Saturday, 27 February 2016

Book Whispering – When Your Story Starts Speaking to You

“Listen to your inner self, it knows you best.” 
― C. Elizabeth

There’s a phrase I coined a number of years ago – book whisperingthat I use to describe that magical moment when a book you’re working on, takes on a life of its own. But why book whispering? Because sometimes your story will talk to you in a very quiet voice so you have to listen carefully!

As many authors know far too well, writing a book can be a convoluted process. Even if you start with a well thought out plan, often the story will start to strain against its leash, demanding to head off in a completely different direction. This conjures up a lion tamer type mage, with the author battling the book every step of the way and brandishing their metaphorical chair to tame the beast. However, for me at least, the reality is very different to this sort of power struggle and certainly far more nuanced.

Creating a story often requires a degree of subtlety. Yes, when I start, I may have a reasonable idea of the action story arc, but it's actually my characters who tend to come to life during the writing process and start whispering in my ear things like: who am I, what’s my backstory, my motivation, where am I emotionally heading…and most importantly of all…how do you plan to break my heart? 


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Riding a Gravity Wave Across the Universe


“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” 
― Albert Einstein
Over the last two weeks you have probably picked up on the considerable excitement in the news over the confirmation of the existence of gravity wave. So why all the fuss?

Gravity waves were first predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity over a century ago. Einstein postulated that objects like planets and stars, warp space time through their gravitational force. The classic illustration of this is a stretched piece of rubber onto which heavy spheres (representing planets, etc) are placed. The objects deform the rubber sheet into a valley around them, much like gravity warps the space time field. And it this which holds a moon in locked in orbit around its planet, and a planet around its star, all whirling in a never ending celestial dance. However, as predicted by Einstein, time is also being effected. 


Thursday, 11 February 2016

Is There Anybody Out There?

“In very different ways, the possibility that the universe is teeming with life, and the opposite possibility that we are totally alone, are equally exciting. Either way, the urge to know more about the universe seems to me irresistible, and I cannot imagine that anybody of truly poetic sensibility could disagree.” 
― Richard Dawkins

Here’s a question for you…what if we’re all alone in the galaxy? What if there is no one else out there across the vastness of space?

The famous Drake Equation predicts the likelihood of life out there. And that equation tells us that statistically there should be civilisations that have evolved to a technological point that they have a desire to communicate. That equation also tells us there should 50,000 alien intelligent civilisations.

It was the Drake Equation that later evolved into the famous SETI program, which to this day, scans the heavens with radio telescopes looking for any signs of intelligent life. The problem is that so far none have ever been detected. The troubling question is, why?


Sunday, 7 February 2016

To Gaze into the Future

“In science fiction we dream.”
– Ray Bradbury
Science fiction has existed in one form or another in our world for a long time. The history of the genre is contested, but many believe that the fantastical Sumerian poem, Epic of Gilgamesh (2150-2000BC), filled with gods and even the search for eternal life, is one of the earliest examples.

For me though, the modern era of science fiction was heralded in by the stories of H.G. Wells. The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The First Men on the Moon, War of the Worlds, and many, many others, are testimony to the great imagination of the man. His work transported his readers into an often scary vision of the future, quite literally in the Time Machine. In that story, part of humanity has evolved into Eloi, a simple peace loving people. However, the rest have become the Morlocks, creatures that live underground and farm the Eloi like sheep to feed upon them. The original cinema adaptions of this film caught my young imagination, but it was the original War of the Worlds that scared the bejeebers out of me!

So why is that science fiction has continued to grow in popularity, both in books and in films?