Tag Archives: Future

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!

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Script – iTran

In the middle of last year one of my friends pointed me towards an open call for ideas for a new comedy named “2525”, a radio sketch show being put together by Matt Lucas, from Little Britain and…I don’t know actually, what else has he done? The brief was the sketch had to be set in the future and was character based, I figured that sci-fi and comedy are two things that I have enjoyed, so I figured I’d have a go.

You may have guessed but I’m not a huge fan of his work which may have been part of the reason my idea wasn’t accepted, or it could just be because my script was rubbish! But it was quite fun to create and gave me a brief glimpse into what it must be like to be a script writer.

The guidelines were quite clear about how to write it, and had to include an “aloof robotic voice-over” introducing the sketch. It also asked for suggestions as to how the sketches could be made to run across multiple episodes, which I put at the bottom of the piece. So I had a bit of a think and wrote this over a couple of lunch hours.


 

 

VOICE-OVER – It is the year 2,983, in a physics lab girdled by a leafy suburb of New Weston-Super-Mare in Somersetville, Tharsis Bulge, Mars. Two intrepid scientists are on the outer rim of a breakthrough after conceiving the iTran teleporter. As we meet our plucky inventors the prototype is being readied for testing.

 

BAXTER – Right Dr Wells, plug in the quantum isolator and switch on the ion capacitor.

FX – Noises of cables being wielded and the click of a button being pressed.

WELLS – That’s done Dr Baxter, insert the subject.

FX – A door opens and someone is led in to the room.

THOMSON – You’re sure this is safe are you?

SCIENTISTS – (Laughing, which stops abruptly)

BAXTER – Yes! In fact we did some tests with all kinds of organic matter and a lot of it was almost stable when it rematerialized.

WELLS – So if you could just step on to this platform please Mr Thomson.

THOMSON – Sorry, did you say “almost stable”?

BAXTER – Absolutely, some of it was even nearly recognisable. In fact you could almost make out the eyes on that rat we transported yesterday.

WELLS – And the monkey had nearly all of its fingers when it came out the other side. In fact I can show you how clean the join is where we attached that artificial leg to the parrot, when you’ve made the trip through. If you’d just be good enough to get on the platform.

THOMSON – Hang on a minute, I quite like my legs…

WELLS – Mind you it took ages to clear up that poor gerbil, who’d have thought there were so many atoms in such a small rodent?

BAXTER – To be fair Mr Thomson you did sign the waiver form when you agreed to take part in this trial. It quite clearly stated that there may be some risks associated with the project.

THOMSON – I didn’t know it was a disclaimer, I thought it was a petition against testing on robots. I really like robots! I think I’ll just be leaving now.

BAXTER (raising his voice) – Carby

FX – Door opens to the accompaniment of mechanical robot walking noises, burly sounding security guard robot says “Yes Mr Baxter sir. I’m afraid that won’t be possible Mr Thomson”.

THOMSON – I’ll just get on the teleporty thing then shall I?

WELLS – That would be great yes, thank you.

FX – Sound of footsteps moving towards left speaker, on to an unstable sounding platform.

BAXTER – Okay Wells, hit that button.

FX (from left speaker to right) – Futuristic teleportation-type noise!

SCIENTISTS – Oh!

WELLS (whispering) – Didn’t he have a full head of hair before?

BAXTER – Well done Mr Thomson, you are the first ever successful traveller on the iTran.

THOMSON – I don’t suppose I could get a drink, my tongue feels all furry?

BAXTER – Now, if you would care to stay where you are we can do the second experiment. (Then whispering) Turn the atom attenuator back to 42 and try again, hopefully we can return his follicles to a more hirsute state.

WELLS – Stop fidgeting please Mr Thomson, you’ll upset the surrounding particles.

FX (from right speaker to left) – Futuristic teleportation-type noise!

THOMSON (now with a whiney child’s voice) – Why’s everything so big? My tummy hurts. I’m hungry. Are you finished yet? I’m bored. I need a wee.

BAXTER (urgent whispering) – Re-engage the hadron minimiser, quickly!

WELLS – Leave that alone Thomson, it’s not a toy. Get back on the iTran or I’ll put you on the naughty step. And stop picking your nose, you’ll unbalance your meta-structure, and it’s naughty.

FX (from left speaker to right) – Futuristic teleportation-type noise! Then momentary silence.

BAXTER – That’s different.

WELLS – It’s quite nice though! It looks like a Jackson Pollock. Do you think he can hear us?

BAXTER – I hope not. Did that form cover transmutational errors? I think it might be wise to draft that next-of-kin message now. Before we send it let’s just recalibrate the oblique obfusculator, retune the visual accelerator and have one more go.

FX (from right speaker to left) – Futuristic teleportation-type noise!

BAXTER – I would say that was an unqualified success, wouldn’t you Wells?

WELLS – Um…kind of.

BAXTER – Absolutely, unqualified. Now I shall be taking Thomson for a drink and something to eat while you clean up the laboratory, get to it. What would you like Thomson, Altarian or something a bit exotic from Sirius?

THOMSON (now in a sexy woman’s voice) – I don’t know about you Doctor but I just love the food from the Gliese systems, anything spicy makes me want to have a cool shower.

FX – Laughter from Baxter and Thomson as they leave the room, then the door slams and you hear the sound of Wells starting to mop the floor.

 

Series idea – Baxter and Wells test different types of futuristic devices, e.g. time machines, spaceship hyperdrives, hovercars, etc. and every sketch results in Baxter going out for dinner with an attractive woman and Wells having to clean up the mess. Development over the series leads to Wells starting to drink or rely on futuristic mood enhancing drugs and Baxter turning up for work later and being hungover or knackered from the amount of partying he’s doing.