The fate of fictional heroines

November 22, 2018

I have often wondered what happened to the heroines that James Bond ended up with at the end of Ian Fleming’s novels.  It is a long time since I read the books but I seem to recall that Bond fell in love with all of them.  I like to think that there must have been a breakup scene between one book and the next.  Two died (Vesper Lynd and Tracy Draco) so any problem Bond might have had with dissolving his relationship with those were resolved.  But it seems more likely he just abandons them without so much as a goodbye when he begins a new adventure.

Another hero I was a fan of at about the same time was the Leslie Charteris character, Simon Templar, better known as the Saint.  Templar seemed to treat his women in the same manner as Bond but one heroine, Patricia Holm, appeared as his long standing girlfriend in some of the novels despite the fact that he had other lovers in between stories.  Again, like the Bond girls, I have no idea how he broke up with these beautiful women, as they were always described as being beautiful.  It must have been hard on all concerned.

The above are only a few examples of heroines from two popular thriller writers and their effect on me is such that I may have regarded them as models for female characters in my own stories.  But the problem of how to resolve what happens to them at the end of a story remains.  I remember watching the TV western series Bonanza as a teenager in the 1960s and pitying the women who fell in love with Adam, Hoss, Little Joe or even Ben (Pa) Cartwright for they were most always doomed to die.

I have been tempted to develop some of my books into a series.  Such series can help to develop a fan base and become very profitable so it is extremely tempting.  But I am not a great fan of sequels.  My heroes tend to be men and what to do about their heroines will remain a problem that I have a difficulty in grappling with.

 

Keith Jahans

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Why Scientists are Allergic to Statistics

November 21, 2018

Physics and Art

This article in Medical Xpress addresses a huge pet peeve of mine. Scientists largely suck at statistics! Especially for experimental scientists, this is insane. Yet I cannot express how frustrating it has been to me throughout my career as an experimental scientist to see study after study proven invalid because the statistics were botched. And I’m not just talking about bad scientists; even the very best are constantly caught in this trap. Many a brilliant scientist has treated statistics as an afterthought and been burned by it. In fact, I’d bet many non-scientists can name multiple times that some big breakthrough was announced in the media, only to fade away into nothingness. Virtually always this was due to the responsible scientists not understanding their statistics.

This article delves into possible causes for this. I myself was drawn into the fray a few years back, to try and stem the tide of poor…

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Moby-Dick by Melville

November 16, 2018

Pen & Ink Reviews

mobyCall me Ishmael. It is one of the most noted lines in literary history. Thus beginsHerman Melville’s Moby-Dick, a classic in America’s literary body. Complex and dense, the tale revolves around a depressive former school teacher who instructs the reader to call him Ishmael as he becomes embroiled in an ill-fated, epic voyage around the world aboard the Pequod. While the straightforward plot is well-known—an insane captain pursues an insane white whale—the nuances, imagery, allegories, and symbolism are what make this tale a classic.

The most prevalent theme in Moby-Dick is that of man versus nature, human versus animal. Fear, pain, and rage have all combined to create Captain Ahab’s relentless obsession, and the mysterious, deadly white whale has become a symbol for all of the man’s (and humankind’s) suffering. Nature in all its might, apathy, and sometimes seeming-intent is personified in the figure of the white whale…

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Writing Crime Fiction

November 16, 2018

I find writing crime fiction easy but the editing process is hard as I am slightly dyslexic.  I am also lazy which is why my stories take a long time to write.  I began my newly released novel, Magic Bullets, a ridiculously long time ago in the 1970s.

My first draft is always bad and contains all kinds of spelling, grammar and continuity errors because I am a story teller and not a literary writer.  I write ideas down as they come into my head while I sit at a computer.  I do think about the story as I go about my daily life, planning plot lines and sometimes endings.  But the story really evolves into something I feel worthwhile publishing during the editing.  The advantage of this style is that I do not recall getting writer’s block.  I subscribe to the Raymond Chandler view, “When in doubt, have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand”.  I don’t take this literary but I do like to throw in something to put my protagonist reader, and occasionally even myself off guard.

I self publish and therefore have to be extra vigilant with my editing.  Online and offline spelling and grammar checkers are invaluable.  Oh, if only I had these when I grew up in the years BC (Before Computers) when dyslexia was unheard of.  But even these tools are not good enough.  I get computer text-to-voice software to read my writing back to me and at least three people, whose views I respect, to read through what I consider to be my final draft.  In reality it never is.  Even after all these checks a few mistakes creep through.  But the beauty of self-publishing and publishing-on-demand means that I do not produce more than ten or twenty copies at a time.  This means that by the time my work gets to the reader the mistakes are gone and, who knows, some of the early error filled copies may eventually be worth a lot of money as collectors’ items.

Keith Jahans

http://peatmore.com/magicbullets.htm

 

 


Book Excerpt – Gifford’s Games by Jack Lindsey

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.”

http://peatmore.com/giffordsgames.htm


We shall remember them: Book Excerpt – MY WORLD WAR II. A Wren’s Story by Vera Jahans

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.

http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B075DGR1HC


Horror Story for Halloween

October 30, 2018

My room was pitch black as the electricity supply had been cut.  The screaming had stopped but the floorboards creaked.  Before the silence I had heard someone cry out, “He’s got an axe!”  I heard the sound of dripping.  Was it blood falling from the axe?  Sounds like scrapping came from the direction of the door.  I cowered on my bed pulling the blankets around me.  Then I heard a voice.

It was a raspy male voice which spoke in a whisper.  “Open the door, Dorothy.  And it will be over quickly.”

There was a pause while he waited for a response which I dare not give.

“If you do not comply I will use my knife and not the axe.”

Another pause followed.

“It will be slower.  First I will cut your vocal cords so you cannot hear yourself scream when I cut you open.  I have a light with me so you will see everything that happens to you.  You will see your internal organs as you die but open the door and I will use the axe.  Any pain will soon be gone.

It was if I was in a bad dream.  But I was not.