Sleep and Leftovers

Dreams remember they don’t mean much.

Snippets, memories, old desires and such.

Memories of memories become loops. Internal errors.

A Treasure hunter is on the beach tonight. Metal detector sweeps the sand while the waves crash hard.

Take the good and leave the bad.

Programmable robot.

Reboot your glitch.

Dreaming to doing

I couldn’t sleep last night because of an idea. A business idea. The idea created adrenaline in my body which fueled my heart and my brain which developed the idea further which created more adrenaline! No sleep, but an idea nonetheless.

I have let a lot of ideas go by the wayside. This one I will try and develop though. That’s the hard part. An idea is easy to come up with. Making it work is a lot harder.

Smugglers of Earth – 6

Marlon’s coat was a Grohl coat. Marlon felt bulletproof in his coat. He had a feeling it might outlast him and the next few Smugglers after him to wear it. Its tailoring spell meant it fit him so well it was like a warm pair of pyjamas. He could keep a week of rations in the pockets, and he never felt cold. Or wet. Or hot. Just right.

Excerpt taken from Grohl’s most holy book: The Smuggler’s Handbooke

“A coate is first and foremost for wearing on Smuggler missions. For alle seasones, a coate is needed by yeah Smugglers. Whan thy coate is made, maketh the coate of magical leather. Magical leather is only righteous for such a vital dude as a Smuggler, especially in dark times as these. The spells cast on the coate should repel water and snowe, insulate thy body from any other alien liquide. A heating spell may be needed whan thy smuggling missions take thee far North or South. Give thy coate pocket spells for storage and never let thy coate out of sight for fear of alien wear and pollution most foul.”

Grohl was known as the Godfather of Smuggling. His coats outlasted the man himself, and ironically have become part of the growing inter-galactic illicit trade. Value in drugs, guns, animals, songs and chocolate is only matched by value in Grohl’s limited edition coats. The Godfather is known to have made only thirty-three in his lifetime.

 

Smugglers Of Earth – 5

When the Shepherd Trolls came to Old Earth, they wept like babies. The Trolls snuck in through a small portal left open by the Bantam civilization. Expecting easy spoils, what they found was full scale warfare which had turned Old Earth into a frightening place. Before they could retreat back through the portal, it had already closed. A Shepherd Troll is not brave, and when it is in tears it sounds like a howling monkey. Hiding for months, once the humans evacuated and Bantam rule was established the Trolls could move more freely. Collecting spells, treasures and goats as they travelled, the Sodom of Trolls grew to a healthy size and Lughar proved himself the most canny and ruthless of the group. It was his idea to take Robert Johnson from the circus.

As the storm of the century stopped, sensing that something was not right, Lughar made his way underground. Using a large stick with a green flame as a torch, Lughar stepped through uneven corridors and rickety structures down into the abandoned mine which had been turned into a Troll cave. Walking steadily deeper underground, faint music started to fill the air.

Gotta keep moving, Gotta keep moving

hellhound on my trail. Mmmhmmm, hellhound on my trail”

The corridor flattened out and after three more right turns, Lughar stopped at a small wooden door and pulled a big iron key out of his pocket. The song was clearly emanating from behind the door, vocals of a tortured soul rising up through the cave. Lughar smiled viciously, turned the big lock and opened up the door. The music stopped suddenly.

Lughar stepped into the dark, cold cell and grinned at the sad scene in front of him, “Mr Johnson, you missed quite a storm up there. But don’t worry, we’ll make sure you stay nice and wet down here”

A trembling voice came out the darkness, along with the distinctive clink of chains, “Oh s…sorry boss, I’m s…. s …so …sorry boss….was i too l….l….loud with the singing boss?”

Lughar thrust his torch of fire into the cell, illuminating the head, arms and chains in front of him. “Stop your snivelling!”

Robert Johnson was a 75 kilo orangutan. He was Lughar’s most valuable treasure.

Dune progress report

I managed to read a good chuck of Frank Herbert’s Dune last night. What struck me about it was the length of time committed to character development.

I have a tendency when I write something to want to get to the end of the story and not fully flesh out all the detail that a reader might need to become engrossed. Call it lack of patience.

Dune is managing to show me so much of the character flaws, strengths, traits as I read. With each page the story is getting sharper, more solid, refined. Like going to the optometrist, when they test your eyes by slowly adding different lenses in front of you until everything is crystal clear.

A second observation is the overwhelming sense of paranoia and political sniping in the story. While the more exciting elements of sci-fi novels are there in abundance (weird technology, far away stars and planets, alien ecosystems) its intrigue lies more in the political struggles of the characters.

Surprising to me, but very fulfilling so far.

Dune update

Over the weekend I have been away on plane flights and had evenings alone in bed and breakfasts which has given me time to get further into Dune.

What a book!

The flaws in the father’s character are becoming apparent, and the interactions with the local Fremen are adding an extra dimension to the tale.

It is such an engaging book, I think of it like a microscope which is gradually zooming in closer and closer to the inevitable war and dangers on the planet of Arrakis. Detail and nuance is getting more and more….well detailed! and Nuanced!

There is no turning back for any of the characters, only forward into the desert.

Love it.

Smugglers of Earth – 4

The Nexus Space Station sat in orbit 400 kilometers above the planet of Bendaiir. The size of a small town, The Nexus was large enough to hold 500 people comfortably in its 4 quarters. Much smaller cruise ships and freighters came and went at regular intervals. Delivery ships docking to the mothership. Every few minutes, the Nexus fired its massive boosters to keep from being pulled down out of orbit by old earth’s gravity. Attached behind the body of the Nexus was a sort of interstellar trailer with hundreds and hundreds of bright blue capsules of varying sizes. Like a massive tray of eggs being pulled behind the ship.

At the helm of the Nexus, Captain Maddox was leaning over a communication device growing increasingly frustrated at the reception. “Hello? Marlon? Smuggler 1, do you read?”

“It’s the storm sir, they say it’s the storm of the century. Likely to go on for many hours still.” Marcus the engineer was pushing buttons and reading lists of code from the multiple screens on the dash board as he spoke. “I think it threw our co-ordinates off too. Last reading we had of the Smuggler, he was at the bottom of Colm Naiir. We wanted to port him to the top for the view.”

The Nexus was created in a moment of crisis. In the year 2200 The Bantam Civilization opened a portal to old earth, leaving the planet open to a classic Bantam siege. First the large, strong and alien Bantams had negotiated with the frightened humans, taking minerals and metals by the ship load through the portal, enriching a few humans and draining the planet at an alarming rate. Then water and food became their priority.

Desperation grew on old earth but any resistance by humans was quashed by the Bantams with advanced weapons and magic. Lakes dried up, forests turned to farmlands with no human access. The Bantams intended to bleed the planet dry.

In a panic, the UN and all banking organizations of old earth diverted all funding to a full scale planetary migration. Humans managed to find a habitable planet, pack up and leave with startling success and haste. What they left behind was the animals.

Increasingly endangered and prized throughout the galaxy as rare hostages, pets, and zoo exhibits – old earth’s biodiversity was on the edge of disappearing. Old earth’s red list of endangered animals had hundreds of species with less than 5 individuals accounted for. Nexus was created to smuggle the most endangered animals to safety. The most advanced weapons and transportation technology made the Nexus a formidable ship, able to move freely through the Milky Way. Blue pods cryogenically froze the most endangered animals of old earth, ready for space transport and introduction to the manufactured biospheres of new earth. But first, the animals had to be found and saved. The strategy was to smuggle the animals away from captivity and have them ported up to the Nexus. Sometimes the animals were captive on old earth. Often they were in the far flung planets of the Milky Way. Planets such as Bendaiir with its shepherd trolls.

Captain Maddox let out a frustrated sigh and bowed his head, “I guess all we can do is wait it out then?”

Marcus nodded, “That, or maybe he can use a card. If not, those trolls will get more and more rowdy. Not good smuggling conditions though, and a potential danger to the asset.”

Dune

I have started to read Dune.

I am 10% of the way in (according to kindle!) and it is fantastic so far. Like a fine painting, the author is adding layer upon layer to his characters. I can already see the influence it has had on other work such as Game Of Thrones.

My plan is to work through all these books, taking as long as it takes – because this is enjoyable to me. No deadline, no cutoff. Just a bunch of excellent books to read. Without doubt this will have an influence on my own writing. For that I am also excited.

Kickstarter campaign

I have funded the following kickstarter campaign.

It is all in the broader effort to become more invested in my writing and creative work in general. (‘investment’ pun intended).

Have a look, it is a cool project with a track record from volume 1:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/753351971/long-list-anthology-volume-2/description

Smugglers of Earth – 3

Sodom. Pronunciation: /ˈsɒdəm/

  1. A town in ancient Palestine, probably south of the Dead Sea. According to Gen. 19:24 it was destroyed by fire from heaven, together with Gomorrah, for the wickedness of its inhabitants.
  2. Collective noun for a group of shepherds.

If a shepherd troll offers you help, turn and run the other way.

As the leader of a filthy sodom of shepherd trolls, Lughar had delusions of grandeur. He forced his followers to treat him like a king. On hot summer days, he ordered the female shepherd trolls to fashion rich goat skin canopies to shade him from the sun. In winter they had to bed with him as often as he wanted and feed him warm goats milk on tap. He permanently had a crown of goat bone on his head and a cloak of goatskin hanging down his back. Bigger than the rest of the shepherd trolls, he crushed any opposition, flattening their skull with his bare hands. Many an uprising had resulted in blood and splintered bone staining the plains of Colm Naiir. Lughar felt as though he owned all of Colm Naiir and the Nea Tor. In reality he probably only owned a few goats and held one very valuable prisoner.

Lughar sniffed and wiped water from his nose, and what a nose it was. Disproportionately large for his face, in fact it made up most of his head. The nose started at his forehead and protruded out four or five inches, only rejoining his face at the top of his chin. Needless to say he had a good sense of smell. With his nose being so large, his mouth was distorted and squashed to the left side of his face like a cubist painting. Huge warts and nose hairs poked out of his nostrils and the rest of his body was hairy and dirty and slimy as you might expect a troll to be. This night he was also soaking wet, and excited about the storm of the century.

Lughar and his sodom were debaucherous on storm nights. First they cast a hex on the campfire to keep it going all night, turning the flames emerald green. To celebrate the storm of the century they had chased their herd of goats around the campfire trying to get them struck by lightening. When that didn’t work the shepherd trolls cornered the herd in the sticky mud. Picking victims one by one the trolls would drag the goats by the hind legs to open space away from the herd. Many goats had already been killed. Dismembered and physically abused in the plains, their bodies were left in the puddles to rot. All of them were terrorised and the goats sensed they would be lucky to make it through the night. There was no chance of escaping the torture, but they might not drown or get eaten if they huddled together and accepted the punishment when it came. It delighted the trolls to have their way with the goats in the mud.

The storm of the century was looking like it would last all night. Ideal for trolling. Lughar had his eyes set on a small kid suckling furiously for comfort from its mother. Swigging the last of his whiskey from his pot, Lughar started to approach his next victim. Then the night took a turn.

From high up above, there was a high pitched thunderclap and then there was silence. To the trolls’ dismay the storm of the century disappeared into thin air. No more rain, no more lightening, no more thunder. The terrified goats looked up and found they could not turn their heads back down. From tense, frightened animals the goats became calm, even happy at what they saw. The beauty of the clear night sky calmed them.