The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Monday, 10 December 2018

War of the Worlds' HMS Thunder Child (A Devastation class ship)

1. Did you enjoy the dreadful thought of the War of the Worlds Tripod Fighting Machines from Mars?

2. What About the War of the Worlds 1953 Radio Broadcast?

3. Or the Jeff Wayne War of the Worlds Musical?

Imagine it from the cool maths game point of view. The Martians did not make an allowance for a world of warships. Therefore, war and thunder spitting from the ironclad's guns would take the complacent Martians, in their fighting machines, by surprise.

Science Fiction Lovers Indulge This Thought.

Imagine, if you will, how it would have been to be a Victorian sailor from retro British times of 1898. You are on board HMS Thunder Child and the ship is picking up strange semaphore messages from the shore stations. Invaders from Mars are striding about and destroying the entire fabric of our nation. Would you believe such outrages things? The entire ship would be alive with speculation and disbelief. These sailors were destined to see three Martian fighting machines and confront the colossal edifices in battle.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

A Glorious Sunny Winter Day.

I knew I would enjoy today at work. I got up at 4 am and went out the side door to the carport. I looked up, and although it was cold and frosty, the night sky was clear. The moon and the stars looked great. I knew it would be a clear blue yet chilly day. 

It was indeed. I spent the day driving around the Fenland, close to Chatteris. I went to a small village called Benwick. Here, I stopped and drank in the glorious sight of the crisp morning. It felt like Heaven on Earth. I got out my mobile and tried to capture the moments as I walked along the river bank. It felt wonderful to be alive and out on this smashing day. 

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Abora Invasion Earth by Michael Nicolson (My Goodreads Review)

Abora Invasion Earth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A humanoid looking race of aliens arrives on Earth seeking sanctuary. Their homeworld is dying. The British Prime Minister of the year 2070 decides to allow a settlement in the Highlands of Scotland. These humanoid looking aliens are like Nephilim giants from biblical myth. Some of the aliens have more sinister requirements. Much to the dismay of most alien settlers and completely unacceptable to the local population. Instead of looking at the sheep and cattle as livestock some of the aliens see the smaller humans as a source of protein. In some ways, the story reminds me of some of the Edmund Cooper style science fiction books I often read. Well worth reading.

View all my reviews

Monday, 26 November 2018

Cast, Crew and Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood by Veronica Cline Barton(My Goodreds Review)

Cast, Crew, & Carnage; the Filming of Castlewood Manor (2)

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the first story, Cherrywood Hall wins the rights for the new and exciting TV saga serious called Castlewood Manor. This is done with the help of a distant American cousin who helps the aristocratic family in the contest. The American lady is 27 years old Gemma Lancaster Phillips.

In this second story, Gemma is organising various promotional events for the up and coming show. They have a wide range of publicity agents and helpers among the British upper classes who want to help. There are models for the period costume designs. TV interviews etc. All manner of things is happening. Gemma Lancaster Phillips is in the thick of it and in love with her distant Lancaster family cousin, Kyle. Everything is going swimmingly well. Until diabolical scheming and then murder rears an ugly head.

Gemma finds herself the target of attention from the fiendish and anonymous attentions of un-well-wishers. A splendid who is doing this read. Lots of great characters too. If you like Murder Mystery and suspense with upper-class glamour, champagne and paparazzi, I’m certain you will like the Cherrywood Hall sagas.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 24 November 2018

The Fall of House Ramanov (The Fall of Europe's Eagles)

House Ramanov

Russia, as most people know, is a gigantic country that covers over 17 million square miles. There is no other nation like it. Part is in Eastern Europe and another bigger part is in Northern Asia. It also stretches south into the Middle East near Turkey and Iran. This colossal country was always hard to govern over so vast an area with many different types of peoples.

Tsar Nicholas II
During the time of the last and final Tsar Nicholas II, there was just one railway running across the vastness of Russia into Siberia, the Asian part of the nation. This meant that much of the country was cut off. The peasants lived in humble ignorance of many things that everyday laymen in other nations took for granted. Passing news and other resources like food and machinery was extremely difficult. Much of the peasant population was neglected.

Those people that chose not to live in the countryside as peasants worked in cities like Moscow or St Petersburg. They would work in factories and live the lives of the downtrodden proletariat – low paid, bad working conditions, and horrendously crowded living accommodation. Many found food sustenance lacking and the ordinary city dweller had a very bad diet. Early mortality among the proletariat was common due to such harsh living conditions.

These people began to harbour a growing frustration and resentment towards the high ranking and privileged classes that ruled over them and they wanted to change their poor circumstance by improving their standard of living. They did all the usual things like form trade unions and strike for better conditions. Also, they tried to bring reasonable protests before the government and their Tsar Nicholas II. It was to no avail and often they would be imprisoned for, what Tsar and government thought, taking liberties they were not entitled too. The rulers would not accept a concept that freedom and fairness was a right that they (Tsar and rulers) should not be allowed to grant or take away.

Many who led such demonstrations of protest were forced into prison camps in Siberia or forced to go into exile. In 1905, things became so bad that a delegation of strikers and other citizens tried to gain an audience with the Tsar at his palace. These people hoped the Tsar would meet with them, but instead an army unit was used to open fire killing upwards of 500 protesters. More were captured and interned with others being tried and executed.

The Russian masses were willing to follow anyone with the right know how to make their miserable lives better. Living in exile were several young antagonists who believed in the doctrines of a man called Karl Marx. These were termed Marxists and one such man was called Lenin. He knew that one day the Tsarist regime and its governors would need to be replaced so that Russia could become a modern country where educated masses could all play a part in the running of the country and all would be able to have a decent standard of living. None would be able to have the privilege that the ruling classes of imperial Russia enjoyed at the workers and peasants expense.

Of course, in theory, this is easier said than done. Lenin attended meeting after meeting, addressed committee after committee, in exile, all over Europe from Britain to Switzerland. If Lenin learned one thing, while attending these meetings, it was that sometimes he would have to ride roughly shod over some of the new voices that were clambering to be heard. There were so many points of view from so many well meaningful people and no one could please all the people all the time. Some of the things brought up were obscure and secondary in significance to the needs of revolutionary change. The revolutionary groups had to be brought into line under one firm leadership that could establish control when the time for change would come.

Lenin had the foresight to see that if a revolution did take place, there might be so many small radical groups deliberating of trivia – doing the same thing back home as in exile, that it could be usurped before it got off of the ground by middle-class academics with an organised police force behind it. The workers and peasants would jump from oppression into another led by a new young middle-class intelligentsia. This he feared and he knew he would have to act swiftly if and when the time came.

That he might be an oppressor and of the young intelligentsia did not occur to him and if it did, he was the better way, from his point of view. He set about building his revolutionary groups by uniting them with the common goal of attaining power first and foremost. All else could be sorted later when a rudimentary law was established in the post-revolutionary Russia. This had not occurred yet and seemed a long way off, but he continued to try and shape a basis of Marxist power in exile – one that would be ready to enter Russia and take up the power vacuum if the weak and ineffectual Tsar was deposed.

In 1914 Russia was forced into a war with the Central powers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the German Empire. France and Great Britain joined imperial Russia for the biggest imperial family falling out the world had ever seen. I know to call it such is perhaps disrespectful, but I am an ordinary person sitting on a computer enjoying a look back, and this Great War was to bring about the deaths of many decent people all across the world. I can’t help but get cross by that thought sometimes. I find the events and privileged people involved in all this dreadful, fascinating and compelling. I’m sure many were good who accidentally brought about ill for the many and with hindsight; many of these grand rulers would not have trod the path they did. Perhaps I would have made exactly the same mistakes if I had been one of these high-ranking rulers. In reality, they were as much victims of their environment as others, but it was still a reckless inter-imperial family squabble that would turn Europe upside down and leave it in turmoil for much of the 20th century.

Tsar Nicholas II mobilised his army and went to war against the Central Powers of Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire. From the start, Russia’s war effort was mismanaged. There were problems with government and logistics, industrial output and continuous replacement of high ranking officers and officials in army and government. Tsarina Alexandra was becoming more unpopular because of her influence over the Tsar. That she was also a German did not help matters. She was often referred to as, ‘The German Woman’ in cold terms. The Tsar was the absolute ruler and he often dissolved the Duma (Parliament) and called it together as and when he saw fit. He appointed ministers that would do his bidding and if they did not, he sacked them. To fall foul of the Tsarina could destroy a political career. To win her favour could bring great power.

One such person was a strange priest called Father Grigory or Rasputin as he became known. He had pleased Tsarina Alexandria because of spiritual help he had brought to her and her young haemophiliac son Alexis. She persuaded her husband Tsar Nicholas II to bestow government powers over him, much to the despair of his Duma representatives. The Tsar finally left his Tsarina wife Alexandria to watch over matters of government while he went to the front too, as he put it, share in the responsibilities of conducting the war against Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Things got worse. On the front, his soldiers became openly mutinous towards their officers. In some parts, they shot their leaders while in Moscow and Petrograd (St Petersburg) more strikes and civil unrest escalated. Also, Rasputin, the mad monk, was killed. Eventually, some men in the Duma invoked a call for the Tsar to abdicate. A man called Alexander Kerensky who was a socialist-led the rebellion in the Duma. He was one of the very types of the young intelligentsia that Lenin feared.

As the Tsar was on board a train coming back from the front to one of his palaces to try and take control of the internal strife in his country; he and his entourage were stopped by his army along the route. He was confronted by one of his high ranking officers who tried politely to say that his signature of abdication was needed and the Duma would now be taking control of the country and the continued war with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. At first, the Tsar tried to remonstrate but then Nicholas was firmly told that the Duma and Armed forces demanded his abdication.

In layman’s terms, the Tsar was sacked but the men that did it were not so radical that they would harm the Tsar. Kerensky had every ambition of continuing the war against the Central Powers of Europe. However, other cogs of the political wheel were set in motion. The Marxist groups led by Lenin were in exile in Switzerland and his political agenda was to end the pointless imperial war with Central Europe. As far as Lenin was concerned, the imperialist aristocrats could carry on their war and leave Russia to sort her internal problems out.

Germany, at war with Russia, saw an opportunity to help replace the Russian government with one that would end the war on the Eastern front. It would allow Germany to release a large number of divisions over to the western front against France and Great Britain’s Empire forces. However, the ministers needed to persuade Kaiser Wilhelm II to allow Lenin and his revolutionary Marxists to pass through German territory into Russia from Switzerland – something that Wilhelm was not keen on. The Tsar was, after all, his cousin and he thought rightly, that Germany would be replacing an imperial power with a Bolshevik one that would one day threaten them more then Tsarist Russia could.

In the end, the Kaiser relented and Lenin and his cohorts were transported across Germany from Switzerland into Russia. From here Lenin was met by members of the new Soviet guard (loyal to his cause) and they escorted him to Petrograd. The middle-class intelligentsia of the Duma that had been trying to take over the masses and keep them in the war effort against Germany was replaced by Lenin and his men who enjoyed the support of the masses - the Marxists had won power. Some of the Duma where removed, some fled to join the White army, some joined the Marxists and others of little use to the Marxists were killed or interned. Russia’s aristocracy and upper ruling classes were about to pay the bill for years of imperialist oppression. Many that could get away fled abroad never to return – others were not so fortunate.

The former Tsar Nicholas and his wife Alexandria were handed over to the Bolsheviks along with his young son and heir Alexis – also his four daughters Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia. For a while, the defunct Royal family was transported to various locations and held in continual captivity. While any Romanov lived the White Russian forces, who still tried to fight on, hoped to restore the monarchy one day. Eventually, the inevitable decision was made by the Bolsheviks to be rid of the Romanov Royal family forever. In July of 1918 the entire Royal family, along with some Royal household servants who had remained with them, were killed as they were lined up in the cellar of a house near the Ural mountains. A Chech unit of the White army was battling the Reds close by. A group of hardened Bolsheviks came before the family and servants and shot everyone in a violent and evil end to the Romanov dynasty. The bloodline had ended and with it the Russian monarchy - forever. 

Romanov's final moments before Bolshevik executioners.

A New Meaning to Heavy Metal.

I saw this clip on LinkedIn. I had to download and use on this blog. It reminds me of an old science fiction Brit flick from the 80s. I think it was called Hardware. The film had this demented killer robot in it. It was a b flick really, but I think it had a cult appeal to it. There was a cameo appearance of two Eastenders soap actors in the film. They played father and son in the soap opera and they played a father and son roll in the science fiction movie too. 

These heavy metal dudes bring an ominous yet compelling look of dystopian horror. Despite the music, there is a gruesome appeal.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Lamentation by C.J. Sansom (My Goodreads Review)

Lamentation (Matthew Shardlake, #6)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another riveting episode of the hunchback lawyer, tackling a diabolical conspiracy against Queen Katherine Parr - the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII. It is 1546 and the final months of the grand and volatile old king's life are playing out. Matthew Shardlake is asked to attend the royal court and brought before a small council. Katherine Parr is in a desperate situation. Religious fundamentalism is at its height. The radical left has Protestants competing for ultimate power while the conservative and traditional Catholics are trying to restore the old ways of religion. The old king is flirting with Rome and a new found peace. Is he going to compromise?

Queen Katherine Parr has written a confession of a sinner lamentation work. A written piece that could cause tremendous political ramifications for England and the old king. This private work has been stolen. But which fraction has it? Matthew Shardlake is given the task of recovering it. He comes up against diabolical conspiracies along the way. It all leads to a dreadful and unbelievable consequence. A great tour through Tudor England and a highly recommended read.

View all my reviews