Borneo – volcanoes and sunsets. Photos.

Sailing along the coast of Borneo in the evening as majestic volcanoes poke through the cloud layer. The sun slowly sets to bathe sea and land with orange, purple and yellow.

I stared at the landscape as we sailed by and imagined all the creatures living in those rainforests, creatures now under great threat. Within the beauty is a great sadness.

Poetry – No Lives Matter

No Lives Matter


This is the West

All that matters is the loot.

We’re pawns in a game,

Under the master’s boot.

The masters happen to be white.

Their rule is absolute.

There’s a pyramid

Of priority.

At the bottom are all the creatures.

A hierarchy of importance,

Where, if you’re human,

You’ve got to have the right features.

I have white privilege

On account of my skin.

Equality is a rude word,

In fact, it’s a sin.

Racism’s a tool they use

To divide and rule.

To give privilege to one race

While treating us all like fools.

All that really matters

Are the wealthy elite.

They’ll blast us, poison us

Brainwash us

Til we fall down at their feet.

If you want to change the system

You’re just commie loons.

They’ll allow you to protest

And then send in the goons.

They foster division.

If we’re at each other’s throat

They’ll go unnoticed,

So they can rake it in

And gloat.

No lives really matter.

As long as we purchase all their tat.

As long as the cash rolls in

That’s the end of that.


Opher – 2.7.2020

Poetry – The Train – a poem by John Phillips



Come to the station and get on the train

Queue for your ticket and get on the train

Follow your leader and get on the train

This is the train, this is the train

Follow your leader and get on the train

Brexit is Brexit, cancels Remain

Cancels Remain, this is the train

Kick out the immigrants, blacken their names

Blacken their names, this is the train

Rampant austerity, swallow your pain

Swallow your pain, this is the train

Privatise everything, this is the game

This is the game, this is the train

Even the media s riding our train

Riding our train, this is the train

Something for nothing, someone to blame

Someone to blame, this is the train

Follow your leader and get on the train

This is the train, this is the train

Follow your leader and get on the train


Borneo – Kota Kinabalu – Into the rainforest

As soon as we landed we took ourselves off into the rainforest. I never get fed up with the lianas, huge fronds, stilted trees and scent of a rainforest. It is so rich and overpowering – though the heat can get a bit oppressive. It fills me with delight.

The Corona Diaries – Day 108

I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll get to a thousand days? I cannot see an end in sight. They have been looking for a vaccine for SARS for twelve years now. We might have to learn to live with this.

Today there is a second shutdown in Leicester. People are predicting a surge elsewhere.

The virus is already surging again in the USA where it has killed 128,857 (more than the 1st World War, Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq combined!). Because it mainly seems to kill old people it seems more acceptable.

Here in the UK, there were another 153 deaths and 814 new cases.  There is still no sign of an app or an effective test, track and isolate programme.

Cheerleader Johnson is doing his jolly jolly talking up. Schools will all be back in September, air corridors will open so you can go abroad on holiday, he’s going to boost jobs and the economy with a massive building programme. The trouble is that he’s a world-beating windbag who never delivers – all mouth and no trousers!

Seems wishful thinking to me. The more likely scenario is that we’ll have a big second wake and lose thousands of more lives and have to shut everything down again. World-beating??? If only we could be like Japan, Germany, Vietnam, Taiwan, New Zealand or all those minor third world countries that seem to be on top of the virus.  This is a real inept performance all round. I hope they bloody answer for it!

So today I put on my Blind Willie Johnson and cheered myself up. I went for a long walk up on my hill and then went around for an SD visit with my son Barny. It was his birthday today!! It is so strange having birthday’s in lockdown. He’s a teacher, so is in with kids and at risk. Not an easy time.

Never mind, there’s footie on tonight!!

Stay safe!!

Why I write Sci-Fi.

Why I write Sci-Fi.

A lot of people think of Sci-Fi as space opera, adventures of supermen with aliens thrown in for good measure. That is not my scene.

As a young man, I was an avid reader of the genre and consumed novels by the ton. It is a habit that has lasted up until the present time, though I tend to dilute my Sci-Fi with a wide range of other fiction. My favourite Sci-Fi writers are people like Iain M Banks, Margaret Atwood, Philip Dick, Robert Sheckley, Kurt Vonnegutt Jnr and Arthur C Clarke; writers who wrote about social issues or human situations. 1984 and Brave New World are classic examples of brilliant Sci-Fi novels for me.

As a scientist (I am a biologist) I like my science to be based in reality. Looking into the future is always difficult. I think it was Arthur C Clarke who once said that superior technology is indistinguishable from magic. At present, there are barriers that make visiting other regions of the galaxy impossible. Light speed is too slow. The distances are too great. But perhaps with the advent of quantum physics, and theories such as the folding of linear space, future humans may be able to circumvent these problems.

Sci-Fi gives me a blank canvas of possibility. I am able to write about human beings, and the world we create for ourselves, in different settings and context. I can extrapolate and predict. I can investigate human nature and explore how we interact in different circumstances. I can travel back and forth in time, and space is no obstacle. So my novels usually have social, environmental and political elements and themes. I can also expound on science and philosophy in interesting ways and tackle some of the ultimate questions of life – purpose, reality and our place in the ecology of life. It is a world of possibility. There are very few limitations.

But at the heart of my writing is the human condition with all its emotions, thoughts and diverse behaviours.

Sci-Fi is a vehicle that presents me with a multihued palette to paint stories about people. Some of my people just happen to be aliens.

I write about the ideas that excite me.