Fiction with an edge

Sunday, 18 March 2018

OMG ...

"Children shouldn't have to worry about spelling ... or grammar - it stifles their young minds. We should just let the essence of their creativity shine through - no matter what."

I was told this 20 years ago by a teacher who felt that corrective red marks on a child's school work was a disincentive and not only inhibited the creative flow, but could bring problems with self -confidence in later life. 

Whether you agree with that philosophy or not, the written word is changing. Text-speak is here among our everyday written language and, like the boundary of the mind, once expanded, will never shrink back. 

So, what's happening in the world of text-speak? 

Words and phrases are now abbreviated to two or three letters (cd -could / wd - would / u -you / pls - please / BTW / OMG / LOL ). Emojis tell us how someone feels. The confusion over there, their and they're - your and you're - it's and its can have us pondering the meanings of posts. The apostrophe is being used for all things plural (MOT's - apple's - snake's). Dates: the 50s, 60s, 70s etc., have become 50's, 60's and 70's. Phrases like "Totes amaze" (totally amazing) -  GR8 M8 (great mate) - have many of us (oldies) stopping to decipher the message on our mobile phone from an eight year old grandchild - to whom phonetic and abbreviated speech is becoming more and more commonplace. 

Is the use of text-speak increasing because our lives are so busy that we must save time anywhere we can? Is it just a lazy use of language? Or, perhaps, a need to fit in with our peers - to be one of the crowd? Or is it that it's become a God-send to the person who finds spelling and grammar difficult to grasp. Does someone who has no particular problem with the English language use text-speak - or soldier on with correctly spelled and grammatically sound posts, complete with commas and full-stops?   

And what happens about legal documents? Will they ever be written in text-speak? Or will there be a cache (possibly 'cash') of lawyers retained for the purpose of composing legal papers at higher and higher fees? I wonder what would happen if the most prolific of text-speak users received his / her house deeds / divorce papers / income tax demand, written in phonetics and emojis? Would he or she feel overjoyed that authority has embraced this modernity - or feel cheated that the documents aren't in the English of the echelon of society which makes the rules?  

Should we allow all aspects of text-speak to creep into full acceptance in everyday written usage? Is little Johnnie's (or Mary's) essay going to be littered with abbreviated words and symbols - something to be deciphered rather than read? Will big John (and Mary's) application to university / job application be full of the same text-speak?  Will it matter? (I suppose if someone decided to associate its use with an assumption that the applicant has come from a particular background and views that as a problem, then it might. Paranoid - moi?)

Could we end up with a number of people unable to read or write anything other than text-speak? Would official forms have to reflect this anomaly?  

Will authors of the future write in two formats? One for those who have grown up with and prefer  text-speak as their reading (and writing) style and one for those who still want to read stories incorporating correct spelling and grammar? 

Was the thinking of that teacher 20 years ago prophetic - or the beginning of the end for the English language as we know it?  I wonder. 

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Here's ... Johnny!

Hi Guys,

Well, it's been a while ... 18 months to be exact. But I'm back! (Actually, I didn't go anywhere - just out of the loop in terms of blogging.)

Lots of stuff has been happening since last I posted - a new great-grandchild, a wife who spent time in hospital having her heart re-aligned (cardioversion), thankfully she is better now, me gradually losing my hearing and requiring the on-off assistance of a couple of hearing aids - at least the neighbours don't have to listen to Wheeler Dealers and the News at full blast anymore - and, also me, still busily working on my next thriller - Worlds Apart. I'd tell you what it's about, but I haven't finished the script, so it may change before it hits Kindle and I wouldn't want to lead you up a movable feast of a garden path. 

No real excuse for leaving you chaps in the lurch, I know, but I will start posting again. Promise. 
Coming up - The written word - what will happen to it over the coming years? 


Saturday, 24 September 2016

THE PARADIGM CULTURE -- Free download 25th, 26th and 27th September 2016

I had always wondered how far people would take revenge or punishment if they were granted the power of retribution. 

We all see reports on the TV and in newspapers which make us angry, sometimes even fighting mad - with people being murdered, mugged, raped, bullied, fleeced of savings by con artists, cowboy builders - the list goes on. But would the meekest of men and women change if bestowed with the power to provide an eye for an eye?  Would they then become like the people they despise? Inflicting pain and torment until they feel better? Until they feel satisfied that their 'target' has learned his or her lesson? Or would they become like King Midas? Would having the power turn them into people unable to look at the news - unable to read or hear anything without fearing that they couldn't control their reaction?

And what if this power escalated - became not just the ability to dish out punishment, but to kill just by thinking about it?  What then? How quickly then would the individual with that power be snapped up by the Government or the Military? Would his life not be his own any more? Would he be too great a risk to be allowed to exist free in society?

The Paradigm Culture is about just such a talent and how one man struggles to deal with it, before it deals with him.     


The Paradigm Culture. Now on Kindle.

Hi Guys,

My latest thriller - The Paradigm Culture - Born to Rule (453 pages), is now on Kindle. And, as an added bonus, it's going to be on free download from Sunday 25th September until and including Tuesday 27th September.  Link here:

If you feel like leaving a review on the kindle page, pleased do. You can also sample the first 14 chapters there too. 

The Paradigm Culture takes as its theme that old adage: Be careful what you wish for – which, in the case of Dan Wright, does come true. 
His troubled upbringing has left him believing life is either black or white. He has no faith in the justice system, and no truck with people who break the rules. Being made redundant from a lucrative role at close to 40, and, despite trying, still being out of work six months later, has not only seriously dented his self-esteem, but his marriage to Jayne, who is at her wits end with him and his increasing obsession with rules. She just wants him to get another job – they need the money. Imagine then Dan’s delight at, after a freak accident, suddenly being able to bring criminals to justice, move objects and see through walls just by thinking about it. What talent – what kudos – what power! Except the stuff of his dreams is becoming a nightmare. People he’d been told were there to help him, are not to be trusted, and his abilities are in demand by everyone and they’ll kill to get them – which is why he must break the rules to survive. But, above all this mayhem, is the question of where this power came from and why Dan has it. The answer, could affect the future of our world.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016


Just heard that my latest novel The Paradigm Culture has been shortlisted for Literature Works Sci-fi Competition (One Giant Write). Final round judging by Imogen Robertson and Marcus Gipps. Winner will be announced on or by September 5th.
Watch this space, guys!


Sunday, 26 June 2016

EU referendum - a shot in the dark or a blaze of light?

The EU referendum has set the UK nation at one another's throats, young against old, rich against poor, Scots (who overwhelmingly voted Remain) against anyone who voted 'Leave'. Many are saying this vote was the chance for the disaffected to voice their anger at the way the Government has ridden roughshod over the industrial north, the midlands, the forgotten southwest, in fact anywhere outside of London. If this is the case then why did no one see this result coming? Is the Government so out of touch with the people that from its ivory towers it has lost sight of what’s important to the nation – what frightens and what gels people? Is there no interest in anything that happens outside of the capital?  

At the last election the Prime Minister, David Cameron, offered the referendum to the people - guaranteed that if they voted Conservative he would deliver it – and he did. I don't know whether at the time it was a ploy to gain voters or a genuine altruistic gesture to give the people a voice on an organisation that he and his party must have felt was causing problems. After all you wouldn't offer a referendum on something that was not causing problems – would you? Whatever his motives, there is an old adage that says "You don't offer a referendum unless you know you're going to win". Now, either he'd never heard of the saying or he just assumed that, when he went to the EU to campaign to rewrite our terms of membership, Donald Tusk, (president of the European council) would agree to his demands. Tusk and his colleagues didn't agree.

So, David Cameron began telling us what others of all party colours had been saying, that the UK could thrive outside of the EU 

Then a few weeks later we began getting the scare stories – vote Remain or the economy will collapse, our security will be weakened, there could be war ... it was like someone had told Cameron and his colleagues that there was a remote chance that some people might vote Leave and maybe he should stop saying we can survive outside the EU and scaremonger those independent thinkers and Euro sceptics back into the fold. Then we had President  Obama telling us we should remain in the EU – suggesting that if we left then the 'special relationship' between our countries would somehow be irreparably damaged. Many people who felt the sovereignty of the UK was being lost under EU interference didn't take kindly to President Obama threatening us with excommunication – telling us to cow-tow to the EU or else. We know that the UK being part of the EU benefits the US in many ways – and maybe President Obama was worried that this way into the continent of Europe would be lost to the US. (I wonder how he would take it if our PM suggested that he allow another nation to control his future?)   

A plethora of scare stories began to abound from both the Remain and the Leave camps. So much so that people didn't know what to believe and what not to. The worst of this was that the politicians and gurus offering these warnings seemed to have their own agendas (party leadership – personal gains – financial interests) so could we believe them? The financial institutions – the ones who told us a few years ago that we would be finished if we didn't join the Euro – pitched in too. But what no one, except the people living in those regions of the UK, was seeing was the effect of the deprivation, the growing food banks, the zero hours contracts, the closed high street shops,  infrastructures unable to cope, not enough houses being built and the fact that we could not control our borders. David Cameron had said he would get immigration down to the tens of thousands – that failed. The question of immigration became a huge issue on both the for and against the EU sides. People who wanted controls placed on immigration were being made to feel like racists – when all they wanted was to control the influx, so that the country could budget for the numbers coming in and get the infrastructure in a position where it could cope (which it’s not doing at the moment). But the free movement of the EU membership prevented that. Of course then there were scare stories about poorer countries joining the EU and whether that influx of economic migrants into this country would be capable of being controlled. People who felt that the sovereignty of this country was being eroded were being called ‘Little Englanders’ – when all they wanted was for the elected Government of this country to be setting the rules for the nation – and if that government cocked-up then the nation had the facility to vote it out – something that can’t be done with the EU.

So there we have it – scaremongering from all sides, an out-of-touch arrogance from the Government and 52% of the electorate which felt disenfranchised by an unelectable and remote body.

June 23rd 2016 will certainly go down in history – maybe as the voting person’s revolution, but there is no going back and, now, we must get on with endeavouring to heal the rift between the Leave and Remain camps and put this great country back on the global rails.       


Friday, 1 January 2016