Patrick G Cox

Tempus Fugit!

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun ... April sort of vanished in a welter of other demands (like Easter ...) and a week in the UK visiting family, and now half of May is gone as well. So what have I been doing? Actually quite a lot, and it has meant neglecting things like blogging. Looking back though I am astonished at just how much time has elapsed since I first set out to write a SciFi story based on the concept of someone from the 18th Century flung forward in time. That was the original concept behind Harry Heron, and its taken on a life of its own.

Keeping up with events

The old Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" seems to have landed on us all at the moment. Since my last post here in February, the world seems to have done several backflips, a somersault or two, and lord alone knows what its doing in the political sphere at the moment. In all of this I've been busy trying to get a couple of stories written. Now that, you might think, is simple. Produce an outline and synopsis, and then knuckle down and write!

Life imitates art?

Around fourteen years ago I began developing my ideas for the Harry Heron adventures. The idea arouse out of my reading an article which suggested that with our modern lifestyles, we were rapidly losing old skills, some of them key to survival should we find ourselves deprived of some of our modern 'conveniences'. That started me wondering what would happen if someone from the past was projected into the future. Okay, there would be a huge knowledge gap, and there'd be other problems for the character as well, but the key question is what would he or she bring to the future that might have been lost, or perhaps was simply no longer the way people responded?

Evolution At Work

It is interesting (at least I find it interesting) to speculate on how humans might adapt to a new, or very different, environment to the one that has produced us. As I wrote a few months ago, this is one of the challenges when creating believable aliens for science fiction, even if you don't want them to be able to talk to or work with human protagonists. I know I'm not the first author to deal with this as it is a very tricky area. If you think of some of the Star Wars aliens as an example, many would really be hard pressed to communicate with their human counterparts, and some are, quite frankly, not really believable. The aliens in Farscape were much more realistic, and the solution to the communication problem creative (I do enjoy the Babble Fish idea in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy ...), but one problem with any kind of translation/translator is that a large part of communication is neither verbal nor even oral.

New Year; New Stories

Time to start a new year with a wish for all my readers that you have a great year to look forward to. From where I sit it is looking exciting. Harry Heron; Into the Unknown will be turned into an audio book later this year, and the next in the Harry Heron series, Harry Heron: Awakening Threat, will be published. It is going to be a busy year, and an exciting one. There's plenty to do, and lots more writing to be done an, as Sir Terry Pratchett once remarked, writing is the most fun you can have on your own.

Future Food

Ever wonder what we could do to replace our present rather cruel provision for supplying meat for our ever growing populations? In order to produce 'cheap' meat for the supermarkets, we currently use industrial style farming in which pigs, chickens and other animals are born in pens, grow up in pens, and are taken from those pens to the slaughterhouse. Given what we now know about animal intelligence, how they experience pain, emotions - all the things we experience - there is a growing awareness that we have to find ways to do this more humanely.

Creating Aliens ...

I expect it is a challenge every Science Fiction author faces. Let's face it, if you are writing about interstellar travel, you are, at some point, going to have to meet alien life forms. It is extremely unlikely they/it will look anything like we do. Why? Put simply, because "life" tends to adapt to a range of things such as the environment it inhabits, the available food sources, the kind of atmosphere it lives in (and water is an atmosphere ...), the gravitational field of the planet, and even the radiation it must live with emitted by the local sun. If you think about it, you rapidly realise that this raises a number of challenges when you expect humans to interact with it.

Exploring Audio

Very excited to be exploring creating Audio Book versions of the Harry Heron series. This is a project I have wanted to explore for some time now, and think I have finally got something that will make it possible. I am very pleased with this sample clip from Harry Heron: Into the Unknown is produced by Abbey Sound in the UK, and voiced by Lee Beddow, the owner and producer. I am looking forward now to getting this project started and working with Lee and my Publisher, IndieGo Publishing to get it done.

Fiction Driving Innovation?

I read some time ago an article which suggested that science fiction was an essential driver in moving science forward in practical ways. The writer of that pointed to the "communicators" envisioned in Star Trek as a prime example, suggesting that the original concept provided the kernel of the idea that grew into mobile phones. I suspect that can be argued several ways, but it is certainly true that as one looks back at some of the classic scifi, there is a lot to suggest there is something in the idea. I can think of several references in the writing of Heinlein or Asimov that have real examples in everyday use today. Some, of course, like Heilein's "Thorsen Tubes" - programmable "tubes" which provided the memory for his automated machines - have their equivalent in today's solid state hard drives and USB Sticks. Artificial Intelligence, a dream twnety years ago, still very basic in application ten years ago, is now used in quite a large number of applications, though it still isn't quite up to the level of HAL 9000 in the classic scifi movie 2001: A Space Odessey.

Very Encouraging

A very nice response to the release of Harry Heron: Savage Fugitive!

Sales in the week since it was released have been very good, and best of all, I am starting to see revived sales in the earlier books thanks to readers who have enjoyed this one and gone looking for the others. As an author it is a really good feeling to know that people are reading and enjoying your books. For those that haven't encountered the Harry Heron series, they are:

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