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Don’t bite my finger…


A group of writers mainly in the UK Authors forum have produced a new release collection: Personal Bests Journal.I interloped into UK Authors years ago in order to travel on their UKAway writing retreats and so I experienced such exotic writing resorts as Greece, Northern Cyprus, Southern Cyprus, Carmarthen and Newcastle!Selected from more than 130 submissions, the 31 stories in this first edition of the Personal Best journal have been chosen and edited by short story writer, novelist and (for 16 years) Prose Editor of Gold Dust Magazine, David Gardiner. My story has its title taken from a Zen koan (short saying bulging with meaning)“Don’t Bite My Finger…”The rest of the koan says because I ...
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ALIEN EXIT #SCIFI

Exit Pursued by a Bee - Geoff Nelder
Exit, Pursued by a Bee is my first science fiction novel and was published by Double Dragon Publishing way back in 2008 and came second in a Readers’ Poll competition for best SF novel of 2008 with over 1,000 votes. The publisher is closing down so titles return to the authors. The idea for many of the original ideas in the book came while I was walking up Glastonbury Hill. Most science fiction books have to make their space vehicles leave a planet at escape velocity (ironically, the name of the magazine I co-edited at the time), use radio for communications, and in those days the pilots were men. So, in Exit the alien (although they were on and inside Earth long before homo sapiens existed)...
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#Slavery perspective


Quite rightly, there’s a focus on Black Lives Matter after the appalling killing of George Floyd in America and the slave origins of many black people in the Americas. On July 2nd 2020, the BBC aired a documentary about the UK Slavery Abolition Act 1833 , which revealed that over 40,000 people that owned slaves mainly in the West Indies, claimed compensation for their “loss of property”. [see Britain’s Slave Owner Compensation Loan, reparations and tax havenry June 9th 2020] Interesting that of the 40,000+ slave owners who claimed compensation most were men, some were women, and a few were ex-slaves-turned-slave owners. One reverend only had one slave but the one who owned the most was Prime...
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Maybe I’m an anarchist

Genre stereotyping is something I strenuously try to avoid. Are the worlds in my science fiction stories exploring right-wing or left-wing governments? No. Most if not all countries and the world are governed by authoritarian regimes by definition, but my stories avoid them. When I think about it, I write a lot of post-apocalyptic tales, or small crews landing on faraway planets where governments either don’t exist or are so different the poor Earth people have no idea but to survive. This article by Jordan Alexander Hill neatly summarises the development of science fiction’s approaches to libertarianism and authority in general and only by reading it have I realised properly that I might be...
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#Lockdown on Malta then and now


The Maltese islands on which Xaghra’s Revenge is based is faring well in these times. My friends there tell me tourism between Gozo and Malta has reopened so that will help to stimulate their economy a little. Of course in the main they need overseas tourists but I know several folk living on the main island of Malta who have holiday lets on Gozo, who until this week have not been able to travel there. I miss the gorgeous scenery and history there so much. So lucky that I was able to visit Malta and Gozo before the lockdown. Today, May 20th 2020 Malta had only 569 confirmed cases, sadly 6 deaths with 460 recovered. Ironically, in 1551, the island of Gozo had lockdown procedures as did many i...
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Writing news in the lockdown


Yeay, I am an April Featured Writer in The Horror Zine with my COTARD short story set in Venice. I’m honoured also because the Bram Stoker Award winner Elisabeth Massie is in there too.Cotard is a real syndrome where people think they are already dead – what a theme for a short story, I couldn’t resist it. FREE for those of you who fancy a mild horror tale to escape the more grim real life horror out there. https://www.thehorrorzine.com/Fiction/April2020/GeoffNelder/GeoffNelder.html Nelder News Having to stay indoors except for a bike ride or hike in a day is normal life for most of us writers. Yes, we need food and whisky to be brought in by someone younger and healthier and the news is rat...
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Row your boat


This excerpt from XAGHRA’S REVENGE illustrates the actual movement of the rowers on galleys in the 16th century. Contrary to what you might see in movies of galley slaves rowing while always sitting down, they stood for part of the cycle. It makes sense. For one thing there was less friction on the benches so their posteriors didn’t get so raw, sore. Also they use gravity better. It has to be remembered too that the oars, while heavy, were finely balanced on the divots so not as heavy to row, especially when there were three men per oar. This section from Chapter 35 is just before our captured Gozo farmer makes a bid to escape over the side.The drummer started the usual rhythm.Push down, sta...
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Sexcerpt from Suppose We


After spending 1500 years, taking turns in hibernation on their spaceship, SUPPOSE WE, the four humans crashland on Kepler-20h. Sadly, the natives are so far ahead of Earth in technology and evolution, they ignore the humans, who need help. This excerpt is in a strange forested region. “Em, are you having trouble with your hammock?”He could see her white teeth in a smile as she came closer, followed by a scent of lemon. “I am, it doesn’t have you in it.”He frowned. “You wish us to swap?”“No, you clot. Move over.”Gaston felt more than saw the side of the hammock dipping precariously as if it were a boat bent on capsizing. “Excuse moi? Ah, I see. I didn’t realise you…me…mais, what about the ot...
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A #decade of writing 2000-2019


Decadal writing2003 first short of the decade was called 2020 Vision published in the Chester Writers anthology2003-05 ESCAPING REALITY http://hyperurl.co/nyjaiv  Only as an ebook now 2005-08 EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEE http://hyperurl.co/du4s3h2009 HOT AIR http://hyperurl.co/di4y0h 2009-12 ARIA LEFT LUGGAGE http://smarturl.it/1fexhs 2013 ARIA RETURNING LEFT LUGGAGE http://hyperurl.co/tgtid62014 ARIA ABANDON LUGGAGE http://hyperurl.co/26trxv2014-17 XAGHRA’S REVENGE http://myBook.to/Xaghra 2018 INCREMENTAL http://mybook.to/Incremental a collection of 25 surreal shorts2019 SUPPOSE WE, https://mybook.to/SupposeWe2019 FALLING UP https://mybook.to/FallingUP Plus over 80 short stories published in such...
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Falling Up released


The first novella in the Flying Crooked series was SUPPOSE WE. Commissioned by LL-Publications (the publisher of the ARIA science fiction trilogy) to bring back the passion in space exploration. In Suppose We a ship crashlands on a faraway planet, but the natives are so far ahead of Earth that they ignore the hapless humans in need of help. The human crew follow the native Keps to their habitats only to find strangeness beyond their experience. If you read Suppose We and you thought it as original as writers such as Jaine Fenn did, then just wait until you read Falling Up. Well, the title tells you, doesn’t it? Why is Em flying up as in the cover picture? An anomaly, obvs, but what kind and ...
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#Chester Author is nuts


I was 26,291 days old (72 years in Earth orbit terms) and went for a hike in Delamere Forest in Cheshire. I forgot to smile because… …I am worried. It’s book three of the Flying Crooked series and it’s getting away with me. Characters are writing themselves and telling me to fuck off, make a cup of tea while they get on with plot, subplot, craziness, proving me right by being wrong and all that. I was teaching in Chester’s Queen’s Park High in Handbridge when I wrote my first novel. While I enriched kids’ lives with my antics, field trips and tales of blood and fire (I taught Geography and they loved natural disasters) I found a piece of amber with a fossil seed in it. A kind of Extinction R...
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FALLING UP


FALLING UP is the sequel to the surreal science fiction novella, Suppose We, published in May 2019. The fifth draft of Falling Up is now complete having gone through the rigours of Orbiters 7. Orbiters? That’s one of the critique groups of the British Science Fiction Association. Every two months we send around 5,000 to 9,000 words of our latest oeuvre to be hacked at by eagle-eyed wordsmiths in return for mutual editing. The funny thing is that if there are, say, six members of the critique group, by the time you’ve received five detailed edits (using MS Word’s Review / Comment feature) you’d think there’s nothing left to change. After all, Falling Up had already been outlined, rough drafte...
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SUN DRAGONS


I’ve been taken over today by another writer, Gillian Rooke. We’ve known each other for many years online and unless she tells me differently, we actually met at a literary event in Derby many Earth orbits ago. Gillian was an early member of the British Science Fiction Association Orbiters, where members send chapters or short stories to each other for critique before submitting them to publishers. SUN DRAGONS is a debut children’s science fiction ebook by Gillian. While it is a fantasy, there is some very interesting solar science behind it. This blog piece is her promo. Read and be amazed then buy her book for your children, nieces, nephews, neighbours. Sun Dragons By J K Rooke I see no re...
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Is Ggantija an astronomical portal?


Watching a documentary on an ancient Irish dolman the other night, in which a theory was proposed that it was built to observe and time the equinoxes, it seemed to me that perhaps the Ggantija ‘temples’ in Gozo’s Xaghra was built for a similar reason. The Irish dolman reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaulstown_Portal_Tomb One thing to bear in mind is that the sea level around Malta was 5 metres lower when Ggantija was built 5 to 6k years ago. Not really important though is it? Relevant though is plate tectonic activity. Much of northern Europe is in the middle of a plate but the Mediterranean still has tremors and quakes because of the northerly migration of the African plate. Over t...
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#WorldCon in Dublin 2019


The international science fiction convention WorldCon is in Dublin as we speak! I can’t be there because I am recovering from a hernia op but my books are there for me. I hope they’re having a blast. Authors who are there who know of my SUPPOSE WE is Jaine Fenn who said the book has original touches, and Jon Courteney Grimwood who once said I wear science fiction like other people wear clothes – haha. My books are in the main hall on a stall manned by the facebook authors’ services group BooksGoSocial. So if you’re in Dublin please pop in, say hello and pick up a 5 euros copy of Suppose We. If you cannot do that it is on sale as ebook or paperback at https://mybook.to/SupposeWe   You can rea...
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#Vegan in #Prague


Two big surprises for me in Prague. Everyone knows it’s a cultural city, steeped in history both ancient and modern. Even before the Slavs occupied Bohemia in the 6th century, there were Celts and German peoples living there. The city became a hub for culture, science, arts and the Hapsburgs over the centuries. Upheavals during the first and second world wars and a mix of feelings over Communist rule until the Velvet Revolution of 1989 saw through many changes. Ironically, the city kind of stayed the same, physically, since then. That is, the buildings, streets, trams, bridges, the large student population and an esprit de corps inhabit the city like a warm glow. First surprise is the abunda...
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Excerpt from SUPPOSE WE


From Chapter 12 in SUPPOSE WE Science fiction novella by Geoff Nelder Setting: An exploration mission from Earth on Kepler-20h goes wrong. Their ship, Alt cover for Suppose We by Peter Baldiccino Suppose We, crashlands and they need local assistance but are ignored. Their commander becomes unhinged during the 1062 years hibernation sleep and their AI has become weird too. French science officer befriends an alien butterfly and he can’t help quoting the Flying Crooked poem by Robert Graves and yet, unbeknown to him the butterfly is a virtual part of the planet’s most ancient Kep (a few thousand years old) and not the infant Kep the Frenchman thinks he is. Scene: alien planet. The four humans ...
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SUPPOSE WE is released!


Is there anything special about May 20th? Yes! Five important events occurred on that day:1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India.1609 Shakespeare’s sonnets are published for the first time.1932 Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.1972 Gaynor Smith marries Geoff Nelder in Latchford Methodist Chapel tucked in between the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. Yes 47 years ago!2019 SUPPOSE WE is published – the first surreal science fiction novella in the Flying Crooked series.Blurb:When a ship crashlands on a faraway planet the crew needs local help. Unfortunately, the natives are a million years ahead of us. Ignored, the crew has t...
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Across a Nightingale Floor


I belong to an active science fiction and fantasy book group that meets monthly in the fabulous new Storyhouse library / theatre / cinema / restaurant. We are an eclectic mix of old and young, male and female but mainly from Earth. Our book for March 2019 was “Across the Nightingale Floor” by Lian Hearn. This is not a book review as such and this blog post would not have been written were it not for the intriguing title.  In brief the novel, probably targeted at teens, is set in medieval Japan, but using generic settings and mores of the era rather than real geography as I prefer to do. It’s a classic revenge story in which our hero discovers he has powers such as super hearing, invisibility...
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TOUCH by Claire North – a writer’s novel


Touch by Claire North  (2015) 426 pages (paperback) I started reading this intriguing science fantasy novel in October and finished it Christmas Day, 2018. It would take a normal reader a couple of days but I had my own nonsense to write. Should be compulsory reading for writers. Just like a piano tuner once told me that Puccini’s La Boheme was a singer’s opera then so Touch is a writers’ novel. Why? Many novels are 100,000 words of a story told through the senses of a single narrator in his or own singular body. Many others have perhaps a handful of narrators still within their own bodies. The art of the writer is to make the reader believe in those narrators, feel their sensations – what t...
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