Tag Archives: Fiction

Read ‘Em And Weep

Anyone who is friends with me on Facebook, follows me on Twitter or, unlikely as it seems, occasionally looks at my Google+ account, will know that for the past two years or so I have been undertaking a reading marathon of Pratchett proportions.

I started with The Colour of Magic and continued with all 41 Discworld novels, as well as the maps, cookbooks, tourist guides, kids books and short story collections. After this I started on the non-Discworld books – Strata, The Dark Side of the Sun, the Bromeliad trilogy, the Johnny Maxwell books, etc.

The reason for this single-minded readathon are numerous, I tend to reread my Pratchett collection every few years anyway, but after his untimely death in 2015 I couldn’t bring myself to pick up a book by any other author.

I assumed this feeling would pass but several months later I was still in the same mood, a year later I felt the same, two years later and I was still in my reading rut.

Seemingly unrelated, about two months ago we got notice that our landlord wanted their house back, which was a bit inconvenient because we were just in the middle of trying to find somewhere of our own to buy. Scroll on to about a week ago and the house is full of boxes as we get ready to move to a new rental. I was packing up my Pratchett collection (shudder) and amongst them I found my Kindle, untouched since I picked up The Colour of Magic.

I wasn’t sure what to do with it so I left it on top of my drawers in our bedroom. Then, last Sunday night I was getting my stuff ready for work the next day and thought “why the hell not” and slipped the e-reader into my bag.

When I arrived at the train station on Monday morning I got it out and started reading (American Gods by Neil Gaiman, if you must know!), and have been doing so on every journey to work and back since. It seems my reading mojo has returned and, with it, my brain has also fallen off a deep precepice into the icy waters of “I Have To Write” again.

Ideas are sloshing around inside my head like a particularly spectacular Formula One pile up and my fingers are itching to type. But what to do first?

I’ve been working on a few things, slowly, for the past few months, a Discworld fan-fiction piece about Rincewind; a comedy fantasy novel about a vampire; a biography about my life as a type one diabetic; a kids book I’ve been working on for a couple of years now.

All these conflicting stories are arguing for precedence, so what I’m going to do is…go to sleep! Life is complicated enough at the moment without worrying about what and when to write, so I just need to put digits to keyboard whenever I get the chance.

Wish me luck!


Reviews – Robinson Crusoe 2244 by E.J. Robinson and Jump…by Me

In my ongoing attempt to dominate the world of publishing, I have been getting a bit more socially involved, internet wise. Yes, I still have the six extra Twitter accounts (more about that some time soon), the G+, Facebook and other such tools that I’ve been using, but now I have also started looking for and reviewing other authors’ work.

Being a poor (or at least tight!) writer I am not inclined to fork out much (or indeed, any) money for books, so I’ve been keeping my eye out for deals of the day on Amazon, as well as following all kinds of promotional accounts on Twitter. it was via this medium that I happened upon a book which sounded kind of interesting.

The name of the book, as alluded to in the title of this post, is Robinson Crusoe 2244. The author’s name is E.J. Robinson, whom I discovered, in the course of writing my review, is called Erik. I did wonder to myself if his name had anything to do with why he chose that particular classic to update, but there isn’t any hint of that in any of his supporting material.

I’ll paste my review in now, and then get on to what happened next…

I had no preconceptions when I started reading this. I assumed it would be some kind of futuristic updating of the classic desert island shipwreck adventure, but didn’t expect for a moment that it was about to become one of my new favourite books!
The thing that surprised me most was the similarity to the writing of Jack Vance, the dialogue, the colourful characters, the intense impressions of scenery and clothing. Everything is so beautifully extemporised that you feel you’re inside the scene watching.
And the story…Instead of just a straightforward update, Mr Robinson (Erik, not Crusoe) has ripped the original into little pieces, mixed it up with half a cup of Richard Matheson, some shavings of Stephen King and fashioned a believable but horrifying future. I loved it!
Can’t wait until 2245!

In case you’re wondering, he has another book coming out in a week or two’s time, which is going to be called Robinson Crusoe 2245. Suffice to say I will be purchasing it when it hits the shelves! He is a sublime writer and the story was brilliantly planned, well thought out and included situations which, although fantastical, were utterly believable.

So, I posted my review, then forgot all about it.

A week or so later I realised that I had completely missed setting an account up on one of the biggest reading/writing resources on the interweb – Goodreads – so I signed up and went through the process of getting myself recognised as the author of Jump. In case you’re at all interested, my page is here. After getting it all sorted I had one of my first interactions, someone had bought my book and it turned out to be the aforementioned Mr Robinson. I was mildly surprised and also intrigued to see what he would think of it.

Reading it seemed to take him no time at all and shortly after he finished the following review appeared on my feed.

E.J.’s review

In JUMP, it isn’t the discovery of time travel that sets the story churning, but the potential misuse of it. When a covert environmental group threatens to destabilize the past in hope of limiting man’s influence on the future, the fate of the world hangs in the balance and our likeable cast of heroes must race to heal time’s wounds before it’s too late.

Ladle’s prose is intelligent and thoughtful and the story focuses on the characters as much as the premise. The time travel element is heavy on theoretical psychics and laymen not used to the genre might get confused, but the second half picks up the pace to what is an exciting resolution.

For fans of the time travel genre, JUMP is the thinking man’s TIMELINE, and it’s good to see there’s room for a potential sequel. A solid debut.

I was, literally, amazed! This nice man, whose book is a masterpiece of modern sci-fi/fantasy/fiction, seemed to think that what I wrote is worthy of a modicum of praise and even a sequel. He awarded me four out of a possible five stars too.

This is the first review Jump has received and the best I could ever have hoped for. The fact that he thinks the theoretical physics stuff is intelligent surprised me somewhat, as I am in no way a physicist and didn’t even do very well on my exams for that subject more than 20 years ago!

I was also pleased that he recognised that I was going for a character driven story and not trying to focus on the technical side of things too much, as that was exactly what I aimed for while writing the thing.

So, all in all I’m very happy with what he wrote, hopefully he feels the same way about my scribblings on his own labour of love. The whole experience gives me some hope that the 100,000 or so words I created are not so bad after all.

Here’s to you, Mr Robinson!

Jump by Dan Ladle

So today I published my book. This would be the book I’ve been going on about for quite some time on this ‘blog. It’s a time travel adventure where eco-terrorists try and obliterate the human race.

I wrote a special introduction to go on the Amazon page, which is a recording of one of the characters telling us a bit about herself, you can see it below. I also included a bit of information about myself, along with some ideas of what to expect from the book.

If you want to read it you can search for my name “Dan Ladle” on your local Amazon site or, if you’re a bit lazy, click on one of the following links:




This is what Emily says:

‘How does this work? Oh, is this on? It is, isn’t it!’

‘Okay. Hi, I’m Emily Harrison, I’m a translator, mainly specialising in archaic and extinct languages, although I can speak quite a few modern ones. I used to work in a little office in the nether regions of a university. It was quite a good job, hard on the eyes though.’

‘Anyway, where was I? Yes, that’s right, these days I spend my time, if you’ll excuse the expression, flitting back and forth between the present day and prehistory, trying not to get crushed, rebuilding factories, destroying my rather fantastic clothes in unpleasant muddy forests, having affairs with super-intelligent physicists, talking about dragons and, last but not least, trying to save the world from impending obliteration out of the spacetime continuum.’

‘What, was I meant to make more of that last bit? Um, so this time machine we travel around in, the Jump Box, is apparently being taken by a group of eco-terrorists and used to change the past, which is messing up the weather and, frankly, not doing good things to my hair.

Still, with the aid of Cooke and Celia, who are pretty special, Masterson, who’s a bit on the military side, the Jameses, who are an interesting couple and Moulder, who’s a bit on the quiet side but good with animals, we ought to be able to figure the whole thing out and make the present a bit more pleasant again.’

‘What’s that, they’re coming? How do you turn this thing off Cooke…’

Transcript of recording, recovered from jump base three weeks after the events covered in the novelisation of events entitled “Jump”.

Jump is a fast paced adventure through space and time but grounded firmly in the real world, encompassing millions of years into the past, two weeks into the future and a good percentage of the landmasses of the planet.

With nods to Michael Crichton, Isaac Asimov and Stephen Baxter but with a style all of his own, Dan Ladle draws on experiences from his life, along with new scientific developments and a vivid imagination. He is an exciting new author with a brain full of ideas. Dan is not a scientist, nor is he a historian or indeed a savant or a polymath. However, he is interested in the world and how it works and is always trying to find outlets for his fizzing neurons.

Dan lives in Perth, Western Australia with his wife, his son and their cat, Snuggles.

This is Dan’s first book!

Jump by Dan Ladle

Jump by Dan Ladle

Story – The Dark Mark

I wrote this story for a recent exhibition, called DarkVisions, at Patchings Art Centre in Nottinghamshire, where I used to live. The show was a collaboration between myself and a photographer named Rob Knight, who used to be a colleague before I moved to Australia. Rob gave a set of photographs to myself and another writer, Steven Devonport, and asked us to come up with some words to complement the pictures, in the form of a short story.


These are mine!



He woke slowly, blinking his eyes against the emerging sunlight labouring through the gap in the faded curtains. Like most days he spent the first few minutes gathering his thoughts, trying to remember why he was bothering any more.

After a time he sat up, moving the worn bedclothes aside and starting the daily routine: pull on his slippers, open the curtains, wash his face, light the stove and put the kettle on. It was only recently that he’d got out of the habit of checking the doormat for post, he knew none would be there but it had still taken an effort of will to stop looking. He sat in the armchair, near the window in the sitting room, casting his gaze across the scene outside. Blankly staring at the almost serene view, which assaulted his senses.

He remembered the kettle with a start and moved as fast as he could drag his old bones, back to the small kitchen, lifting it off the heat and feeling less than apathetic about the tasteless concoction he made with it. Breakfast was porridge, again. He hadn’t been able to get hold of sugar so it was plain but, letting out a short discordant cackle, he’d always said that was how he liked his food. He broke his fast in silence, staring longingly at the old radio sitting on the mantelpiece, unplugged and probably no longer even serviceable.

After washing his face he dressed swiftly. Getting down to the beach wasn’t easy and he cursed under his breath as he remembered how he used to rise at five, to be standing in the surf before sunrise. The waders slowed his progress slightly but after fifty (or was it sixty?) years of pulling them on, not by much. Opening the front door of the apartment he stepped in to the caustic sea air. He had been pleased when they had found this place, a serviced block of apartments near enough the sea to walk. Of course they had lived on the top floor facing inland when they moved in, mostly due to finances but also because she had liked the idea that she could see to the horizon, and the impression of civilisation sprawling across the concrete landscape. He pulled the door closed, it protested and he thought he would have to try and find some kind of lubricant to help with its aching joints.

Dark Brutalism

Dark Brutalism

He walked through the fog past the playground, deserted of course. The early morning dew hung limply from the cold metalwork. Shrugging he headed for the small, decrepit wood which separated the ugly tower block from the cliffs, rocks and water beyond. As he proceeded the mist thickened. He opened the gate, closing it again behind himself. Once a country boy, always a country boy was the unbidden thought that brushed past the outer reaches of his mind as he pushed the latch back in to place.

Dark Twist

Dark Twist

The trees rose formidably out of the white air as he trampled across the dry grass. When he reached the edge of the wood he was surprised to find that there were still leaves lying on the ground, but then there was no reason for them to rot away, apathy appeared to have set in. Or should that be entropy? The moss on the rocks had become brittle and withered. The trees, which had once seemed sturdy were now gnarled and crumbling. The mist was slowly clearing. As he picked his way between the dead branches the tip of his rod weaved and bounced through the trunks and limbs, however there was little possibility of becoming entangled, the wizened timber was more likely to break than his rod.

Dark Tranquility

Dark Tranquility

Emerging from the gnarled undergrowth the sunlight was just starting to warm the air. The ground sloped sharply down to meet the banks of sand, silt and pebbles. The tattered remains of a breakwater stood out in the reflected light from the grey sky. As he walked past he carried out his customary salute to the solitary post, which looked like a soldier standing guard over the structure.

Dark Tide

Dark Tide

As he walked on the gravel turned to sand, the sounds of the calm sea ware replaced by the hissing of sand grains being worn slowly to nothingness by the patient ocean. He turned briefly to glance at the old castle, still standing proud on the outskirts of the tide line, and wondered how many thousands of years it would be before it, too, was hammered into its constituent atoms by the never-ending onslaught of the briny water.

The sandy walk was hard on his tired old muscles. He wondered absently if he would be able to continue with the rigmarole of dragging his ageing body out here much longer, concluding that he might not need to if he could just catch that single elusive fish he had been hunting, for what seemed like an eternity.

Dark Lost

Dark Lost

The stillness of the water was surprising, although when he thought about it the weather did seem to have been settling in to a new pattern recently. He assumed it was to do with what had happened, but the contemplation seemed futile and he gave up before he started. Walking further along the deserted beach he stared indifferently at the scenery he had passed so many times before, which became more constructed, less natural. Bringing back memories of when there were people here.

Dark Currents

Dark Currents

The artificial harbour loomed. The long disused beacons marking the entrance also had an anthropic feel, staring towards the distant horizon. He noticed the sun was still hidden beneath the waterline and quickened his faltering pace, to try and reach The Mark before the first visible fingers of burning hydrogen started to push through the heavy layer of cloud.

Dark Nab

Dark Nab

The angular, angry blocks of limestone marked the start of the same site he had been coming to, for years immemorial now. He remembered showing her the roughly hewn surface, the traces of fossilised organisms, some of which stared from the rock as if they were surprised to be there. He contemplated whether there would be any such traces of humanity in 10, 20 or 50 million years’ time. Unlikely, from the look of the place as it stood now.

Dark Light

Dark Light

Like a childhood vision of a space rocket, the tip of the old lighthouse pointed its ghostly finger into the murky gloom of the morning sky. He stood a while and stared at the small island it stood upon, coughing as he trawled his memory for the dream he once entertained of residing in such a place, living by himself, surrounded by water, separated from humanity by a psychological and a physical barrier. He looked back on the recollection with a mix of fondness and the recently acquired knowledge that it probably wouldn’t have been so much fun.

Of course, as had been the way with these things the lighthouse keepers had all been replaced decades ago, by automated management systems which themselves had now ground to a halt.

Dark Waves

Dark Waves

Another half a mile and he reached the spot known locally as “The Dark Mark”. The wet rocks protruding from the water were jagged and uncompromising, the slimy algae tipping you into the angry water if you tried to get a stable footing on the slanted surface. The name had started amongst the older members of the fishing community many moons ago. The area was famed for the mist, which remained even when the surrounding areas were bright and breezy. Without any prelude he cast his line out and held his breath, watching the coarse black fly, made from materials he had been able to salvage from castaway household items and clothing, rise up and down on the pitching surface of the water.

After so many attempts, from one end of this forsaken coast to the other, he had eventually decided this was the place. It seemed fitting and, even though the hope he had initially clung to had slowly ebbed to the nothingness which his life had become, he still felt the thrill of the chase as the fabricated insect bobbed up and down.

Suddenly the rod juddered in his hands. For a moment he was too stunned to realise what was happening, then instinct took over and his face contorted into a mask of concentration. He couldn’t believe it was finally happening, was this really it? But there was still the matter of landing the damned thing to contend with.

The tip of the rod trembled, as if it was suffering from delirium tremens. He waited, as patiently as the tide until he felt a definite tug on the line. He made the strike and was rewarded with a tremendous pull from the creature at the other end of the nylon. He tried to work out how the animal could be so strong with so little to eat, but then remembered he was hardly in prime condition himself. It would be interesting to see who won the battle, although it wouldn’t affect the outcome of the war.

After ten minutes of fighting his hands were red raw, but there was nothing to lose so he held fast, giving the handle a turn whenever the line sagged. Eventually he saw the fish leap out of the water in protest at the treatment it was receiving. He stared at the beautiful sight and renewed his attack, mobilising muscles which hadn’t felt action in years. The surf now washed over the tired beast, which was finally showing signs of exhaustion, still struggling but reaching the limits of its physical capabilities. Slowly but surely he hauled it from the water to rest, tail flailing, on the stony beach.

A smile spread slowly across his weathered face. There was no getting away from the finality of the situation. The pallid scales reflected the barely perceptible sunlight as he reached into his rucksack, pulling out the priest. Raising it, he dispatched the fish as humanely as he could, after all it deserved his full and devoted attention. There would never be another like it!

The creature stopped twitching. He reverently laid its bleeding form on a rock, far enough from the sea to be safe. Carefully he disassembled and folded his rod, end-over-end, placing it next to the fish. After a few minutes he gathered his thoughts, picked his rod up in one hand, hooked the fingers of his other through the gill covers of the animal then took one last look in to its lifeless eyes and walked on along the beach.

Dark Voyage

Dark Voyage

The area of the coast, which he had named “The Wasteland”, for the shards of industry and fishing which had been washed up and left by the tide, to evaporate on the smooth rock floor as the wind and waves did their work, was a little easier going on his elderly, lethargic feet. The breeze was picking up, as if it was hoping to play a part in the day’s events after remaining silent for so long, dragging the clouds into angry looking fists. He paid it little heed, marching past the twisted wreckage of some long disused machinery without a glance, just one more wreckage amongst a landscape of dead things.

Dark View

Dark View

He stopped at a bench, resting his bones from the pounding he had been repeatedly doling out to them for the past aeon. He sat at the right end, more through force of habit than due to any need to leave space for another human being. The fish lay beside him, the rod resting against his leg. He tried to remember the events that had led to his current existence. They came back in clumsy fragments, surrounded by despondency.

He had been ill just after they had moved in to the housing block. “Sea views” the brochure had stated, but only if you didn’t mind seeing the water through a haze of dust from the building site which was threatening to destroy the woodland nearby. The top floor was actually quite accessible, until he got sick! He still wasn’t sure what had been wrong with him, and would never find out now, but it had saved his existence.

He had missed the details, only catching hints from the news, which soldiered on for a couple of weeks, then on the slowly failing automated radio broadcasts. There had been some kind of storm, the remnants of the more resilient scientists thought it may have been something to do with a burst of unprecedented radiation from the sun; or a passing meteorite throwing out an unidentifiable hazardous material; or a geological catastrophe releasing something toxic which had been hidden deep under the ocean floor. From what he had heard it sounded like they didn’t really know themselves and were only theorising, fantasising or maybe just hallucinating. But by the time he was well enough to listen all the scientists were deteriorating and unable to offer any further conjectures. In fact everybody was suffering, apart from him! He guessed that whatever had happened must have been a low lying thing, maybe a virus, possibly some kind of heavy element radiation. He was no physicist, his knowledge of the physical sciences was reasonable, but a rocket scientist he was not.

By the time he had recovered enough to make it through the front door there were very few signs of life remaining. The sickness hadn’t acted fast enough to leave victims strewn across the land, people had felt unwell, gone to bed and stayed there. But there were multitudes of animals. Fields were littered with livestock. He stayed away from anywhere that might contain such sights but then discovered quite by accident, after straying too close to a farm while looking for supplies, that the bodies were decomposing without the usual unappetising side effects, they didn’t smell, there was just a kind of gradual melting away of the remains. It seemed like there were no biological forces acting upon them. Then it struck him, if there were no microbes it meant that whatever had happened had wiped out all life, maybe denaturing the organic chemicals which powered living things.

This was when he started looking for canned goods in preference. Thankfully there were many such things, but it didn’t take long to find out that, after opening, they lasted very little time before losing their taste, and a couple of experiments showed that after a day they were inedible. He wondered if the same processes would take his body, but two years later he was still soldiering on. He thought he was probably the last organism on the planet!

Then, one day, after a reconnaissance to an unexplored supermarket warehouse, two days trek away (the petrol had suffered the same fate as other organic materials), he stopped at the beach and tried to think happy thoughts about the times he had fished this very coast, when the ocean had teemed with life. Then, from the corner of his eye there had been a familiar shape in the waves, he had turned, blinking against the dim sunlight, to see a tail disappearing into the water. It was definitely a fish, his mind hadn’t forsaken him yet, but that couldn’t be! Everything was dead. Then he reminded himself that he was still breathing and clapped his hands together in excitement, resolving there and then to catch the lonely survivor.

From that day he had returned, again-and-again, to the same spot. Bringing all his gear with him, casting and waiting, until he had all but given up hope. But now it was done! The bulging eye stared lifelessly at him, there was no going back. He had won the battle, and probably the war too, now he came to think of it. His great plan wasn’t particularly clever or complex but it would make life much simpler.

Dark Pier

Dark Pier

He picked the fish up again, leaving the carbon fibre pole to its fate, wondering what the half-life of such a material might be as he walked towards the old pier, which was surviving well, having undergone no maintenance in at least three years. Walking along the seasoned boards he looked down towards the sea, beneath his feet. Asking himself how he would feel? If he would feel?

The pier wasn’t a particularly interesting one so he gazed out, hoping he might catch another flash of scales as he strolled, to give himself a reason to get up tomorrow, but there was only the calm rippling of the ocean waiting indifferently for the inevitable. When he reached the edge of the decking the finned corpse was given its last rights, or at least he bowed his head and shed a tear, as he wiped its mucous from his fingers with an old handkerchief. Looking at the poor thing he pondered one last time, what had the creature been eating? There must be something out there! But whatever it was it wasn’t a vertebrate, he would have seen if it was anything obvious, so his only thought was plankton or single celled life forms which hadn’t succumbed to the effects of the plague.

Taking off his hardhat he put it next to the fish. As he stripped off the cool breeze made his weary joints twinge, he continued anyway. When he was done the clothes were in a neat pile next to the body, he wiped the involuntary tear from his face with the back of his still slimy hand, before reaching out, for the small gate which allowed access to the lower parts of the structure he was standing on. The gate creaked open and he carefully stepped on to the topmost rung of the ladder. Nearing the swelling surface his foot slipped on the smooth wet metal. How ironic would it be to slip and fall into the water, knocking himself unconscious? This had to be a premeditated act. Based on a choice. Made by a human being.

As the waves lapped at his feet he almost pulled away, but his resolve was strong enough and the water was surprisingly warm, permanent summer seemed to have set in, albeit a shadowy version of what he would class as summer. When his shoulders were finally under he took one last breath then pushed himself towards the sea floor, through the clear water. He knew he had made the right decision as there wasn’t a single living thing anywhere within sight, even with the magnification offered by the beautifully translucent sea. The planet was dead and it was only right that he was joining it.

Reaching the bottom he found a loop of discarded metal embedded in cracked concrete and held on as if his life…or death, depended on it. Asphyxiating wasn’t as unpleasant as he had imagined it would be and as his strength dwindled so did the pain. Suddenly he was stricken by a wave of nausea, which seemed to wash memories through his diminishing synapses, greying images flashed in front of his closed eyes. The first mullet he ever caught, his first kiss with Evelyn, moving into their first house, getting married. The images moved faster and became more intense as they barrelled towards the present and the inevitable climax.

The blinding images stopped and were replaced by calm coherent thoughts again. Fishing had become a sport, but it had started as a means of surviving in a harsh world. It was primal, and it was fitting that this was how it would end.

And if the fish had found a food source then maybe there would be complex life again in another billion years’ time, but right now his vision was blurring as his body tried to take on oxygen which it couldn’t extract from the H2O surrounding him.

His final philosophical thought drifted, like the calm sea, through his head.

The last man, catching the last fish. Then descending in to the everlasting, emotionless, apathetic ocean, the original source and ultimate extinguisher of life.


The End

Exhibition – Dark Visions

So, about a year ago one of my colleagues at Nottingham Trent University, who is a very keen photographer, approached myself and another guy who we worked with because he knew we liked writing. He suggested a collaboration, using his pictures to base a story around.
Steve (the other writer) and I took a little while to look at the pictures, then agreed to have a go.
To put it mildly, the pictures were dark. Lots of black and white seascapes and images of twisted old trees. I took about a millisecond to formulate the story I was going to write after looking at them. I also came up with the title – The Dark Mark. All of the photographs in Rob’s series for this start with the word “Dark”, so it seemed appropriate.
It’s now a year later, much water has passed under the bridge and time has continued to move on in the linear fashion you would expect it to, and in so doing has bought with it the swiftly approaching date of the exhibition of the work we all did. To be precise the show runs from the 27th of September to the 26th of October at Patchings Art Centre, in Nottinghamshire, England.
Now while I’m not one for self-promotion, I am quite proud of the fact that I created this story from nothing more than some pictures taken by a colleague and friend. So I’m going to put one of the posters here and let you decide if you’d like to share it with anyone you think might be interested.
I thank you.
I also thank Rob and Steve for such an interesting challenge and all the discussions we had about it once we decided to proceed.
Depending on the outcome of the installation and the interest in any further projects or work, I may even publish the story on here after the show is done!


Hard Copy

This morning I dropped my young ‘un off at school then headed to a small warehouse near my house, to collect a parcel which no one was in to receive yesterday morning.

I had a vague suspicion I knew what it was, but wanted to wait until I had it in my hands before getting too excited. After a bit of faffing about the company found the box and I signed for it, chucked it in the car then came home and ripped it open.

This is what I found inside…

Jump by Dan Ladle

Jump by Dan Ladle

Yep, that’s a paperback copy of the book that I wrote! Sadly it’s not a “published by a publisher” copy, I found a special offer to upload for free on a site called Feed-A-Read some time back and this is the result.

It’s actually not that expensive to get a couple of copies printed out, although the postage to anywhere in Australia is a bit steep. However, having a hard copy of all the words I wrote is, as the advert goes, priceless.

Oh, stop thinking about sex. – Jump

Ten points if you can recognise the quote in the title.

If you write a book it may be the case that you have to face the prospect of writing a scene which is set in someone’s bedroom and may have allusions to matters of a sexual nature.

I thought a fair bit about how I was going to approach this scene and decided that discretion was the better part of valour, so I wrote the scene around a conversation about how the time machine works, which was handy because one of the characters is the physicist who invented it, the other is not a scientist in any way and so it has to be delivered in laymans terms, which is a useful way of writing it so the reader can get  a handle on it. Also so I could figure out, while I was writing, if it all seemed to make sense or not.

I did vaguely mention the fact that the two people may be partaking of exciting, personally gratifying activities, but being a bit of a prude myself I couldn’t bring myself to consider writing about the deed itself!

If you find it in any way titillating I do apologise!


The small lamp on the bedside table didn’t really cast enough light to read by, it was just bright enough to make everything look like it was in soft focus, which Emily considered was just as well. She was lying next to Michael, who had his hand across her stomach. The light covering of hair on his arm was tickling her, but she was quite enjoying the sensation so hadn’t attempted to move. She was absently surveying the room, while they were talking about whether it was a good idea to reveal what they had just done, obviously not in detail, to the other members of the team. They decided against it, on the grounds that it was probably best to be discreet until they actually knew what was going on with the team and the project.

They lapsed into a contented silence which Michael broke, asking if she would like anything else to eat, ‘No thanks, although I’m quite thirsty, I might get myself a drink of water.’ Michael was off the bed, into, then out of the kitchen before Emily had a chance to tell him not to worry and that she would get it herself. He apologised once again for the lack of appropriate crockery, handing her a pint glass three quarters full and placing another down on his own bedside table. After drinking enough to slake her thirst and watching him do likewise she asked, ‘What’s the tattoo?’

Michael craned his neck in a failed attempt to look at his shoulder blade, where there were numbers, mathematical characters and symbols which obviously denoted something. Although some of the characters were from languages she understood she had no idea what to make of the overall design. ‘Oh yes, I’d kind of forgotten about that. I got it when I was certain that my calculations were right. It’s the mathematics that run the Jump Box. Do you like it?’

Emily stared at the intricacies of the physical equation and was lost in thought for a while, ‘It’s amazing. Is that really what makes it work?’

‘Well, you obviously need the relevant hardware but without these numbers it couldn’t function. When I finished working on the equation I was impressed by how it looked. I’d always wanted a tattoo so I figured, why not? The other nice thing is that I have a dated photograph and a receipt from the place that did it. Which means that I can, at least, prove it was my discovery.’

‘I never knew physics was such a cutthroat world?’

‘It’s not really, I was just trying to give myself another excuse.’

‘Well I like it, you’re right it does have a certain symmetry, or maybe that’s not the right word, perhaps I mean elegance. You could put it on t-shirts and people would pay good money for it.’

Michael climbed back under the covers and Emily rested her head on his shoulder. ‘Probably wouldn’t be a bad idea, I suspect the equations will never be released though. I’m the only one who knows them in full. Celia has a fair idea but she’s more interested in the application and theory of the measurements. All I want is to make sure it works right.’

Emily moved her arm, took his right hand and suggested something unrelated to physics. They agreed the conversation had reached a suitable place to adjourn.