The Last Days of Thunder Child

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

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Banderas She Sells

The Banderas were a female British duo consisting of Caroline Buckley as vocalist and violinist/keyboardist Sally Herbert. Most people remember their great track: This is Your Life. I also liked this one above: She Sells. How very right they are.

Hoora for Moyra Melons new ear rings

Moyra Melons was determined that her square shaped red ear rings would not steal the show, so she decided to make a Christmas pudding to take the blokes' thoughts away from her more alluring attributes - a fabulous pair of crimson ear rings.

It just goes to show that when it comes to playing down her exciting ear rings; Moyra can always pull something out of the bag. Something that will distract your attention away from the dazzling ear bling.

It only works for a short time though. After a while, I find my pre-occupation returning to Moyra Melons' enticing lobes. Don't you? 

About William Horwood's Duncton Wood

I remember buying Duncton Wood from a booksellers in Cheapside, London. I worked in the Royal Mail, King Edward building.

I was instantly drawn to this book, because I had read Watership Down and thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy of living in the rabbit kingdom.

Duncton Wood (the first story) stands complete by itself. Further stories followed in the same fantasy world, which I admit; I did not read. The first (Duncton Wood) was a marvelous adventure for anyone who wants to escape into the animal world.

Duncton Wood is a kingdom of moles given human-like qualities of speech and advanced society, similar to the rabbits in Richard Adams' Watership Down. The hero mole is called Bracken and he falls in love with a female mole called Rebbecca who is the daughter of a tyrannical  mole called Mandrake. The story is wonderfully written and the reader is taken on a quest - almost like a biblical animal saga. The mole community is overshadowed by a huge stone circle, like many that are about the British Isles. These monolithic stones dominate and shape the mole's world. During the story all sorts of other interesting characters appear including the old crippled scribe mole from Uffington. His name is Boswell. This tale is good by it's own standing as I have read only this one.

After the success of Duncton Wood, other stories followed: Duncton Quest and Duncton Found made up the trilogy of the Duncton Wood Chronicles.

There followed another trilogy called Duncton Tales, Duncton Rising, and Duncton Stone.

Thunder Child

Have you ever enjoyed H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, an all time classic Science Fiction story written in 1898? It tells of a Martian invasion that begins in Britain in the County of Surrey just South West of London. Close to a town called Woking. In fact, if you ever visit the town there is a statue of a Martian tripod in the shopping center. If you have read this story, you will know of the ironclad H.M.S. Thunder Child that is forced to defend the paddle steamer full of refugees. Do you wonder what it would be like to join the crew a few days before the event? You could follow the brave men on their terrible journey around the coastline and up the River Blackwater to Maldon and the final confrontation with three Martian tripods?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

War of the Worlds - Why Did Thunder Child Attack the Martian Tripods?

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.

As an impressionable young lad, I always found myself pondering such things.

I would walk about in my dream thinking, “If I was in that story, I would do this or that.” I found myself wishing for all sorts of adventures.

When I read H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, I remember getting a tremendous lift out of the short excerpt when an ironclad called H.M.S. Thunder Child attacked three Martian tripods in the River Blackwater to save a paddle steamer full of refugees. 

It was not more than half a page and the uplifting and brave event was short lived. Yet it achieved great admiration from me as a young and impressionable avid reader. Anyone who has read War of the Worlds or listened to Jeff Wayne's musical adaptation will know. 

In my mind's eye, I wanted to know more about the crew and the bold ironclad. I found myself reinventing a small section of the story from a whole new perspective. I wondered what it would have been like to be on such a ship that cruised into legend, blazing away at the Martian abominations in defence of mankind.

The Last Days of Thunder Child.

(Science Fiction Fan's Pastiche Story.)

Have you ever enjoyed H.G. Wells War of the Worlds, an all-time classic Science Fiction story written in 1898? It tells of a Martian invasion that begins in Britain in the County of Surrey just South West of London. Close to a town called Woking. In fact, if you ever visit the town there is a statue of a Martian tripod in the shopping centre. If you have read this story, you will know of the ironclad H.M.S. Thunder Child that is forced to defend the paddle steamer full of refugees. Do you wonder what it would be like to join the crew a few days before the event? You could follow the brave men on their terrible journey around the coastline and up the River Blackwater to Maldon and the final confrontation with three Martian tripods?

From Mars, the meteorites shot through space bound for Earth and conquest over all life forms that live there. The Martians were unfeeling towards mankind as humans are to sheep or other lesser creatures.

The meteorites land in fields and woodland. After a time, there emerges the terror of mankind. Colossal tripods, before which, humanity flees as the onslaught of the fighting machines begins. People are destroyed by heat rays and black toxic gas. Those that survive are forced to flee the pursuing devastation.

Aboard H.M.S. Thunder Child, the crew are blissfully unaware of the savage terror. Only the new Captain knows and only upon the journey, at sea, do the crew begin to learn the unbelievable news from semaphore stations.

Fear grips the population and hordes of refugees make for the coastline to flee the country. Their world is gone and only death and destruction follows. Ships of all nations and sizes must aid the mass evacuation...

Amid all of this, the mighty little ironclad, H.M.S. Thunder Child must play her role to the full and rely on the bravery of a small crew.

War of the Worlds pastiche
Britain in 1898.

The Martians really came and this is the alternative history of that dreadful event. Join the crew of HMS Thunder Child as she prepares to embark upon her doomed voyage, before her demise and courageous battle with three Martian tripod fighting machines at the River Blackwater in the county of Essex, England, UK.

Captain McIntosh and his brave crew can hardly believe the semaphore messages sent from the shore stations. The news is so uncanny and fantastic that none can accept the stories of Martians falling from space. All hands of HMS Thunder Child must keep a dreadful appointment with destiny as they cruise towards the dire outcome awaiting them.

The War of the Worlds first terrified audiences in book form in 1898, as the first-person narrative tells us the adventures of an unnamed protagonist and his brother as Martians invade Earth. But there were other characters with stories to tell.

C. A. Powell delves into H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and offers fans of the original novel a brand new perspective on the invasion of Earth. In The Last Days of Thunder Child, we see this classic through the eyes of the Royal Navy crew members of HMS Thunder Child and the land-based Ministry of Defence. With this pastiche novel, you will have an even greater understanding and appreciation of the original classic. 

Find out what happens and read: The Last Days of Thunder Child By C.A. Powell

Prepare for the voyage of HMS Thunder Child as she cruises towards her destiny.

What makes a book what it is?

Modern-day Science fiction has a lot of things that the writers of the past had to quite literally makeup. Computers, communication devices and space travel are all real. Somehow, though the creativity of the writers of science fiction today still pushes the boundaries of imagination that few other genres manage to do. However, it is not just science fiction, or more likely science fact, writing that has pushed the envelope when it comes to good storytelling.

Fantasy stories such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson have much of what Tolkien wrote about in the Lord of the Rings and that C S Lewis wrote about in the impressive and still hugely popular Narnia novels. Readers now as they did then need escapism, something to take them out of the humdrum or stressed out world we live in. Readers need to somehow believe that there is perhaps an alternative existence and hope they can close their eyes and wake up in a dream.

Jules Verne took readers on amazing adventures, under the sea and to the centre of the earth as well as to the moon. His stories were born out of a love for adventure and travel. The only one of his adventures that has not become a reality is to the centre of the earth. But still, we have not sent a man to the core as yet. The best writers tell stories of adventures in places in faraway places with the impossible being just part of the story in the fact that it is just or maybe somehow could happen. Modern-day Clive Cussler stories have much of the adventure contained in a Jules Verne story. True they are aimed at a more mature audience but for the reader, his books are believable escapism with a perfect blend of possible, impossible and who knows if it could be possible. Raise the Titanic? It has been done with other ships so why not?

But what is it that makes a writer write a book that enthrals a generation of readers?

The popularity of Narnia and Middle Earth are still as popular today as they were in the mid-1900s when they were conceived and written. There was something in them that made each page come alive and something that is as real today as it was then.

The reason why the books were and are so popular is adversity. When Tolkien’s and Lewis’ books were written, the world was in a state of turmoil. The depression was ending when Tolkien published the Hobbit in 1937 and World War II had just ended five years prior to the publication of the Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe. People needed cheering up, times for most people times were hard, there was no TV, cinema was a treat and money was scarce for many forms of entertainment.

Books and reading became an affordable and enjoyable pastime that has remained today. Modern books in paperback or hardback outstrip sales of e-books despite the convenience of a Kindle but nonetheless, books are still popular. It could be said that many modern authors are heavily influenced by other writers and this is not surprising and despite this great stories still emerge even if there is a hint that we may have heard the story before.

 Yes, we live in a tough world but it is nowhere near as dark and worrisome as it was in times past. The world is not at war, countries are not being invaded and while the economy could be better, it is nowhere near as bad as it was in the 1930s. Writers of science fiction, fantasy and adventure have to dig a little deeper to find their inspiration and make a book a best seller, they need to find some adversity that the world can understand.

People want to read, they want good stories, and there are many great and lesser-known authors today who enthral readers.  Harry Potter did a good job of getting kids to read and for many struggling writers the story behind J K Rowling gave them the courage to write. The reason for the success of Harry Potter was that it was a story like nothing before. Witches, Wizards and Muggles took the world by storm and the success is a story all on its own. It worked because of originality, some crazy almost believable storyline and it stretched the imagination of the reader to the perfect sweet spot.

Other authors can inspire writers and always will but it takes some form of adversity to create an original best seller. J K Rowling had long train journeys and nothing to do and Harry, Ron and Hermione popped into her mind. Rowling’s characters and the theme was unique, other writers try to “write a book like” another author, Rowling didn’t.  While a story may well be enjoyable, it is perhaps a little predictable, the sense of trying to be a Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burrows or C S Lewis and the fact someone is aspiring to this level is just too difficult to ignore. Those who imitate a style or rewrite the same or similar plot will sell, the escapism will always work but for success originality is the key, taking readers to new places in between the pages of their minds.

Writers over the generations have taken readers to places they could never imagine and places they would be too scared to imagine. Edgar Rice Burroughs took readers into the Jungle Tarzan and to Mars with John Carter, two extremes that were and still are in many cases impossible to live in reality. His stories are still popular and fresh today.

Not many people will know that Robert E. Howard a writer of what is commonly called Pulp Fiction died at the age of 30 in 1936.  Howard was a prolific author of many books and stories that inspire thousands of authors every day.  Howard took people out of this world in some of the most well-read and well-known stories and themes specialising in Sword and Sorcery stories and ending his final years before his suicide writing westerns. Howard’s influence today in much of the fantasy and adventure stories is close to impossible to deny, he was a master who died too soon.

The combination of the influence of other writers and some form of adversity makes for good reading. If a reader can relate and the imagination is pushed into a sweet spot of almost real readers will turn the page. It is hard to think where we would be today without the writers of the past who have blazed a trail for the writers of tomorrow who dare to dream and then put it down in words.

Cortina Mk 3 in the 70s car showrooms

Sometimes the 70s is regarded as a bit of a cheesy decade. I had started secondary school in 1972 in Hornchurch, Essex, UK. I would go down to the shops to buy chips, instead of spending my diner money on a school canteen dinner ticket. Still, that is a silly thing aside. There used to be several car showrooms along the main road and I always loved the Cortina MK 3.

From the basic 1300 to the sublime 2000 GXL with its durable 2.0 litre OHC engine. There were of course other variations between these two ranges and most would admit; give the 1300 a miss. On the basic level, it was as basic as could be expected.

Generally the car was easy to handle though it had considerable body roll and soft suspension. As kids we always liked to look through the car windows of the GXL models because the interior always looked like tomorrow’s world. This was the future and I loved the shape; the small boot with sloped rear window and the longer front. At the time they looked so modern. I would dearly love to own one – a GXL of course, with the wonderful interior. Who knows – maybe one day?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Moyra Melons wondered if her ear rings were too showy.

Moyra Melons new ear rings were single pearls on a small gold leafed mounts. They were subtle but very heavy and she wondered if they were a bit too showy. 'Here look for yourself,' she said bending over so the guys could get a closer look.

I answered honestly and said, "They were very showy, but that's the way a ladies ear rings are supposed to be." Am I not right?

The rest of the blokes could not make their mind's up. They kept asking Moyra to lean forward so they could get a much better look at her marvelous ear rings. I can't, for the life of me, understand why they had to keep asking her to bend forward for another look. The blingful ear regalia was all too obvious without making Moyra go through that same old paraphernalia.

Is it just me, or can't other blokes notice a nice set of ear rings when they are twinkling in front of them? I don't know what else distracts them from such fine ear jewelry, do you?   

H.M.S. Thunder Child at

Pastiche novel.

Queen - Seven Seas Of Rhye (Top Of The Pops) 21. February 1974

This clip and song is the first time I ever remember seeing the band Queen. I had no inkling of how big they would become. I thought they were a bit too glam in their dress when I first see them in this and I thought glam rock was going out. This band certainly was not glam-rock. One only had to listen to the music to realise that. I was looking at they way they were dressed and thought it was a bit yesterday by 1974, plus I was only 13. What did I know? The music however, was definitely tomorrow and I grew to love this band. Now when I hear this particular track; I think it is great. A taste of what was to come from a dynamic band.

Chi Mai with Katica Illenyi playing violin.

Katica Illenyi was born in Hungary 1968. She is a world renowned violinist and singer and started to play at the age of 3. In this clip she plays Chi Mai by Ennio Morricone. It is sublime - please listen.

To play so exquisitely takes great dedication and though I'm no musician, I can appreciate the beauty of this lady about her wonderful craft. It must take hours and hours of practise day in and day out. Katica Illenyi as been doing this from infancy.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Moyra Melons needed reassurance concerning her new ear rings.

Moyra Melons came into the office and candidly asked if her latest ear rings were a bit over the top and stood out too much to the detriment of other things about herself.

The admiring blokes were eager to say, "No Moyra, your ear rings are fabulous and they don't play anything down." I think they genuinely believed this.

To be honest I would have said her ear rings were the most prominent feature about her and do play things down. However, that's the way it should be. I'm sure that is how any red blooded male feels. All that matters is the splendid ear bling and with such finery hanging so tantalisingly, such a lady as Moyra Melons can't go wrong. Would you not agree?

Monty Python - Alien ray that turns victim in to Scotsman

In this Monty Python sketch an alien space craft hovers over the city and zaps humans with a ray that turns the victim into a Scotsman. All part of the abstract humour of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Gregorian Master of Chant - A moment of peace

This is a very well done Gregorian chant and a lady with a sublime voice leading. It is called A Moment of Peace and it is very moving. Hope you enjoy...

The Wicker Man 1973 (Britain's Best Horror flick)

It is called Britain’s best horror movie and I would have to agree. It is not full of gore and most of the film could be termed suspense or thriller, but it is a horror and for probably one reason. That reason however, is terrific. It is one hell of a slap in the face and even though I now know the ending it still does not stop me from enjoying this cult classic film.

I remember the first time I caught it on TV. It was by accident and I did not fancy it when the announcer said, “…and now for our late night film…”

The introduction was a plane flying across the Scottish Isles with this stirring folk music. My imagination was captured immediately. When the boat plane lands in the bay of a remote Scottish Isle, the isolated island folk are very strange towards the mainland policeman who emerges. The Highland constabulary has sent the man to the remote Isle on official police business. He is looking for a young girl who has gone missing.

Everything starts from here and if you have not seen this 1973 movie starring Christopher Lee as the aristocratic lord of Summerisle, Britt Ekland as the pub landlords voluptuous daughter and the hero of our adventure Edward Woodward as the moralistic policeman who will find the missing young girl – one way or another. Also Ingrid Pitt as the librarian and Diane Clento as the school mistress.

It was released as a B movie to 'Don't Look Now' but it gained cult status and began to rise in ratings as the years went on.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Moyra Melons tells office workers to look at her ear rings.

In this photo Moyra Melons is getting ready to go to work, sporting a new set of ear rings for the rest of the office workers to look at. She knows working in an office doing boring admin work can get laborious, to say the least. The men find it exceptionally so, and Moyra makes up for this with some rather pendulant ear bling that hovers sublimely for all to look at. She is a lady who knows how to blow the cob webs away. All the men say it brightens up their day because there is not much else to look at apart from Moyra Melons exciting ear rings. This lady knows how to display her ear jewellery in the humblest of ways. Its a subtle approach and Moyra has a language of her own, which says, "Come on boys, cheer up and look at these." And, of course, they do. Wouldn't you? 

The death of Captain Scarlet

I'm on a little Kiddie nostalgia trip at the moment and it is all because of my youngest son Ryan showing me that old TV advert about breakfast serials. This is a clip when Captain Scarlet (Overtaken by baddie Mysterons) is shot and killed by Captain Blue. He falls to his death but his body reconstructs and though the baddie Captain Scarlet (under Mysteron control) is gone, the good Captain Scarlet returns with indestructible powers. Something accidentally left by the nasty Mysteron aliens. This makes Captain Scarlet higher then a coffin nail and he goes on to have loads of adventures saving Earth from the nasty Mysterons with Captain Blue. Every week Captain Black tries to bring about a new catastrophe for Earth. He is overtaken by the Mysterons too and remains at large.


Tv Theme Captain Scarlet End Credits

The end credits to Captain Scarlet - the indestructible man because his body could re-construct due to the baddie Mysterons making him so.

CAPTAIN SCARLET free badge advert for SUGAR SMACKS

When I was a small boy, there was a lot of wonderful British and American cheesy TV. programmes that really captured the imagination. There were all sorts of fictional heroes and as an infant I had very naïve optimism about the world I lived in. Good was good and bad was bad. It was a world of black and white with no grey areas. Of course this is not the way of the world, it never has been and it never will be. 

The other day my youngest son, Ryan, brought something to my attention when he was on net and it let in, one of those moments. I had to put it here on my Retro Brit scrap book.

Sometimes it is nice to go back and live within that bubble – that fake old world – now packaged in memories of kiddie nostalgia. I clearly recollect one of these three adverts in the above short clip. The one with the free badge from the Captain Scarlet TV show. As soon as I saw the advert as a boy; I was on at my mother to buy that particular serial. This breakfast serial advert was cleverly done in collaboration with one of the old British science fiction puppet shows. They were from the Gerry and Silvia Anderson stories that all children loved in Britain’s sixties decade. It must have worked wholesale, for the breakfast company, because I remember my mother bought two boxes of serial, one for me and one for my sister. This was because we both wanted badges. I got Lieutenant Green and my sister got Captain Scarlet – the prize of all the badges. I was so upset – I was a boy and she was a girl. Girls did not even like Captain Scarlet – it was a show for boys. The entire sulky little boy things within me, bubbled to the surface. For a short time my sister was adamant that she did like Captain Scarlet and wanted to wear the badge, but eventually she gave in and let me have it – the ultimate of all the breakfast serial badges – Captain Scarlet himself.

I went to school wearing my Captain Scarlet badge and other boys had their badges – their parents also buying the breakfast serial. I was the only one who had the Captain Scarlet. This made me the centre of attention and I was about six or seven years of age. It went to my head and I struggled with the temporary celebrity of it all. The school boy champions wanted to swap their badges with me. I remember one having Colonel White and the spectrum emblem badge. These were the best footballers and best fighters in the school and I had hit the big time. All because of my Captain Scarlet badge.

Even in the school boy world of commerce, there are decadent moguls and one such tubby little boy came in with an outrages offer that swamped everything else other school friends could swap. The heavy currency this particular little boy offered was a toy Aston Martin, James Bond car. This was with the obligatory ‘I’ll be your best mate’ thrown in to the bargain as well. I relented and exchanged the badge and acquired this toy with a little man that flew out of the roof when you pressed a clip on the side. My celebrity had been sold short, but I had aquired a James Bond car - another British hero from a world of good and bad - black and white with no grey areas.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Being wooed by Moyra Melons' terrific ear rings.

Some Ladies want to copy Moyra Melons, but they don't have an inkling. There is no attempt at getting better ear rings and because of this; they have lost - straight away. They should abandon their crass and futile attempts at trying to be like Moyra Melons because they will not be able to pull it off.

This is my advice to any ladies out there. Instead of being jealous of Moyra; go out and buy a nice set of ear rings. From this base point you will be able to walk about catching bloke's admiring looks, thus developing a unique look of your own. There is only one Moyra Melons but there is only one you. Keep that in mind.

Nothing is more embarrassing then seeing a couple of nice young ladies trying to pull off this dreadful look alike without the appropriate ear wear. It stands out a mile. It just will not do, and all us guys know what you are trying to do. When we are in pubs, having a geezer chat with one another we say things like, "How vulgar and shallow." and "Where were the ear rings?"

These little touches make all the difference to vulnerable and sensitive blokes like us. We don't like to feel threatened by intrusive ladies with nothing subtle on offer. We want to be wooed by lovely ear rings. Moyra Melons knows her admiriers are as wooed as she wants. That's what makes her such a peach - great ear rings, would you not agree?




Sir Thomas John Woodward was born 1940 in Trefforest, Pontypridd near Cardiff in Wales. He is noted for his powerful voice and charismatic stage presence. He came to fame in the 1960s and has sung most forms of popular music. He is internationally known as Tom Jones. The above clip is Delilah - one of his many famous trade mark songs. He has sold over 100 million records.


Lillian Board and France's Colette Besson

Lillian Board was born in Durban South Africa on December 13th 1948. Her parents returned to their native Britain in 1950 before Lilian was two.

I was a seven year old schoolboy when I first heard the name Lillian Board. We all knew that this nineteen year old athlete was Great Britain’s new golden girl of the track and the Mexico 1968 Olympics was the first games I remember because my junior school teacher, mister Larter, had made a chart that he stuck on the classroom wall. It contained a column of circles: Yellow for gold, Grey for silver and red for bronze. Each morning he would revise the chart and stick Great Britain’s new medals on the chart. We all expected gold for Lillian but got a grey for silver because a French lady called Colette Besson pipped Lilian right on the finishing line. Still Lillian was only nineteen and not yet at her peak. Our golden girl would be better in Munich 1972 - roll on Munich.

In the mean time Lillian Board and Colette Besson would have some fine duels on the track. In the following year Lillian won the European 800 m title and the 4x 400m rely title pipping Colette Besson during the final stages – a roll reversal of the Olympics. Again, Brits were excited and saying roll on Munich.

Before the 1970 Commonwealth Games began in Edinburgh, Lillian Board had to pull out of the games because of pains. Tests revealed a terrible illness. Lillian Board had colorectal cancer and it would tragically claim her life before the year was out on December 26 a few days after her twenty second birthday. The UK was stunned by the death of their golden girl.

She was awarded an MBE in the 1970 New Year honours list and is commemorated in Munich, where she died. An avenue bearing her name leads to the Olympic stadium.

(France’s great athlete, Colette Besson, pays tribute to Lillian in the above clip. She speaks kindly in her native French and both ladies duelled well in these bygone days. Sadley Colette, also passed away of cancer in 2005. Both are sadly missed from that era.)

The Story of H.M.S. Thunder Child at

Join the crew of H.M.S. Thunder Child in this pasiche Science Fiction story. Follow during the days that lead up to the Battle of the Blackwater when the brave ironclad must confront three Martian tripod invaders. Queen Victoria's United Kingdom lies in chaos but H.M.S. Thunder Child while race forward to be counted.