Thursday, 20 November 2014

SFFSat 22/11/2014 - 21st Century Leda 6

SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. This is my snippet for it - please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here. 

This is the final part of 21st Century Leda. Our narrator is Zeus, dallying with a girl in a pub. He has led the girl into his bedroom, his intentions obvious. She has whispered that she knows who he is.


Zeus” she whispers. Just the sound of my name gives me a warmth and strength, and I smile. 
 
How did you find out?” I ask, but my hands are still concentrating on the buttons of her blouse. 
 
Old god” she hisses. I'm not pleased by that description of me and firmly protest that I’m not so old. She smiles widely, and shakes her head. “Your time’s gone” she murmurs, her body tight against mine. “They don’t worship you any more.” My fingers are working on the strap of her bra, but she won’t shut up. “They worship us, now, not you” she adds. I lean down to kiss her again, but she’s being coy, turning her eyes downwards to my shoulder. “Our kind are the Gods, now, Zeus - they’ve created us by their worship.” Her mouth caresses my neck, and I can barely hear her as she whispers “Time for you to go.”

And her fangs sink into my neck.


 I hope you enjoyed this tale. Comments welcomed!
 

Thursday, 13 November 2014

SFFSat 15/11/2014 21st Century Leda 5

SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. This is my snippet for it - please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here. 

This is 21st Century Leda. Our narrator is Zeus, dallying with a girl in a pub. He is leading the poor girl upstairs...

 


Up the stairs. Leda's smiling at me. Posters on the walls – Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Ingrid Pitt. Centuries ago the adornments would be carvings of me, of Aphrodite (working for Chanel, last I heard), or of Athene. I tighten my grip on Leda’s waist, and she squirms against me encouragingly.

As far as I can tell, she’s no relation to the last girl of this name I had. I can usually feel the blood in them, if they have any hint of my bloodline. And that’s why I’m still important – why I still matter. Most of you are pale, drab beings, without a fraction of divinity. You need me, refreshing your bloodlines, so that there are still gods walking the earth.
 
Trouble is, most of your women are using contraceptives – even my fecund seed can’t work miracles. Progress, eh?
 
First room off the top of the stairs - landlord keeps it for me. Close the door and gaze deep into her eyes (not that it’s her eyes I’m interested in). She whispers “I know who you are.”

Final part next week.
Comments appreciated!

Friday, 7 November 2014

SFFSat 8/11/2014 21st Century Leda #4

SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. This is my snippet for it - please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here. 

This is 21st Century Leda. Our narrator is Zeus, dallying with a girl in a pub, while he ponders on the fate of his fellow deities...




I'm not much more than a man now, without your worship. Enough adulation can bring forth a God in the space of a mortal lifetime or two. Maybe less, in this global village we now inhabit – I no longer scoff at stories that Elvis has been sighted alive. But when the glory days fade, we fade with them. You occasionally read about us, and there’s a few movies made that remind you of us – not that the ones I’ve seen are up to much, though Liam Neeson almost looks like me.

I'm better off than some. Loki's in prison in Germany for fraud, and Horus' airline business just went into administration.

Leda’s smiling. I slip an arm around her waist and gently lead her towards the stairs. I’m never quite sure whether it’s my masculinity that gets them, or that I'm the executive director of a company. Means I’m rich. May not be power, but it’s better than being a nobody, like Ares. I always thought he had some backbone – but since the advent of gunpowder he’s been a broken man. The God of War who replaced him was once an oriental Dragon, and he's quite at home with the savageries of modern conflicts.

 Comments appreciated!

Friday, 31 October 2014

SFFSat 1/11/14 21st Century Leda #3

SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. This is my snippet for it - please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here. 

This is 21st Century Leda. Our narrator is dallying with a girl in a pub - and has just admitted that he is actually a God. He continues to reminisce to himself...

I'd not seen Leda in here before, and she caught my eye immediately. Sitting at a side table, not far from the door, all on her lonesome, and smiled at me as soon as I walked in. She’s had a couple of alcopops, and she’s mellow and receptive - the way I like women. She’s quite cute – long, dark hair, heart-shaped pale face, big dark eyes, but a hint of strength in the jawline. A soft, low voice. And a nice display of curves. On the other hand, the clothing nowadays – stripping a girl can be really difficult. All these buckles, straps, clasps – too much like hard work in my view. Don't get me started on steampunk fashions. At least this one isn’t a Goth – so many girls think black makeup is fetching.
Still, Leda’s responding nicely. Almost too easy. Another drink, and I can whisk her upstairs away from the racket from the jukebox. I’ve had to give up so much – why shouldn’t I enjoy myself still? 

 With the same provisos as last week, comments appreciated!

Friday, 24 October 2014

21st Century Leda #2

SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. This is my snippet for it - please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here. 

This is 21st Century Leda. Our narrator is dallying with a girl in a pub - and has just admitted that he is actually a God. He continues to reminisce to himself...



Trouble is, we've become figures of fun in books for children or treatises on the classical world. I get bitter, sometimes. Three thousand years ago I was king of the world - now it seems the title has passed to some upstart called James Cameron. 
 
Was it your worship of us that made us divinities? We are still Gods… but without the prayers and the beliefs in us we are barely more than you mortals, now. We have to change, adapt, survive.

Or die. Apollo… he gave up centuries ago. The Sun King in France – that angered him. He wanted to smite Louis for his presumption… but by then Apollo was all but forgotten. So weak he could not change his form, let alone fire even one of his plague-bearing arrows. He couldn’t stand the shame.

Artemis, though, adapted. She’s a major fashion model – lesbian, of course. But they all are, so who takes any notice?


I would like to make it clear that the views expressed by the narrator of this story are not my views, and any complaints about him being misogynistic, bigotted and reactionary should be addressed to Zeus, c/o Olympus plc. 
I am also not responsible for anyone being struck by a lightning bolt as a result of any such conplaint...
With the above provisos, comments appreciated!



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

New Who - Deep Breath to Flatline

 
I've got to admit I've not been a great fan of Newu Who. I first watched Doctor Who when Jon Pertwee was the Doctor, and I've always thought of him and Tom Baker as being “my” Doctors. I've got a pretty good collection of classic Who on DVD, and in the main I prefer the original series to the current stories. There have been a few exceptions – there are about half a dozen New Who stories that I thought were very good indeed, including Empty Child, Blink and the Doctor's Wife. I also think there have been some absolute stinkers.



I was one of those who thought David Tennant was too brash and Matt Smith too young. To be fair, I don't think either was a bad Doctor, but neither really matched the ideal of the time-travelling Gallifreyan that I had in my mind.




 
Peter Capaldi, on the other hand, struck me as a perfect choice for the Doctor. He had sufficient gravitas and a strong screen presence, a face that was reminiscent of Jon Pertwee, and very considerable acting ability.

 The season started pretty well. Deep Breath was a good story, but Into the Dalek (whilst it had some very nice ideas and some very strong moments) had enough logical flaws and plot holes to sink a starship. Robot of Sherwood was great fun, but not great Who. It and Listen, the story that followed, both seemed to suggest a degree of promise.


 
 
Time Heist, on the other hand, was both obvious and illogical, and really didn't work.

The Caretaker, again, seemed to be working, but still didn't quite have the spark that the best Who stories have.

 And then we had Kill the Moon. Ouch. Probably one of the poorest stories I've seen. If anyone doubted that New Who is fantasy, not science fiction, this was a good proof. Classic Who endeavoured to put a gloss of “reality” into the science. It often got it badly wrong (I cringe at the sad excuse for astrophysics in Wheel in Space, and a good many of the stories failed basic science, but certainly from Jon Pertwee's time onwards the series tried to pretend it was SF not magic). Anyone with no more than a GCSE in physics can see the flaws in the science of Kill the Moon.



The Moon's “gravity is changing”. Because there's something growing inside. Fluctuating. But mass can't change. So gravity can't change. The basic structure was gibberish. And the creature that is born from the Moon immediately lays an egg that is of the same mass and is identical in appearance. And “bacteria” that look like spiders and spin webs? How this story got approved is beyond me – it fails on so many levels. And the Doctor leaving the decision to the humans also makes no sense compared with what he has done before. The logic of the character and the logic of the situation are entirely absent. Yes, the production crew want to make the Doctor darker and edgier, but he needs to remain the same character as before. And the big “event” of the story – the Doctor leaving Clara and co to make the decision – doesn't in the end have any consequences, making it ultimately pointless. The ending felt like a cop-out.

I don't mind saying that this episode disappointed me very badly.


 
Fortunately, Mummy on the Orient Express restored my faith in the series. I didn't expect to like the episode – it looked somewhat as though someone had come up with a neat image and a good title, and I was afraid the plot would be an irrelevance. I am very glad I was wrong – the story held together, the Doctor was magnificent, and the plot made sense. 

I didn't have problems with the science – yes, a starship built to look like a steam-train in space is daft, but it doesn't obviously break basic laws of physics. We've built some pretty bizarre ships and vehicles in reality, and the attempt to create something anachronistic for rich, paying passengers is not extraordinary. The plot held together, and the characterisation of the Doctor finally felt thoroughly right.


Which brings me to Flatline. I enjoyed Flatland many years ago. I was nervous of what Doctor Who would do with it.

I needn't have worried. This was an excellent episode, the internal logic consistent, the plot credible (as far as Doctor Who plots are ever credible) and the science not objectionable. And the character of the Doctor (both as played by Capaldi and as brilliantly emulated by Jenna Coleman!) was beautifully portrayed. This really felt like the “real” Doctor. If the new series can keep this up, then New Who might just grow up to be as good as its parent.



Friday, 17 October 2014

21st Century Leda

SFFSat is a place where a number of authors post snippets from their written works, and give the opportunity for comments, support and encouragement. This is my snippet for it - please also explore the other blogs that are part of this set - you can find the information here. 

Having finished Blue Ice last week, I'm jumping sideways from hard science fiction into a story set in the present day. This is 21st Century Leda.




The Swan's not a bad pub, if a bit pseud. Landlord and I have an understanding. He’s got rooms upstairs, and he doesn’t talk to the missus.

The plasma TV’s got some braindead idiot deconceptualising (whatever that means) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The pool table by the naff wood panelled wall is surrounded by youngsters showing off, and the beer's not a patch on the stuff we used to drink. But that’s progress.

The chick across the table is gazing at me, admiring my manly physique. And so she should – I may be a bit (okay, a considerable degree) older than I was, but I’m still more male than most of these weedy yobs you get nowadays. I can still pass for being under fifty. Okay, only in a soft light, (one of the reasons I like this place) , but who’s quibbling?

I never used to bother with small talk. Grab the wench, sweep her off to some secluded grotto, and take my time deflowering her. But it doesn’t work like that now. The world’s changed - not for the better, in my view. Still, I’m a God – I can handle change.

Sorry, no prizes for guessing the identity of our narrator...
As always, comments appreciated!