Green – A Science fiction book with great scope and imagination.

Green – A Science fiction book with

great scope and imagination.

 

‘This is a novel with a difference; a highly readable story, a page turner, yet with an important message.’

The Blurb

This is a Sci-fi novel set in the future.

Elspin is born without a nervous system; a brain with no connection to the world. She is locked within her dreams in an infinite universe of inner space. She should have withered into nothing but against all the odds she prospered.

What does a person think within their own head when there is no knowledge of the world outside?

Politicians and Business-people are at each others throats. The world is in crisis. The Greens are split into factions. Passions are explosive.

What should the Greens do to save the planet?

A way is found of contacting Elspin. What happens when universes clash? The universe within the head and the universe outside?

Will the world survive?

In the UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-OpheGreen – A Science fiction book with great scope and imagination.r-Goodwin/dp/1514122294/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Opher+Goodwin+Green&qid=1565427768&s=books&sr=1-1

In the USA:

In India:

 

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Poetry – I’m a bit of a Monkey – I’m amazed in this day and age that people still have difficulty with this.

Poetry – I’m a bit of a Monkey – I’m amazed in this day and age that people still have difficulty understanding this.

 

A Bit of a Monkey

My Mum always told me I was a bit of a monkey; little did she know.

We think that we’re so clever that we’re not even animals. We have been made by some divine hand from scratch.

But I know I’m an overgrown ape. I have all the DNA to prove it and no sign of an oversize finger-print.

I’m more than a bit of a monkey – I’m 98% chimp.

 

I’m a bit of a Monkey

We’re all bits of monkeys.

Monkeys that evolved into apes.

Which is why we like melons

And we love grapes.

We’re the apes with the big brains and mean disposition,

The intelligence and altruism.

We’re the consciousness perfecters and tax inspectors,

The apes that went to the moon.

 

We think we’re so clever, and we know it,

Preening the remains of our hair,

Just to show it,

And prancing like an overgrown loon –

Monkeys that went to the moon.

 

I like melon and I like grape

I’m happy to be an ape.

 

Opher 15.8.2015

Dark Matter becomes weirder than Sci-fi.

Dark Matter becomes weirder than Sci-fi.

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Dark Matter becomes weirder than Sci-fi.

It appears that only 4% of the universe is visible, the rest is made of Dark Matter. That’s right – 96% of the known universe is made of something we can’t see.

And as for Dark Energy (DE to us buffs), that accounts for 70% of all the energy in the known universe and we haven’t a clue what it is.

All the ‘ordinary’ matter in the universe is made of atoms and all atoms are made of quarks. Everything is made of the same building blocks.

But Dark Matter (DM to us authorities on the subject) is made of something else. It does not appear to be quarks. So I will deign to name them prior to their discovery. I want it noted that the subatomic particles that make up the ‘atoms’ (or Goodwins, as they are now termed) of Dark Matter are to henceforth be known as Ophers.

I predict that there will be a number of different Ophers just as there are with quarks. Rather than calling them upward, downward, strange and charm as with quarks I want them named after my favourite Rock stars. So, depending on how many we later discover, in descending order, I want them named Roys (after Roy Harper), Dylans (after Bob Dylan) Beefies (After Captain Beefheart), Jimis (After Jimi Hendrix and Woodys (after Woody Guthrie). If there are more discovered then I would like them called Elmores (after Elmore James) and Nicks (after Nick Harper). Hopefully we’ll eventually discovered loads more and we can deploy Howlins (after Howlin Wolf) and Muddy’s (after Muddy Waters) as well as Beatles and Countrys (after the Fab Four and Country Joe and the Fish).

The interesting thing about Dark Matter is that it is probably all around us but we cannot see it or feel it. It is only detectable by its gravitational effect. There is a whole world out there made of Ophers all constructed out of Roys, Dylans, Jimis, Beefies, Nicks, Elmores and Woodys. There are people just like us moving through us right now having a conversation that is a conjecture about what the other 4% of their Dark Matter might be made of.

I told you it was weirder than imagination.

The whole universe is made of nothing!

The whole universe is made of nothing!

atom

I’ve just read an article about string theory and quarks.

All atoms are made of quarks. Quarks are the smallest particles of matter known to man.

The theory is that a quark is made up of a piece of space fabric that is folded up and exists in six dimensions.

My understanding of space fabric is that it is nothing. So all matter is thought to be made of nothing folded into six dimensions. Amazing.

I have trouble getting my head round a universe with three dimensions (four if you count time). I can’t imagine what six dimensions would actually be. My brain hurts.

So the whole universe is basically nothing folded. Shakespeare was right. All life is but a dream.

Isn’t science incredible. I can’t wait to find out more. Ruth is certainly stranger than Richard!

GM – Genetically Modified food – Are we being Luddites? Is it time for us to embrace GM or are there too many uncertainties?

GM – Genetically Modified food – Are we being Luddites? Is it time for us to embrace GM or are there too many uncertainties?

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The question is whether it is the right time to embrace Genetically modified crops and animals and solve all the world’s food problems or are there too many unknowns?

On one hand there are always people who will oppose new ideas on the basis of ‘fear of change’.

On the other hand we have a long history of big corporations (and governments) lying to us so that we don’t know the true story (Nuclear energy and waste disposal is a good example – they even covered up the meltdown in Windscale for fear of upsetting the public even though they knew it would result in many deaths).

I am a Biologist. I am excited by the possibilities that GM opens up. I am also extremely wary of all information put out by the authorities. They spin and manipulate for their own ends.

What is Genetic Modification (GM)?

Science has progressed to the point where we are able to take a gene from one organism and put it into another.

That means we could take the chlorophyll producing gene and introduce it into humans. We would all become green and produce oxygen and sugar when exposed to light. Now that might be a silly idea and have lots of implications. But it is feasible. We could even introduce genes from jelly fish that would make us glow in the dark and cut down road deaths.

There is nothing intrinsically unnatural about this process. I mean – we are not manufacturing ‘new’ genes.

What it means is that any beneficial genes that have evolved in one species could be introduced into another.

That seems extremely useful so far.

The Benefits of GM

1. We could introduce a gene from one plant into another that would give it a defence against crop pests. This would save having to spray it with insecticide. That would prevent pollution and run-off of pesticides into waterways and prevent nearby plants being plastered with pesticides indiscriminately killing off bees and other insects.

2. We could introduce a gene that increased yield. This would result in more produce per acre and less land being needed to grow crops. It would enable us to feed people without encroaching on more wilderness and killing off wild-life and habitat.

3. We could introduce a gene that would enable crops to grow in arid lands. We could grow crops in deserts and not have to use water from rivers to irrigate. This would benefit aquatic wild-life. Fresh water is rapidly becoming a major problem. We have droughts and shortages.

4. We could introduce a herbicide resistance gene that would enable us to spray herbicides and reduce the need for weeding.

5. We could introduce genes that would fix nitrogen and enable plants to be grown in poor soil.

6. It would make farming less labour intensive. There would be less chemicals and less need to spray. This would reduce fossil fuel use.

7. We could introduce genes that would enrich the protein, vitamin and mineral content of food. We could produce crops with omega 3 fish oil. This would make food healthier.

8. We could introduce genes that would produce oil, plastic or other useful chemicals. This would reduce the need to drill or strip mine.

9. We could use the technique to introduce genes into human beings to treat terrible genetic diseases such as Huntingdon’s Chorea, Cystic Fibrosis or Haemophilia.

10. We could introduce genes that would enhance flavour or texture or give other benefits e.g. Golden Rice – a GM variety with a gene that produces Vitamin A (over a million children a year die from lack of Vitamin A – this would save them, their eyesight, and provide numerous other health benefits).

The Case against Genetic Modification (GM).

1. It is not natural. God would not like it.

2. It has been set up by huge multinational companies for profit. They are lying, cheating, unscrupulous and not to be trusted. They have a history of lying, bribing officials, using legal loopholes to flout legislation and spinning the downside. Their only interest is profit. They don’t care about people, health or wild-life.

3. It encourages large-scale farming and monoculture. This would be to the detriment of the small-scale farmer and biodiversity. It would encourage greater mechanisation.

4. There is a health risk from the products of these genes in our foods e.g. the chemicals the plants would produce to provide immunity against pests or as herbicide resistance might be harmful to animals or humans. It would end up in our food.

5. The herbicide tolerance promotes over-spraying with pesticide. The resultant residue on food is a health risk. The run off and airborne spray is a pollutant that would damage the environment.

6. There is a danger of cross-fertilisation and breeding introducing these genes into weeds, animals and plants that we do not want. We end up with weeds being immune to herbicide and get an even bigger problem.

7. There is a risk of transmigration of genes (via virus vectors) from the crops to other organisms. It would create huge resistance problems.

My view for what it is worth.

a. I do not trust multinationals. They have too much money and power. They can circumvent laws.

b. This is not a religious issue. Superstition should not come into it. This is science.

c. I think the transmigration and cross-fertilisation issues need objectively studying to see if there is a danger. I think there won’t be. These genes have been around for millions of years in the host organisms.

d. Likewise with the health issues.

e. I think the benefits outweigh the risks.

What I would like to see happen

1. I would like an independent overseeing body to regulate. They would have the power to look at all aspects and make judgements on global health and environmental basis.

2. I would like lots more research (unhampered by protesters) so that we can ascertain the facts about health risks, cross-fertilisation, transmigration etc.

3. I would like strict regulation, erring on the side of caution, with stiff penalties for transgression. This would create barriers for cross-fertilisation, establish impact on environment and regulate things such as chemical use and spraying.

4. I would like to see GM used wisely for the benefit of humans and everything else on this planet.

For me the production of sufficient food is crucial. We have a population spiralling out of control. We have to feed it. I am for anything that is more efficient so that we are less polluting and encroach on wilderness to a far lesser degree.

I believe, with due regulation and stringent enforcement, that it may be time to embrace GM.

What have I missed out?

What do you think?

Messages from concerned individuals – a cautionary Sci-fi tale

Messages from concerned individuals.

 

Tilly and Zeb were sitting in the twilight of their local narcodive drowning their sorrows with a narcojuice or two.

Tilly took a gulp of the green fluid and shook her head. ‘He means it you know. He’ll do it.’

Zeb sighed miserably and sipped his juice, glancing over at her. ‘I know.’

The two of them were the only remaining elements of the Sector 47 council who had managed to cling on to their positions when Tump the unimaginable was swept in to power. Tump’s black and white policies had resonated with the population. He had focussed on spreading fear and providing draconian solutions.

There were a dozen nascent civilisations in Sector 47. The council had been taking a keen interest in them. When intelligent life sprang up and developed space travel they had to be monitored. Many people saw them as a threat. These aliens could start expanding into civilised areas which could cause major problems. They would start to compete for resources. They could bring their alien diseases with them. They were obviously of lower intellect and followed primitive cultural practices. They bred like monkwops. They could even start to displace civilised people and take over. They were violent and aggressive. People were frightened. They did not want aliens with their obnoxious ways moving into their neighbourhood.

A particular civilisation had begun to rear its head in one distant quarter. It already had space travel and was on the verge of developing both quantum jumping and fusion energy. It could be in their region soon.

Tump had callously exploited that. According to him these aliens were ignorant, aggressive and violent. They were renowned for their sexual depravity and criminal activity.

Tump had warned everyone that the onslaught was imminent. That billions of these retarded gangs of aliens would soon be swaggering down their streets, taking whatever they wanted, violating their daughters and slicing up anybody who stood up to them. He called them vermin and declared that they needed eradicating.

Somehow, in the course of the campaign, the gentle voices were drowned out. They had advocated a helping hand, the application of resources and compassion. They suggested that these emerging intelligences were sentient; they had feelings and they needed nurturing. Yes they were ignorant and limited, brutal and uncivilised, with strange cultural practices, but with suitable education they could be brought up to an acceptable level and integrated.

Unfortunately Tump was able to conjure up images of depraved aliens swamping civilised planets with their disease, barbarity and viciousness. The images of weapon-wielding aliens raping innocent children were powerful. Tump was elected on a landslide with the mandate to solve the problem and eradicate the vermin.

‘But what can we do?’ Zeb asked glumly, pursing his lips and peering down at the green fluid he was swirling around in his glass. ‘We’re only two voices. Nobody will take any notice of us.’

The two of them slumped dejectedly in their plexies, ordered another couple of narcos and mused away in their gloom, desperately searching for a solution. In a mere week’s time Tump was going to cauterise the planet and destroy all the aliens. It was simply too horrible to contemplate. Tilly and Zeb had vainly tried to get the council to see the aliens as ‘people’ but to no avail.

‘We could petition the Grand Council?’ Zeb suggested, looking over at Tilly. ‘They could put a stop to Tump.’

Tilly shook her head. ‘That’d be no good coming from us. Who are we? We are insignificant – two minor councillors from Sector 47. We don’t carry enough weight.’

They went back to gloomily contemplating the poor aliens being fried alive by the gloating Tump.

Then Tilly perked up, her eyes alive once again. ‘You know, that idea of petitioning the Grand Council isn’t such a bad idea, after all.’

‘It isn’t?’ Zeb muttered quizzically, uncomprehendingly.

‘But don’t you see,’ Tilly said excitedly, grabbing hold of his foremost tentacle. ‘Under Intergalactic law if the Grand Council is petitioned directly by a sentient race they have to give them a hearing. That would stop Tump’s plans. The aliens could put their case and the Grand Council would have to weigh up the merits. The aliens would be bound to win.’

‘But the aliens don’t know anything about Tump and his plans to annihilate them, or even that the Grand Council exists.’

‘No yet they don’t,’ Tilly said excitedly, her mind grappling with the problem. ‘Not until we tell them.’

‘But how would be do that?’ Zeb spluttered, putting his narcojuice to one side. ‘We don’t have access to any of the diplomatic channels. Tump controls all those.’

‘Then we use unofficial means and contact their mightiest leader directly! We tell them all about the threat and give them the means to petition the Grand Council and put a stop to Tump!’

The message popped up on the screen right in the middle of his favourite rerun of ‘Have I Got News For You’. It talked of planetary destruction, a despotic leader bent on extermination, a lot of scientific and mathematical stuff that had been added to give credence to the message, and details of how to petition the Intergalactic Grand Council.

Petulantly he fumbled around for the controls among the debris of a myriad take-aways. ‘Gadzooks, Yipes, great fish-hooks and shyte-hawks,’ Boris ejaculated angrily. ‘I really have to give up snorting this stuff!’

 

Opher – 17.6.2019

Book Recommendation – Sci-fi – Ron Forsythe

A number of people have asked me which of my books I would recommend to start with.

I have written a number of Sci-fi novels. The best ones I am releasing under the alias of Ron Forsythe. This is my Sci-fi persona.

They are a good read with thought provoking stories.

If you like my writing why not give it a go?

So, of these, I would start with God’s Bolt – though the sequel Reawakening is probably my best Sci-fi book. They are all available on Amazon.

If you would like to take a look:

In the UK:

 

In the USA:

Thank you for supporting me and my writing.

 

Quantum Fever – New Sci-fi book – rewrite

I have just completed the 3rd rewrite of my new Sci-fi book Quantum Fever.

I am putting the best of my Sci-fi books out under the pseudonym of Ron Forsythe. This one will join that elite collection.

This is the story of a bunch of alien capitalists and their plundering of planets. It is also the story of a group of people who want to live a more natural life instead of being hooked up to immersive tridee in a rabbit hutch of a home deep in the multilayers of plastic, consumer hell.

It is now going out for editing! I’ll keep you informed.

God’s Bolt – A Sci-fi novel

I wrote God’s Bolt a short while ago. It is available from Amazon in both paperback and in a digital form.

It tells the tale of a young woman trapped on the Space Station as the world is destroyed.

Here is section 1:

Year 2178 – Impact day

 

I have never felt so utterly alone. A raging storm of nausea was gnawing at my belly as I began my routine morning broadcast – except that there was nothing normal about this one.

‘Good morning everybody,’ I said cheerily, putting on my best smile. ‘This is Helen Southcote beaming down to you from the United Nations International Space Station.’

I was totally unsure of the wisdom of continuing these tridee broadcasts, particularly on such an auspicious day as this. Who on earth was tuned in? Surely they’d all be in a panic, desperately seeking safety for themselves and their loved ones. Nobody would be at all interested in any platitudes from me. But the powers that be, in the form of mission controller Brad Noone, had assured me that it was necessary. The psychologists thought that it might help to continue with normality and reduce panic. Who was I to argue? They’d provided me with a script. I suppressed my anger and upset. Put aside my personal feelings about what had happened to my friends. The show had to go on. I was doing it for the kids, I kept reminding myself – it was for the kids.

‘The earth sure looks beautiful spread out there below me.’ I showed them images of the planet below me with its green seas and swirling white clouds.

With a lot of trepidation, which I hoped did not show too much, I turned my attention to the subject that was foremost in everybody’s minds. ‘Preparations are well underway to deal with the remaining threat from Chang’s comet,’ I assured them. ‘Missiles are poised to destroy the largest incoming rocks but President Khun Mae Srisuk has urged everyone to either seek sanctuary in the prescribed shelters or to evacuate to designated regions of safety. There are bound to be some meteorites that will cause some collateral damage. Better to be safe than sorry.’

I offered them one of my best smiles. The cheery tones sounded so phoney to me.

‘This promises to be one of the most spectacular shows you’ll ever see,’ I promised them. Be reassuring I’d been instructed – be upbeat. Lie. Even the most optimistic reports were predicting widespread damage across the United States, Canada and into Russia. The earth was going to be bombarded with the biggest deluge of rocks in recent history. Chang’s comet was a monster and even broken up as it was, presented a real danger to the survival of the planet. They just had to hope that this time the scientists had got it right and every single major threat would be neutralised. It was a big ask. They had not managed such a brilliant job up to now. This last ditch effort was to target all the remaining large rocks and pulverise them in the upper atmosphere so that the remains would burn up on entry. If all went to plan it was certain to be the most amazing display. The worry was that if a single one of those chunks of rock was missed……………….……….. well that didn’t bear thinking about. ‘Make sure you watch from safety!’ I chastised them. There were always some thrill seekers who sought to put themselves in danger. ‘As for me, well I’ve got the best seat in the house, a real grandstand view. UNISS will be in exactly the right place to record the whole sequence of events and you can bet that I’ll be relaying it to you live as it happens!’

I then proceeded to give them a dull and boring update on the various experiments taking place, the weather, solar activity and conditions in space. Normality. That’s what I’d been instructed to do.

‘This is Helen Southcote signing off until tomorrow. Be safe! See you soon’

‘Good job!’ Brad Noone intoned in his dulcet tones after I’d shut down. That was high praise coming from him.

‘Yes, Good one Helen,’ Happiness Ntobe added more enthusiastically. There was an element of wonder in her voice. She found it hard to believe that I’d pulled off such a jaunty performance in the face of such a terrifying prospect. I didn’t need telling. The mood back at Mission Control was one of great trepidation. It was tinged with fear verging on terror. They knew the real picture of what was coming and their confidence was not exactly riding high. Their minds were fixed on their family and friends. But I was a seasoned professional at the age of 33. I’d learnt to control my emotions. I’d been broadcasting for eight years now. I was used to it.

The rest of the day was mine and it lasted an eternity. Time dragged. I immersed myself in the routine of the station. I had to check on the work of all my absent colleagues; looking in on the horticulture work of Jeff and Bander’s, the weird zero G chemistry of Lynn and Izabel’s as well as my own work. I saved Jomo and Remi’s lab until last. That was still too painful. It set me crying. Then I did a check of the station security. All the time I was doing my rounds I kept up a running commentary with Eunice, the station’s computer, and the guys at Mission Control – Brad, Neil, Janice and Happiness. I think they were doing the same as me – desperately trying to occupy themselves, to take their minds off what was shortly going to be happening, at least the human components were. Eunice was just a chunk of metal, plastic and electricity. She had no mind. I don’t think it worked for any of us though. No matter what I was doing I kept getting images of a huge rock battering into earth and the planet being smashed to smithereens. I wished I’d never seen those damn sensationalist media images. Stupid, irresponsible rubbish. President Khun Mae Srisuk should have put a stop to it. They never should have gone out.

In the afternoon I resorted to putting the music on as loud as I could in order to drown out my thoughts and did my exercise routine with even greater ferocity than usual. Even that didn’t help though. Nothing could rid my mind of those images that were clogging up my head.

After an eternity, the twilight horizon crept over the edge of the planet and the coast of the United States of America crept into view. Despite the mass evacuations it was still lit up like a giant funfair. The sight of it sent chills through me. I could imagine the scenes in the cities below me. I’d seen the news reports. It was pandemonium. Impact was centred right over the Eastern seaboard. One of the most populated places on earth. I know they’d moved most people out but it still did not bear thinking about. I could imagine the huge throngs of superstitious religious lunatics – those who had called the event God’s Bolt and believed this asteroid was an act of God, sent to punish us for the sins of humanity – gathered on the hilltops praying to God and exalting him to spare them. Part of me desperately hoped they would prevail even though my rational self ridiculed their foolishness and maliciously hoped a meteorite or two would land right among them and put an end to their nonsense.

Already the sky was lit up with a criss-crossing of orange streaks from the early vanguard of rocks liberated from the blasting of Chang’s Comet. They were harmlessly burning out in the heavens and putting on quite a display but one that was merely a precursor to the main show.

I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and it was nothing to do with the lack of gravity. I was a seasoned pro when it came to weightlessness. No – I knew the number of planet-busting rocks that were heading our way. Shortly we would see whether all the preparations had paid off. The closer it got the more anxious I was becoming. My head was full of doubts. I could sense the uncertainty that existed down there on Earth. If they were not convinced how could I be? I just hoped our depleted and unpractised military knew what they were doing and could neutralise the threat. Ironically I just hoped that the long decades of peace resulting in the run-down of all military weaponry had not completely emasculated them. My confidence was not super high. I knew we had very little left in the kitty to throw at the threat. I knew more than most of the magnitude of the operation; it was running more on hope than logic.

At 10.23 p.m. Eastern Time the main show began.

I was seated in the viewing gantry with Mission Control plugged in. The many tridee displays showed the scenes from a variety of sources both on Earth and out in space. I found myself flicking from one to the other. People in Mission Control were talking out loud, oblivious, commentators for various channels were babbling, it was all a background cacophony to me. The heavens were lit up with trails of meteors and the explosions of surface to air missiles – I knew that all our larger missiles had been expended.

By 10.35 p.m. my hopes were on an upward trend – it was beginning to look as if we were weathering the storm. My spirits were rising. I was beginning to think High Command had pulled it off. Then it happened. A huge ball of fire arced through the sky as various explosions blossomed around it but failed to make any dent on its progress. I watched in horror as it descended and scorched its way to the ground. I swear the whole planet shuddered when it hit. The strike was just inland of Washington. Even from this distance I could see the enormity of it. A great welt of livid molten rock, expanding swiftly to become what looked to be the size of a third of the entire country, was flung into the air as a broiling front of superheated air and dust radiated out at supersonic speed. The seething gasses rushed across the ground as crimson clouds were flung up into the upper atmosphere threatening to reach out into space itself and even engulf the space station.

I watched horror-struck and numb. Though I was so very far away the speed of the expansion of that livid cloud was staggering. It was consuming the rest of the continent at an alarming rate in a glowing storm while yellow fires blossomed into a huge swirling cloud above the impact site and huge lightning bolts raged. The Earth seethed with livid orange flame.

Around me the various channels roared and went silent as they too were consumed. Mission Control was amongst the last to go; based as it was two thousand miles away in London. My mind grappled with the horror of what I was witnessing. I could not conceive that Brad Noone, Happiness Ntobe, Neil Cox and Janice Cervantes along with that whole centre at Mission Control with all those dedicated staff, were gone. It was too much to take in. I could not allow myself to even think about Jomo and the others. I could not. That just could not be. I could not allow that. No!! No!! NO!! I shook my head in disbelief. This could not be happening. I squeezed my eyes tight shut.

Over the next three hours I watched silently in some strange unreality, dissociated and analytical, as the rest of the planet was consumed by the boiling sea of fire. Through the thick fiery skies I counted four further enormous impacts further north in what must have been the States, Canada and Siberia. It confirmed everything of my worst fears for me. The last of the stations from the other side of the planet went down. The whole world was silent now and gripped in that raging torrent of fire. From where I sat it looked as if the whole world had become a ball of molten rock, a superheated furnace.

The worst had happened.

All night I sat there watching the scene below waiting for it to sink in. Things had settled somewhat. The whole planet was now a glowing writhing ball of crimson and orange cotton wool. It now looked almost serene from up here but I could well imagine what it was like down there – the force of that blast and the heat of those winds. No matter how deep underground anyone had gone I knew there was no safety to be had. Nobody was surviving this event. This was every bit the extinction event the media had predicted. I kept telling myself that it had not really happened. This was one of those media simulations.

Somewhere down there my family and friends, the colleagues I had said goodbye to just days before, my lovers, they were all gone. Nobody could have survived. They were gone. I had watched the solid rock of the Earth’s crust ripple, fold and rupture releasing torrents of fermenting magma. That can’t have been real can it? It was a tridee. It was special effects. It could not possibly be real – could it? I could not imagine it so it couldn’t have happened. It was too enormous.

Strangely I felt like laughing. It was absurd. All that huge effort that had gone into conservation was wasted. All those precious plants and animals were gone. The ironic thought came into my mind that we had been killed by a surfeit of peace. If only we had not disarmed and done away with all those nuclear weapons. If only we had kept the missiles. We’d fallen victim to our own desire to become civilised. If this had happened a hundred years earlier we would have blown that huge chunk of metal into dust.

That was the ultimate irony.

I still could not really accept it. I did not believe what my eyes were telling me. It was not happening. I was not really watching it for real. This was nothing more than a sensational tridee programme.

It occurred to me that I was on my own. That was when it hit home. I was on my own. I would never see them again. I would never see anyone again. I was completely on my own.

I forced myself not to give in to hysteria. Once I’d started down that road there was no telling where it would end. But once those thoughts were born they could not be unborn. I kept feeling what it was like for a wall of searing heat to vaporise a human being. That is what had happened 4 billion times.

Despite the logic of my own eyes I kept imagining that somewhere down there, perhaps in a submarine at depth, someone would have survived. But I knew that was impossible. The thin crust of the world had been fractured into a million pieces. The tectonic plates would have been ripped apart. I knew the science. I’d seen the magnitude of the impact. The magma was flowing freely, the oceans boiled. Nothing could have survived – at least no life of any sophisticated nature. I had no doubt that the extremophiles, the bacteria and algae adapted to extreme temperatures of volcanoes and underwater vents, would survive. In a billion years or so perhaps the planet would be green again and a new range of organisms would call the planet home. But what good was that to me?

Strangely I did not feel like screaming like they do in the tridee movies, though I thought that maybe I should. No tears came to my eyes, no swearwords to my lips. It was beyond all that. I was completely numb.

I think I spent hours, days, in a stupor just staring down at the raging planet and not registering a single thought. I did not eat or drink and not even Eunice’s chiding registered with me. My universe had been blown apart. Everything I loved was gone. I could not take it in. Somehow, despite the obviousness of the possibilities, I had not prepared myself for this. It was too big, too enormous. I still refused to believe it. Perhaps it would all settle down and be OK?

I was outwardly calm, though the inside of my head was raging as it futilely tried to absorb the facts. It was gone. The whole Earth was gone. They were all gone. I would never see anyone again – not anybody. I would never see green fields or blue skies ever again. I was on my own. I would spend the rest of my days in this Space Station, this cage, this hell. I would never see Mum and Dad, or Joe and Richard. They had been burnt alive, seared to a crisp. Everything was just ash. My friends and lovers were gone. They were seared with fire. Seared to cinders. Everything was destroyed, smashed, broken, burnt, consumed, swamped with magma, broken apart. There was nothing to heal. I was on my own. I was on my own. I was on my own. For the rest of my days I was stuck in this prison. I would never breathe proper air. I would never walk on the Earth’s soil. The silly thought came into my head and tore at me – my dog was gone. All dogs were gone. All animals were gone. They were flecks of heated ash in a hurricane of fire. Nothing could have survived. I was on my own.

My head was roaring like the atmosphere on Earth. My mind was raging like that hurricane on Earth. It was eating me up.

I think I was trying to shock myself into reacting, to feeling something. But the feelings would not come.

I stood mindlessly staring out at the ball of fire below me and that ball of fire was in my head. What it was doing to the planet it was doing to me – eating me alive. That naked molten lava was in my head burning my brains. It was agony. Those hurricanes of fire were burning up my thoughts, whirling them into raging whirlwinds of scattered meaningless thoughts. My sanity was whirling, spinning, tearing itself apart. It was a monster. It was something out of my worst nightmare but thousands of times worse!

It was all pointless, all hopeless. I could not face it. I could not face the future. I did not want to be alive. They were all gone. Why me?? WHY ME!!! I FUCKING DID NOT WANT TO BE ALIVE!! I WANTED TO BE WITH THEM!!!! I WANTED TO BE WITH JOMO!!!!

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Reawakening – The sequel to God’s Bolt.

This was written as both a stand alone and a sequel to God’s Bolt.

It tells the story of Helen Southcote’s journey through the solar system and out to the stars.

It too is available in both paperback and digital on Amazon.

Here is the opening section:

Year 0 Day 1 – 2325

 

I opened my eyes to discover I was in my own room. It gave me such a shock that I quickly closed them again. That could not possibly be right, could it? I mean, I had to be dreaming.

I lay there with my heart thumping trying to gather the courage to open my eyes again.

That room no longer existed. It was my room from 2159 when I was fourteen. I’d recognised it straight away. It even smelt right. It felt right. The bed felt right. All those things that I’d totally forgotten, that were lost in the depths of time but which were flooding back to me down the distant corridors of history through some ninety two years. It had given me such a shock.

This time I opened my eyes slowly and deliberately, braced for what I was about to see.

It was still there. It was definitely my room down to the smallest detail. There were even the scratches on the paintwork by the door where Woody, my beautiful collie dog, used to scratch to be let out.

I couldn’t have been more shocked if I’d bumped into a tyrannosaurus. I’d seen one of those in the reconstruction zoo, subtly called Jurassic Park after some film that had been made centuries before I was born.

I allowed my eyes to roam around taking it all in and rediscovering all those tiny details that I had long forgotten. They were all resurfacing as I looked – those strange lights that I’d taken a liking too, the garish colours of the walls. What had I been thinking? Orange and green. How could I ever have thought that was cool? The patterned carpet that made your eyes go funny. There was definitely something weird that happens to adolescent minds. They go very strange. But how did my parents allow me to do it? They really did indulge me, didn’t they? – Much more than I’d appreciated at the time.

I looked over to the large mural of Carl Sagan that dominated the wall opposite. My hero Carl held pride of place. Around him were my favourite Zook and Zygobeat bands of the day. I remember I had quite a crush on Zed from Isobar. He had the coolest hair and sweetest face. I adored him. Well looking at him now he just looked like a simpering little kid, barely out of nappies. My Dad used to be very disdainful of Isobar. ‘Computer slush for slushy minds’ he used to say, much to my fury. I used to retaliate calling his music ‘archaic noise for the demented’. He used to laugh – which only made it worse.

I edged myself up in bed. I felt so weak.

I looked around for Woody, my dog, but he wasn’t there. He usually lay curled up asleep at the side of my bed. I half expected my Mum to call up from downstairs to tell me to get up; it was time to catch the scud to school, or my Dad to start chiding. What was going on? I expected to hear my brother Rich mumbling and grumbling from his stinking pit across the landing that resembled a rubbish tip, only smellier. He hated getting up while it was still daylight. I thought about my older brother Joe who was away at Uni.

Everything was so right and that’s what made it so wrong. This could not possibly be happening. This room did not exist. Not only was it a throwback to my room from some ninety odd years ago, that had seen so many transformations as I’d grown up and then left home – this being just one incarnation among the many – an incarnation that was buried under layers of decorative archaeology by the time I last visited home. It was also a room that had been completely destroyed when God’s Bolt, that damn fucking asteroid, had wiped out the Earth all those years ago.

So how was I here?

I eased myself up in bed and sat propped up against the wall. My heart had slowed down but my mind was still racing.

I noticed my hands. You get used to seeing your own hands. They are not very attractive as you get old. All those brown splodges of liver spots, and your knuckles all swollen and lumpy, your skin all crinkled and leathery, like some dry, wrinkly tissue paper that you could never get smooth and soft again no matter how much lotion you use. But these were not like that. They were a young woman’s hands. Not the hands of the slip of a girl I was when I had this room, the hands of a mature young woman. I recognised them too, even though I had not seen them for some eighty years or more.

I got out of bed, walked across the room, or should I say tottered, I felt so weak I thought I was going to collapse at any moment, having to rest a hand on the bed in order to keep my balance, and opened my wardrobe to look in the mirror. My hair was a straggly mess but the body and face that peered back at me was that of the twenty year old Helen Southcote that used to be.

‘Eunice,’ I called, ogling this body I had not laid eyes on for over eighty years, ‘what have you done?’

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