Saturday, 21 April 2012

A-Z: Sci-fy

Wow three blogs in three days, that must be a record for me. Thanks to Mr Mark K I might actually dive into this whole blog universe thing again for good. So today for my A-Z I have chosen to share, for the first time I might add, the first chapter of my other WIP which is currently stuck on 60k pages and has been so pretty much since NaNoWriMo where it was first conceived. I would like to add that there might grammatical errors or spelling mistakes in what I am sharing with you as it has not yet been through first edit. Maybe it will give you an insight into some of my actual work that is not in short-story form, I might lose some readers and gain some but here goes.
I think what little introduction I need to give is the following: It is a sci-fy story set around our time. The overall theme of the book can probably best be described as Hitchhiker's Guide meets Dr.Who with a decent sprinkling of something very New Weird. The whole idea came to me as I was walking home from a party in the middle of the night, fog was concealing everything but the road in front of me and in my dream-like state I heard fireworks so off in the distant. This was at 4 am I would like to add, on a Wednesday (It was summer vacation so don't judge) in the outskirts of Copenhagen. All I could see was the distorted colors of the fireworks going off in the distance that seemed to linger on in the fog and that was when fireworks went off in my head. What if we really are not alone in the universe? And can you assume that just because there might be alien races out there that they are necessarily more intelligent than us? And most importantly, what color does interstellar travel really have? I present to you the preliminary first chapter of The Day they Descended:

Chapter 1. Maz:

Who can really say how it began? Was it hidden in the signs of deterioration of the earth or in the nature of human beings? If we could have predicted how much we had been wrong about the universe, would we ever have dreamt of venturing into it? But this story is not about the beginnings of space travel, nor is it meant as a discussion about the rights and wrongs about the ideas we had back then. It is simply a story of a man, a girl and a number of other people that seem less important than these two, but will provide good fillers, who would shape the destiny of the planet earth and its decedents.

To tell the story, we must start at the beginning; we must go before the human race became an endangered species and before the people of this story even knew what their faith would be. This story starts with a man named Maz Aldrich.
Maz Aldrich was overall an unhappy sort of man. He was middle aged, divorced, lived alone with his cat and his goldfish in a small apartment, in a largish city in England. His involvement in our story begins a Friday night at around 2 am. Maz had been to a party, a high school reunion to be precise and having been faced with a large number of successful people, whom he had formally been at school with, he had early on in the evening decided that the only way to get through it, would be to get dead drunk. So he did. No one recognized him anyway and the alcohol was free after all. Maz had always thought that the best form of alcohol, or anything else for that matter, was the free sort. When the party had ended he had staggered on to the nearest pub, well technically he had tagged along with a larger group of former class mates and now CEOs, directors and otherwise successful business men. The alcohol here had also been free or rather someone had shouted down to him as he rested on the floor having a hard time keeping his balance on the bar chair, if he wanted a drink. He had nodded and beer had been offered. The others seemed to make a game out of sitting on the floor, so here he was chatting up some blonde rather sassy lady who kept calling him Dickie, when suddenly out of the blue a man dressed in a most peculiar outfit showed up. It was not close to Halloween or Bonfire night and yet this man seemed to be wearing a form of costume only seen in sci-fi movies. His suit looked like sort of a mixture between a jester and a dentist. It was brightly coloured and small bells rang when he walked. He was wearing a bowler hat which really stood out from the rest of his costume. But this was not the weirdest thing about him. His hair was carrot coloured with all kinds of things woven into it and his eyes were an eerie shade of purple. He didn't seem to blink and Maz found his eyes watering by just looking at him. What was this little odd creature doing here? Maz found that he was not the only one looking at the man, if it indeed was a man. He seemed to be young for a man, but old for a boy, yet he had no beard or signs of stubble. The man smiled a white smile and seemed oblivious to the fact that almost every person in the room had now seized their talking and just stood around starring.

"Hello everyone," the man said,” I am looking for a hero!" The silence was intense and Maz had a strange feeling of being in a dream or just being more drunk that he had ever been.
"No heroes?" The man smiled even more. A few people around him backed away and shook their heads in disbelief. But still no one answered.
"I am almost certain that the person I am looking for is supposed to be in this room," he said. Apparently he didn't notice that no one was answering him, so he continued in the same tone:
"I will be quite miffed to have come all this way and not find him, I tell you. Time travel is not only unpleasant for the traveller, but also for the government funds!" Maz caught himself thinking about the kind of government this little man was referring to and his drunken conclusion was, that the man must have escaped from some sort of mental institution where he believed himself to be from another time. Yes this must be the most plausible explanation. Maz took a big sip of his drink. Maybe that would restore normality for a while.
The man removed his hat and scratched his orange head of hair. He pulled out a pink clipboard and a fuzzy pen that you would normally associate with teenage girls writing in diaries. Maz was sure he saw some sort of small animal crawling around on the man’s head, but tried not to make an outcry. These people might be dangerous after all, he reminded himself. He snickered a bit at the thought of a country, where everyone was dressed like the little man with small animals running wild in their hair. Strangely enough he imagined that these small creatures in some way or another controlled their humans. He touched his own hair, just to make sure that nothing was living there at least, then he looked at his feet and the floor moving. When he raised his head again, the little man was starring right at him.
"Umhm," he said and walked straight over to Maz. Maz slided as close to the bar as he could and attempted to hide behind an empty barstool just out of precaution, but too late, the man had set his eerie stare directly on him. Around him people started talking again and soon the music was back on. 
"You sir, might just be the one I am looking for." Maz laughed hoarsely.
"You... you think I am this hero you are looking for? Puddle worms, I have never heard such a stupid thing in my life!"
Of course this is what Maz wanted to say, but drunk as he was half of the words came out as gibberish instead. Funnily enough the little man seemed to understand this gibberish. He looked Maz over and smiled wide.
"Oh heroes come in many shapes and forms, as you will soon find out. No doubt you are in for a surprise in that sense."
"Undoubtedly" Maz answered, "what, you really think you can con me into this make belief world of yours? Is this candid camera or something?" Maz began looking around after the cameras, but people around him already seemed oblivious to his existence.
"It is quite urgent that I bring you up to date with the situation friend. In only an hour or so, things will get really serious. Like mindboggling serious and if you are to save the earth and the universe as we know it, we must act quickly." Maz stared at him, then he said:
"Will you excuse me for a moment?" The man nodded slowly, but Maz got the impression that he didn't really understand the meaning of a moment. Maz could feel his stomach turning and at that moment he thought of nothing else, but to get outside and go home. Sod these people he barely knew and who didn't give a horses behind if he was there or not, this evening had not turned out quite as he had hoped. He waved goodbye to the sassy blonde, who was already in deep conversation with some other guy and took his jacket from the hanger by the door. He looked around, just to make sure that the man wasn't following him, but he seemed content with standing there and waiting for him.
The air was crisp and cool, but Maz didn't mind. The walk home might clear his mind and give him some sense of the madness he had witnessed tonight. He had walked only a few minutes, when he felt someone approaching fast from behind. He looked over his shoulder and saw to his amazement, the little man speeding towards him. Around him everything was quiet, the lights from all the apartment buildings were out and on his left side, the field where the circus and the giant flee marked would set up their tents, was dark and deserted. In the distance he could sense the lights from the big city, but he couldn't focus on them. At that moment, when he heard those footsteps drawing nearer, he realised that he was all alone, and no one would hear him scream if the little man decided to get violent.
"Please, Mister Anderson, you have to listen to me!" The little man had finally caught up with him.
"How do you know my name?"
"It says so on your nametag." He pointed at the plastic nametag, which Maz had forgotten to take off when he left the party. Maz sighed; he had never been one for confrontations and hardly had it in his heart to tell the little man that his name was in fact Aldrich, but someone had stuck this to his chest earlier in the evening.  
"Look, I don't know what you think you are getting out of me..."
"I have already told you Mister Anderson."
"Please call me Maz... Mr. Anderson is from some movie." He struggled to remember what movie it was from, but he highly doubted that this man lived in this world enough to know it even if he did remember the title.
"Alright Mr Maz, I have already told you in brief what you are needed for. I need a hero to help me save the earth, humankind and the universe as we know it."
Maz was about to answer when he heard loud cracking noises, that sounded like fireworks. But nothing showed up on the sky. The little man started fiddling with something in his belt.
"Oh noes, they are here already!"
"What, who... what?" Maz stared into the black sky, that hang over them and then he saw them. Slowly but surely, lights the shape of a projector came closer and closer. Maz stared in disbelief. He had seen fancy hotels and clubs drawing attention by doing this, but those always came with a stripe of light and these seemed to originate from the sky.
"What are those things?" The man sighed.
"I am not sure you would believe me, if I told you."
"Try me..." Maz kept staring at the sky, as the lights came closer and closer and grew in size.
"Well they are ships from a fleet of humanoids that inhabit a planet not too different from yours, only bigger. They have come to colonize the earth as their own planet was running out of resources. So far as I understand, they thought the earth looked green and cosy and well humankind are not the brightest light bulbs in the galactic universe, so it seemed an easy target. Are you with me so far?" Maz nodded sagely. This was all a dream, in a moment he would awake with a terrible headache and a bad taste in his mouth from all the cheese doodles he had eaten at the party.
"There is only one problem though." Maz stared at the man in disbelief.
"Oh right, only one problem... Hmm I wonder what that could be. Maybe the fact that there is a freaking alien invasion happening and no one saw it coming?" The man shook his head.
"No, no. That is the least of our problems. You see, the problem with the ships are, that they are too large to land and hanging over the earth like this, they will block out the sun and moon and possibly a lot of rain. The earth will die you see and with it, all human kind. That is why I came looking for you!"
A loud clanging sound emerged from the ship hanging above them.
"Hear that? That’s the ships making ready for phase one, scaring the human beings into giving them their planet."
"And how to they plan on doing that?" Maz had to shout to make himself heard. The little man screamed back at him.
"Oh that’s the easy part, they will annihilate around two thirds of the human population. Just to set the standard." Maz was suddenly aware that his mouth was open and he at that moment much resembled his goldfish.
"We have to go! Grab a hold of this." The man held out a strange orange book that had no markings on the cover, but seemed to be alive in some way.
"Put your hand on the book... This might sting a bit!" Maz slowly put his hand on the book. Had he only stayed at home this evening, this would have never happened. He would have been at home with his nice TV, a microwave pizza and the picture of his daughter Emma would have been staring down at him, making him feel guilty about not calling her more often or taking the time to listen to her teenage problems. This was his last thought before the world around him started contracting and swirling and everything went bright pink. 


  1. Yup, I can see the Dr. Who influence and the Hitch hikers Guide humoresque moments, laced with your own personal style :)

    I have to be honest, given my age (and declining mental state some will say - damn their eyes!), I will confess to a dislike of the new Dr. Who series... I would equate it to drinking my own vomit in the enjoyment stakes. No, I'm old school Dr. Who all the way, bad acting and all.

    For me, the new series takes itself too seriously, the writer is a omplete arsehole, and the general attitude is one of, "oh aren't we amazing, we've re-invented Dr. Who... everybody loves us!" Not this puppy, Sherlock!


    1. Word verification... Turn... It... Off... Puh-leeeease!?

  2. This I like. Please do more of this. Thank you.

    I'm with Mark on the new Dr Who. I did like the first "new" one Christopher Eccleston, but the other two weren't really my bag at all. Also, the BBC are just gigantic pussies for not casting either a woman or anyone of any ethnicity. There, I've said it.

    As for the writing, it's just a bit too melodramatic and there is a definite lack of wobbly sets. C-. Must try harder.

    Your stuff on the other hand, is much better. Maybe you should start writing the scripts?

    1. I am sadly too young to really have watched much of the old Dr. Who but I hear from other people that are "oldies" that the writing can't really be compared. I like the new series for the fact that they have created a new and much younger fan-base who can relish in the awesome universe behind the scenes. I don't appreciate all the merchandise that is made with the new stuff, I honestly don't think it is very appropriate or in any way pays homage to the original series. I like the actors they have chosen for the new series (especially the fact that they chose a really really young one in the latest version) but I am also a bit disappointed that we have not yet seen a woman as the doctor although it might be hard for them to convince their trusty audience to like.
      I am a huuuuge fan of Neil Gaiman and I really liked the episode he wrote (The Doctor's wife) as it reminded me of the old series more than the new ones.
      As far as screenplays goes, I could probably get into it, my favorite thing about writing is dialogue but, and this is a huge but, the world of screenwriters seems even more competitive than fiction novels and you don't have the option of self-publishing anything which makes me sad.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. 60K pages? Bloody hell! That's loads.

    2. Yeah my mistake, thanks for keeping me on my toes ;)

  4. Just one more thing afore I go (otherwise you may think I am stalking you). It's World Book Night over here on the 25th and I'm a designated giver of books. I have 24 copies of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens. Which I love and can't wait to bandy about. I have read pretty much everything of Pratchett's but nothing else of Gaimans. Any suggestions?

    1. Or please feel free to stalk me anytime with intelligent questions and remarks!
      Alright down to buisness, depending on what you like reading in general here is a shortish breakdown of Gaiman books (I am not adding Odd and the Frost Giant or the Time I swapped my father for a goldfish here as they are small children's books):

      Pure fantasy, the kind with elves etc: Stardust. If you have watched the movie then don't be alarmed when you discover that only the main plot is the same, the rest has changed including interaction between characters and which characters are actually in the book. Also watch MirrorMask which is a brilliant movie with Rob Brydon and wonderful imagery by Dave McKean (the guy who drew all the Sandman comics that Gaiman wrote)

      Middleground fantasy/Children's fiction: Gaiman sets most of his stories in a modern day setting and then adds the extra layer of mysticism, think China Mieville. My personal favorite is The Graveyard book which is probably YA but will still give you food for thought as an adult. This category also includes Coraline which is probably one of his better known books.

      Adult version of same category: You have a choice between Neverwhere which is set in London and the world under London, American Gods + The Anansi boys which you kind of have to read together. American Gods is my favorite of his adult books as I really like the main character.

      He has also written a brilliant collection of short stories called M is for Magic which are adult fairytales mixed with YA stories.

      Hope that helps you!

  5. I love your voice in this!

    I'm pretty sure I'm biased because I love both Dr Who and Hitchhikers, but I definitely want to read some more of this.

    1. Thank you very much Jen. I will be posted chapter 2 tomorrow as the last sample chapter before I can't possibly reveal anything else or no one will buy it when I find someone to publish it.