November 13, 2018
Guy sat back from the computer screen, folded his hands behind his head and sighed with satisfaction. “Great, I’ve just withdrawn five billion from the Bank of England.”
“That’s cool,” murmured Howard from where he was sitting huddled over his monitor on only the other computer console in the room. “Great hacking.”
The room was part of the Telesoft offices. The main entrance led from the twin lift doors. To the left of the lift was a coat stand on which hung two wrinkled anoraks, one green and one blue. A large desk spanned the left wall. It contained the two computer consoles and two telephones. Guy and Howard were each sitting at one of the consoles.
“Not me this time, my son, Trickster Trader,” explained Guy. “It’s a game I’m road testing. You’ve got to withdrawal as much money as you can from the world’s largest banks, escape from Hong Kong, keep out of jail and catch a plane to the Bahamas without the world’s press, your wife and your mistress, in Newport Pagnell, being none the wiser.”
November 2, 2018
Being on the top floor, we were also exposed to air raids and doodlebugs but I couldn’t leave the board. The Commander would send the teleprinter girl down to the basement during raids, but he instructed me to stay at my post, to always wear my tin helmet and if it got very noisy to get under the board for a bit. If it got very busy, the Commander would send for a matlow in Royal Albert Dock to come over to KG5 to give me a break for half an hour. Our board was manned for 24 hours. There were 4 of us and we took it in turns to have weekend breaks.
There were also, girl boat crew members, termed ships messengers, who would deliver messages to the ships to tell them the next destination of their boats. Part of my “Board” worked for Dock Turco which controlled the arrival of the boats and when they could go across the channel ferrying troops and supplies for the D Day Army.
As mentioned earlier, we were also known as Port Radar. The radar equipment on top of the boats were very vulnerable to attacks from the German aircraft and army and the view from my window at KG5 was excellent for watching craft return from across the channel often with their radar antennae shot to bits. My board had 3 or 4 private wires (PWS). Telephone engineers would climb up ladders and tap on my window for me to open and let them take a wire through to attach to my board. Then crew on the ship could ring for whatever was needed so that the ship would be ready for the next crossing.
There were a number of switch boards around and we would chat to each other to pass the time. One matelow had a great voice and would sing “When the blue of the night meets the gold of the day”. Sadly the Albert Dock had a direct hit and I believe he was killed.
October 13, 2018
Absent-mindedly, he stuffed his right hand in his jacket pocket and felt the jar. He drew it out, looked through the glass at the white lumps of organic matter inside and said aloud to himself, “Magic I don’t think so.” He tossed it in the metal waste bin then, as the clanging sound his action had caused resonated around the room, he had another thought and looked in the bin. The jar was still intact. He retrieved it, put it down on the laboratory bench, discarded his jacket and put on his labcoat. What followed next led to the discovery of Floracillin.
September 12, 2018
There have been many celebrated scientists in fiction. A disproportionate number of these have been depicted as mad, working on outlandish experiments to change the world and often nearly destroying it in the process. They usually end up destroying themselves. I often wonder if it is because of these fictional caricatures that people regard scientists and the science they produce with suspicion. However, the real reason is almost certainly because of their inability to communicate properly with the public.
I have spent most of my working life as a biological scientist while writing fiction in my spare time. Up until a few years ago I have been reluctant to publish any fictional science. I know how much effort goes into researching real science and getting it to work. Fictionalising it, by making it up goes against the grain. But what in the past has been regarded simply as science fiction is often now becoming science fact and so this form of fiction is now a real force in driving fact.
My novel Magic Bullets at http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm
August 29, 2018
Conveying music in fiction is hard to do. I have read novels where an author has written an original song and printed the lyrics on the page. A good example of this can be found in the works of Tolkien where his penned “folk” songs are sung by his heroic characters. But when reading these stories I find it hard to visualise these songs without a tune to put them to. This is of course where film and audio adaptations have the advantage over the written word where the producer is able to hire musicians to write a fitting melody. I suppose the author could add a short piece of sheet music to fit the lyrics but the musically illiterate such as myself and even those among my readers might find this a distraction.
Instead, I have merely opted to describe the sound without going deeply into its substance. In my first novel, Cogrill’s Mill, I have simply suggested that my fictional characters were listening to local folk music or when they were listening to contemporary country music I chose a well known song, namely Dolly Parton’s Jolene. My latest novel features a young female singer who becomes a star and I applied the same technique here. In this way I hope to show my readers that her singing and the sound of her voice are essential ingredients to the plot.
Copyright: Dmitriy Cherevko / 123RF Stock Photo
Magic Bullets can be found at http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm
August 24, 2018
Killing fictional characters is good fun for the novelist. But it can be difficult for the reader to take so it must not be undertaken likely. Dickens was chastised by his readers for the death of Little Nell and fans of Sherlock Holmes were so incensed when the hero fell to his death at the Reichenbach Falls that the Author, Conan Doyle, was compelled to bring him back.
I myself have been approached by readers who were upset by the demise of a favourite character I had created. But I am afraid it was too late. The stories in question were completed and the books published. Even if I could go back and alter it, the death was such an integral part of the plot, the purpose of the story would have irrevocably been changed.
It would be like inventing a Time Machine and going back in history and killing an evil historical figure like Hitler. I remember hearing a comedian saying that killing babies is what a time machine should be used for. The bible states that King Herod, on hearing a prophecy about the birth of Jesus, ordered the massacre of the innocents, but that did not work. Altering the course of history, whether factual or fictional, does not seem to be a good idea.
The odd death around a central character in fiction gives them a sense of vulnerability and helps the reader care about them. It is a reader’s empathy and concern for the protagonist is what keeps him or her reading. In the prologue of my novel, Magic Bullets, I introduce a killer with an automatic rifle in the hope that in the minds of my readers he hovers in the background like an Angel of Death. It is a device that has probably been used before and I hope it works.
Magic Bullets “angel of death”
Copyright: tiero / 123RF Stock Photo
My novel Magic Bullets can be found at http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm
August 21, 2018
There are numerous references to bullets in literature. Silver bullets have been used by the fictional masked western hero, The Lone Ranger, to shoot his armed adversaries without harming them, and by others to kill supernatural werewolves. Other examples can be found in detective novels where forensic ballistic reports often lead to the undoing of many a criminal mastermind.
The German Scientist and physician, Paul Ehrlich, coined the concept of a magic bullet to describe the perfect drug that could selectively target a disease-causing organism without harming the patient. I worked as a professional microbiologist for forty years and had experience of working with different bacteria and antibiotics so I thought it might be an idea to write a story about a scientist who discovered a fictional drug and the effect this had on his life.
Despite the endeavours of scientists such as Ehrlich, drugs are not perfect medicines. I cannot think of one that does not have harmful side effects. Given the fact that some have hallucinatory properties and are addictive, I decided to throw that into the mix as well. There are a lot of references to bullets in literature so as the narrative progressed I thought it might be an idea to link the story with bullets that came from guns and are specifically designed to kill. Whether I succeeded enough in creating an entertaining read is up to the reader to decide.
My novel Magic Bullets can be found at http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm