is like having a slim, fit body. A lucky few can develop one with even seeming to try. For the rest of us, it’s an endless effort to keep off the flab.
Here is a list of my most memorable mistakes. If you’ve read about them in an earlier blog of mine, I apologise. I also mistakenly repeat things.

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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!

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Writing advice

Is there something I've learnt from all this writing? I think I've learnt a few things. Here's a list, using Copper Book as a reference work:

Write a lot: If you haven't written a lot of prose before, you'll need to write a hundred thousand words of prose and get that prose regularly assessed before you even start writing the prose for the novel! I know that sounds terrible, but that's what I effectively did in the end - write 100k of text and then write the whole thing again. 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...

A one act play: 'Can't see, won't see'

I've just sent off a one act play to the Cornerhouse theatre in Surbiton, http://www.thecornerhouse.org/. It's part of a one act theatre festival next spring. I only found out at the last minute that they're looking for plays for a family audience so I've toned down the language. Apart from that, I think a secondary school kid would be happy with it (I think!). The play is a tense drama with suspense, betrayal, surprises and a twist (or two!). Let me know if you like it.
Click here to download the play: Can't see, won't see
p.s. don't read the summary on the first page if you want to be surprised! It is one big plot spoiler.

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...

It's catch up time... (with fun pics!)

Many apologies, but I haven't added a blog entry for months. It's been a hectic two months, for both good and bad reasons, but I'm going to try and catch up today.

The first entry that springs to mind is from the 18th September. I had booked to go on an Arvon Writing week (http://www.arvonfoundation.org/). The subject of the week was Graphic Novels and the tutors were Bryan Talbot and Hannah Berry. Since the week would be about creating stories with both text and images, I thought it would be good to get down and do some drawing. I had done drawing and painting before, but I'd only produced a few illustrations. I decided to dedicate the whole week to producing some fun black and white illustrations for Copper Book. In the end, I only got about three days of work done, but I did produce work I was very pleased with. Here's what I came up with: Read More...

My journey to work

I might not have my own flat nowadays, or be able to go on a fancy holiday, or buy the latest kit (have you seen the new 11" Apple MacBook Air? It's very nice...) but on the plus side, I don't have to commute into London every weekday. Hooray! Instead, I cycle the following route...



First off, it's into Bushy Park through Hampton gate. Read More...