Poetry – You Set Me Free

You Set Me Free

You opened up the rainforest

And set me free.

You sent in the loggers

And released me.

Your hunters and merchants

Took me to distant lands

Your wet markets and butchers

Have blood on their hands.

Now I’m in your blood

Breeding rapidly.

I bet you are glad

You set me free.

Opher – 13.9.2020

Covid-19 – another pandemic set loose by our own stupidity.

We continue to open up the inaccessible regions.

We hunt and catch the poor creatures who live there.

We put them in cages and sell them in markets.

We ship them around the world in terrible conditions, all crammed together, starving, thirsty, terrified.

We keep them in insanitary conditions.

We take them to market and slaughter them.

Their blood is on our hands.

The wet markets release virus after virus – HIV, SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, Avian Flu. There has been a stream of them.

Are we going to all this terrible trade to continue?

I think it’s as bad as slavery!

How long is it before a virus is released that will wipe us all out?

Poetry – I’m Winning

I’m Winning

I’m sprayed into the air.

I soar into your nose.

I dive into your cells.

And lurk upon your clothes.

I live in your blood

And mess up your heart.

I scar your lungs

And take your brain apart.

I rob you of oxygen

And all your energy.

Nothing you can do

Is going to bother me.

I’ll rob you of your jobs,

Create no end of strife.

I’ll wreck your families

And even take your life.

Opher – 1.11.2020

Hanging in an aerosol in the air waiting to be breathed there is a new virus. It’s a parasite that eats your living flesh, a minute vampire.

It sets up in your nasal cavity and lungs, replicating and sprayed out into the air.

It invades your blood vessels destroying lungs and damaging heart and brain.

We call it Covid-19. It’s nature’s pay-back for our invasion.

We are swamping the planet. We are invading the most inaccessible places and cruelly snaring the most beautiful creatures. They are transported across the planet, crouching terrified in tiny cages, waiting to be butchered alive in wet markets.

No compassion is wasted on these creatures. They are seen as meat.

We deserve all we get!

The Corona Diaries – Day 209

We went for a long walk today. Out in nature nothing changes. The coronavirus means nothing to the rest of life on this planet. It is refreshing. But it is also sobering. Nature doesn’t need us. We are far too big for our boots. We are dispensible. For all our arrogance, for all our impact, we are nothing more than just another species of life. We are of nature and part of nature but not in control of nature or more important than nature.

As I walked I found myself thinking that one day we will be gone. Nature will not miss us. It will regenerate. Our cities and artefacts will decay. We’ll be a thin layer in the rocks – a strata of self-importance. One day a virus will do for us all. Nature will shrug and move on.

Good riddance. We were too stupid and too clever, too destructive and thoughtless. We don’t deserve to be here.

Back home I was playing some Alexis Korner and thinking that at our best we can be so good. Why are we so bad?

I wrote my harper book and was despondent.

This virus is a warning. We need to change our ways or bow out.

All around me the incompetence shines.

In the UK – 16,171 new cases with 150 deaths

In the USA – 52,774 new cases with 679 deaths

In Brazil – 24,062 new cases with 461 deaths

In New Zealand – 3 new cases and no deaths

Some people are obviously messing up and some are doing it right!

It’s the same with inequality, poverty, violence, rights and working conditions, racism, sexism and justice. Some are not delivering – and it’s the same bunch of dumbasses.

But there is hope. Jacinda Ardern was elected with a landslide. What she said in her speech filled me with optimism. We can be competent, compassionate, empathetic and caring if we try. We just need to stop electing this unpleasant narcissistic sociopaths!! It can be done!

New Eden – Who survives a pandemic?

New Eden – Who survives a pandemic?

We are very fortunate with the current Coronavirus pandemic; it only kills around 2% of the population, and they tend to be (though not always) the elderly or weaker members. Many pandemics are far more deadly. Bubonic plague killed off between 50% and 70% of the population, and Smallpox at least 20%. It is not inconceivable to have a new virus that kills 99.9% of the population.

In my story, New Eden, a government creates a deadly virus to wipe out the excess population.

The theory of evolution is widely misunderstood. It revolves around the selection of the fittest. The fittest are not always the strongest, most intelligent, the fastest or those with skills; they could be the slowest, most stupid, or the weakest. For example – faced with a terrible predator the one who faints might be left alone while those who fight or run away might be killed. The survivor selected might be the weakest member of the group.

Surviving a virus is mostly a question of luck. It is not whether you are clever, fit or healthy; it is merely whether you have the right antibodies to neutralise the disease. This is a quirk of fate.

So, evolution does not always produce bigger, stronger, fitter and more intelligent offspring. It produces offspring more suited to survive.

If a fatal virus was to wipe out most people on the planet the survivors would be the ones with natural immunity. They could be a group of people with a particular genetic ‘disorder’.

In 1986 I took this basic premise and wove it into a story. It is the story of courage, bravery, intrigue, misuse of power and hope. It has redemption, joy and tragedy.

It is also a story that could easily come true.

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New Eden – a Sci-Fi novel – Professor Angus Blythe – insights into the character.

New Eden – Professor Angus Blythe – insights into the character.

I needed to create a scientist who would be involved in creating a lethal virus. I did not want a malevolent, evil caricature; I wanted a real person. So, I created Professor Angus Blythe.

Angus is not an evil man. To a large extent he is the product of his upbringing and personality. He was brought up in a home devoid of physical contact and run on very strict authoritarian principles. It was not that he was abused or unloved; more that no love was ever overtly expressed. It had the effect of suppressing his emotions so that he was unable to express love, hate or even anger. One might say that he was emotionally stunted, even to the point of possessing autistic tendencies.

Angus was not completely lacking in empathy and compassion; more that he had never been allowed to develop these qualities so that they lay dormant inside him.

Angus Blythe was a very clever man. He had a form of obsessive compulsive disorder in that he needed everything orderly and understood. He was a problem solver. When confronted with a task or problem he would throw himself into solving it or completing it with one hundred percent concentration. Nothing else mattered. This was the nearest thing to happiness that he ever achieved. He found his work fulfilling.

He operated in the area of genetics which was a field that was always close to controversy with a multitude of moral and ethical dilemmas. Not that Angus Blythe ever involved himself with such matters. He left that to others. He cut himself off from all considerations of ethics. He merely focussed on solving the problems. It was up to others, those better qualified for such matters, to decide what applications of his work were desirable.

Likewise, Angus made no connection with the many creatures he experimented on. His investigations involved working with monkeys, chimps and even humans, but he did not consider the emotional impact or distress he might be causing his subjects. He simply did not empathise. These subjects were a means to an end. They were there to help him solve problems. He made little distinction between them and inanimate objects. It was not that he enjoyed inflicting pain or discomfort so much as those aspects never impinged on his mind. The animals and people he used were a means to an end; they were statistics, nothing more.

I hinted at Angus’s deeper, concealed emotions by revealing a rather incongruous relationship with another main character, Doctor Langston Angstrom. When they had been at university together, studying in the same field of science, they had struck up a friendship. I have noticed on many occasions that these type of relationships often occur, seemingly different personality types finding common ground. I needed Angus to develop in the course of the novel. He needed to undergo an awakening. That hint of friendship revealed the possibility of an emotional depth that lurked in the recesses of his psyche.

Angus Blythe was central to my story.

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New Eden – some of the ideas in this Sci-fi novel.

New Eden – some of the ideas

At the time I wrote this novel, back in the 1980’s, Ebola was first hitting the news. Thankfully the outbreaks of Ebola have all been contained and we have never had to deal with a global pandemic. Ebola would have been a worse challenge than Covid 19.

Back then I was seeing two things occurring in the world. The overpopulation problem was creating a huge environmental impact, a lot of pollution, overcrowded cities and deforestation. At the same time automation and technology was replacing the need for a large workforce.

As far as politicians were concerned we were creating a surplus population who were unemployable. The solution was to remove that surplus.

A tyrannical government decided on a plan of action. They would develop a virus, based on Ebola, that was 100% fatal, develop a vaccine and, as part of their annual vaccination programme, vaccinate all the people they wanted to survive. It was eugenics in full operation. Not only would they rid themselves of surplus population, but they could remove all opposition and anyone they did not deem fit.

As with most plans, things do not work out as intended.

With the passing of time, the burgeoning population and the advent of A/I, the tenets of the novel were even more pertinent. I originally had released the book as Ebola in the Garden of Eden. I re-edited it and reissued it as New Eden.

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