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September 23, 2006

Venturing into new waters ....

With retirement looming large the Monk has been busy looking at alternatives. One venture he began to explore recently is the possibility of publishing a work of fiction .... So, having started this book as a bit of fun it is now with the Publishers, AuthorHouse, and will hopefully hit the sales outlets in time for everyone to buy it for Christmas.

The cover design for the book reflects the story - three young men snatched from one period of history into the future ....

It has been great fun writing it and quite a challenge too. Surprising how much one needs to look up in order to write believable Sci-fi, you really cannot just make it all up anymore. Keeping track of characters - and choosing names for those you create is also quite a task. Some of the little devils develop minds of their own and do some things out of the sequence you originally planned and you just have to live with it and check that it hasn't thrown something else in another part of the book.

The book is titled "Out of time" and will be on sale through Author House and Amazon in time for Christmas. It will also be available in some Waterstones stores and, if I can really push my luck, may even be in jolly old WHSmith as well. If you'd like to see what it is about, I have an extract in the extended post below!

Starliner Artemis: January 2204

The Chairman of the Board of Interplanetary Development Consortium was in an ebullient mood as he greeted the assembling chairmen and board members of the various companies in which the Consortium had a stake. IPD existed in two parts, the visible arm being the great freighters that shuttled between the earth and the growing number of colony worlds and the various mining and industrial operations on moons and asteroids dotted about the section of the galaxy the Consortium’s ships could reach. The less visible holding company that actually controlled, through various guises and false front corporations, almost two thirds of the world’s major listed companies. This situation was the result of years of work on the part of several previous chairmen – in fact it was something the present chairman had been involved in from the start of his apprenticeship with the company some forty years earlier. The brainchild of a triumvirate of businessmen who saw in the inexorable rise of the bureaucracies that were slowly strangling the great democracies, an opportunity for the new aristocracy, the leaders of commerce and industry and their selected henchmen in the political classes, to seize control of government and direct the fate of nations for their advantage. The last hundred years had been spent in putting in place the people and the means by which this could be achieved and now they stood on the eve of obtaining that prize.
There was only one obstacle in the way of this ambition, a Fleet of starships established at almost the same time as the Consortium by visionary politicians who saw a need to have a powerful force of ships and men who could defend the earth and its multi-cultural peoples. A Fleet moreover, independent of political control, dedicated to the service of the ideals of the Alliance that created it. A Fleet composed of ships contributed by the various governments, and nominally manned and supported by them, but falling under the command of its own governing authority. Here the Consortium had not managed to penetrate, as it had hoped to do, into the command structure or the controlling authority. So they had changed their focus and, through the short-sightedness of the bureaucrats, obtained control of the support facilities instead. Thus, the Consortium now controlled the weapons development and repair company WeapTech, the repair docks and the building facilities in space within the solar system. As he rose to open the meeting, Ari Khamanei reflected with satisfaction that this had allowed him to build a fleet of his own at the expense of the Alliance Fleet and the bureaucrats and their political masters had even paid him to do it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for taking the time to attend our conference, I am sure you will all find it rewarding.” he began, “I have excellent news to report to this assembly, the first we have held since the conference in 2199 in New Babylon. The work our founders began in 2089 is about to come to full fruition. Thanks to the enterprise of our many agents, we now have our people in key positions in all the ministries in the European Confederacy, and in the North American Union. In the Russian Federation we have key ministers as well as their bureaucrats and in the Southern European Union we have complete control of all ministries and the political parties. Only the defence forces controlled by the Fleet Authority remain outside of that control, but we now control their repair facilities, their weapons development and the ship building yards. We have also infiltrated their crews – as yet, not at command level, but our people are excellently placed to ensure that, when the time comes, the Fleet’s ships will not be able to strike against us.” Sure he now had their attention he continued as the huge screen behind him lit up and began to show pictures of huge new ships, bristling with weaponry, “I give you our fleet, ladies and gentlemen, every ship superior to its equivalent class in the Alliance Fleet, and now ready and manned by our own officers and ratings. Every ship that you see here has been built in our own facilities and at the expense of the Alliance, paid for by the gullible bureaucrats as we simply inflated costs once they had given us complete control of their own facilities.” He paused as his audience laughed, and then added, “It was once said by a Russian Premier I believe, that the Communist philosophy would ultimately hang all the Capitalists – after the Capitalists had sold them the rope for the purpose. We, ladies and gentlemen, have turned that statement into a reality!” He smiled as they laughed at this, “I have called this conference to tell you that the time has come to start the hangings.”
His speech continued for some time as he outlined the work and the achievements of the individuals and the companies under the consortium’s umbrella. Included in this were advances in genetic engineering, xeno-biological advances which allowed them to control access to medicine, colonial development and, to an extent, energy sources and resources for the world’s population. Exuding confidence, he outlined for them the next steps – steps which would take them to their ultimate goal of taking over the government of the Alliance nations, “First the Alliance,” he told them, “then the rest of the world. And we are ready. Those first steps will be taken in a matter of months. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you control of the democratic world and the colonies they govern!”

Bombay: 1804

HMS Spartan, seventy-four guns, HMS Rajahstan, forty guns, and HMS Swallow, twenty-two, weighed anchor and slowly made their way out of the roadstead to set a course south eastward towards the Cape of Good Hope, some seven thousand miles away. Homeward bound for the Spartan and her crew, she was turning homeward after a voyage begun in 1801 just after the Treaty of Amiens, and which had taken her to Port Jackson in New South Wales, the South Sea Islands and thence through the Coral Sea and into the Bay of Bengal. From there she had sailed to Trincomalee and onwards round into the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to Bombay.
Midshipman Heron stood with the large signal telescope resting in the crook of his elbow as his signal party folded and stowed the flags from the signal just hauled down. He watched as the sloop Swallow, crowded on sail in order to beat her way to the station assigned to her as the eyes of the squadron in the van, ahead of the ponderous seventy-four. Astern, the sleek frigate Rajahstan settled into the larger ship’s wake. Henry Nelson-Heron, or Harry, as his friends called him, had been twelve when he joined this ship after six months in HMS Bellerophon. Now, his fifteenth birthday recently behind him, he was already a seasoned sailor and trusted by his officers as a promising leader. He had enjoyed this voyage and felt very privileged to have been able to see and do so much, but now he was looking forward to seeing his home again, in the soft and cooler climate of County Down.
With luck, he reflected, they would be home in a little over four months.

Posted by The Gray Monk at September 23, 2006 09:34 PM

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Best of luck with the book. Be sure to let us know when it hits the shops. GF will be first in line.

Posted by: Gorse Fox at September 23, 2006 11:23 AM