Sci-Fi Book – Destination Self – Work in progress

This is another of my projects that I am working on at the moment. I have just completed the rewrite of this book that I wrote in 1974. I am about to embark on a second rewrite and am gathering my energy.

This is an extract. I’d greatly appreciate your comments.

Chapter 1 – Awakenings 

I was pleasant floating; drifting freely in a warm red haze. It was deliciously warm and sensuous and I was content to bob along as if suspended in a tepid ocean of undulating mud, lost within its luxury.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

It was so relaxing, peaceful and quiet, apart from that incessant drumming.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

‘I wish they would stop that pounding,’ I found myself lazily thinking with a flicker of annoyance. It was distracting. It would be so perfect to lie here surrounded with the pervasive warmth, in this half-sleep, and allow the gentle ripples to lap over me – that hazy, red radiance – so very pleasant.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

It was an undesirable irritation, an intrusion into the peace of my drowsiness. It was distracting me from the drift of thoughtless motion and drawing me out of that warm sea and I did not want that. I wanted to remain immersed and blissful.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

‘Go away,’ part of me implored in a disgruntled manner, resentful of the invasion of my torpor and mindful of it drawing me away from the wafting contentment that I wished to abandon myself to.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

‘If only it would cease,’ I thought with mounting exasperation. It was spoiling the abandonment.

‘Jssssssssssslllllllllllll Mmmmmmbbbbrrrrryy.’

A new sound droned in my head for a second, rousing my attention as I tried to latch on to what it was, but I soon allowed myself to dissolve back into the flow, fully immersed to the point of becoming just a component of the sea in which I floated. I gave myself back up to it.

I became aware of something running over my body, causing it to tingle delightfully and yet drawing me back up from that well of bliss. The pleasantness gave way to alarm.

For a moment I felt a finger of panic. I had the sensation of warm fluid being poured over my body and the fear that I would be smothered, drowning in viscous liquid. It seemed to be covering me, flowing over my face. I was consumed with claustrophobic panic. My mind struggled to claw its way out of the pleasant stupor and raise my head above the surface so that I could breathe. Yet the panic subsided as my breathing suffered no impediment and I once again relaxed and gave myself up to the luxurious calm and allowed the waves of soothing reassurance to lap through me. I returned to the ocean of agreeability.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

‘Jssssssssssslllllllllllll Mmmmmmbbbbrrrrryy,’ – this time louder with a nagging insistence that was becoming more than an irritation to go with that incessant drumming.

I pouted irritably as the tingling fingers of electricity caressed my skin.

Together they were succeeding in drawing me out of that warmth but I was stubbornly refusing to surface. I did not want to wake up yet.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

It was too much. Why would they not allow a man to sleep? Why was it conspiring to cheat me of that simple pleasure? I resisted with all my will even though I knew it was already spoiled, I still wanted to cling to it.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

‘Jssssssssssslllllllllllll Mmmmmmbbbbrrrrryy,’ the droning voice echoed through my ears so that I could feel my head resonate with the vibration forcing me to pay attention, insisting I listen.

‘Jssssssssssslllllllllllll Mmmmmmbbbbrrrrryy.’

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

‘Jssssslllll Mmmmbbrrry.’

‘Jssslll Mmmbbry.’

‘Jesel Maybury.’

Gradually my mind began to focus and I was able to determine what the murmuring voice was articulating. ‘Jesel Maybury,’ I mulled it over in my mind. It seemed to have meaning to me. ‘Jesel Maybury.’ I was able to separate the words from the background noise. It tugged at my memory and yet no images came to me, no understanding was forthcoming. I could not make sense of it. The drumming had receded as I rolled the words around in my head but the palpitations of those liquid fingers on my skin seemed to have increased. I was too tired. I could not concentrate. The frustration built but no matter how hard I strained I could not make sense of it. I let it slowly slip away and slid back under.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump. It returned.

‘Jesel Maybury.’ The voice urged.

I could no longer ignore it. It dragged me back up from the depths as if I was rising out of a deep well. I forced myself to listen. I had to know what it was.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump. The drumming was a distraction now. It was the voice I wanted to hear.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

I waited with more alertness for the voice to come. I could feel the sensations washing over my skin. The hazy warm depths seemed a long way off now.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

My ears were becoming tuned in. I was straining to listen. But the voice had stopped.

Thump.  Thump.  –  Thump.  Thump.

Instead I concentrated on the thumping. There were two distinct sounds.

Lub Dub – Lub Dub.

Gradually I began to realise I was listening to my own heart-beat. Yet it was so loud. It was thudding through my whole body. It was causing my body to vibrate. I had never experienced it like that.

Lub Dub – Lub Dub.

‘Jesel Maybury.’ The voice shook my eardrums with the violence of its harsh sound interrupting my procrastinations.

Lub Dub – Lub Dub.

‘JESEL MAYBURY.’ It said more loudly. The massaging felt stronger now, kneading at my flesh. I knew I needed to respond.


Lub Dub – Lub Dub.

There was an insistence that made me feel agitated yet I was so heavy I could not move. My mind was operating through treacle. It refused to function. I felt drugged.


With a great effort I roused myself and made the connection. It was me the voice was talking to. I was Jesel Maybury. The rush of realisation seemed to sweep away the cobwebs and clear my brain. Slowly my awareness coalesced.

It was as though I was looking in at myself, seeing a picture of me and it was like looking at a once intimate friend that you had not seen for a long, long time. It was all so familiar and yet felt so strange. I allowed myself to examine every fold of every feature roving from the frown-lines of the forehead to the bushiness of the eyebrows, the intense green eyes, the full lips and strong chin. It was like I was holding a mirror up to myself. I was remembering myself, recreating myself from my thoughts. I could visualise this tall man with his toned muscles and angular face but I had trouble convincing myself that it was really me.

I was Jesel Maybury.

I stirred myself and tried to move. The liquid fingers around me receded before me. I groaned with the effort.

Now that I had made the jump the fragments of the jigsaw began to fall into place and filled the missing details in as the beautiful hazy warmth drifted into memory and the heartbeat faded back to normality. I was back. I was awake.

I lay back and allowed the massaging fingers to play across my body as I refamiliarised myself with the treasure-trove of details I was presented with.

My mind was working. I knew that I was a member of the crew of the Starcraft ‘Havoc’. We were on some kind of mission to the star system Ganda with its planet Empta 2.

It was a lot to assimilate for a mind that was going so sluggishly that it was having trouble holding on to even the most basic information.

I lay there and allowed the unseen fingers to do their job.

I was Jesel Maybury, Burstdrive Engineer, Technician, Scientist, do-it-yourself-Jack-of-all-trades.

I was Captain of this expedition.

That was quite a lot to take in.

I was the Captain. I was in charge of this mission.

I allowed myself to recreate the image of me in my red, one-piece Commanders suit finished off with those yellow epaulettes. I allowed myself a smile. I had remembered how much I hated all that stuff.

It showed the state of things back Earthside that they had made me up to Captain.

I was becoming more compos mentis by the second, beginning to feel like my old self. My whole body ached. My head was pounding but the mist was clearing.

Earthside – the word itself brought with it a mass of images that I allowed to float through my head like I was watching a viddy. It was as if I was reacquainting myself with everything. The montage was none too pleasant though; the mantle of choking cloud with its phosphorescently glowing atmosphere and protectively domed cities. The crowds of workers on the packed pediways forming floods of red, yellow, blue, green, purple, orange and silver as they alternated in line with their work-shifts or recreational activities – all ferociously regulated. The carefully ordered patterns never changed from day to day as they flowed between the steep buildings that rose like sheer ravines towards the perpetually blue sky that was really nothing more than the protective Plexiglas of the shield that kept the poisonous atmosphere at bay. The buildings either packed with domicile units or workplaces into which the people were herded like robotic battery hens.