Book Extract…

I haven’t posted here in ages, but my Altered Ego, the Ark, did a post over here 

http://atheistenquiry.org/2014/02/11/if-god-does-not-exist/

about sailing off the edge of the world and during a further conversation it brought this to mind.

From the fantasy novel, The Nine Amendments.

Undertaker, Isack Knewtun is having dinner with Captain Blithely. He is sailing to Sunniclimes….

Isack, who fastidiously avoided most things to do with the Church, didn’t seem to think excommunication sounded too bad until  Captain Blithely explained that although they were only planning to throw him out of the church, it was the six-storey drop from the bell-tower that would have been the problem.

‘Ah, I see your point. What about the prayer and the circle thing?’

‘You prob’ly know that when the wardens mark you for excommunication they make the sign of a cross, like an ‘X’. Three crosses and that’s a strikeout. The sign of the circle, or nought, ‘spossed to counteract it. Mr. Winky’s little prayer is sort of forun. Means, Please keep me out the sh—’

‘I think I understand,’ Isack interjected. ‘We were talking about your brother, Captain.’

‘Oooaargh that we were. Well then. ‘Parrantly one of their lot had come a cropper while convertin’ the ‘eathens up in the jungles of Wethafkarwee. Are you familiar with the place in question, Mister Knewtun?’

‘I know of it, but have not visited the country.’ Isack’s idea of well-travelled was having visited all the cemeteries in and around Port o’ Bill.

‘Visited. Right. Doubt it’s the type of place you’d choose fer a visit. Those what ‘as visited, as it were, didn’t return to tell the tale, oooaaargh. In fact, none that I’m aware of even had chance to send a postcard.’

‘Yes, I had heard it to be rather foreboding.’

‘Oh, I wouldn’t know nothing ‘bout bodin’, Mister Knewtun, I’m only a simple ship’s captain. What I do knows is that it is a very portentous place where they ‘ave very interestin’ culinary ‘abits. Sometimes involvin’ visitors.’   Blithely pulled on his pipe in a sagely manner and finished the draw with his familiar phrase.

‘Good gods, cannibals!’ Isack exclaimed. He was aghast.

‘Aye, caninballs, Mister Knewtun, caninballs. So’s you can p’raps understand the C-word’s urgency on settin’ off on their rescue mission.’

‘I can indeed, Captain. What an awful business. Very rum,’ Isack added for maritime effect.

‘Oh, sorry, Mister Knewtun, where’s me manners. Pour us all a drink there, Mr. Winky, if y’please.’

‘Aye, cap’n.’

Winky got up to oblige.

Isack had never drunk rum from a tankard before and certainly not one that was full to the brim.

‘Er…’

‘Don’t worry about it, Mister Knewtun. There’s plenty. Wonderful cleanin’ properties. Removes encrusted salt and loosens up the barnacles a proper treat, it does. On the ship too, fer that matter.

‘Where was I? Anyways, they was in such an ‘urry they wouldn’t let any of them poor sales-ladies off the boat ‘afore they set sail. Said that although this was a rescue mission, the girls would be able to help the C-word with other positions of missionary work. They also took with ‘em several tools of their trade, includin’ one hundred fully armed and caparisoned soldiers. My brother was not an ‘appy man, I can tell you, Mister Knewtun.’

‘Doesn’t seem as though he had much choice, Captain,’ said Isack sympathetically.

‘Oh, ‘e ‘ad choice all right. There’s always that, Mister Knewtun. The choice ‘e was offered was, relinquish control of your ship to the servants of the Mighty, or swing. So he relinquished. For a while, at least. Well, the ship landed at Wethafkarwee and they found their warden. Some of ‘im, anyways, so I ‘eard. But the wardens of the C-word reckoned that as they was already there they might as well do some convertin’. Can’t say fer sure what they converted them Fkarweans into but it was probably similar to the conversion undergone by that unfortunate T-word warden.’

Isack noticed a look of disgust and contempt on Blithely’s face when he said C-word. A look suggesting that while not condoning cannibalism, it had even less respect for the Church.

Although Blithely didn’t ‘hold none fer foruners’, at least the Fkarweans didn’t invade Judysear and force everyone to worship their god, which just happened to be a five-toed sloth called ‘OO-OO.’ And of course, they had to eat something, he supposed.

‘They set sail shortly after their convertin’ and ‘eaded ‘ome. But what Fkarweans was left was proper…you know, like when you ‘as too much to drink.’

‘Er…drunk?’ Isack suggested.

‘The other word.’

‘Ah,’ Isack nodded, eyeing his own drink cautiously.

‘So they sets off in pursuit and gave chase, forcing my brother to alter course. Those little canoes o’ theirs can go right fast with enough motivation.

‘Well, my brother pointed ‘is ship at the horizon and hoisted ev’ry sail ‘e ‘ad, believing they wouldn’t give chase to the edge of the world, like. But they did. Meanwhile, them wardens was screamin’ blue murder, knowin’ full well that my brother was set on sending ‘is ship off the edge, if necessary, rather than fall into the ‘ands of the Fkarweans.  ‘E wasn’t about to let anyone make a whore’s derves outta ‘im.’

‘But that’s an old wives’ tale. Surely your brother knew the world is round?’

‘Not ever ‘avin a wife, young or old, ‘e was in two minds about what shape the world is. Flat or round, made no difference to ‘im, long as the water didn’t fly off.

‘But the Chur…sorry, Mr. Winky, the C-word, knows it’s flat and they’ll sail right round t’prove it. That’s about the time they got all the sailors t’mutiny and key-holed me brother, Mister Knewtun.’

‘I’m dreadfully sorry, Captain Blithely. Truly I am,’ said Isack.

‘S’okay, Mister Knewtun, Fkarweans got all but one of ‘em anyways. Found the poor wretch washed up on a beach a ways up the coast. Tha’s ‘ow we was able t’piece together the story. Died shortly after, ‘e did. Boat drifted ‘ome on its own a few days later, and at least my brother was already diced.’

©Douglas Pearce 2013

 

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Book Extract – Gloop

A short extract from the fourth novel, Gloop,  in the Mining of Lif series

Chapter 5 

The Siege of Brothelingham

‘I could probably hit it from here, sir.’

‘Hit what, corporal?’

‘Their barn, sir.’

‘You may refer to it by its proper name, corporal.’

‘Just don’t like to say the word out loud, sir.’

‘I realise it may look like a barn corporal, but nothing dire will happen by using the word Mosk.’

‘No, sir.’

‘So. You were saying. About hitting the Mosk?’

‘Yes, sir. Reckon I could.’

‘Oh, really? As we have no canon I can hardly see the point of taking pot shots, other than alerting them of our presence. And I am not about to indulge you merely so you can demonstrate your marksmanship, corporal.’

‘Sorry, sir. I meant with this.’

‘A signal flare?’

‘Yes sir. I’ve made a sight for the tube. Like my rifle, sir.’

‘So I see,’ said the captain, his curiosity rising.

‘So…er, if I rest it on my shoulder like this,’ the corporal demonstrated,

‘Ah, I think I follow. Mmm.’

‘If we wait ‘til they’re all inside, praying…’

‘Yes, corporal, I get the picture. A weapon of mass destruction, you might say.’

‘Only a proper church has a Mass, sir,’ the corporal said indignantly, not picking up on the pun.

‘You are correct. And quite a large one if one considers all the stone.’

‘Beg pardon, sir?’

The captain sighed.

‘It doesn’t matter, corporal. However, I do not think fire-bombing a religious building full of worshippers would be the right thing to do. Even in war there are some lines I will not cross.’

‘’Scuse me sir, but our priest back ‘ome said it weren’t a sin to kill anyone who practices infidelity.’

The captain’s eyed narrowed. ‘The term you are looking for, corporal is Infidel. It refers to one who follows King Infidel Castrol. Also, if it was morally right to kill the other kind a fair portion of Judysear would be wiped out in the first attack and that would include most of the priests.’

Copyright© Douglas Pearce

To be or not to be…or not.

In many aspects of life, self-doubt is one of the most crippling things; no less so for a writer.

Some of my unpublished books have undergone rewrite after rewrite and still I sit and ”stew ” over them.

Even the novel I have had published, I re read it and think…Hmmm, I wonder.

And just when I am about to chuck my manuscript in the electronic waste basket I think…I’ll give it another shot.

Yet, what is truly frustrating is the author is not necessarily the best judge of the work.

Writing I have thought of as really inspired has oft times received a lukewarm reception and stuff I have had a take it or leave it attitude has been warmly received.

One man’s meat is another mans poison, right?

Anyway, here are 800 words of  the first novel in a fantasy series titled The Mining of Lif.

I have yet to decide whether I should put this forward.

The Mining of Lif.

In the beginning…again

Part I

Prologue

As writing is an act of creation it must, therefore, have a creator.

And one of the marvellous literary licenses of narrative fiction that such a creator is able to take is to create whatever he/she wants.

   You mean like me?

There you go. Now I’m not talking to myself anymore.

   You sure about that?

Of course, I’m sure. I created you.

   So am I a who, whom or what?

All three, if you like. But for now you can be the Wholly Ghost.

   Oooh, with Capitals, too. I like it. But…er, isn’t it spelled incorrectly?

No. Not for this story.

   Oh, careful. You had a bit of an italic episode there.

Anyway, the point of this introduction is, well, because I can, and because I am reminded of a song called, “Third stone from the sun.”

   Aha! Right. See where you’re going.

And…

   ‘S’cuse me. But that’s two, “Ands…” in the space of two sentences. Can you do that?

Creators can do anything. It’s their version of reality, after all.

   If you say so.

I do. What’s more, we get to be part of the stories.

   We do? Hey, that’s great. So what are we? Heroes or villains?

Neither. We are what we are.

   Sounds confusing

You’ll see as we go along.

   This is a bit like playing You Know Who.

Ah, now you’re getting it.

   Hold on a moment, you said stories. There is more than one?

Absolutely. Things did not grind to a halt after the initial act of creation. Lif goes on.

   I’d check that last sentence. You made a spelling error. That should be Life.

No. It’s the correct spelling.

   Now I’m confused again. Can we get on with the story?

I think it’s probably best we do.

   Oh, by the way, you’re not going to start off with, Once upon a time, are you? I hate stories like that.

No, I am not going to start it like that.

   Good, because—

That’s the second sentence.

   Oh, god.

Yes?

 Chapter 1

The wondrous, most magnificent planet of Lif is an absolute marvel; a marvel it exists at all.

Once upon a time, as so many stories begin, this blue and white planet, which was known by another name, floated in its own unique spot in the universe somewhere between nothingness and eternity, orbiting around an insignificant sun, in an even more insignificant galaxy.

It still does.

In the beginning, as with most planets, nothing much happened for g’zillions of years…

Eventually, Mother Nature began to bring forth life in all its myriad of unusual, but nonetheless wonderful, forms.

Over time, a semi-sophisticated race evolved to take its place in the galactic sunshine. They developed technology; including a reasonable space program, fast food outlets, television re-runs and toothpaste with five stripes. This race also succeeded in polluting half ‘their’ world’s natural freshwater supply and managed to exterminate innumerable species of flora and fauna.

Much of this race believed in a creator god and they established thousands upon thousands of different religious sects to worship him. Or possibly her. Some may suggest this race was merely a bunch of sects maniacs. Whatever they were, it was never quite clear why so many different sects were needed to worship this creator god but each sect believed in its own superiority. What the creator god thought of all this was never determined. Although, with billions of worshippers all praying to him, or possibly her, the Creator probably took loads of headache tablets.

Most prayers were about really important stuff such as, ‘please let me sink this last putt’ or ‘I know I forgot to buy a ticket, again, but can’t you help me win the lottery just this once and I promise to go to church, mosque, shul, temple, meeting room above the  Pig and Whistle every week.’

During this period, they engaged in several thousand wars, some of which were global and along the way developed the means to clone plants, animals and themselves.

Eventually, all but four countries abolished the death penalty and they decided to call themselves civilised.

Wallowing in all their glorious, self-congratulatory wonderfulness, they were not quite prepared for what appeared out of the blue.

It arrived during a World Cup final, which only goes to show that not everyone is a Soccer Fan.

Some have called them Dino-Killers. Others have called them Planet Busters.  Maybe only the Creator knows the name of this meteor, as after it hit all that remained was mostly water and dirt and the few survivors had far more pressing things to attend to than naming a bloody great piece of space rock.

Oh, by the way, in case you believe that the Creator never answers any prayers you are wrong. God did answer one chap who pleaded for a golf shot. Unfortunately, this chap signed his card incorrectly and was fined or penalised or whatever they do to golfers. He blamed the Creator for this too.

Just no pleasing some people.

   So. In the beginning…again.

First, there was the word. Not the word, but rather another word.

The other word was “oops,” accompanied by a shrug and a sigh.

And then there was Lif…

 

 

©Douglas Pearce