Poetry

Iron filings

The Kingdom has fallen silent,

doors bolted and keys buried.

The queen took her heart and locked it away

to save the cracks from spreading.

Her child was taken and turned,

puppetry at its finest,

made to dance to the tune of war

and march across the border.

Blood ran back and drank the water.

The people bathed in it,

they had nothing else —

and fell to the sharpness of the iron within.

 

 

 

Poetry

Overhead

No birds circle anymore, only griffins, whose

wingbeats hurricane  through the grass

as they claim the right to own the free air.

They fish for green thieves seeking to steal their glinting aluminium treasures.

The twelves hours of day

crumble like biscuits underfoot,

each minute fractured by the bloodied sand

where they leave them to die.

 

 

Poetry

As seen through a round tank of water

Fill up the glass tanks, wear them on ours heads like giant fish bowls. If we spill any, we lose our worth and have to crawl on the floor with those dressed in rags, furiously mopping up after others and trying to fill our bowls once more.

The rags disintegrate, we are naked and no no-one cares. We are filthy and no one cares. We are hungry and no one cares. We have brains and no one cares. We have no glass tanks and everyone stares.

Poetry

Society

Sometimes I’m amazed at how kind complete strangers can be, even if it’s just a simple gesture – stopping to let me cross the road at a busy time.

Occasionally, it makes me forget that just because I can’t always see the shade, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Crash. The day is hazed as it all leaks back to the forefront again. An article about the state of animals transported abroad.

It makes me choke. So much cruelty. So much ignorance. So much death.

Enter news of wars and children killed in a mass of explosions all because grown-ups can’t shake hands.

Tidal waves within me, and I feel powerless and angry.

Yet despite all this, the great hive still buzzes. Even for me, hiding that data in code for the sake of living.

Poetry, Uncategorized

Haste

They called it that when they missed

The  chance

To say goodbye

Business is business, after all

Everything measured in a tiny flask

That swirls its mixture around with

Every stride.

I love you

Going unsaid because the rules say

It must.

 

Poetry

Evaporate

Engines chug away

propelling the clouds into new positions

that people read

as sacred teachings.

Oblivious

to the mechanics behind their prophets.

Those maintaining the perpetual motion

no longer speak or hear

in a common tongue.

Language

is lost to them now.

Reviews

Book review: Around the Universe in 10 -43 Second by Manu Breysse

A few weeks ago I was sent a copy of this book by the author as a prize in a draw I’d entered by offering my opinion on which cover he should use for the English edition (which mine is), as the original was written in French. Now, sci-fi isn’t one of my go-to genres, but when I do read it, I quite like it. And I liked this book. A lot.

The basic premise is that Earth (or Terra, as it’s called in the book), mysteriously vanished a loooong time ago, with a few surviving humans still lurking about elsewhere in the Universe. However, on a very small planet, there is a country similar to Ancient Egypt, which is home to a humanoid species. In fact, their King, Sareth, is very much like a Pharaoh, and is not the nicest guy around, due to the fact that he’s very quick to put people to death.

Anyway, just as Sareth’s about to have someone killed, a portal appears and he’s transported to another planet, where the technology is much more advanced – in fact, they have an enormous library which has the history of just about everything, including how his species came to be. But Sareth, knowing nothing of science, simply can’t get his head around the fact that it was a stray food container and not God, that started life on his planet. Then he happens to see a button claiming to take him to the meaning of life. He presses it – and error 404 pops up. Their is a bug in the library database, and all knowledge of the meaning of life has disappeared. Depressed, Sareth stumbles into a bar where he meets Jah, a memory-less alcoholic, who later introduces him to his psychiatrist, Sigmufred. Sigmufred is appalled that the meaning of life has disappeared – after all, most of his clients come to him for help after they’ve learnt what it is. So, to stop himself going out of business, Sigmufred, his daughter Straecia, Jah and Sareth all get on board the Flamboyant, an old ship with an occasionally sassy on-board computer, to travel around the Universe in search of the meaning of life.

As my not-so-brief synopsis might allude, this is a rather crazy book that in no way attempts to take itself seriously. However, it does touch on some quite philosophical questions and there is a lot of subtle (and not so subtle) political and social commentary. What I really enjoyed is that the narrator is treated as a character, and as they directly address you to explain the details of how things work, there is a lot of fourth wall breaking going on. This made all the info dumping (there’s lots of space-time continuum, pandimensional and 5th dimension explanations) actually relevant and interesting, and didn’t interrupt the flow of the narrative (because a narrator can’t really interrupt themselves, I suppose…).

Now, there was one thing that made me stumble a few times while reading, and that was the dialogue tags – in this case, there is a distinct lack of them. And with a big group of characters as Around the Universe boasts, there were times when I had no idea who was saying what. Whether in the French version, it’s made clear who’s talking by the vocabulary and style they use when speaking and that that’s simply been lost in translation, I don’t know, but it was definitely a setback in my enjoyment of the story. There were perhaps one or two characters that could have had a bit more development, but it was such a whirlwind of a story that I’m not sure how that could have been achieved.

Overall, I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this, as I probably would have passed over it otherwise – as I said above, sci-fi is not normally a genre I think about reading. Now I can say that this book has certainly inspired me to widen my scope. The whole thing was fun from beginning to end, and as this is the first book in a trilogy, I am absolutely looking forward to the next book.

Great job, Manu!