Ten years ago, Tuesday 30th October 2007, my oldest brother Paul was interred after taking GHB a well-known recreational and date rape drug. Unfortunately, he had also been drinking heavily and once he took the drug I guess his body just stopped.
The funeral was humanist and was extremely well handled by the celebrant, showing respect to those of faiths other than my own (which happens to be none) and I was one of those who spoke. The following is what I said:
Like our Dad Paul had strong views and frequently engaged in "loud discussions" with others over them. Many a Christmas was spent in the local hostelry with Dad, Paul, Sean & Grandad discussing politics and me and Mike making inane quips from the sidelines. Paul always expressed his views strongly, always genuinely believing he was right and would try to persuade others of his views with enthusiasm, throwing at them point after point in an effort to drive his views to the fore, selling his views almost as if he were selling the latest technological innovation.
There were times he would deliberately pick arguments and stances that would challenge so much that he could drive you up the wall, round the corner and down the street. But no one, no one could ever stay mad at Paul for long and, as many have kindly said since his death, he was charming, dynamic, witty, compulsive, wore a genuine smile that is hard to describe and had an infectious laugh best heard just before the punch-line of his latest joke or story. He could (and did) disarm others almost immediately and any issue that person had with him would be forgotten in minutes ... I was no exception to that. I often sought his approval and that is something (a talent if you like) I envied about him, something I am at a loss to explain.
One of my fondest memories of him was when we, his brothers, met him in a London hostelry. Paul was last to arrive (as always) and did so with his hair tied back, wearing a long dark mafia-style coat, walked straight up to us stuck out his hand (upon which he wore a ring) and, with a hint of laughter, said, "You may kiss the hand of The Don" ... we collapsed in hysterics. My last memory, the one I think I will cherish the most, is after a drink we had a few weeks ago; Paul was last to arrive (as always), the "loud discussion" had started and, for whatever reason, there was more than a hint of acrimony as we parted but for no reason I can remember I called Paul late at night when I was near my home ... I sat for about 15 minutes on a wall outside my house chatting to him, him telling me how much he valued me as a brother and how much he loved me.
It would be easy to be sad, it's hard to imagine never seeing the dynamo that was Paul again but I know he'd want us to remember him as the person he was, to delight in the life he had and not drown ourselves in sorrow at his loss. He would want us to get up and get on with our lives with no more than a hint of wistful regret that he is no longer part of it.
Paul, you were/are my brother and I will miss you, you loved your family so very much and I only have one thing to say to you, "Right back at ya Bruv, right back at ya!"
There's not a great deal I can say about this except that even now, ten years later, I miss him.
Thanks for reading.
J. C. Rocks (aspiring author: "The Abyssal Void War" series)
So, I have finally resubmitted my first book having made a number of changes. There's a new "prologue" chapter designed to create a high-action opening sequence, simplified sub-headings for all chapters to provide a clear location and date, more conversation and other changes. I now believe that the book flows better and addresses some of the concerns my publisher raised. The book is now some forty-two chapters i.e. some 87,000 words of actual story so now all I have to do is wait and wonder what on Earth am I going to call my website when I finally publish?
With stunning graphics and a stellar cast "Passengers" (2016) is a film that should have blown us away but instead it received heavy criticism but was that criticism as deserved as some would have us believe? I received a copy on Blu-ray for my birthday so I set about finding out if I agreed with the film's critics. Everyone knows it's rare for Hollywood to get it right in terms of the science and this film is no exception but, since just about every other film is the same, I feel it's unfair to unduly criticise it for it. And besides, "Passengers" is not really a science fiction film any more than "Titanic" is a film about a ship hitting an iceberg, it's a romance.
Chris Prat, Jennifer Lawrence, Laurence Fishburne and, my favourite, Martin Sheen deliver excellent performances and the film certainly doesn't lack for action. The music was good throughout and only spoiled when it accompanied the closing credits, a jarring track I assume was intended to boost the film through the music charts.
In the end, I felt most of the criticisms levelled at the film were explained within it and despite all the criticisms I could level at the film's science, I still enjoyed it perhaps because of the chemistry between the actors.
A book with moments of extreme violence, but not pointless, violence and one that I think is very much worth a read. It opens with a brutal murder, the victim gruesomely, yet artistically, displayed which leads both the lead detective and a reporter to the conclusion that the murder was likely to be one of a series, the murderer a serial killer. In writing this book, the author has woven a story around complex characters with believable personal motivations using good dialogue as well as nail biting, harrowing and gripping scenes. Definitely a book worth a read.
It seems to me that the science fiction bookverse (for lack of a better term) is awash with books that seem to tell the same basic story, that Earth is under attack (again) and that evil dastardly aliens are afoot. Whilst I understand that an author wants their readers to care about their characters and their story (if only to make them buy the sequels) I find this kind of scenario unadventurous and frustrating. I've read a lot of science fiction in my time and it is possible to get your readers to care even if the Earth is not in immediate danger of destruction.
It is said that opinions are like ****holes, we all have one but nothing about possessing ones means you're right, not unless you can justify it. With that in mind I am reviewing a book I happen to like by an author I happen to revile, especially the misbegotten abortion he spawned. I'm not saying it's a good book, just that I like it for various reasons.
The second Douglas E. Richard book I have read, "Split Second" is a techno-thriller, an innovative twist of the science fiction staple of time travel. The book is well-written, engaging and has a fair degree of suspense... for those with strong feelings on such things, it is also fairly violent and contains quite a lot of swearing. I found the book hard to put down and my regular reading time was something I looked forward to. I have no hesitation at all in recommending the book to anyone who is a fan of either thrillers or Sci-Fi.
Well there it is, the book, my first ever, is largely done and I am now just waiting for the cover art to be completed. Two hundred and fifty-seven A4/Letter pages (line and a half spaced), fifty-four chapters and approximately eighty-five thousand words.
I've given details of the book itself before and I still don't want to give too much away right now but it is set nearly eight hundred years in the future, not ours, but that of an alternate history (which is why I call it an alternate future history) and humanity is once again engaged in what it does best, blowing the hell out of each other.
A brilliantly written popular science book that explains how evolution can create the staggering variety it has, whether dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded, why cinematic monsters such as King Kong and Godzilla are laughably impossible, why the marsupials kept control of Australia, why insects are so small. Finally, he explains why, despite our apparent superiority, we really don't own the world at all, that there is no such thing as a superior or dominant lifeform on the planet. He also explains why, of course, elephants do have big ears.