Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the tag “science fiction”

Elf-Promotion (the dwarves have all the fun)

Saturday 5th April is now Dwarves in Space Day. But it’s not just dwarves going into space. There is a wizard. There are a number of barbarians. There is an orc. Even the king of Trimador is coming along for the ride. And a goodly number of elves.

And this is an issue for a race that is so attuned to nature. Nobody thinks about the huge sacrifice they make when they join the crew of the Eagle in search of Quiddity.

Have no idea what I’m talking about? Come along to the signing of my new book: Dwarves in Space.

Where? Notions Unlimited, Shop 9, Chelsea Beach Arcade, 426 Nepean Hwy, Chelsea, VIC. 3196

When? 5.30 – 7.00pm, April 5, 2014.

What else?

Author Damian Perry will be in-store at Notions Unlimited Bookshop, to launch and sign copies of his debut humorous SF novel, DWARVES IN SPACE.

Information on the Notions Unlimited Blog and on my Facebook Page (like it while you’re there) and Google+ event (ditto).

I hope you’ll join us for drinks and nibbles. Bring a friend or six. Bring total strangers. I’ll sign books and answer questions.

signing on 5 april

Still not convinced? Here’s what people are saying about the book:

Amazon reader:

“When I started “Dwarves in Space” I wasn’t sure what I would be getting, but I have to say that all too quickly I was snagged by the witty writing, the memorable characters, the adventurous tone and the entertaining plot.”

A review from Danny – a fellow Discworld fan:

“Damian Perry has managed to not only cross the genre divide by poking fun at the tropes and cliches, but has also paid respect to them as well – and it’s all held together by an engaging and exciting story.”

 

I look forward to seeing you all there.

Advertisements

Dwarves in Space

The last time I was this excited, Shereen was walking up the aisle towards me on our wedding day. I jest; that was far more exciting, but this is a close second.

Dwarves in Space eBook coverDwarves in Space is now available for purchase on Amazon in paperback or as a Kindle eBook, and on Lulu.com in paperback.

It has been a long road (see my first post on Dwarves in Space) to this point. I have sent the novel to half a dozen publishers and the same number of agents. Each time I would send the excerpt or manuscript off, there would be an 8-12 week wait before I’d hear back, and no useful feedback even then. Rather than spend years sending my manuscript to publisher after publisher, I decided that I would take my destiny in my own hands and give self-publication a shot.

I had no interest in spending thousands of dollars on extensive print runs. The eBook option was an easy choice. Even those people who have iBooks and iPads still buy a lot of their digital books from Amazon. At the moment, I have a 90 day exclusive contract with Amazon. After that, I might extend to the iBookstore and Nook etc.

Anyway, the useful information:

Clicking on the links to Amazon and Lulu.com above will take you to the books on the respective sites. I’ve kept the Kindle price low to offset the price of the paperback. The print-on-demand nature of the paperback means that I don’t really make any money on it, but I don’t really care. I just want to build a market for now.

And how can I go wrong? Who doesn’t want to read a story about a young king and his wizard friend who travel through space in a ship shaped like an eagle? A ship that is crewed by dwarves, elves and barbarians with no idea how to operate an electric can opener, let alone a starship? And how could you possibly pass up a novel containing space battles between this crew and a necromancer flying the skeleton of a dragon? There are even some quite funny bits, if I do say so myself!

Not to mention gods, demons, zombies, holograms, trolls, prophecies, mice and a very famous three-headed dog.

Please enjoy my first novel while I finish off the second.

Dwarves in Space paperback cover

Also, if a novel is too much for  you, you could try one of my short stories, available for sale on AlfieDog Limited.

Both are ridiculously cheap and are available for all eBook readers.

Ted's Souls  be practical

Every Sparrow that Falls: the Final Chapter.

The voice in his head sounded desperate. But.

‘Who are you?’ Chuck asked. ‘What are you doing in my head?’ His mind was trying to convince him that everything was fine. But it wasn’t fine. He’d been shot at. His head was killing him. So was the radiation. And now he had voices in his head. And nobody ever thought that was a good sign.

Friend, his head told him. Here to help. Dying. Stop. Stop radiation.

‘Are you a min-min?’ he asked. He still didn’t quite trust the energy blobs. His only response was a sense of puzzlement. He felt puzzled. ‘I mean, one of the energy balls.’ And comprehension dawned on him.

Yes. Min-min. Dying!

Chuck felt a sense of urgency during that last statement. He realised with shock that Caitlin was right: the radiation was dispersing the energy balls. And the energy balls were alive. They were killing his guides. Had killed them, for all he knew.

Yes! Stop it!

‘Cait!’

‘Is it working? I can-’

‘Turn it off! Quickly! We made a mistake!’

‘You made a mistake!’ Caitlin retorted. ‘No, no, never mind,’ she continued as he tried to repeat his plea, ‘I am a professional. I turned it off as soon as you told me. Your skin won’t stop burning until we get you treated. And that should be soon. Get back to the ship.’

‘I’m coming,’ Chuck said. ‘You won’t believe this. I’m hearing voices.’

‘What won’t I believe?’ Cait asked.

‘Ha, ha. I’m on my way.’ Chuck signed out and prepared to run.

Go now, the voice said. Plenty of time.

The laser beam burned a hole in the back of his left boot as he hit the stairs running.

 

Back in the sunlight, Chuck slowed.

‘Who are you?’ he asked. There was a long pause. ‘Well?’

Wait, came the voice. Difficult. Looking for speech. Ah, there it is.

The change in his passenger’s language was immediate and obvious.

We are human, said the voice. It was female, from its cadence. It was like a voice remembered, one that had spoken only moments before, but it bypassed his ears. When your ancestors left the planet I am assuming you are from Earth originally?

Chuck went to nod, realised that might be completely useless, and said ‘Yes.’

When your ancestors left, she continued, many stayed behind. Some were mad. Most were useless. A very few were brilliant. We fought the machines and subjugated them. We concentrated on restoring the planet. The main obstacle to that was humanity itself. And then we realised that we could live forever without our bodies. It seemed like a fair trade. Immortality and a planet restored for the simple price of our flesh.

‘I don’t know,’ Chuck said. ‘I kind of enjoy my flesh.’ He looked back over his shoulder, remembering. ‘Wait! Your friends, the min-min. Did they survive?’

The moment these words formed in his mind to be spoken, a great wave of sadness hit him. Tears welled up in his eyes.

No, she said. They were dispersed.

‘You were close to them?’ he asked.

No. But emotions are always experienced strongly within the host. I cannot help it. I am sorry. The loss of the team is unfortunate. We rarely reproduce, especially with the machines being so belligerent. But no, I was not close to them. There is your ship!

Chuck’s eyes were drawn to the ship. It was a lot further away than he should have been able to recognise it. A pleasant side effect. Pleasant.

‘You’re female?’ he asked.

Yes, she said. Apologies. My name is Flip. Philipa Nias. I grew up in Melbourne the city you are in now and was lucky enough to be involved in the last conversions. I dont honestly know why we bothered to keep our gender-alignments. I think it is just a part of who I am. And you can stop thinking whatever youre thinking. I can feel your hormone levels rising.

Chuck blushed.

‘We’re almost there,’ he said. ‘What are you going to do? I need to go back to the ship for radiation treatment. I’ll need to make a proper report about my experiences since arriving, including the existence of a new life form or three. Are you coming with?’

Flip considered this. Off the planet? The radiation would disperse me.

‘I’ll ask Cait, but I think that we are shielded enough for you to come aboard safely.’

Something new to ride, Flip mused. Chuck felt himself being persuaded, which was an unusual sensation. They arrived at the ship. I think I should. Yes, that would indeed be an experience.

Feeling unusually happy, Chuck whistled as he ran through the pre-launch activities that would get him and his invisible passenger off the planet. As he was packing away the last of the supplies he had removed from the ship, his eye caught the corpse of a small bird. He tried to look away, but his gaze was fixed.

Wait, Flip said. Please. We need to bury him.

Chuck thought: ?

I owe him, Flip said. As I owe you. Please.

Nodding, Chuck dug a small hole in the soft earth and placed the sparrow gently into it. He covered the bird with soil and replaced the grass divot.

Do you still have religion? Flip asked him. The Bible? God?

‘Well,’ Chuck said. ‘Gods. There are a good number of them. But there is The One God. Not that anybody believes He’s the only one any more. He had a Bible.’

Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing, it says. Thats what makes a Rider. Take care of the individuals and the world will be fine.

‘That sounds like a plan,’ Chuck said. ‘Who knows what will come from this meeting of two individuals?’

All thanks to that little guy, said Flip. Oh dear. Im starting to sound like you now. Before we go, I think theres one person that should come with us. She established a link and gave her friend the invitation. Chuck caught the gist of it through their shared thoughts.

 

‘Hang on, Captain who?’

 

Space: The final frontier.

Every Sparrow – Chapter 8

The glow of the energy balls gave off very little light as Chuck descended into the depths of the building. There was a low hum that he associated with machinery. Maybe the min-min, not able to communicate with him directly, had brought him to a computer of some kind, to attempt a link that way.

There was a sudden whine, the blobs scattered and a beam of red light lanced through the darkness and burned a line across his scalp.

Or, he thought, dropping to the ground, they couldnt kill me using their microwaves so they decided to try a more direct approach.

The stench of burning hair filled his nostrils and he slapped at his head. The whine repeated and he rolled desperately to one side, narrowly avoiding a second deadly beam.

‘Stop shooting at me!’ he yelled, crawling to his feet and diving to safety in the darkness. Unfortunately, between his current location and safety was a steel cabinet, which he struck hard with his forehead. The third shot missed him because of the erratic movement of a semi-concussed man.

As the whine rose in tempo for the fourth time, he found the edge of the cabinet and crawled around the side. He had no idea where the beam was coming from, or whether he was still a target from this new vantage point, but his head felt exactly as if he had just dived headlong into a metal cabinet, and his thoughts were scattered.

The whine of the beam remained at a mosquito-buzz pitch for a moment and then the weapon powered down.

Chuck slumped against the cool metal of the cabinet and waited for the world to stop spinning. His brain seemed to be still rattling inside his head and to make matters worse, his skin was itching again.

All around him was the high-pitched meaningless chatter of the coloured blobs. They must be telling the shooter where he was hiding. He had to get back upstairs, to the relative safety of a world he never thought he’d call ‘alien’.

‘Scout to ship. Cait, come in. I’m in trouble!’

‘How did you manage that?’ Cait asked.

‘Ambushed. Trapped. Something shooting at me,’ Chuck said, trying to focus his thoughts. ‘My hair is on fire. The min-min sent me into a trap. I’ve got to get out!’

‘Holy hells. You’re not kidding, are you?’

‘Why would you think that I was?’ Chuck asked, incredulous.

‘Oh, I don’t know. Does “Aargh!’ ring a bell?’ Cait asked.

‘Fair enough. Look, I’m going to make a break for it. Can you do anything from up there?’

‘I don’t think so, but- wait. If I narrow the scanner beam onto your location, I think I can flood the very immediate area with radiation.’

Chuck tried to get his rattled head to process that statement.

‘You’re going to irradiate me?’ he asked. ‘And that’s what you call “helping”?’

‘It’s a slim chance, but there’s a possibility that it could disrupt those “min-mins”, which will mean you can get back to the ship without being followed.’

‘And if it gets dark, I won’t need a torch, because I will glow in the dark!’

‘Don’t be a baby. We have anti-rad treatments up here,’ Caitlin said. ‘I think – yes. There it is. Say when.’

Chuck could see the faint glow coming down from the top of the stairs. It was only a few long strides away to the first step. He was well into the room before his attacker fired the first time. He should be fine.

‘OK, go,’ he said. He pulled himself into a crouch. His skin was prickling, and then-

‘Right. Done it,’ came the voice from the ship. The prickle turned into a burn. At the edge of his range of hearing, the high-pitched chatter had turned into a squeal.

Got em, he thought. He stood. The whine of the laser started up again. Chuck spun but as he readied to run, his legs buckled, and the pain in his skull doubled.

Wait, said a voice in his head. You must stop! Make it stop!

‘That’s not me!’ Chuck muttered.Cait to the rescue

 

Every Sparrow that Falls – Chapter Seven

So far, so good, Flip thought. The human was following the newly effective communicators. There was a tense moment when he just screamed for no reason. If she hadn’t spent so much time with the Captain, she might have reacted badly. As it was, the human’s guides almost dissipated themselves. But they held together and didn’t show much outward reaction. They were well trained, even if their construct leader was a little loopy.

They led their charge to the building with the machines. This whole area of the city was dedicated to cultural pursuits. One section was an art gallery, another a media repository. Within that building, in a protected bunker well beneath the eroding surface structures, lived the machines. Not all of the machines. But the majority of those that were found in this city. And only the sentients. Before the Abandonment, humanity maintained an unhealthy dependance on computers. Of course, this led to the eventual transformation of those left behind into the form Flip now held. But the machines, stupid and only barely alive, were still treated with disdain amongst those left behind.

And now they held the key to communicating with the newcomer. Flip watched the man as he walked calmly behind his guides. Flip assumed he was calm. Apart from the screaming he hadn’t shown any signs of agitation. But of course, the last time Flip had seen an agitated human was her own reflection in the mirror as the drill came down towards her skull to insert the probes…
The Captain came up behind her to see what was happening. ‘Is that. A real person?’

‘Yes, Captain,’ Flip replied. ‘I am sorry that I upset you.’

‘Me? Never. Everything will be. All right. In the end. The Enterprise is. Probably looking for me. Right now.’ Flip gave an affirmative signal. Of course, Kirk had been created almost a thousand years ago now, so if he had come here in a transporter accident, as he maintained, there was little chance of his crew still trying to find him.

‘Where are. They going?’ the Captain asked.

‘Down to the machines,’ Flip answered. ‘We cannot communicate with him. He cannot hear us and his technology is too different to interface with our systems. At least the machines can talk directly to him. Work as intermediaries.’

‘Don’t trust. The Machines,’ Kirk said. ‘Every time. We’ve encountered a. Sentient computer. It has tried. To kill us!’

‘That doesn’t sound plausible,’ Flip said, still watching the screen. The human was following his guides down a flight of metal stairs, into the lair of the machines. ‘Of course, we did have some problems with the machines wanting to take over in the early days, but now, they are under our control. They do our bidding.’

The Captain snorted. ‘How many times. Have I heard. That?’

‘We are pure energy. They cannot harm us,’ Flip said.

‘And your human. Visitor?’

Flip hadn’t sworn in a thousand years, but when the shooting started, she let out a curse that burnt out the circuits on the viewscreen. But by then, she was long gone.

20120530-203639.jpg

Every Sparrow – Chapter Six

Note: I’ve been writing this mostly because I have a few friends and family who want to know “what happens next”. I have been writing it because Terry Pratchett says the best way to become a better writer is to write 300 words a day.

I didn’t write on Sunday because I was writing 300 words on Cyber Safety and Online citizenship for the iPad presentation our school gave on Monday. We handed out 120 iPads to the Year 9 students as part of the Government’s 1-1 program. I talked to them about respect, and making sure they ensured their own privacy and that of others.

I didn’t write yesterday because I was writing up detention forms, suspension notices and emails to parents (easily 300 words) after a number of students were involved in a massive Facebook page that targeted teachers and students at the school. So apparently, the 300 words from Sunday were completely wasted.

But I’m back now. Here’s Chapter Six:

His teeth stopped vibrating first. He shook his head like a wet dog. He stretched his jaws. They were absolutely buzz-free. His skin lost that crawling-with-ants feeling shortly afterwards. Chuck stopped walking. He dropped his bag. He did a little victory dance. And then he saw the min-min light.

‘Holy Bob!’ he yelped, stepping into his backpack straps and falling onto his rear. The min-min light hovered at head height, waving serenely back and forth. It was a pale blue, and pulsed with a gentle glow that was almost invisible in the bright sunlight. Chuck fixed his eyes on the light while he scrabbled in his pack for the tablet.

‘Scout to ship, come in. Caitlin, talk to me!’

‘Whaff, oo ooann? Iff dinna ‘ime,’ was the cryptic response. Chuck, who had known Caitlin through training school and four years of an interstellar voyage, was quick to translate.

‘I don’t care about your food. Scan my area. Can you see anything?’ There was no response from the other side, except for the faintly nauseating sound of loud chewing. Eventually, Cait replied.

‘What do you mean? No. Hang on. Yes. But it’s just the energy signatures you had around you from the start. Why?’

‘I have a min-min floating in front of me,’ said Chuck.

‘Um,’ said Cait.

‘A little ball of light. Sort of. . . hovering. I think it’s watching me.’ And indeed, the light did seem to be focused on him. He swished a hand at it, and the light retreated slightly before returning to the same spot. He moved his head. The min-min revolved slightly to follow his movement.

‘What did you call it?’

‘A min-min. My grandmother used to talk about them. They helped travellers lost in the bush, back when there was bush.’ Chuck looked around. Trees and shrubs were taking over the city, squeezing up through the man-made paths and roads and taking back the land that once belonged to it. ‘I guess, the bush is back, the min-min followed. Oh!’ he said, standing up carefully. ‘Make that min-mins. There’s another one. And a third!’ In a loose formation around the light blue min-min, two more glowing balls had materialised. One was a violet swirl. The third of the trio was a faded yellow blob. None of them were overly bright in the sunlight. Chuck assumed that they might be more visible at nighttime.

‘Ah, Chuck?’ said Cait.

‘Yeah?’

‘Are you OK?’

Chuck bent down to pick up his backpack. He kept a wary eye on the trio of glowing shapes. ‘I think so,’ he said. ‘At the moment, they’re just hovering. No, wait. What are they- AAAARGH!’

‘Chuck? CHUCK?’

‘Heh. No, I’m fine. They’re just floating there.’

‘Dick.’

‘Yeah, sorry.’ Chuck raised his tablet and ran a simple image scan. He sent it off to the ship with a flick of his finger. ‘That’s them. Hang on, they’re moving.’ Apparently taking their picture let the energy beings know that he was watching them. They moved away from him, slowly but with purpose. A short way away, they stopped. They bobbed a little closer, then away again. Chuck laughed.

‘That is fantastic!’ he said. ‘Hey, you know those kids’ shows that have the smart animal who runs to get help when the hero falls down the well?’

‘Ye-es?’

‘I think I just landed in an episode of Gordo the Wonder-blob.’ Chuck started off after the shapes, and they in turn, noticing that he was indeed following, set off at a leisurely pace towards the cube-shaped building. ‘Keep scanning, Cait. I need to know if they’re about to do something.’

‘Shall do. Keep an eye out.’

Yup. It’s a thing!

Every Sparrow – Chapter Four

Chuck’s skin was itching.

It wasn’t painful, but it was insistent. His skin was itching and his teeth were starting to buzz. He’d walked from the clearing near what looked to be a library, along the remnants of a road, towards the cube buildings on his map. He’d been completely unmolested the entire way, although the local fauna kept a wary eye on him – an unknown species that could be a predator. But as he neared the structure, could see it jutting out of the landscape amongst the trees, he began to feel an unpleasant sensation.

There is a chill you get in your skin when you think about something distasteful or when someone runs a finger just above your skin. Chuck shuddered, and then shuddered again. He stopped and looked around. His skin began to prickle, starting at his neck and spreading across his face and down his back. He stopped walking at an unpleasant thought: what if he were being bombarded with radiation? He grabbed his tablet, swiped his fingers across the screen and brought up a radiation scanner. There was something in his vicinity, random pulses of energy, but nothing that could be considered harmful. He popped up a panel on the wrist of his landing suit. His gear wasn’t registering any harmful chemicals in the air. In fact, the air on an earth unsullied by humanity for a thousand years was incredibly pure.

Slightly nervous, but unable to come up with a reason to retreat, Chuck walked onwards, itchy and uncomfortable. Now, he could hear a tiny high-pitched squealing, just at the edge of his hearing. It wasn’t a voice. It wasn’t a creature. It was, he realised, the sound of data. Somewhere close, something was transmitting a good deal of data across a spectrum that his hearing could pick up. He looked up for no real reason and tapped the communicator on his chest.

‘Scout to orbiter, come in?’
‘Heya Chuck, what’s going on?’
‘We’ve got definite activity down here. No obvious signs of life, but a number of anomalies worth checking out. Plus, there’s some definite data chatter. Could anyone else be here?’
‘Nope. Uh uh, no way. Unless you believe in aliens, we are the first ship to come back to this sector of space since the Exodus.’
‘And we didn’t, you know, leave anyone behind when we left Earth the first time? Cos they’d be justifiably annoyed.’ Chuck took another look around, trying to think of a way he could be itched to death. There were a lot. He realised that Caitlin up on the ship hadn’t responded yet. ‘Cait?’
‘We-ell,’ came the voice in his ear, ‘Some people didn’t want to go. Certain religions, ridiculously optimistic people, complete nutjobs. We don’t generally tell people, but it’s here in the records.’
Chuck held his hand over his ear at the word ‘nutjobs’. He wasn’t sure if whoever was here could pick it up.
‘OK,’ he said. ‘So I could suddenly be attacked by lunatic proto-humans carrying clubs made up of recycled paper? And that wasn’t something you thought I needed to know.’
‘You worry too much Chuck,’ Caitlin said. ‘You were with me when I did the scans. There’s no sign of sentient life anywhere. None of the structures show signs of repair. There’s nothing there.’
‘Fair enough,’ Chuck said. ‘There’s nobody here. Two things: Firstly, What’s the data chatter that I can hear? I can’t capture it using the tablet, but I can hear it. Second, can you think of any way that someone can kill someone else in a way that would make their skin itch?’
‘There are plenty of ways to kill you with itchy skin. Poison, radiation, slow-working acid, killer nano-robots..’
‘You can stop helping now,’ Chuck said, scratching his neck. ‘And the data stream?’
‘No sign of it,’ came the voice from the ship. ‘There’s definitely some technology still active on the planet, which is strange after a thousand years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s anybody still living there.’
‘Righto,’ Chuck said, ‘I’m heading to a bunch of energy anomalies I picked up on the tablet. I’ll let you know what I find out. Ciao!’
‘Sayonara,’ Caitlin said and the communicator bleeped out.

Chuck ignored the itching and his vibrating teeth and strode with purpose towards the square.

20120525-154111.jpg

Every Sparrow – Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Of course someone else knew about the newcomer. A landing of any kind would be monitored from a thousand different stations around the globe. Even the machines, who her kind generally treated with casual contempt, would have registered the arrival of an intelligent life form.

Still stung by the death of the sparrow, Flip re-examined her decisions again and again. She did not feel anger and her sense of guilt had faded during her trip to the nearest communication centre, but she still experienced what could be called disappointment in her illogical behaviour. As a rider, her first duty should have been to her mount. The only explanation that satisfied her was that the sparrow’s emotions had clouded her judgement. Not an acceptable excuse, but a valid one. She’d felt excitement and fear at the unknown, which had caused her to push the sparrow beyond its limits to fulfill her own curiosity.

Traveling to the communication centre took only milliseconds. As she entered, she bounced off a number of personalities, taking an impression from them of what was happening, but not opening up direct communication with any of them. She was looking for one particular person. And then she saw him. A bright pulse of energy, confident and sharp.

‘Captain!’ she called, and the pulse connected with her.

‘It’s young Ensign Flip, isn’t it?’ he asked, checking her credentials.

‘Just Flip, sir, but yes. I just came from the landing site of the visitor!’

‘Really? Incredible. You must. Tell me all about it. It might be. The answer to. Me getting out of this form and back to my. Ship!’

Flip paused to translate his sentences. She removed a number of periods and gave a cautious affirmative. ‘Could be, Captain. But I really didn’t see much. There was a spherical pod and a fire. That obviously means someone or something has come down from beyond the sky.’

‘It’s called space, Ensign. Flip, eh? I bet you were. A looker before the. Transporter accident. Anyway, from what I hear, it is a. Biped. Human to look at. Dammit! Where is my science officer?’

‘I do not believe he made it to the planet, Captain,’ Flip said. ‘A human! One of us, but with skin and bones and emotions and bodily functions and –‘

‘Spock! Noooooooooooo!’ Kirk howled in a simulated fit of grief and rage. Flip left him to his grief and dawdled closer to the information hub.

Captain Kirk was a construct.

When virtualising the humans left behind after the great Exodus, it became apparent that it wasn’t necessary to use real people as templates. A great number of famous characters and stars from different centuries were so well-documented – with biographies, autobiographies, documentaries, and gossip magazines, not to mention their body of work – that it was possible to recreate a personality from an amalgamation of all this data. To begin with, the creators only authorised recreations for historical research purposes. But with the success of the program, more personalities were added to the accepted lists.

Some would say that virtualising fictional characters was a mistake. To be honest, Flip’s opinion was that all of the constructed (rather than copied) personalities were a little loopy. But to be honest, there was more data on Captain James Tiberius Kirk in world literature than there was on Buddha from the holy texts or the Almighty Bob.

‘Still,’ Flip thought. ‘The man isn’t all there.’ She moved closer to where a number of people were hovering around an information node. From the look of it, a couple of brave souls were about to try to make contact.

Every sparrow – Chapter Two

Chuck poked at the crackling fire and unwrapped some ration pouches. He frowned at the narrow trail of smoke that curled off into the sky. He’d seen nobody since landing in this ancient ruin two days ago. Chuck had set up motion sensors around his entry pod, but beyond the odd rat or wallaby, he’d seen very little sign of life. Surely a fire would be noticeable in this silent land?

“Dinner for one it is then,” he said.

He settled the plastic packet into the boiling water and waited for it to heat. There was almost definitely intelligent life on this planet. He’d been pinged at least a dozen times by radar and other scans during his descent. The ship had picked up regular transmissions of energy that were too regular to be random. The consensus amongst his exploratory party was that anybody living here was underground. If there was anybody living here.

The other proposal put forward was that only the computers were left. In the thousand years since humanity abandoned Earth and headed for the stars, there had been no communication from their planet of origin. Therefore nobody had survived. Chuck did not believe this theory. It was chock full false logic, and was incredibly unromantic.

The heat sensor on the food pack changed colour and Chuck fished it out of the boiling water, hissing as he burnt his fingers. He tore the top of the bag with his teeth and spat it onto the ground. Then he grabbed a spoon and took a mouthful of what turned out to be lukewarm, slightly pasty, completely unflavoured rice. Cursing technology and money-grubbing corporations in general, he tossed the bag across the square. Various birds flittered down to find out what tasty morsels had been abandoned. Chuck snapped some images of them to send back to the orbiting ship. He gave one last mournful look at his lunch, sighed and stood up. If the natives weren’t going to come to him, he’d have to go and hunt for the natives. He hoisted his backpack, pulled out a pad, brought up a map of the ruins and headed for what looked like a giant gaming die on the city grid. It seemed to be a hotspot for energy fluctuations.

“That’s stop number one,” he said and headed out of the little clearing between the buildings. Soon the clearing was empty, but for the birds, fighting over the rice in its plastic wrapping.

And then the birds scattered as Chuck bustled back, his face scarlet. He snatched up the plastic bag of rice and tipped the food onto the ground. He looked about and nabbed the lid of the packet, stuffing both into his backpack. He pulled a small capsule out of his pocket and dropped it onto the fire, where it exploded in a squirt of foam that immediately extinguished the fire. Hands on hips, Chuck looked around critically. He nodded in satisfaction and a certain grim embarrassment.

“We left this planet because it was too polluted to live on and what do I do when I get back? Sheesh.”

Fanboy

kiss me I'm IrishI’m writing this one on the team on the way into the city. I’m wearing a green shirt and a clover pin and should be quite inebriated by midday. The Pogues are broguing away on my iPhone and I feel like potatoes. It’s the one day I can match Dave in alcohol consumption without needing hospitalisation. The spirit of the Irish rises up within me.

Did the Pogues just sing the word puir? I think they did! I’m in green heaven.

If course, for a man who painted himself blue for a Discworld con, the green shirt and pin are a little mellow.

Various images of me being a fanboyD’you like what I did there? I neatly changed the topic from St Patrick’s Day to me being a little over the top when it comes to enjoying certain works of fiction.

My name is Damian, and I’m a fanboy!

But it’s not that bad. I’m a social fanboy. I don’t dress up by myself. I… I can stop whenever I want. Seriously.

Let’s analyse this.
Damo is a fanboy:
– I am on the organising committee for next year’s Nullus Anxietas convention (Discworld Down Under – I love a sunburnt turtle).
– I almost bankrupted our theatre group to put on a production of Terry Pratchett’s Mort.
– I painted Death Riding Binky o the back of my denim jacket and had it signed by Terry and embroidered by my friend Shereen (not my fiancé Shereen and NOT to be referred to as ‘the other Shereen’).
– I’ve been dressed – at varying times and amongst many others – as a feegle, the Cheshire Cat, Uncle Fester and Wolverine.
– I own a Stuffed Murloc that goes grlglgglglgl! When you squeeze his mouth.
– I own Red Dwarf on VHS, DVD and iTunes, all of the books and assorted badges and pins.
– I have photos riding a Nimbus, flashing a light saber, and of me trapped inside the Pandorica.
– I’ve been to 221B Baker St and platform 9 1/2. And indeed went to London with the specific aim of going to said places.

OK. Damo is not a fanboy because:
– There is not one sci-fi poster in the house… Hung up in the house. Of course, that will change in the new place.
– I’ve never worn a star trek uniform or forehead ridges. Hmm, that’s now on my bucket list.
– I’ve never spent more than I can afford on sci-fi merchandise. I’ve regularly spent more than a sane person would, but never more than I could afford.
– I don’t collect signatures. I’d much prefer to have the memory of talking to a personality than the physical bit of paper with a scribbled name on it. That’s not to say I don’t have signed books. And a couple of DVDs. And of course the jacket… OK, can I retract this statement? It’s not all my fault. You can’t be a fan of Terry Pratchett without signatures popping up all over your books. It’s like magic.
– Worst of all, I have no real feelings on Star Trek vs Star Wars. Or Star Trek DS9 vs Babylon 5. It seems sacrilegious. But there you go. Although if pushed – no. I won’t get that debate happening here.

Conclusion:
I’m a pop culture enthusiast with a penchant for dressing up and a borderline addictive nature that manifests in the collection of stuff.

I like to be involved in things because if I’m not there’s a chance I might miss out on something.

And my imagination leads me to immerse myself in worlds rather than just taking a quick dip.

But I think a true fanboy would laugh at me if I tried to call myself a fanboy of any particular genre or world.

Time for a Guinness. Begorrah!

Addendum: The morning after, wondering why Guinness always seems like such a good idea at the time, I realise that St Patrick’s Day has a lot to do with being a fanboy (or girl) as well. I’m not sure how many of the people at Dan O’Connell’s had even the slightest amount of Irish blood in them, but we all got together to celebrate the Irish – or we all got together to have a huge pissup and dress in ridiculous costumes. Sounds very much like a number of conventions I’ve been to. There was a girl in a Guinness suit, many many guys with fake sideburns, a lot of green hair and a few Vulcans… hang on, wrong convention. And you have to think, these people – even if they weren’t sober when I met them – were sober when they put the costume on in the morning.

Pfff. Fanboys.

To be sure, they're fanboys all roight!

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: