Thursday, 13 December 2012

Otherwhere and Elsewhen

Otherwhere and Elsewhen
Otherwhere and Elsewhen cover

Two of my new short stories have been published by Bridge House. The first is called The Hollow Statue. It is set in a dark future where the Government keeps people firmly under their control. It is a Government who can read minds – free thought is illegal and swiftly punished. The protagonist of the story is a teacher who asks one too many questions. The hollow statue of the title is a technologically advanced statue which has been set up outside an old town hall. Everybody has to assemble before these statues (one in each town) and listen to propaganda. The hero is a rebel, but can he really change anything in the face of such power?
The second story is titled Stranded in Eternity. It began life over ten years ago at a festival when I attended a creative writing workshop. Each of us were given a first line to use as the introduction of a story. Someone gave me this line: “He revived with a smile on his face.” So from there, after many edits the story grew and eventually became a tale about a man who crashes his car on the way home from church and wakes up in heaven. He has to adjust to his new surroundings and encounters a number of surprises. It is my attempt at imagining what heaven could look like. The story contains elements of beauty which I would like to characterize my future writing. It also explores some of the bigger questions in life and isn’t a narrative with a moral message. It is simply a story.
Otherwhere and Elsewhen is available from Amazon through the following link:
The book costs £3.85p as an eBook.
There are 11 other sci-fi short stories in this anthology and I would feel privileged if you decided to read it.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

All the kingdoms of the world for Christmas

I thought that while I have a little spare time before the Xmas celebrations I should write a Christmas blog entry. It's just speculation....

What was the voice of Christ like? How did Jesus tell his stories and parables? Was he expressive when he talked? Did his eyes sparkle?

How did Jesus tell the story of his encounter with the devil in the wilderness? The source of this gospel account, if it is to be believed, could only really have come from one person.  Jesus must have sat his disciples down and told them what happened when he went walkabout in the wilderness.

How do you approach a subject like that?
“You have no idea what happened to me when I was in the wilderness...”
“What happened, Lord?”
“I encountered the devil himself...”
And did Jesus smile?

Or maybe, sitting around a fire one night Jesus waited for his disciples to ask him. That would, perhaps be more in character. A little more enigmatic.

“What happened, Lord, when you were in the wilderness?”
“I tell you the truth – my answer will make your ears tingle...”

Then, as Jesus told the story about how he had been tempted by the devil, how did the disciples react? How would anyone react to something like that? As he told them that the devil had offered him all the kingdoms of the world if he agreed to certain terms.

Perhaps the disciples were afraid of some horrific twist. Were they scared that Jesus had sold out? That he had made some kind of pact with their enemy?

But the source of the account must have come from Christ himself, if it is all true. Imagine you were listening to him telling that story. A story about an encounter with the devil and visions of the world and the way Jesus had resisted the devil. There must have been sighs of relief as he told of how he had refused to give in to corruption.

How would you react to a story like that told by a man like Jesus? Would you have questioned further? Would you have believed it? Would you question if evil personified exists – or if it is some kind of psychological projection from within? Or believed it was some kind of allegory? Or hallucination?

Perhaps we have no opportunity to know what the voice of Jesus was like or how he told his parables and stories. But today, we do have a choice whether to believe those accounts or not.

And if Christ looked straight at you as he finished his account, would his eyes sparkle brighter than all the kingdoms of the world?