My Current Writing situation

Current Writing situation

Thanks for all your support – the likes, comments, reviews and ratings are all very sustaining. It’s good to know that so many of you appreciate the writing.

The work of a writer is very insular and takes a lot of time.

Here’s where I am at:

Captain Beefheart On Track: Every Album, Every Song: (Published by Sonicbond publishing)

This book has been out for a couple of months now. So far it has received 11 ratings – all 5*. Which is very pleasing!

It has been well reviewed in Record Collector. It is hard to pick a ‘best’ review. They are all great in different ways.

‘This is such a brilliant book. I have been using this as a reference book to check which musician played on which album! A lot of research has gone into it and the book is very informative! The author loves the band, but isn’t afraid to speak out against something he doesn’t like (The Tragic band !)

It has me listening to the albums more intently now!
Nice to see some of the Captain’s lyrics about the state of our planet ! ( I wonder what he would think of mother earth in 2022!)
Highly recommended.’

‘Firstly, reader, I’ll tell you what this book is like: You know when you go into an art gallery or museum and have an accompanying guide book explaining a little about the art or artefacts? Well, this is very much like that.

A companion piece for every track.

The author has lovingly reviewed and described every song and it is also full of little facts and interesting information.
If, like me, you are a Beefheart and The Magic Band aficionado (and I’m guessing that you are) then you’ll appreciate this book.
We’ve all read John French’s definitive horse’s-mouth and meticulous account, Bill Harkleroad’s equally valid (but not so obsessively detailed) story and we’ve also read Mike Barnes’s fantastic and accurate outsider view. There are a couple of other tomes too but those three are the glorious triumvirate of Beefheartian history.

This book isn’t trying to be that.

What it does is makes you revisit the albums. Not with a different perspective – we all have our own, as does this, but with another incentive; to listen to the most original, influential, unique music in rock history.
It’s a book for Beefheart lovers, nerds and obsessives.
If you don’t agree with some of the author’s viewpoints on the music it really doesn’t matter.

The purpose of the book is as a companion to this vast and broad decade of sheer creativity, originality and music-as-art from a genius/tyrant/eccentric and the supremely dedicated and unique musicians who helped to realise the vision, even taking a backseat to his ego for the sake of the art.

I love it and so will you.’

Captain Beefheart On Track: Every Album, Every Song: Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789522358: Books

Captain Beefheart On Track (burningshed.com)

Really cherish all those reviews!

Roy Harper On Track: Every Album, Every Song: (Published by Sonicbond publishing)

This has been out for over a year now and is also on a 5* rating with an incredible 58 ratings and some brilliant reviews.

‘still in the process of enjoying Opher Goodwin’s paperback book detailing Roy Harper’s most illustrious recording career, i have to declare that this is one heck of a read!’

‘Opher Goodwin is a great writer who knows Roy Harper and was present while important parts of Harper’s catalogue were laid down. The book is lovingly put together and is a very easy read. (It helps if you know at least some of the music of course). There are many snippets and insights that I, as a keen Harper fan, was not aware of. It forms an indispensible companion volume for Roy’s book of lyrics, The Passions of Great Fortune.’

‘Opher’s superb book is an absolute must for any Roy Harper fan.’

Roy Harper: Every Album, Every Song (On Track): Amazon.co.uk: Opher Goodwin: 9781789521306: Books

Roy Harper On Track (burningshed.com)

Bob Dylan in the 60s: On Track: Every Album, Every Song: (Published by Sonicbond publishing)

This is complete and is presently with the publishers being edited and set. It should be published early next year!

Unintended Consequences (A Sci-fi novel written under the Ron Forsythe name)

This is a Science Fiction novel that I have just brought out. It’s the sequel to The Pornography Wars. I enjoyed writing this. It has a touch of humour.

‘The politics and satire continues as our humans are set free from control and find themselves in a very different world.
While the aliens continue to argue about the future of pornography and the sentience of human beings, life for the unshackled humans is becoming very grim.


In the tridee film-making studio everything is fraught.
The populist Director General, with her advisers, is being devious.
The Minister for Arts is stoned out of her mind.
A campaign to give humans rights is being fought.
Will the humans find themselves controlled and back in the sex movie, or will they be free?’

Unintended Consequences: Amazon.co.uk: Forsythe, Ron: 9798356000638: Books

Words

This is a collection of short stories and writings from the last two years.

‘Words is a collection of short stories, anecdotes and writings accumulated over the last few years.
Some were written for fun; some have a more serious tone. Hopefully some will make you laugh, some will make you cry and others make you angry.’

Words: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9798358692046: Books

Broken Britain (A book of Poetry)

This is my latest book of poetry – a collection of poems gathered from my blog of a mainly political nature.

‘These are the poems of a madman. Politics makes me mad.

Everything is politics.
The establishment uses the media to control us.
The establishment is controlling politics.
My poems try to capture the mad thoughts that go through my head!
After twelve years of Tory greed and lust for power we are all broken. The country is broken. The public services are broken. Children are freezing and starving in Dickensian squalor while multitudes of billionaires and millionaires stuff millions off-shore tax-free.
All I do is write poetry.
Welcome to BROKEN BRITAIN!

Broken Britain: Amazon.co.uk: Goodwin, Opher: 9798358777781: Books

Futile Gestures (Yet another book of what I mistakenly call poems)

I am currently writing a new poetry book and am forty pages in. I imagine that it’ll be out early next year.

The Cabal

This is another Sci-fi novel that will come out under the Ron Forsythe name. I just took a peek. I have written 57 pages so I have a long way to go.

Right – I’m off back to do a little more work on The Cabal.

Thanks again for all your interest and support. Please keep the reviews, ratings, comments and likes coming. They give me a very necessary boost!!     THANK YOU!!

New Sci-fi book – Unintended Consequences – Out Now! A social/political Sci-fi with a dash of humour!

My latest Sci-fi novel is available now in paperback, hardback and digital!

The politics and satire continues as our humans are set free from control and find themselves in a very different world.
While the aliens continue to argue about the future of pornography and the sentience of human beings, life for the unshackled humans is becoming very grim.
In the tridee film-making studio everything is fraught.
The populist Director General, with her advisers, is being devious.
The Minister for Arts is stoned out of her mind.
A campaign to give humans rights is being fought.
Will the humans find themselves controlled and back in the sex movie, or will they be free?

Star – A Sci-fi novel

Star

 Opher May 26, 2020

It’s the sixties – the three thousand one hundred and sixties.

The Federation is in conflict with the Confederation.

The Troman war rages …

There is a civil rights issue with the Androvians.

Young people all across the galaxy are in revolt. Rock Music, on an intergalactic scale, is the medium of the rebellion.

Zargos Ecstasy and the Terminal Brain Grope are providing the impetus for the rebellion.

Zargos, a larger than life character based on Bob Dylan, Hendrix, Jagger, Jim Morrison and Bowie, struts the stage, putting his poems to music and rousing the spacefreaks to seek social justice.

If you lived through the sixties you’ll recognise it all.

Extract

The beginning

Hilan Hilzar sat back into the posture form sensopadding of his couch seat. He was so full of tension that the living contouring did little to reduce the tightness of his muscles. He could not relax. The huge effort of holding back the excitement was making is body rigid. His mind was clamping down on his torso like a crushing weight so that the pressure welled up inside him. His heart felt swollen, writhing around in his chest. His flesh was actually jumping and twitching as if some high voltage current was flowing through his veins. He was worried that it would trigger the seat’s resuscitation unit. It might consider him at risk and ping him with a sedative.

For weeks now his whole existence seemed to have been building up to this climax. At first it had all seemed unreal – an eternity away. It had crawled towards him at a krank-snail’s pace; like it would never arrive. It had devoured his concentration leaving him unable to think of anything else. Then it had simply rushed and the impossible day had arrived.

The journey here was a haze of unreality. He had spent the entire time peering around himself in disbelief. It could not really be happening. Reality was divorced from the evidence of his senses.

He sat back into the seat and took a deep breath as the sensopadding rippled calmingly around him. His mind refused to operate properly. Only fragments of the journey were registering. He’d been in a dream. It was a wonder that he had got here at all. He had vague recollections of boarding the ship and then the jump. Somehow the surge had only barely registered at all. Who could believe that? He had burned through the colour shifts with all the interest of a veteran traveller or some spoilt rich kid to whom hyperspace was a regular event. Instead of being astounded by the brilliance he had just wanted it to end; to arrive. His mind had not been there at all. Even the re-entry was just a dream that washed over him. It was almost forgotten. It meant nothing. His mind was already ahead of him, dancing at his destination. In his head he was already there. This entire journey, no matter how amazing, had been no more than a necessary nuisance to be endured. The terminal had been awash with a multitude of beings as aliens mingled with humans and he allowed himself to be wafted along with the flood of the crowd. They were borne along on a babbling sea of excitement that engulfed them all.

It was as if he only really awoke when he entered the arena. He stood for a minute open-mouthed as the crowd washed past him, boggling at the immensity of it. He was here. He really was. Only then did he dare to let himself believe. He allowed himself to look around as he was checked by an automated usher, conveyed and deposited into his allocated seat. All the while he had been in a trance.

As he came to, excitement welled up inside him as he accepted that he was actually here. He had made it. He bounced to his feet and found himself jumping up and down madly waving to the various groups of friends in his immediate vicinity, the same friends he had not even registered on his journey here.

After a while he had calmed down sufficiently to settle back down into his seat. He could barely contain himself. There were still hours to wait.

A sun was up casting hard sharp shadows. The sky glowed with a deep violet blue bathing the audience with its soft gleam. It would be nightfall before anything happened. He forced himself to calm down. His body would surely give out if it continued at this pitch. He did not want to burn out before it even started.

The sun set below the curved horizon leaving a crystal clear void sprinkled with a billion stars like fine salt on black obsidian. They hung like a pall of smoke over the crowd. There were no gaps between the specks just differences of intensity. It was so clear that one could imagine there was no air or Plexiglas between them. It made him aware that this was a moon; no planet could possibly have created such clarity.

Hilan decided it was time to drop his tablet of Amaz.

Available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.

In the UK:

Buy the book – click here

In the USA:

Buy the book – click here

In India:

Buy the book – click here

In Canada:

Buy the book – click here

In Germany:

Buy the book – click here

In Australia

Buy the book – click here

Or from your local Amazon Store.

The Gordian Fetish – A humorous Sci-fi novel that pokes fun at our society.

The Gordian Fetish

 

How important is consciousness?

How rare is it in the universe?

It is incredibly rare but not many people here on Earth seem to care about that …

But the Gordian’s do – they value it – they seek it out and look to protect it. They have an institute funded by their government that is geared to the conservation of endangered alien sentient beings.

Unfortunately a new Gordian leader has come along who believes in austerity. He is threatening to close the institute.

Humans are sentient and have a modicum of intelligence. They can hardly be termed endangered though. There are 4000 billion of them. But they are incredibly interesting. They have sex. They also have politics and religion. They pretend to be clever and civilised but they are nowhere near as clever and civilised as they think they are.

Most Gordian’s are intrigued by humans. They find sex astounding and humans cute. Being cute and having sex might just be their saving graces.

Extract

Chapter 1 – The beginning

For the love of Heaven! Zag shouted, throwing his four manipulators in the air in exasperation. We can put in about the rest of the stuff later on. Of course research and study are important and eventually the rest of the bloody universe. Of course having lots of interesting specimens is important. But right now we have a sodding inspection and the Inspection Committee won’t give a bugger about all of that. They just want to shut us down. Can’t you see that? Only paperwork can save us now!

I suggest we have a tea break, Lat proposed testily. The other two committee members vigorously nodded their cranial carapaces and clapped their manipulators in agreement.

No! Zag said sternly in his most authoritative voice, asserting himself and putting them firmly in their place. The clapping came to an abrupt halt. Not until we have finally agreed on this damn mission statement.

Zag took a big sigh, forced himself to calm down, changed tack and looked round at his three fellow colleagues pleadingly – to no avail. It was evident from their petulant scowls that they could not see anything as simple as that. They were tainted with idealistic fervor. They’d rather sink with their principles intact that swim with them compromised.

He searched around one more time for some simple way of explaining things to make them see the importance of the task in hand. They simply weren’t getting it. But this is our one fundamental purpose – our mission statement. One bloody thing. That is all. One bloody statement – one crucial essence of purpose. Can’t you understand that?

Their blank expressions said it all.

Zag turned blue with pent-up rage, supernumery protuberances began to burst out over his head and body with their characteristic – and embarrassing – popping sound. Zag hoped it wasn’t that noticeable.

His colleagues, in characteristic Gordian politeness, were pretending not to notice, but they all continued to look at Zag with an air of resignation and sour resentment that certainly did not help matters, or do anything for his disposition.

The committee had been in session for three weeks now – a whole, unprecedented three weeks, twenty one flaming days, without so much as a break, not even a lousy toilet break. It was true that a Gordian’s metabolism could put up with such insults but it was far from desirable and did little to ameliorate the disposition of the reluctant participants. But Zag saw it as a necessary evil. There was work to be done. In just under three months’ time they had been promised a full inspection and everyone knew what that meant. President Bog had introduced the new austerity measures and was looking to cut to the bone. He considered arts, science and most other things, including aliens, especially aliens, frivolous and unnecessary. The cards were on the table for the Gordian Institute for Extra-terrestrial Research and Conservation, or GIERC, as it was generally known. Bog was not renowned for his love of anything other than business and the bottom line, and aliens were definitely not profitable enough. Besides, they were ugly and revolting. In his book they were worse than Gordian ballet – and Gordian ballet was renowned for inducing catatonia and suicide. The future for the institute looked dire.

But Zag, the assistant Director, was determined not to go down without a fight. Despite his present fury – directed at Director Zor who, as usual, was nowhere to be seen, because he was off gallivanting around the galaxy as per bloody usual, he remained passionate about the place. Zag cherished the institute with all his heart and truly believed that the work they performed was inspirational and exceedingly important in the confines of such an increasingly uncaring universe. Without the institute’s efforts thousands of alien species would now be extinct. To his great satisfaction they had, against all the odds, successfully reintroduced a great array of alien life back into the wild. Then there were the educational benefits to consider. Generations of young Gordians had their empathic glands fully charged through a single visit to the institute. They learned to value the range of alien life out there and see them as fellow sentient beings, not mere objects to be exploited, or lesser creatures destined to disappear for ever. Aliens were important. They had feelings too. Thanks to the Institute many youngsters took that message on board. There was hope. While the institute existed there was hope.

In Zag’s opinion Bog was a philistine, a monster of the first order. He represented all that was retrograde and soulless. The world he wanted to create was as grey and boring as Briscow’s synthsoup – and Briscow’s synthsoup made distilled water taste positively tangy.

It was true that the planet had a few financial problems but it did not have to be one long decline into economic madness and uncaring exploitation – did it? There were better ways. The Institute for Extra-terrestrial Research and Conservation clearly demonstrated that and was, in Zag’s eyes, the last bastion of civilisation. If it was the last thing he did Zag intended to ensure that their crucial work continued and that the cretinous Bog did not get his way and close it down. Despite his anger at the irresponsibility of Zor, he was resolute to do all in his power to keep the place open. To that end he had brought the committee together to review and update their policy books. Everyone knew that paperwork was the key to success. When the inspection team arrived he meant to present them with a set of documents that were not only first class but would demonstrate quite clearly the essential nature of their work and its value to Gordian society. No self-respecting inspection team could argue with that, could they?

The major obstacle to achieving this laudable aim seemed to be the committee itself. Individually they were all as passionate and committed as Zag. The problem was that none of them agreed on how to go about achieving their aims. Indeed, deciding on the actual aims was nigh on impossible. Every one of them held a different vision that they sought to promote. No two of them shared a view and none of them were prepared to compromise. In that respect it was a fairly typical committee.

Dut and Lat were utterly impossible. Zag could not fault their spirit or intent but they were so irrational that it drove him crazy. They both wanted to take the work of the institute out of the confines of the galaxy to the universe beyond. Their ideas were so far-reaching and grandiose that they did not have an ice-ball in hell’s chance of success. Every time they opened their mouths it was some other ridiculous plan to take their work to some distant far-flung backwater tucked away in the middle of some megallanic cloud that could never, in a billion bloody Sundays, gain funding or achieve anything worthwhile, just because there was a rumour of some weird bunch of aliens who were on the point of dying out. As far as Zag was concerned Dut and Lat were out with the fairies. He was already drawing up plans in his mind to have them elsewhere when the inspection team arrived. If the chief inspector got one whiff of those two then he reasoned that the game was up.

Available in both paperback and kindle on Amazon.

In the UK:

Buy the book – click here

In the USA:

Buy the book – click here

In India:

Buy the book – click here

In Canada:

Buy the book – click here

In Germany:

Buy the book – click here

In Australia

Buy the book – click here

Or from your local Amazon Store.

Reawakening – A Sci/fi novel of extraordinary scope.

Reawakening

 

This is the sequel to God’s Bolt.

Helen Southcote, the sole survivor of a stricken Earth, is alone on the Space Station.

This is the tale of her journey through space and time towards Tau Sagittarii, 122 light years away  …

This is also the story of the aliens who live in the system around Tau Sagittarii and their reaction to the destruction of Earth.

After dealing with the rigours of isolation, mental illness and hopelessness there is the hope of awakening.

Then there are the questions about the purpose of life, altruism and the nature of consciousness all in the course of an epic adventure.

Extract

Author’s Note

While this is a sequel it is intended to stand on its own as a story.

The novel is concerned with an alien civilisation based in the region of Tau Sagittarii. It takes 122 years for radio signals to reach Tau Sagittarii from earth even though they travel at the speed of light.

In order not to create confusion all dates used are earth time.

Chapter 1 – Awakening

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?’

Available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.

In the UK:

Buy the book – click here

In the USA:

Buy the book – click here

In India:

Buy the book – click here

In Canada:

Buy the book – click here

In Germany:

Buy the book – click here

In Australia

Buy the book – click here

Or from your local Amazon Store.

Reawakening – A Sci-fi novel – an epic journey through space, aliens, wonder and life.

Reawakening

 

This is the sequel to God’s Bolt.

Helen Southcote, the sole survivor of a stricken Earth, is alone on the Space Station.

This is the tale of her journey through space and time towards Tau Sagittarii, 122 light years away  …

This is also the story of the aliens who live in the system around Tau Sagittarii and their reaction to the destruction of Earth.

After dealing with the rigours of isolation, mental illness and hopelessness there is the hope of awakening.

Then there are the questions about the purpose of life, altruism and the nature of consciousness all in the course of an epic adventure.

Extract

Author’s Note

While this is a sequel it is intended to stand on its own as a story.

The novel is concerned with an alien civilisation based in the region of Tau Sagittarii. It takes 122 years for radio signals to reach Tau Sagittarii from earth even though they travel at the speed of light.

In order not to create confusion all dates used are earth time.

Chapter 1 – Awakening

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?’

Available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.

In the UK:

Buy the book – click here

In the USA:

Buy the book – click here

In India:

Buy the book – click here

In Canada:

Buy the book – click here

In Germany:

Buy the book – click here

In Australia

Buy the book – click here

Or from your local Amazon Store.

The Pornography Wars – A Sci-fi novel!! Available on Amazon. Paperback and digital!

The Pornography Wars – A Sci-fi novel!! Available on Amazon. Paperback and digital!

Posted on  by Opher

The Pornography Wars takes political satire and social comment (with a liberal dash of humour) into a new dimension.
Sex is the essence of everything.
Is human history contrived by aliens?
Are we in a film set for an alien pornographic soap opera?
Is all human culture nothing more than an alien psych-master’s program?
What happens when the aliens argue over the future of pornography on their tridee sets?
What is going to happen to the future of human beings?

The Pornography Wars: Amazon.co.uk: Forsythe, Ron: 9798511727530: Books

Farm 703 – The Human Project – A Sci-fi novel. Are we being farmed by microbes??

Farm 703 – The Human Project

 Opher April 22, 2020

Farm 703 where humans are controlled by bacteria.

Farm 703 where we are a project created by the Farm Manager.

Farm 703 where there is a move to terminate the human project …

703 where Head Office will decide on the fate of humanity.

They are allowing me to write this story.

They do not think you will believe it.

Extract

Foreword

A long time ago I read an article in a magazine. It said that in a healthy human being ninety nine out of every hundred cells in our bodies were bacterial. I have since seen other articles that put that number a bit lower, but they all agree, the majority of cells in our bodies are bacterial. Even in our own selves we are outnumbered!

That article set me thinking. Are we being farmed by bacteria? Is all human history dictated by bacteria? Are we being controlled?

I thought that there was a good Sci-fi story lurking in there but I could not figure out how to write it. There were so many stumbling blocks – one being that bacteria only live for a matter of seconds – less than a minute – before they undergo fission.

The thought stuck around in my head but went no further. Then I had this idea – I could have continuity if, when the bacterium underwent fission, there was a primary and secondary organism produced. That way the primary bacterium could live forever. It set me off. I had my continuity.

The next problem was intelligence. Could a bacterium, possessing no brain, be intelligent? Well scientists do not really understand how intelligence works. Consciousness is still a mystery and this is Sci-fi. I can make my bugs highly intelligent if I want. So I did. Bacteria are highly intelligent.

This then is Farm 703 – planet Earth – a place colonised by intelligent bacteria that have created all other forms of life.

Farm 703 – a world where evolution of other creatures has been engineered in order to feed and house bacteria.

Farm 703 – a farm where all that matters are the statistics on productivity – the holding capacity, the biomass, the number of bacteria housed.

Farm 703 – where the Project Manager, Zane 1, has deliberately created an intelligent form of life – human beings – as an experiment – a long-tern project to protect Earth against an extinction event.

Farm 703 – where human beings are proving difficult to control and are busy wrecking the place.

Farm 703 – where Head Office has become involved and is deliberating, in the interests of efficiency, whether to replace the project manager and eradicate humans, or continue with the experiment.

Farm 703 – a farm where the project manager in waiting is doing everything in her power to destabilise the farm and undermine the established project manager.

Welcome to Farm 703. This is where we live. They are allowing me to write this story. They do not think you will believe it.

It’s a bit weird, a bit like a surreal movie, but it’s what is going on in your head.

Ron Forsythe – 8th March 2020

Chapter 1

‘Are you certain nothing can be done?’ Zane 1 asked in exasperation, her membranes blue with anger, her flagella dangling listlessly – a symptom of her extreme annoyance.

This should not be happening,’ she thought to herself. ‘They should have exerted better mastery over their beasts.’

‘They are just not susceptible to any control,’ Cadg 777654 replied in a highly agitated manner, on the verge of panic. ‘This bunch of humans never have been from the start. When they get all hyped up like this, we are completely helpless. It’s as if we aren’t here. They get into this emotional state and take no notice of us at all.’ There was open horror in her voice. She was jabbering. Life as a manager at any level was extremely precarious. There were always a trillion others pressing to take your place. For a division manager to be accessed by Zane 1, the Project Manager of Farm 703, was harrowing enough at the best of times. To have it happen when you were in the midst of a crisis, when your human subunits were completely out of control, was nothing short of terrifying. It usually augured replacement and being cast back into the mindlessness of the masses. To be mobbed was every manager’s greatest fear. She knew it was about to happen to her. It filled her with despair and dread.

Cadg 777654 could not be more desperate. She’d only been a human manager for fifty years and had already worked her way up to cohort responsibility. She had been made responsible for hundreds of human subunits in a fishing community on the Faroe Islands. The problem was that this latest project was impossible. Her subunits were not very responsive at the best of times. No matter what she tried she could not seem to influence them in the least. This assignment had seemed such a good one; a promotion, but it was really a death knell. She’d known almost straight away, the day her capsule delivered her to her new subunit, that it was going to be extremely difficult. These human creatures simply did not respond well to their commands at the best of times. They had their customs and traditions and took great pride in them. What could she do? No matter what she tried they did not take any notice. It was like riding a wild beast. When they got something in their heads there was no stopping them. It was frightening.

Then, in the midst of total disaster, at the worst possible moment, Zane 1 herself tunes in. What could possibly be worse? Cadg 777654’s whole team were helpless. They were all mere passengers. It was useless. They were totally ineffective. What would Zane 1 think? Well what could she possibly think? Being a passenger was the worst thing you could be for any Bacc. There was no hope.

Cadg 777654  knew that she was bound to get mobbed, sent down to the mindless mass – they all were. Her whole body was deep blue and her flagella flailed about hopelessly. She was certain she was doomed. She sat in the cortex of her host and helplessly watched as he completely ignored all her promptings and gleefully waded out into the bay to commit murder, his mind rampaging in a storm of electrified anticipation, her shrill commands brushed off without so much as a thought.

Out in the bay the flotilla of fishing craft was expertly herding the large pod of dolphins into the shallows. The terrified creatures were churning the waters, attempting to escape, their clicks, blows and loud whistles were rising above the threshing of the water created by the beating of their tails.

Already the army of eager men, women and children, dressed in waders, armed with gaffs and long knives, were wading out into the midst of the frenzied creatures. In a thrall of excitement, oblivious to any inner voices of reason, they began gaffing the creatures with their barbed hooks and sawing into their bodies with their honed knives. The stricken beasts lunged and bucked in terror and agony as they tried frantically to escape. Their whistling shrieks rose above the general noise of the pandemonium.

The waters turned blood red. The bodies piled up in lines on the beach. The thrashing and squealing became less as the last of the dolphins were butchered alive.

Zane 1 watched the scene right up to when the victorious group of human subunits, young and old, all covered in gore and full of exhilarating hormones, all utterly out of control, posed on the beach in front of the hundreds of dead mammals, for a photo. They looked so proud and gleeful without a thought for the creatures they had so cruelly killed. It was part of their heritage. They considered it a right. It wasn’t about food. There were many more dolphins on that beach than the humans could possibly need. But it had been another successful hunt in the Faroes, a tradition that went far back into the forgotten mists of history, a tradition that united the fishing community in blood and one that spelt doom for their bacterial controllers.

Zane 1 tuned out in disgust. In her view it was just another wanton destruction of valuable real estate. Trillions made homeless. It was symptomatic of so much that was going wrong in Farm 703. What was the matter with these people, these humans? Why were they so difficult to control? What filled them with such cruel blood lust? It was yet another failure. Even though she could appreciate the difficulties, particularly with that group of humans, she felt that things could have been done better at an earlier stage. That team of Baccs should have gained far better control of their subunits.

 She tuned into Jugo 66543. She was always waiting to carry out Zane 1’s instructions.

‘Divisional manager,’

‘Yes PM,’ Jugo 66543, her operational manager, promptly replied in the most deferential manner, assuming a pleasing orange colour, her cilia waving in attractive patterns. She had been waiting patiently in the wings. You were always at your most responsive when you received a tune from the PM.

‘Have Cadg 777654 and her whole team mobbed,’ Zane 1 instructed, flashing a wave of green across her skin and waving a single flagellum to signal her disgust at what she had just witnessed.

Putting that unpleasant business behind her she tuned into Tun 888954 for a more upbeat experience. Tun 888954 was someone she’d been following for a while – a rising star. After that poor start she felt that she needed something to give her a bit of hope and brighten up the day. Her integument had stayed distinctly green following that first tune.

‘How are things?’ She asked, without introducing herself, consciously changing the colour of her membranes to a more pleasing orange. Tun 888954 would instantly recognise the aura. She had no need to introduce herself.

‘Very good,’ Tun 888954 replied brightly, flashing back a confident red. She was the leader of a small cohort who were currently controlling eight humans – a militant bunch of environmentalists. ‘We’ve broken into the compound and are doing as much damage as we can.’

Tun 888954 seemed jubilant. Her human subunit – Millie Tong – was a fearless combatant of the first order, very susceptible to control. She was leading a small group who had already successfully sabotaged a number of environmentally damaging corporations.

Right now, they were in Brazil, taking on an illegal logging company. The target was a compound in which the company kept their equipment – delimbers, feller bunchers, log loaders and trucks.

When all the loggers had left the group of saboteurs approached and, with wire cutters quickly cut through the perimeter fence. Having broken into the compound they were setting about wrecking the place, breaking into the huts, smashing up chain saws and systematically destroying the vehicles and stores. Armed with their bolt cutters, knives, sugar and petrol they aimed to put the operation out of business. The lorries, tractors and heavy plant vehicles were being targeted. They were pouring sugar into petrol tanks, ensuring that everything was either cut up or covered in petrol to be set alight. They intended to show that there was no profit to be made from destroying pristine rainforest.

Zane 1 watched the group set about their task. As she observed the way the human subunits, tightly controlled by their Bacc handlers, went about their business her colour turned a deeper orange. Soon, as the humans slipped out through the perimeter wire the way they’d come in, the whole of the compound was a roaring fire. With a final wave and flash of red she tuned out as the whole place was blazing nicely. There would not be many trees cut down by that firm anymore. A bit more of this kind of positive news and she might even achieve a mild red before the day was out.

‘Jugo 66543?’ She murmured, focussing her tune.

‘Yes PM,’ Jugo 66543 answered immediately.

‘When this latest mission in Brazil is complete have Tun 888954 promoted,’ Zane 1 instructed, waving her anterior flagella in a satisfied manner. ‘She’s got excellent control over those human subunits. I want her in a command role, here in the control centre. We need as much experience here as we can muster.

So, the day progressed, tuning in and micromanaging.

Zane 1 always liked to spend the morning switching between tunes, getting a picture at the ground floor of what the planet was about and taking a personal interest in what the Baccs under her were doing. It did no harm for everyone to know the PM was about and could drop in on you any minute. It also did no harm to directly promote and demote – and not leave that business up to your division managers. The personal touch – that was what was so important. Having presence kept everything tight. That was the theory.

A leader had to have full knowledge of how things were and had to have complete control. How else were decisions going to be effective?

Zane 1 had been Project Manager for Farm 703 for over 300,000 years now. You did not get to keep a position like that, for that length of time, without being good at what you did.

But that was then and this was now.

She wriggled her flagella and squirmed, her colour changing to an insipid yellow, as she thought about it. Things had not been going too well lately. Biomass was well down and Head Office, who had been monitoring this for some considerable time, was beginning to take a keen interest. That was not good. But Zane 1 had been through these things before. This wasn’t her first crisis. There had been a number of ups and downs since she took over from Lec 76. She thought she could weather this one out too.

Back in the early days, following Lec 76’s botched host transfer and subsequent loss, she had suffered many catastrophes with glaciations and tropical ages. Those difficulties had prompted a number of Head Office investigations that had all come to nothing. But Zane 1 knew that those crises were not of her own making; this one was. Head Office was likely to take a totally different view of what was going on now, particularly as it had been continuing for some time now and showed no sign of improving.

If only she could figure out what the problem was? She had a crack team, under Suk 83, who had been working on controlling these human subunits for centuries. She had every faith in Suk 83 but nothing seemed to work. It was a mystery. Suk 83 would develop new methods for controlling humans that seemed effective for a time only to find that they all fell apart and the humans were behaving just as bad as ever.

But Head Office wasn’t the only mould in her nutrient, Malco 145 was doing all she could to oust her. Zane 1 knew that. It was the usual thing. Malco 145 was the leader of the main alternative management team. They were waiting in the wings ready to take over control of the farm should it start to fail, and they had been waiting for some considerable time – over three hundred thousand years to be precise, and that was a long time. So it probably wasn’t a surprise that they were eager to get Zane 1 out and were kicking up a fuss with Head Office, spreading rumours and filing derogatory reports.

If Zane 1 was honest with herself she knew that was not a difficult thing to do – given the long-term decline in the farm. Productivity was slumping as the humans increased in numbers and were busy destroying everything in their path. Malco 145 had an easy target and she was going for it. She had opposed Zane 1’s idea right from the start. She hated the humans. She wanted the human experiment to end and was making the point that removing them was the only way to restore the fortunes of the farm. The management team in waiting would cull the humans if they had their way, and Zane 1 knew that Head Office might just agree with them.

But Zane 1 obstinately felt that she had the measure of both Malco 145 and Head Office. She just needed time to bring things firmly under control. She would control the humans, get the farm functioning at a high level and prove Malco 145 wrong. For her the human project was of prime importance.

In her quieter moments of contemplation she had to admit to herself that Malco 145 did have a point; the major problem with the farm was definitely the humans. They were proving a disaster. But then humans had been her pet project. It was up to her to ensure they worked and that is what she was trying to do. She was determined to get them functioning even if it temporarily put the farm in jeopardy.

In the meantime she was striving as hard as she could to keep the farm ticking along efficiently. She did not intend to allow things to slide and she certainly did not intend to be usurped by a low-life like Malco 145.

For Zane 1, living within the nutrient gel of a neuronal cell, the day was conveniently artificially divided into three sections. Quaintly, following the human lead and her status as a humanophile, she called them morning, afternoon and evening. Baccs did not sleep. There was no night. Their whole existence was one of wakefulness.

She, along with the rest of her colleagues in the control centre, lived among the organelles within that cell, simultaneously melding into the entire sensory apparatus of their host and able to tune in to other fellow Baccs, Coccs and Spirs at will. Tuning was a complex psychological mechanism, a type of telepathy. Tuning allowed them all to communicate. It also enabled them to control, or at least exert influence, over their hosts. In that way they dictated the lives of all creatures in the farm. Baccs, due to their size and anatomical limitations, had restricted ability to develop and build their own machines, but had little need. They lived inside cells, supplied by their hosts with everything they required. Their ability to tune enabled them to control their hosts and see the world around them. There was little else that they required. From their earliest days they had organised the evolution of their hosts so that they could optimise the numbers of Baccs. They effectively farmed all the animals in their environment.

Over time they had created the wide spectrum of life on the planet. It was a rich interlacing web of great sophistication and range, providing nutrients and homes for the zillions of their Mic citizens. That was their sole purpose. To ensure the farm functioned efficiently and Mics were able to prosper.

Given the correct nutrition Zane 1, like most other Baccs, fissed every thirty seconds. It was a binary fission of two unequal halves. Her progeny, considered to be of worthy stock were taken off as soon as the split was complete. Zane 1 had become totally used to the team of Spiro nurses that cared for her and escorted her offspring away. She did not even register they were there. Fissing was part of everyday life, like absorbing nutrients or excreting, you did not even register it.

Morning was spent, floating in the fluid protoplasm of their host cell, tuning in to various cohorts all over the planet. She found that a crucial part of the role, if, at times, as with today’s dolphin episode, a tad depressing. The afternoon was spent in planning, meetings and bureaucracy. Here she physically met with, or tuned with, other members of the management team, nestled in a nicely situated area amid the folds of endoplasmic reticulum, putting into effect the lessons she had gleaned from the morning – or at least trying to. Even within their cellular environment the Mics had no need for much in the way of technology. Their resources were mainly expressed through their mental abilities. Those abilities were prodigious. Whatever physical tools they used and whatever machines they built were usually protein based, such as propulsion units used for flitting or spikes used for quantum jumping. If they required any greater technology they simply employed their hosts – but there was generally little need. Within their hosts’ cells they had everything they required. They had no need for advanced technology. Even so, there were times when technology, on a grand scale, was required. That is when their limitations became a nuisance. They had to get their subunits to meet their requirements and they were not always responsive.

Zane 1 loved her work, but it was the evening time that she enjoyed best. She had become something of a humanophile. She loved human culture. It was sophisticated, varied, emotionally charged and thought provoking, like with no other subunit that had ever been created. To have an intelligent creature that enjoyed life was a wonder. They added a dimension that could not be accessed through any other subunit. She could not imagine life without them and felt sorry for anyone else who had to spend their life in a lesser animal. That would have seemed so incredibly boring. As far as she was concerned life without music, art, reading and the enormous variety of taste and experience was hardly worth living. Imagine living in a large herbivore such as a sheep – the thought sent shudders through her integument.

Her command centre had always been set up in a suitable human subunit, a host usually selected for their amenability, importance and controllability, but Zane 1 always added the extra attribute – they had to show taste – to enjoy good food, drink and the arts.

For, in the evening, Zane 1 liked to relax. She, through her own subunit could vicariously read, watch films, go out to various theatrical events, listen to music, dance, visited art galleries or museums, eat well, drink well, dress up and enjoy any of the activities that humans got up to. It was a wealth of experience that most Mics could not even imagine and one that Zane 1 valued above all other.

Zane 1 was in control. She would directly influence her host to choose an experience that she wanted on any particular night. On the occasions when she could not get her host to do something interesting, because they were tied up with some unavoidable work or event, she would be forced to tune in to another human subunit. But that was never quite the same. Tuning in at a distance reduced the vividness of the experience. It was never as good as when it was first-hand directly through your own host. She had even been known to go through the risky business of host swapping in order just to achieve a different set of experiences first-hand. You could not beat direct experience. It was always so much better than indirect tuning. So she chose her hosts with care. The most important aspect concerning all her subunits had been their enjoyment of life.

Zane 1 thoroughly relished her time as Project Manager and was not about to relinquish it for anyone – let alone a usurper like Malco 145, someone who she viewed as a complete philistine, someone who did not appreciate the nuance and wonder of life, of human culture, of the arts. If Malco 145 had her way she would completely do away with humans and not feel the slightest remorse or loss. Zane 1, on the other hand, was determined to control these troublesome wayward creations of hers and tame them and valued the richness of their culture above all else. She had a vision of a wonderful farm in which humans played an essential role in making it orderly and extremely efficient.

But she knew Head Office was getting extremely jittery. Her human project was in the balance. It caused her great distress to think about it. If Head Office lost faith, she knew she herself would likely be mobbed, Malco 145 would take over, and the human experiment would certainly be abandoned.

Everything hung in the balance.

Available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.

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Schizoid – A Sci-fi novel – A tale of control and manipulation – investigating different social and political models for society and the intrigue that results.

Schizoid

 Opher April 22, 2020

The sequel to Quantum Fever.

Three hundred years have passed.

The aliens are ruining the planet Terra and are on the brink of war.

Children of the Primitives on planet Hope are rebelling …

President Woud of The System is angered.

The Consortium is stirring up trouble………

Extract

Prologue

In many ways the Chromus solar system was a bold experiment. Nowhere else did such a thing exist. The three habitable planets in the Chromus system were all vastly different. Throughout the rest of the Galactic System – all one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven inhabited planets – every other planet was identical.

You could say that this displayed a lack of drive or imagination and you would largely be right. Culture, science and technology within the system had been stagnant for thousands of years. Where was the need to develop? They had found a formula that worked and were content to pursue it. They were not a progressive people. Dynamism had been sacrificed on the altar of population control.

But in the Chromus solar system the pattern had been disrupted. There was no uniformity whatsoever. Only Nubilum conformed to the System’s model. This was a standard tiered world with layers of doms housing over two trillion people. It had its beltways, jumptubes and infrastructure built on the standard pattern. You could easily have swapped Nubilum for any other planet in the System and nobody would have noticed.

Terra, on the other hand, was completely different. The planet had been given over to the aliens – that extinct race of intelligent beings that had been discovered as petrified relics on that very planet. Both they and the flora and fauna of their world had been reconstituted from the DNA in their fossil remains. The planet had been reinvented as it was back in the days when the aliens had first evolved. The reconstructed aliens had been given a level of technology on a par with their earliest civilised development and released into their natural surrounds – just a few hundred thousand of them.

In the past their race, through their own stupidity, had destroyed themselves along with their planet. Now they had been given a second chance.

Staggeringly, within a mere three hundred years that three hundred thousand had increased in numbers to total in excess of four billion. They had developed their science and technology to the point where they had mastered the internal combustion engine, flight, energy production as well as producing a huge variety of machines and instruments. It was true that a lot of this progress was stimulated by, and related to, military one-upmanship, as they strove to outdo each other in warfare, in domination and control, but none-the-less it was impressive.

The scientists, who were studying the development of these aliens, were convinced that they were on the cusp of major strides forward in both science and technology. Within a short while they would go from primitive flight to space travel and beyond, from simple electricity to fission, from simple machines to highly sophisticated electronics and computing. Their rate of progress was staggering. Unfortunately, their social progress was not of the same spectacular order. They remained superstitious, tribal and competitive, with a lack of respect for life and a propensity towards violence and cruelty. It remained to be seen whether they would continue to use their development in a belligerent manner or whether they would learn to temper their aggressive natures.

For now, they were a great and growing concern.

The third planet, Hope, had been recreated for a group of dissidents from the System. They had rebelled against the social control and uniformity of the System, with its drugs and immersive tridee, and had wanted to live in a more natural lifestyle. After much upheaval with the Consortium, a group of elitist capitalist profiteers, the planet now called Hope had been given to them. The ancient flora and fauna of Haven, the initial home planet of the System, had been reconstituted. The dissidents, known colloquially as ‘Primitives’, lived a more natural life, harmoniously with nature. Their population on the planet, through the constitution set up by its founder, Hari Tarn, in order to retain its harmony with nature, was limited to a mere three billion.

So, the three planets existed alongside each other and their effect on each other was the focus of conjecture.

The scientists and psychologists were fascinated by this arrangement. The permutations were enormous. Three totally dissimilar planets to study. Three cultures to observe. They could not wait to see how they might interact with one another.

What would be the effect on the alien psychology to discover there was a superior, intelligent form of life inhabiting their own solar system? How would that impact on their development? Would it make them more or less aggressive? Would it undermine their drive? Or would it drive them forward into a competitive mode?

Likewise, what would be the impact of the presence of such a dynamic alien race on the System’s culture? Would it act as a spur and introduce more dynamism into the System’s moribund culture? Or would it create a negative reaction?

Then there were the ‘Primitives’ to consider. Would their natural way of living have a psychological impact on the rest of the system? Or would they gradually be subsumed back into the mainstream culture?

Never before had such an interesting dynamic arisen. The scientists themselves were invigorated by the arrangement.

For the politicians it was another matter altogether. These two maverick planets had a destabilising effect. Politicians preferred everything nice and orderly. Uniformity was excellent. Variety was problematic.

They viewed the alien culture with suspicion and fear. These aliens were so very different. They were lively, individualistic and highly aggressive. The politicians were sceptical, they could foresee problems ahead.

This dynamism and individuality did not fit easy with the way of the System. President Woud Nussio liked the population she was in charge of quiescent and contented.

It was all very simple right now. The aliens were contained on their planet with no means of interacting with the System. They only possessed rudimentary technology. But their rate of progress was alarming. Within mere decades, if the computer modelling was to be believed, they could be developing nuclear power, space travel and hugely destructive weapons that could certainly threaten the other two planets in their solar system. Would the System have to start developing protection against threats from Terra? From missiles and nuclear devices? The thought was horrifying. They had never had to develop weapons or defences throughout the entirety of their civilised existence. The idea of having to do that now was alarming.

The question being posed was – would it not be better to nip this little experiment in the bud? Terminate the project before it was allowed to become too advanced? Or at least to step in now and control the aliens before they became a threat? A number of the elite thought so.

Then there was Hope. It had proved quite useful in its inception – a dumping ground for all the troublesome ‘Primitives’ who were causing so many problems at the time. But then it had ceased to be of much use. The limit of a population of three billion meant that the System could not really deposit its problems there. The number of dissidents it bred far exceeded the number it could ship To Hope. The situation was most unhelpful. Indeed, there was much evidence that the very presence of such a place in their midst was acting as a stimulus to further disaffect. Hope was actively breeding disaffection. Far from being a solution it had become an instigator of trouble.

If President Woud Nussio had her way she would conclude both experiments. She would rest happier with a uniform System. Life would be so much easier.

She liked the easy life.

For now, she was merely pressing for a few million more dissidents to be sent to Hope. It would alleviate her problem and maybe lead to the planet being properly developed, like everywhere else.

Chapter 1

Else Tarn had left home, run away to Liberty.

-*-

The newly risen sun streamed through the Plexiglas of the front of the dom waking Erghat Tarn. ‘The polluxing Grand Council Meeting’, the first thought that came into his head, ‘polloxing Else’, the second. He silently cursed as he flexed the knotted muscles of his bronzed torso, rolling his shoulders and tilting his head. He sighed, catching a glimpse of his reflection in the mirroglaz and grimaced. Still with the boyish features but not so young looking these days. His curls and beard now tinged with grey and his face heavily lined. Tres told him that it made him look distinguished. Erghat was not so sure. Nothing felt right these days. He did not like what he saw one bit.

He frowned and turned away. He knew he looked weary. There were dark bags under his eyes. Once again, he had hardly slept. As usual he had woken with his stomach churning and his mind in turmoil. For the thousandth time he cursed his distant ancestor Hari Tarn, the man who had not only designed this dom so that the sun ensured nobody slept in late, but also implemented the system of government that was now making his life so miserable.

The dom was large, consisting of an interconnecting series of geodesic domes, all ultratransparent, so that the greenery, with its multitude of creatures all around, some vines actually festooned across it, left one with the impression of not just being in the midst of nature, but actually in it and part of it. By System standards it was palatial. A hundred System doms could fit in this place, though, at this moment, Erghat might well have swapped the airy spaciousness and scent of wild flowers and foliage for the dark, cramped staleness of a standard System dom with its artificial air and synthetic food, if it allowed him a bit more sleep and a few less worries.

Erghat put aside his fear of the Grand Council, and their desire to take over Hope, and then managed to push his daughter Else out of his mind. He started to worry about the business of today’s meeting. The usual nerves started to jangle.

It did not help to know that as soon as he took his place in the chamber, and the business was underway, the nerves would dissipate and he would feel totally in control. Erghat Tarn was a born worrier. He knew that he actually did a good job, but that did not help either. There were so many grey areas, so many things that could go wrong, so many of his decisions that could adversely affect people. What if he was wrong? What if he made a wrong decision?

The business of governing was ageing him prematurely.

Then, what of Else? He could not prevent his mind from straying back to her.

He sighed again, and cursed her again. Else was not his favourite person at this moment in time.

Scowling, he tried to kick his metabolism into gear and clear the mussiness from his mind. Time was pressing. He had to be in for the council meeting.

Looking across at the angelic, unlined face of his partner he envied Tres her stress-free life. If only he had the day to himself. He could have been outside composing and playing music, or even join Tres for the day painting. He could be care-free. His life could be so very different.

Once again, as he lay on his back, he found his mind straying onto Else and what to do about the Else crisis. There was no easy answer. The problem with Else was eating away at both of them. It had to be solved. He knew things would not get back to normal until Else was back home. Since Else had gone, nothing was right.

Available in both paperback and kindle from Amazon.

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Quantum Fever – a Sci-fi novel – a futuristic vision of a capitalist system.

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Quantum Fever

 Opher August 27, 2019

The System is made up of thousands of planets housing trillions of people in tiny doms arranged in tiers.

The Consortium are a group of wealthy capitalists who live above the metropolis in floating mansions. The name of the game is expansion and profit.

The Quships cross quantum space in search of planets to either colonise or plunder for resources in order to maintain the system.

Quantum Fever is a disease that affects people who jump the weird reaches of quantum space.

Was Tahsin Roeg suffering from Quantum Fever or were the Consortium seeking to control her?

What of the alien planet she discovers?

Were the Primitives going to achieve their dream?

Extract

Chapter 1

I hate every minute of being in such an elite club. I play the game and I know I do it well but it really is not me. Inside I am still Tahsin Roeg, the ordinary girl from the deeper beltways of Haven.

Having this rare ability has been my ticket out of the lower tiers. At first, I revelled in it. Who would not feel good about being able to do something that so few other people could do? For someone like me, now in my middle age, short, rather dumpy and plain looking and possessing a phobia about Nano surgical recontouring, it surely proved a lifeline for my ego.

Who would not feel great about being made to feel so special, or having the potential to be elevated into such a high position in society? That skill provided me with a status that was otherwise unattainable.

My rare ability transformed the future for my entire family and gave me a pass to a life, that as an otherwise rather average girl, I could only have imagined – attaining that place in the sky we all dream of.

The skill made me wealthy and famous, but it had not made me happy and now I was finding that it was not at all fulfilling either.

Disillusionment leaves a rancid taste.

I began to see it for what it was – emptiness – sheer emptiness – all sham, all front.

We thought we were part of their club but we really were not. All we Quship Skippers were being used. We were expendable. They, ‘The Consortium’, exploited our talent, paid us handsomely but would discard us as soon as we were of no further use to them. We moved in their world but we were not part of it.

Worse than that – they thought they possessed the right to control us.

There was an epiphany when I woke up to what the Consortium was really doing. For some reason I had shut my mind to it. Now my eyes were opened. I could clearly see what game they were playing. It was so obvious.

No matter how much I tried to kid myself that I was doing a good job and bringing back the resources that everyone needed, I knew I was really working for a bunch of crooks who I did not think were very nice. They certainly were not doing it for the people – that was for sure. The whole business made me feel used and grubby. Somehow, despite all my best intentions, I had lost contact with the friends I used to have in the lower tiers. Looking back now I can see that the moment I left to start the intensive training was when I subconsciously broke away from my roots. I severed that umbilicus. It was something I was now regretting. I was starting to wonder what had become of my friends. We had shared so much. They must have felt abandoned, betrayed.

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