Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Foundation

DSCF6334 I’ve been re-reading the Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov.

I first read the original trilogy as a teenager in the 1970s. I loved the vast arena, the sharp one-liners, the humour and the vision of a far-off positive future. I thought that the first book and the first part of Foundation and Empire were thrilling; I was more uncertain about the Mule; but I thought Arkady in The Second Foundation was brilliant. She was a heroine that I could identify with, right down to her desire to write best-selling novels. As for the Second Foundation, they were intriguing but not particularly worrying.
Years later I read the Foundation Series again. I now realised that the story is based on the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire — that reference to the last emperor Dagobert is the dead giveaway. So the disintegration of the empire is followed by the rise of religion, carrying forward science and knowledge into the Dark Age; followed by Traders (a dash of the Pirenne thesis) and then merchant princes, followed by autocracy which is overthrown by the brave new world of democracy. Arkady now seemed a bit of a kid. The Second Foundation were still intriguing.
After re-reading the series I went in search of Asimov’s more recent works and found the continuations: Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth. I enjoyed both, but the character of Fallom in Foundation and Earth was particularly intriguing. Did Asimov continue the story beyond Foundation and Earth?
I was very disappointed to find that he didn’t. I read the two prequels, Prelude to Foundation and Forward the Foundation, and the earlier stories which linked the Foundation series to the Elijah Bailey detective stories: The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire. I also found some spin-off series written around these ‘Robots’ stories and the Spacers, and read them with enjoyment. There were also some spin-off stories about the start of the Foundation, but I didn’t get on so well with them: I was more interested in what happened after Foundation and Earth.
Move on again many years to last month: I’ve been re-reading the stories again. I now see that the Second Foundation’s empire, if the Second Foundationers are allowed to set it up, will be a nightmare of mind control. Galactica looks like a much more friendly solution. I went in search of further sequels and with the help of the Wikipedia page found the wonderful collection Foundation’s Friends (ed. Martin Greenberg), a collection of short stories put together by Asimov’s friends and fellow science-fiction writers, and a treat for all Foundation fans. Now I’m reading Donald Kingsbury’s Psychohistorical Crisis, which imagines the new Galactic Empire if the Second Foundation were to win.
Obviously, no one can write like Isaac Asimov, but it’s interesting to see how other writers have interpreted his visions and developed his ideas. Are there any more sequels or spin-offs out there?

Before anyone panics — no, I don’t intend to venture into continuing Asimov’s ideas. I’ll stick to parodies of Edgar Wallace.

Advertisements

… but the taxman would take away most of what I earned.

(Spot the author who has recently filled out her tax return!)

So I’ll continue to publish stories that I enjoy writing, for the people who enjoy reading them. And I won’t pester the people who don’t want to read them into reading them. Why make lots more money just for the taxman?

 

Healing dogs

Readers of Watchers (the first Watchers book) will remember Nodens, the holy greyhound at a former Roman temple located overlooking the Great River.

Not so far away from this, a metal detectorist has discovered a hoard of 4th-century Roman bronze artefacts, including a ‘licking dog’ — a dog which licks humans to heal them. The report suggests that it ‘may be linked to the Roman healing temple at Lydney’ — yes, folks, that’s the one in Watchers.

Read about the find here: http://www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk/news/gloucester-news/amazing-discovery-could-evidence-hidden-542056

and there are some pictures of the dog and other finds here:  http://eveandreski.zenfolio.com/p789221425

‘Gloucestershire could be home to a previously undiscovered Roman temple!’ says the report. Of course the Roman temple at Lydney has already been discovered.

 

 

DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAILI’ve just uploaded the 6th ‘Just Woman’ story to Amazon Kindle. This time I used Amazon’s ‘cover creator’ to create a cover reminiscent of the Edgar Wallace hardbacks of the 1930s. (I’m still working on a good 1920s cover …).

Price: the lowest price, as usual.  Book description:

Mirabelle Leicester has always known that her husband Leon Gonsalez is the ‘possessor of innumerable coats of arms, quarterings, family mottoes direct and affiliated’ (in the words of Edgar Wallace), but since their marriage she has  discovered that he also has a real family, including a revolutionary cousin from Barcelona and an aristocratic aunt. When the cousin asks for Leon’s and Mirabelle’s assistance in clearing his name, the investigation takes them to Spain: trailing kidnappers, dodging gunmen and encountering old friends.

The Sapphire black and white My friend who writes stories set in the ancient kingdom of Rheged has just sent me a list of typos and suggestions for The Sapphire, which I’ve implemented. They should come through on the edition on Amazon.com (etc.) shortly. However, I have left the Wattpad version as it is — none of these are major changes, just minor tweaks. (Readers, let me know if you want me to update Wattpad too.) She also said some nice things about the book, but you’ll have to read it for yourself.

After much tearing of hair and headaches I have at last brought the most recent ‘Just Woman’ story to a conclusion. This one has involved a bit of research as most of the action takes place in Spain, and when I started this story my knowledge of Spain in 1924 was approximately zilch. I now know a bit more about it (not a lot, but a bit).

The story is now on Wattpad, and here’s the blub and the current cover:

The Man from Barcelona 2nd draftMirabelle Leicester has always known that her husband Leon Gonsalez is the ‘possessor of innumerable coats of arms, quarterings, family mottoes direct and affiliated’ (in the words of Edgar Wallace), but since their marriage she has  discovered that he also has a real family, including a revolutionary cousin from Barcelona and an aristocratic aunt. When the cousin asks for Leon’s and Mirabelle’s assistance in clearing his name, the investigation takes them to Spain: trailing kidnappers, dodging gunmen, encountering old friends, and accumulating innumerable pieces of evidence in their battered suitcases. Is the Man from Barcelona innocent, or has he been lying all along?

Readers may remember that I don’t usually do research when I’m writing fiction, ‘The Star’ and the ‘Gray’ stories don’t need research (much), as they’re fantasy; ‘The Just Woman’ is set in Edgar Wallace’s world so follows the guidelines sent out in his stories as far as possible.

Edgar Wallace’s stories are striking for their timelessness. Although he referred generally to telephones, telegrams, motorbikes, cars, taxis, ships, trains and planes, his stories hardly ever contain any specific description of technology that would fix them to a particular time between 1905 and 1965. I usually try to follow his lead, but as the current ‘Just Woman’ story is set very early in Europe’s airline history, and the characters take a journey by air from Spain to Britain, I had to do a little research. The internet wasn’t much help for the history of Spanish airlines, but various webpages sent me to R.E.G. Davies, A History of the World’s Airlines (London: Oxford University Press, 1964).

So the plane that makes a brief appearance in the current story (working title:  The Man from Barcelona’, set in late 1924) is a Junkers F.13, also known as a Ju 13. These metal-bodied, single –engined planes could carry two crew and four passengers and had a range of 746 miles (1200km) at speeds of up to 106 miles per hour. As it is around 390 miles from Madrid to Toulouse along the most direct viable route (i.e., to Barcelona and then following the already-established route flown by Latécoère and the C.G.E.A via Perpignan) the journey would take around six hours without needing to stop to refuel, but as there would have been no toilet facilities on the plane, it would be necessary to have toilet stops along the way: hence our travellers will stop at Barcelona.

I selected this plane  because in 1925 Union Aerea Espanola was set up with a fleet of Ju 13s: so our pilots is testing these planes.

Wikipedia provides some information and pictures of these planes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F.13