Stories

My First Book

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

I wrote a book.  I’ve written a number of potential books over the years, not the least of which is Snow on this very blog.  It’s not finished, though I’m fored up to do so now, but there are many things to do now that I have written and self published.  Self-aggrandizment does not come easily to me, but I have to self promote, apparently.  And I was going to write with my Girl Name, (more about all that later), but I’ve published under the name Friday Jones.  This is my name in the real, non-internet, world.  Wow, I’m out there.  I feel vulnerable.

I’ve dedicated this first book to my eldest Son, Dominic.

The next will be dedicated to Ulysses.

___

If you’ve ever played Mission, my Sci-Fi roleplaying game, this might be of interest to you, this book, because it details the beginnings.  let me quote the blurb I wrote for it…

This is the history of the creation of the first Mind of the Conglomerate, that which will become the Galaxy spanning civilisation of peace and culture. Here are the seeds of Human Affairs, the rise and eventual downfall, the relationship between Humans and Minds; and the ethical and personal battles fought before Humanity takes to space guided by the Minds, and abandons Earth to its fate.

All very dramatic, but I have quite different text on the back cover, that talks more about the relationships that develop in the book.

When I write I “see” everything in front of me, I see the relationships, where people are standing, like a little movie in my head.  I can barely get it down fast enough.  I developed some craft here, for the first time, I went backa  few times and considered the words I had used instead of merely burting everything out.  I still have to do that to some extent, and proofing and editing was painful, because the only way I could slow down enough and inspect my own words was to read it out and record it as I went.  That took hours.

Bits of the book made my cry at various times.  I have no idea if I related the intensity of my feelings to any potential readers.  No spoilers, but the book spans some considerable time, and so there are complete lives in it.  What weirded my out though was that the launch of a spaceship made me cry.

I suppose I shouldn’t close without providing some links, because that would be daft.  I used Lulu, which turns out to be a bit more costly for the purchaser in print than I would have liked, but I didn’t ahve to do any outlay or upfront money or minimum purchases or anything like that, so kudos to them.

Electronic: ePub which can be readily converted for your Kindle, or you can find it on Amazon and other services like Nook iBook or whatever, but Lulu‘s marketplace provide the most revenue and least mickey-taking…

http://www.lulu.com/shop/friday-jones/hal/ebook/product-22337131.html

 

Print: This is Lulu’s print on demand service, so I think it’s a little expensive, but you do get an actual book in your hands…

http://www.lulu.com/shop/friday-jones/hal-a-diaspora/paperback/product-22336620.html

 

Thanks again to all my friends on Facebook who supported me by reading the first dodgy bangin out erroneous chapters and said “Hey Friday! This is the good thing, publish it!”

It had better be good now.

Thanks for reading.

Lulu_Electronic_cover

(The electronic cover)

Out There

Friday, July 4th, 2014

This is a story I wrote in response to a little competition, (no prizes, just creativity) my friend ran on his FB wall.  Although it is set in the Mission universe, it stands alone and isn’t related to any story-lines currently going on.

Out There

Noises like rarely bode well.  I was used to the creaking of the craft by now, but that shearing sound sent a shiver down my spine.  The essential urgency of it striking fear into me.

I was used to noises off by now, some clank as a ship’s system broke down and it halfheartedly attempted to fix it.  Most of its mind was gone, and a lot of the ship’s avatars roamed around aimlessly, corrupted by the sudden death of their Mind.  The few that were more or less fully operational strode purposefully through the ship, repairing and jury-rigging what was left.  Their stated aim; to keep me and the baby alive, the only living beings out of a ship of maybe a million people.  I knew that noise.  The shearers were back.

I’ve made a few stupid decisions in my life; rock climbing without a harness, that lava flow boat trip, Rick.  Now, now I was here listening to the shearer decimating the boat again, I knew that the number one stupidest decision I ever made was to give birth naturally.  No nanobots looking after us, feeding and repairing our bodily systems, no delaying the birth for sometime convenient, no pain relief – oh how I regretted that the first time the shearers came!

That noise.  It’s like listening to paper tearing, or the thin tin of an aluminium can.  It signals that another bit of the ship has been lost, and probably some avatars with it.  I’m hoping that it isn’t the last of the propulsion, looks like I’m giving birth out here any how, but to raise a child!  No.

I don’t know WHY this is happening, so I have no power to stop it.  Any kind of communications technology is like a beacon once activated, if we act a like a piece of debris, we pretty much get left alone.  I had to look out the window to see that we were going anywhere, great chunks of the massive craft floating nearby with a cloud of bodies spreading oh so slowly away.  Rick.  I could have just generated the pregnancy, but oh no I had to have the “whole woman experience”.  Can’t change back now.

Something is happening, I know it when three of the smarter avatars grab me, one hand behind my neck hands in my back, and we’re running a lot faster than I could possibly manage alone, they slam a bulkhead behind us impossibly fast, and we hear the shearing next to us, where I was standing.

That was the last control room, we’re boxed in now, and effectively debris, like it or not.  There’s no propulsion at all, and finally, the gravity cuts out.  I have never experienced null-gee and I am horribly sick. I feel the baby kick me in distress, and for a while I curl up and leave the universe.

___

When I wake up the avatars have cleaned up, but none of them say anything, they just stand and watch.  I ask for some water, and this request in instantly granted, but again silently.  I’m inquire about this and they spread their hands helplessly.  I’m not sure what it means, but they seem to understand without being able to communicate.  They are the most advanced ones, all I can is wonder what has happened to them.

I realise, by look out of the window again that we are drifting away from the rest of the debris.  It takes a long time, but some open space appears between us and the rest, we’re not surrounded by the bloated frozen bodies of the other passengers and crew.  I feel a sense of relief at this, looking at the macabre display day after day was making me crazy, as if having no-one to talk to wasn’t making me crazy enough.

The avatars float around doing things, food isn’t a problem, keeping it down is.  I realise that one of them is spending a great deal of time out of the quarters, and after a while, a matter of a few weeks, the lost bulkhead opens.  There is a song and dance by the avatars, something about the ship, but I don’t understand it.  Baby is close now, and my thoughts are turning inward.  I have spent a lot of time crying, wondering about our future, but this, stepping out into the slight gravity and seeing the stars spin, it is astonishing.

They have built a new environment from the remains of the ship.  It is large, I realise that the rotation is entirely for my benefit.  We get to the edge of the drug down ladders that seem redundant at first, then essential, then precipitous.  We’re at three-quarters of normal and after weeks of null-gee it’s both painful and welcome.  There are living quarters quite as luxurious as the ones on board the main ship, a birthing pool and everything we will need.  It’s all ready.  There are also plenty of strange packages attached the walls, I see what is happening with these the first time there is a breach.  They have some sticky, expanding substance in them that plugs holes.  It saves our lives more than once.

There is a day before my due date and I have already taken the decision than inducing the birth is far better than waiting for some arbitrary time and having the shearers come back in the middle of birthing.  The avatars agree, obviously, because they get the drugs ready.

The birth is terrible and bliss.  I know I tore mightily, but I was drugged hugely and my daughter, she came out of me with a huge head, which the avatars laid upon my breast with a strange tenderness.  She fed immediately, while they did things to me that I couldn’t, thankfully, see, and repaired me with the utmost sensitivity.

She was wonderful, wonderful.  A miracle out here in deep space, with our enemies just a few kilometers away, and the raw cold of space on the other side of a thin skin of fabric and metal.

I thought I was still drugged up pretty well, because after a while they came and tidied her up, weighed her and calculated instantly her mass, checked her fingers and toes, scanned her for the so many things that can go wrong in natural childbirth.  She grew tired of their attentions after a while, I know it.

I know it because she made a noise, an noise unfamiliar now to me from our months of isolation, and she made it from her position just next to me, riding on nothing, supported by nothing, just floating serenely.

She made a noise I knew wouldn’t bode well, for anyone.

“Hello mother, what have you gotten yourself into?”

Drifting

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

No park benches anymore.

We don’t stop when we can be seen, there is dark danger in that; roaming gangs drift in and out of trees, always seeking, always hungry.  I’m not old, but I’m wary, I dodge suspicious boxes, my shoes are soft, soundless.  It is the faint squeak on lino of survival, out in the street they don’t hear me coming.

Every faint rustle is a warning, a danger, and alarm.  I look about me, glasses like shields strapped to my head, little mirrors a trick taught by survivors.  Padded steel down each arm, broken many times, but no more; shin-guards on my legs,  and, yes, a breastplate, because the hurts too.  They don’t see any of it though under my great coat, I’m always hot, even on the coldest of days, a faint patina of sweat making me look tense, edgy.  Even my “friends” are cautious around me, I’m “that girl”; the one who can defend herself, but don’t get, as they say, too close.

My supplier is close, I can smell him, or at least his wares; a faint aroma of manufacturing around him, he’s dealing now I know, but I won’t approach yet, not until the crowd has gone; Bob may be around, and I should at least protect him from that, for the favours.

An urchin eyes me from a  bush, looking over me like a professional, which he probably is; he sees the rucksack bound to my front, slim.  Some people make the mistake of trying a weekly run, lessen their exposure, but they get caught, stripped bare.  They’re stupid, can’t move fast, can’t get back to the sanctuary.  What are they doing out anyhow, live on the gruel, you won’t die, what do you need more for?

What do I need more for?  Because I’m a dealer too right?  And I have to buy when I can, or they’ll stop producing, and I can always sell it on.

I’ve worked my way south, it’s true what they say, people are more honest up north, but that just means that now, everyone knows they’re out for themselves.  Down south, well, you can at least take advantage of people’s delusions, their pretensions of normality.  Some fool even runs a shop still, well, I say a fool; no-one rash enough to try anything has ever been seen again and Bob doesn’t take an interest.  “It’s their own risk.”

Huh, risk.  I remember, when I was the one in charge of risk.  Don’t trip, don’t fall, assess, lessen.  Now look at me.  Shopping is a risk to life.

The urchin falls back into the undergrowth, aware that I’m not a good risk; that’s good, fewer confrontations; but bad, better armed confrontations by the more desperate.  Guns are illegal, but no-one cares any more, so more people are carrying. Not me, I tried a gun, it broke my wrist.  I reply on other tech; tazer, home made.  It’s saved me, and those boys, they learn real quick now.

There’s a tree down in the road.  It’s big, I can’t climb over it.  I know there are watchers here, I can feel their eyes, seeing what I’ll do.

I can’t lose face, be a victim.

This tree, it’s not safe around the edges though, the darkness is what gets you; it’s their territory, you can’t see and they strip you bare.  The older ones, they want to do, other things, but the young ones are hungry.  I pull out the torch.

It’s bright, and I wind it and wind it so that it does not run out.  These days they spend so much time in the dark and the sewers that bright light, it’s a weapon, but it never lasts long, the pulse saw to that. Nothing electrical works well any more, just the basics, light heat.  Communications, things of the past.  They said we were dead without it, but we’re not dead, not yet.

I pick my way around the root, pulled out by the wind, and a fence, a narrow little channel, and that’s when they come.

“What’cha got lady?”  They’re young, younger than normal, they’re being trained up.

“Nothing for you sonny.  Move along, before you get hurt.”  I earn a grin for my warning.  Pity, it’s the only one they’ll get.  My little glasses mirror catches a glimpse of movement.  “Tell your little friend behind me to stop.”  I say, putting a darkness into my voice.  Their hearts are racing, adrenaline pumping their bravado higher.

“Give us the bag lady, and maybe we’ll let you go.”

“Unlikely.”  There’s a snigger from behind, and I realise that this path was the rash one, I should have known better.  Always take the least likely route.

“Alright, missus, you’ve got us bang to rights, we’re not gonna let you go, but it could hurt a lot less.”

“Come and get it then lads,” I say hoping to entice one of them into range.

“No way, missus, we know about you, you got armour.  Throw it over here.”  I smile in what I hope is an unnerving way.

“Well boys, we’re at an impasse, because I’m not throwing anything anywhere.”  There is silence for a moment, then a click, and I know their bravado is not baseless, they’ve been given an edge; that’s why they’re willing to take me on first ball out of the bag.

“Well, well, well, ” I say pressing for time, “playing with the big boys already?”

“We know about you, ALL about you, missus.”

“That’s miss.”  I look grim.  The whole thing is looking grim.  One of the lads has a shovel.

“Miss then, we don’t mind.  Is that what you want on the headstone?  And cooking pot?”

I know now, there is no chance here, it’s me or them.  They’ve raised the game…

No cheese for me today.