Thanks for the great print @qwertee ! #firefly
Got it! #Awesome
Thanks for the great print @qwertee ! #firefly
Got it! #Awesome
It’s good of you to call by and spend some time reading the second instalment of my evolving blog entitled ‘Rollingworld, a Home inside my Head’. The blog is primarily dedicated to the writing experience, the literal trials and the frustrating tribulations endured during the continuing construction of the Rollingworld Saga. Thank you in advance for you time and the patience that it’s consumption will probably require! Please feel free to link this blog to your friends or to other sites that you consider to be relevant. If you do link to somewhere else on the inter-webs, I would very much appreciate some sort of notification (Via my Twitter @rollingworld1 is probably easiest) so that I can prepare myself for the inevitable deluge of billionaire financial backers and Hollywood producers who are bound to be knocking on my electronic door, waving metaphoric cheque books and scrambling over each other in desperation to sign the biggest thing since the Jedi returned and left again!
Functioning in a similar manner and for similar reasons to those espoused by many other writers, the fundamental reason and purpose for the existence of this blog is to raise general internet awareness. I would like to raise awareness of the work so that at some unspecified point in the future, when publication time finally arrives, there will be a general frame of reference already within the public domain. This whole thing is one big experiment for me and I have no highfaluting expectations or lofty targets to reach. My one intention is to add my personal contribution to the vast expanse of written work that lives on the internet and enriches humanity as a whole. In the process, I would like to impart something that does, in some way, convey a meaningful, entertaining and positive message for future generations.
I cannot claim any particular skill or ability in this regard. Academically, I am completely unqualified and, compared with a myriad true students of literature, can only be classified as something of a novice. I hold few cards that others cannot see and, as such, hope that my marginal ability will suffice to tell the tale that needs to be told. However, a lack of certified academic substance does not preclude an indefinable ability of some kind. Neither does it lessen the essence of human imagination, even if that imagination is ill-defined and unproven. The evolutionary nature of my own writing ability and experience offers an essential and important distraction from the immense stress of my working life. It also offers an opportunity to use cerebral energy in challenging ways that do not occur in everyday life whilst saving my sanity at the same time!
The blog is entitled ‘Rollingworld, a Home inside my Head’ for very pertinent reasons. In general terms, our everyday existence can frequently fail to live up to our specific individual expectations, be they realistic or otherwise. For me, the salvation of Rollingworld offers an escape into a world where I have control and a clear understanding of the scheme of things. In ever day life, this is rarely the case and, whilst in some ways I have found that age brings understanding of matters previously unclear, it also brings realisation that you actually have very, very little control over the things that matter to you the most. To say that you do not have any control at all would be erroneous. However, it is an acceptance and appreciation of the little control that you do have, working in parallel with the realisation that life is too short to try and change things that you cannot influence, that generally pulls things into perspective. Rollingworld functions as the safety valve of my existence as well as a retreat when reality is having a bad day.
Anyway…that’s enough self psychoanalysis for the time being so, if it’s alright with you, I’ll just pick up this blog from the shirt tails of the last one!. There doesn’t seem to be a right or a wrong way to do this blog thing so…..I’ll plough on regardless and hope that whatever emerges is sufficient to satisfy your passing and most welcome interest as well as my own constant urge to write!…
Today, 20th August 2012 is the second day of our Summer Holiday. The family are at home for the first week and then on our way to St Austell in Cornwall for the second. We’ve never been there before and are hopefully optimistic! From a Rollingworld point of view, I hope to launch myself towards the next section of new text. For the time being, before the start of the literary conflagration that is to come, this will be the final section of text involving the evolution of Iiramica Took and the Hyak strikeship ‘The Jagged Edge’. The setup here is important from the standpoint of the Saga as a whole and is the point at which loose ends scattered though many previous sections and subsections start to come together. However…….there will be more to follow here after the next instalment of the tale of a tale…if you see what I mean!
So, grabbing the metaphorical shirt tails…………..
Looking back at the volume of work already completed and the chaotic nature of its haphazard construction, I really do wish that, in the early days, my plan for the work as a whole had been of a clearer and more coherent nature. Experience gained though hard work and many unnecessary catastrophes clearly illustrates that having a staunch and definite plan of action before you sally forth with waves of creative prose to be a fundamental part of a good writing strategy and only a benefit to the longer term flow of the narrative. In my naivety as a ‘first time’ writer, none of this occurred! Like a fool, I did not have a plan, a vision, a structure or any sort of longer term story. The very first segment and the germ from which the general scheme emerged were really little more than whimsy and were not written with eventual continuation in mind.
Writing in this fashion, I unwittingly created more problems for my future self with every new sentence written! With today’s narrative infinitely more complex than my initial fumbling prose, the constantly evolving storyline brought more chaos and confusion than you can throw a feline at! If I had had a plan at the beginning, my current and future selves would have had much less rewriting to be done before the eventual tome ‘goes live’!
In fact, to write this blog today, it has been necessary to reread passages from this first segment. I have not perused this early work for many years and carry the basic storyline in my head. Sadly, even after a very casual flit though is pages, I can see that there is a substantial amount of work needed to bring it into line with current expectations! It is clumsy, grammatically challenged (Even more so than usual!) and lacks the sort of flow that I know I am capable of.
However, taking this in its current ‘as read’ form as my starting point, it is with certain satisfaction that I can tell you that the Rollingworld Saga began to grow and grow! Wanting a change of literal scenery, I decided to terminate construction of the first segment (the first paragraph of which is posted in the very first blog entry) at its theoretical midpoint. I left my heroine, Ysanne O’Shea, pilot of the last operational shuttlecraft, the ‘WGB Tranquillity’, sleeping in sweet ignorance. Entirely unaware of the explosive nature of the smouldering materials in the Tranquillities cargo hold, Ysanne sleeps peacefully, recovering from the trauma of her dramatic escape from Earth. Ysanne’s undertaking will see her journey from Earth orbit all the way to the Jovian moon of Callisto and a rendezvous with humanities first and only Starship, the WGB Endeavour. For one so young, Ysanne shoulders global expectation and immense responsibility with quirky youthful vigour and an inquisitive, irrepressible determination. Genetically engineered and cranially enhanced for this specific purpose, Ysanne O’Shea is one of a kind and the only human capable of such an important assignment.
This segment will eventually grow to describe the circumstances of first contact with an alien civilization and serve as a springboard to the continuing narrative thereafter. The WGB Endeavour, the first and only Starship constructed by humanity, has been constructed to an interpreted alien design. It incorporates a human variation of the famed Hyperspace Reflex Stardrive and, as such, is critically important to the continuation of the Saga in the distant future.
As my overview of this section of the narrative developed, I realised that, at some point, it might be necessary to describe plans for and quite possibly, construction and internal details of, the starship itself. Up until this point, this whole embryonic tale could be generally classified under a heading of ‘Plausible Science Fiction’. However, I felt that the requirement for the WGB Endeavour to have a viable physical means of escape from our little solar system and, indeed, the Milky Way, pushed these boundaries just a bit too far! Personally, I do not believe that, as a race of sentient beings, humanity will exist long enough to evolve sufficient skill or scientific knowledge to create such a device. Although I am not naturally a pessimist, taking the current level of planetary degradation onto account, it is hard to conclude otherwise! So, at this point, I obviously needed aliens with advanced fictional space-tech and I needed some way for humanity to obtain it!
This conundrum and its resulting solution became the next milestone in the evolving story. I needed a transmission from alien X that could be collected by Human Y. I also needed an intervening period of time during which this and subsequent transmissions could be interpreted, acted upon and eventually take on solid form to become the WGB Endeavour. This, dear reader, is two sentences that casually describe vast amounts of work and a virtually endless story line!
With the realisation that Rollingworld had become something of substance rather than just a passing fancy, I embarked upon the next stage of the narrative. For no particular reason that I can recall, I decided to deal with the human side of the equation first. I drew the first section to a close with Ysanne sleeping, the time bomb ticking and the Tranquillity heading away from Earth towards certain rendezvous with the WGB Endeavour. Then, boarding the writers Tardis, I engaged the chronological time selector and turned back the clock hundreds of years to a point at which, via its unintentional human receptor, humanity received the very first signal from an alien civilization.
This next segment of work, entitled ‘The Signallers of Andromeda’, currently lies dormant at 132 pages and 68,353 words! It introduces an important human genetic time line that runs through the whole Saga. We meet our next heroine. Next is a relative term as, when considered in chronological terms, she exists in a time prior to the previously completed section of work! Her name is Martha Meeks, she is a SETI Definition Researcher, a born survivor and a woman with a remarkable and intuitive mind. Battered and bruised by recent personal tragedy and gradually adapting to new and challenging professional circumstances in her own quiet and non-assuming manner, Martha somehow survives storm and tempest. Eventually, working through substantial physical and mental pain, with her body inert and weakened by injury, her consciousness becomes embedded within the advanced computer circuitry and systems of the SETI Zephyrhills Relay Tower and, as all dissolves into chaos around her, becomes the first human to receive and interpret an alien transmission that, beyond doubt or question, can be verified to be one hundred percent genuine.
This segment also introduces the first of a very small number of male characters into the work. For reasons that are more complicated than rational, I find writing male characters very, very challenging. It isn’t that I cannot write them at all, it just seems to be harder to do. Somehow, there always seems to be ego and violence in the back of my mind when I need to write them. I find it harder to steer clear of this tired stereotype than it should be and, in actual fact, am currently quietly resigned to the situation! On the other hand, female characters, characters of indeterminate sex or characters of a theoretical multi-sexual nature seem to develop with relative but varying ease. I do not doubt that, at some point in the narrative (Almost certainly when I deal with a warlike civilization called the Corusian’s who, you will eventually discover, are the most recent enemies of the Kalladian Hegemony and a constant irritation in their collective conscience) I will have to over come my anti-masculine impediment and get my head round the topic in some way or another! However, for now at least, this half hearted explanation will have to suffice. I would humbly ask that you accept my inadequate fumbling in the certainty that I will explain further in a future blog when time allows. In Signallers, Sean O’Shea, (who existed long before the immergence of Nick Park’s Sean the Sheep as a figure mirth and intrigue!) becomes the first male character of any significance. He is the ground anchor and a worthy foil for Martha as she struggles to contain and come to terms with the aftermath of the unprecedented situation that occurs at the Zephyrhill Relay Tower.
Although still some way from completion, The Signallers of Andromeda is a far more complex and, I would like to think, competent work than the embryonic scribbling of the first segment. It has a clear beginning, a flowing but detailed narrative and works towards an eventual conclusion that will end with the promise of more action in the next segment to come. During the years of its existence as a body of work, it has undergone several sporadic rewrites to achieve the current status quo. Although unfinished, it can be considered to be a well plied tool used for literary development and growth, the fruits of which make today’s writing just that little bit easier. I would estimate that, as it stands, The Signallers of Andromeda is about eighty percent complete. When this eighty percent is taken as a whole, approximately seventy five percent of this body has survived the ravages of the final edit and, as far as I am currently aware, can be considered to be finished.
With the traumas, electronic losses and false starts of Signallers under my belt and the story in this segment substantial and solidified, I found that the next segment, now known by the working title ‘The Celestial Wanderer’, could be considered in earnest. Although Signallers and the first original segment of work, (Itself now provisionally known as ‘The Last Escape from Earth’) remained incomplete, I really felt the need for another change of scenery and found that a growing compulsion to concoct an alien led narrative could not be ignored.
I began to consider the nature of the aliens responsible for that first signal, the signal intercepted by Martha Meeks. How had we come to their attention? Why were they signalling us? What were they like and, of course, would we ever be able to meet them? With more and more questions requiring more and more narrative to provide more and more answers, The Celestial Wanderer and the ever expanding Saga moved to a whole new level of importance and required drastic action even before the first words could be written!
Well, it’s now a little late and I can feel fatigue and the need for sleep pulling me away. I will end here as I hope to complete the current work in progress tomorrow. My little family intend to go for a day out to London and I have the day to myself! This is what all summer holidays should be like!
I would like to thank you once again for reading my meanderings. Hopefully they are beginning to provide a grounding for the Rollingworld Saga that will be useful when the time to publish finally arrives. I hope to continue the blog within the next few weeks. I have an idea for a little illustration that I will investigate to liven things up a little so, once again, thanks for you time and, until the next time.. :-)
So, where to start?
I has been my intention to create a blog about the Rollingworld Saga for many years. There is an abortive attempt available on Wordpress that has been dormant now for sometime. Dormant because I could not get my head around its functionality in the scant and sparse time that I have to indulge myself in non productive endeavours. I lack any form of official qualification and am not, in the general sense, computer literate. I would go as far as saying that, in many ways, I am a technophobe of the highest order.
With Wordpress option not quite working out (although I intend to revamp and refocus if I can), I stumbled over Tumblr and hope that I have now found the answer to my dilemma. Literary progress in my case is a relative term that implies steady forward movement towards an ultimate goal. I am, in that case, making literary progress as I write the work that has become the inexplicably epic Rollingworld Saga. Epic? Really? Saga? Well, yes actual it is….but it wasn’t always the way, not that way at all! From a new father’s muse in the dead of night to a construct of life changing personal importance, Rollingworld really has changed everything for me. I am nearly fifty years old and I can feel the passage of time as it whirls around us, stirring personal expectation as it passes, leaving the memory of what might have been in its wake, never to return. So, with a blog to explain, to clarify and confuse in equal measure, perhaps I should start at the begin, at the moment of conception, at the very start of it all.
However, there is a little housework that must be done first………
First of all, I would like to thank the men and women of NASA for the production, launch and successful operation of the two truly astounding Voyager Spacecraft. These craft, remarkable in their durability and engineering excellence, function still. They will always be the two objects that are furthest from our little blue planet as they roam for eternity through the cosmos. I find their isolation inspirational and their intent remarkable. The fact that the gold disk carried by each craft contains rich and eloquent information about the human species and condition is also a boon. The disks were compiled by committee, a committee that included the visionary Astronomer and Humanist Carl Sagan.
Secondly, I would like to thank Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy and countless others unknown for the creation of the Startrek universe and, in particular, the film Star Trek - The Motion Picture. Influential in more way than I can count, the story seed originates here before it takes an entirely different course, unique and untold.
Thirdly, I would like to thank my beautiful wife Clare for her help with this continuing endeavour. She has allowed me to build an office, initially intended for the singular purpose of Rollingworld construction. Although in truth, the building now functions in several different ways, it has allowed a step change in the way that I write and also provides a retreat when all I really want is peace and quiet! In stalwart fashion, she has put up with my frequent absence from family life at times when I really should have been doing other things, something for which I will be eternally grateful!
Finally, to finish viewing the room before I get to the furniture, I would like to thank the Rock Band Hawkwind. Their album, Quark, Strangeness and Charm contains some remarkable music. An old friend, Nick Greenwood, must be credited for bringing it to my attention. It contains many evocative themes that fuel the imagination and bring the idea of human apocalypse into frighteningly clear focus. If you haven’t heard it, you should. Listen to the lyrics and ignore any prejudice that you might hold about the band or their chequered history. It is an excellent piece of musical theatre and deserves far more recognition and acclaim.
So now, onwards to the start of it all. A start where the images and influence of all of the above came together in a perfect moment in time, a moment when, for me, they became something life changing and very very real. It all began one dark April night in 2000………..
Our daughter,Talia Mae, is now nearly twelve and a half years old. She is a good inch taller than her mother. When she was born, in those quiet nights when a new father can only offer help and encouragement to his spouse and wait until the new and tiny child has been fed, my mind wandered. Drifting aimlessly away from mother and child, for some reason I thought of the evocative work of Stewart Cowley and the fantastic art in his celebrated and influential book Spacewreck. With a general theme dominating my thoughts, I somehow moved to the fantastic pictures gifted to our little blue planet by the Hubble Space telescope. Full of mystery and vivid colour, the seeds of an idea began their germination, setting the path for the future. Our computer at the time, a Dell desktop, was accessible and so, for no particular reason, I wrote a few lines of a scenario, just for the sake of it, just to give myself something to do. I recalled my first effort at writing during my formative years at junior school, a small boys tale of discovery and adventure. For some reason, quite suddenly, I remembered the pleasure and creative rush of its short scribbled creation. After twenty five years, could I write something altogether more serious?
At first, I didn’t really intend to write anything meaningful at all. It was just an idea, plucked by a wandering mind at three in the morning and it really wasn’t that good. So, as our new daughter nuzzled and her mother snoozed, I started to write about a heroine, Ysanne O’Shea, the Pilot of the last remaining shuttle to leave Earth before apocalypse, before the end of it all. Desolation and desperation churned inside my head, together with Cowley’s art to form a new construct, a new reality, a new story to be told. It really was the first thing that came into my head. I had no idea of the consequences of my mundane and, at that point, directionless scribblings.
These are the first few lines….
‘The delicate crackling of miniature holographic fireworks awoke her with a start. Rubbing sleep from her eyes, she listened to the whirring hum of her domestibot purring about its morning cleaning rituals. From the Ultranet, she could hear the cheery chatter of the breakfast show DJ, soothing her favourite jazz vibes across the early morning airwaves. Everything seemed normal. Everything seemed serene. Everything seemed to imply that it was, in fact, just the start of another day’
Time passed and the need to write at three in the morning kept going for a while. The child grew and eventually began sleeping through the night. Stored in the memory of the computer, the story lay forgotten for a many, many months as, surprisingly, there were plenty of other things to occupy our collective consciousness!
My beautiful wife Clare found the story. She read the story. She liked the story. She asked if there was more and said that it needed an ending. I hummed, harred and procrastinated but, as every married man knows, there are times when your own judgement isn’t as good as it ought to be. Marriage is a partnership of equals and opposites. Sometimes the obvious is easily missed if you don’t recognise its existence in the first place! My wife is a genius and in this instance, she was completely right to push me on. So, by way of a diversion from everyday life, a recent job and career change and the advent of shift work, I began to write again in an on and off manner and most haphazard and amateurish style.
For the first few years it was always a little here, a little there, always when time allowed and always in a casual fashion. After a while, as the scribblings evolved into a large story and my ability as a writer evolved with it, shortcomings in my method and ability revealed themselves for the better and, just as frequently, for the worse! The story evolved from its initial idea into a longer and far more complex narrative. In science fiction, as we all know, there is very little that has not already been said and very little that cannot be conceived by the human mind. The boundaries of science are there as a guide only and the fiction part of the equation does not impose any sort of barrier or restraint. Fortunately, burdened with an imagination the size of a planet, ideas came thick and fast and, after a while, it began to dawn on me just how large and how significant it might become.
to be continued..
Its been a long day today…..I’m tired and there is much left to tell. The point of this blog is many fold. To tell you…yes you!…how Rollingworld began. I will move to outline storyline itself and, in the fullness of time, update the whole thing on a regular basis. These days, in 2012, I am writing/editing/deleting and creating almost daily. Rollingworld has become a tome of significant size but there is more, much much more to be written in this universe before my insignificant atoms are obliged to find another form and another purpose in the great universal scheme of things…
I will continue my introduction when I get a minute in the next few days!
Thank you for reading this so far!