Friendship 4 – Earth – Paris 1932

“We don’t talk about politics or current affairs.”

“Surely you joke,” said Marcel.

“No never.”

“Then what do you talk about?”

“Oh, his past, the Boer War and his times in India and the Sudan. Soldiering. We have mutual interests.”

“Really, such as?”

“History, painting, whisky.”

“Amazing, and you know him because?” 

“Well actually I have known him since I was a child. My benefactor Lord Alphonso Stiletto, was an old friend. He took me with him to visit him just after the turn of the century, at his home in London. It was part of my training. He was also good friends with Napoleon.”

“Zoot alors,” gasped the Frenchman, and you met him too?”

“Certainly.”

Marcel was staring at his friend in wonder, amazed by these revelations. 

“But what of the danger?”

“Of changing history?”

“Mais oui!”

In the future we call it the Butterfly Effect after a famous short story. A man goes back to the time of the dinosaurs. When he returns to his own time the politic has changed, and he has a dead butterfly on the sole of his shoe.”

“But this is more than treading on the insect.”

“Yes, there are dangers. There are multiple parallel existences. I always choose one almost exactly like my own, but separate. Even then I am very careful.

“But you are an assassin, no? That is more like treading on an elephant.”

“That is why my training was so difficult. My own Master performed a hit that took out the future leaders of the Corp, but she never discussed the full ramifications with me.”

“And your old weapon’s Master, the one with no eyes.”

“‘Schripp, yes, I believe you have cooked many fine dinners when he has been a guest.”

“Has he not spent many years in the old West in America? Is that not also an elephant?

“In ‘Schripp’s case he didn’t need a parallel world. Believe it or not, the Earth that ‘Schripp grew up on was blown up by a pan dimensional psychopath.”

“Enough, enough,” cried Marcel, “I cannot cope with this madness. He refilled his glass with Pernod and water, watching the swirls of white as the liquids mixed. With sudden panic he looked up at his friend and employer. “But, we travel always through the time, are my family my family?”

“Of course,” Billy said smoothly, “this is your true universe, it is I who am the interloper.”

“How do you manage to keep it all together?”

“Many years of training, but then it was always easy for me. It is what I am best at. In many ways it is what I was born for.”

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2019



Alita: Battle Angel – Film Review

This is one brilliant film. Set five hundred years in the future, in a post apocalyptic world. Well not post nuclear, but post interplanetary war. 

All the remains of humanity crammed into the partial ruins of a skyscraper’d city below a tether’d, cut off and unreachable sky city up above.

There are borrowed elements. Rollerball is a big feature. The Island, where the lucky winner has the chance to break out of the dystopian stew and go to an imagined paradise.

There is a shadowy evil overlord controlling all the minions on the Earth city like a whack job puppet master, eerily played by Edward Norton.

In to this cyberpunk world of mechanised cyborgs,  Rollerball heroes, and hunter killer bounty hunters comes the beautiful Alita.

Her father, one third Dr Jekyll, one third Baron Frankenstein, one third Mother Teresa, builds her from scrap parts discarded by Sky city as a replacement daughter.

Alita, the girl cyborg is amazing. Intelligent, independent, capable, she is on the most important journey of all. The journey to discover herself.

The visual architecture of the dystopian world, the fight scenes, special effects, the great cast of characters go to make this an incredible film. Amazing Sci Fi action for a new generation, and concealed within it a powerful feeling, an understanding that will inspire that generation.

It’s brilliant and I loved it. 

Copyright © Jhedron Luckspar 2019

Checker Board

She looked at the square tiles on the wall and the checker board pattern on the floor and they made her smile.

It had all started ironically in a wood late at night. That was when they had met. They were there, right there, at the beginning. 

She had been a student at film school. She had loved the movies, and growing up as a child had spent her private hours making shorts, putting on shows for her family, sending off her work to competitions and festivals, looking for a lucky break.

She had been able to choose a film school, and she had picked the best.

It was her friend Lisa who had seen the note on the student notice board. It was a common thing. There was always someone in the school with a project, looking for actors, technicians or just extras for a crowd.

This was a bunch of radicals shooting a horror flick in the woods. It was held to be ground breaking, the whole thing shot on hand held cams. Lots of jerky motion and raw realism.

That’s where she had met Peter. He wasn’t even in the movies. He was just a friend of a friend, drafted in to run around the woods at night, getting gored up, having a crack.

They had met over a cup of tea in polystyrene cups. Huddled together in the back of an old van, Billy the director, had borrowed for the night. It had been Love at first sight. 

That was twenty years ago. It had been twenty years of blissful marriage. She had gone on to be a successful filmmaker. Arty low budget films that drew respect in the industry and won prizes at small film festivals. They often got included at Sundance and even Cannes back in ’09.

Peter went on to develop a very successful Architects practice and she always thought they were the perfect couple.

It was ironic, because that film shot in the woods had gone on to be a worldwide hit. It created a whole genre of grainy films shot on hand held cams. 

Being an eminent if low key film-maker, she often was on judging committees for festivals. She watched a lot of movies, some of them inspired, occasionally dreadful, but mostly entertaining enough. After all it couldn’t be any better than this. Not only did she do what she loved, making films, she got paid for watching them too. Life doesn’t get any better.

She had her own private cinema in the basement of the house. She spent a lot of time down here watching the films they sent her. She loved the old days when she wound the spools of film into her projector, but now it was all digital.

She settled down with a lovely bottle of dry white wine, and pressed play.

This was the third film she had seen this week that used that slightly shaky handheld technique. She found it rather passé. It was not a technique she ever used, but she always felt a slight frisson of excitement when she thought back to that film in the woods long ago. It certainly hadn’t hurt her career to be associated with a revolutionary block buster.

This film was shot from the perspective of an, as yet, unknown character. She recognised the location. A famous metro station in Paris with art on the walls. She had been there many times with Peter. At one time they had even had an apartment in that district of Paris.

Nothing much was happening, a few drunks on a bench on the opposite platform were raucously singing an old French ballad, popular ten years ago. Then that rumble and rush of air that preceded the arrival of a train.

The camera waited for the train to stop and the doors to open. She realised this take was just being shot on the fly. The camera took the audience onto a normal looking subway train and turned right. A punk with a scarlet quiff and a tartan jacket, sat vacantly in the first seat, lost in whatever music he was listening to, but as the camera focused a few rows back, her heart seemed to miss a beat in her chest, and her numb fingers let go of her wine glass, which unnoticed spilled its expensive contents on her carefully chosen fabrics.

In a daze she wandered up to the kitchen. She looked at the shining rack of Sabatier knives. Not quite right. She remembered that time in the woods. She remembered the feel of the hammer. Her hand seemed to reach for the meat tenderiser of its own volition.

Like a wraith she made her way up the thickly carpeted stairs. Numb to everything all she could see was Peter and Lisa side by side in the metro carriage. Lisa had aged well. Still a beautiful woman, her silken lips whispered silently into Peter’s ear.

Pushing open the bedroom door, she silently entered the room.  Peter, always so perfect. She stood by the bed watching the rise and fall of his chest, his handsome face.

Tightly holding the handle of the tenderiser behind her back she brushed her fingers lovingly on his cheek, whispering, “Peter, darling.”

She watched his eyes open sleepily, smiling with love as he focused on her face.

She didn’t even cry out as she brought the checker board pattern down onto his forehead with all her might. That was what she remembered. The regular squares embedded in his forehead. 

By the time they had found her the tenderiser had done its work, the beautiful patterns obliterated. Still she appreciated the images. Focusing back on the tiles of her new home, she was looking forward to creating the juxtaposition of squares when she came to film it.

Copyright © Jhedron Luckspar 2019

Image by Jazella from Pixabay



George Orwell 1984 – Review

In a recent interview I was asked about books that have influenced me. There are some books and films  that I have read and seen once, that were truly brilliant, and I never want to be exposed to again.

Dracula by Bram Stoker was one, read as a child. He just kept on winning. Another, read when I was sixteen in the 1970’s, was George Orwell’s 1984.

This is a dark story of Winston Smith, living in a totalitarian society ruled by the wonderful Big Brother. Winston partially remembers a childhood rhyme from the past

“Oranges and Lemons sang the bells of St Clements…”

His journey to discover the rest of this haunting song, mirrors his quest for identity and love, in a society where all is crushed, and the past before the revolution, dissolved.

Published in 1949, it was a terrifying prediction of things to come. When things go badly for Winston he is threatened with Room 101. This is the room where you face your most terrifying fears, used to tear out your last thread of resistance, and human spark of identity. When I was a young man, the BBC, champion of British television, made a light entertainment program based on this concept!

The most disturbing concept for the young me though, was the constant surveillance. The concealed camera in his living space, in his television.

When things go wrong, it is in his most private, secret, safe space, shared with his love.

This is the first review I have written that even hints at the plot, and for that I apologise. When I read this story 1984 was still in the future, it was still Science Fiction. Like Aldous Huxley before him, Orwell, master of literature, paints a terrifying future society.

Now, 34 years on from his vision, I leave you to judge the reality.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2018

The Bubble

The bubble slowly rose to the surface carrying all the hopes and aspirations of a planet. It was the first.

The Boy carried his wooden sword proudly. He had walked many miles away from the area of the devastation. The cities lay in ruins. All vestiges of technology were gone. Hulking wrecks that were once mighty, now colossus collections of smashed steel and concrete. Roaming gangs like packs of rats swarmed the land devouring stragglers and lone travellers and yet still the Boy walked proud.

Corpses, mostly human, scattered the land, filling the air with that sweet smell of putrefaction and occasionally the Boy gagged with the stench of it, but still he carried on.

They stood blocking the road. Five men, faces burnt by radiation. Clothes blackened by filth and flame. What weapons they carried were simple but effective. The boy saw a hammer, some form of club or bat, chains, a rake, even the broken remains of a metal chair.

The threat was more a growl than language but the Boy understood. His sword was smooth, curved and carved from white oak from another land. It shone in the evening light from its lovingly polished wood.

Its first kiss was against the temple of the leader. There was a loud crack as the bone shattered but the Boy was in flight now. Spinning away from the falling body he brought the blade down in a cut on a shoulder, the wooden sword breaking rather than cutting the collar bone. A deflection inwards caught the line of the jaw and another dropped.

A roar behind him, caused him to pivot on the loose ground. A large wrench smashing down at his head. Moving subtly the Boy drifted like a wisp of smoke as the metal club crushed the empty air. Two small cuts of his blade almost like magic broke the descending arm at wrist and elbow and the wrench crashed down harmlessly hitting the ground almost simultaneously as the edge of the Boy’s sword ‘cut’ through the throat, crushing the thorax with its polished wooden edge.

A detached part of the Boy’s consciousness remembered his Master and the moment he had presenting him with this beautiful blade that had become a part of him. A symbiotic partner that together weaved a life of love, motion and magic.

“Remember my Son, it is a sword. Whether finest folded steel or gift of the forest the man and the blade become one.

The Boy continued on his journey. Behind him the scavengers remained, broken and quiet, and somewhere the bubble arrived at a surface, where it crossed into the emptiness and so, again, it began.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2017

Original artwork by Faramond Frie

Rogue One

A straight forward fight between good and evil. This film is magnificent. I had forgotten how good it was and was only really watching it to tweak my new home cinema sound system.

It’s hard to believe that Star Wars is forty years old. No video, DVD, or internet in those days. I missed the first film even though my sister was an usherette at the local cinema. I caught Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back on a double bill, sat on the front row of the balcony, in one of the old giant screen cinemas, all now long gone. I was never the same again.

Rogue One as I’m sure you already know is the immediate prequel to Episode 4. A small band of rebels who strive to steal the plans of the Death Star that Princess Leah is taking to the Alliance and conceals on R2D2.

If you haven’t by some miracle seen it yet I won’t be giving away the plot. It’s heroic, brilliantly portrayed by an inspired collection of previously little-known actors in the central roles. It’s got George Lucas’ name on it and if I was him, I would be so proud of this film. It really rocks. It’s Star Wars but without the quirky, goofy humour that we all love, and actually all the better for it.

The strength of the film lies in its solid plot. It’s a stand-alone story woven within the fabric of Lucas’ epic masterpieces. There are great characters especially the central six.

There are also main characters from the original film cleverly intertwined to tie it all together. Brilliant.

At the end I was connected, and you can’t ask more than that.

They keep on making the films. I thought the last sequel was brilliant too. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for great entertainment, but of course, it’s so much more.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s great. If you have and it’s been a while, it’s worth seeing again.

Thank you to Faramond Frie for his great artwork.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is a fantastic film. The original was ground breaking. Based on Phillip K Dick’s, “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep,” it was the great cyberpunk world of sleazy streets and magnificent architecture set in a future Los Angeles of flying cars and deep space exploration.

Made in 1982 it was a brilliant multi-layered film of film noir, Dashiell Hammett type detective, Science Fiction, beautifully ambient, with the story of the human condition and the gift of life told through the experiences of a small group of androids, or human replicants, who had a four-year life span and were fighting their mortality. A complex and intelligent film that the studio forced director, Ridley Scott, to put a commentary voice over, so that the less sophisticated cinema audiences might know what the hell was going on. Blade Runner was a film that inspired a generation.

So quite a lot to live up to. I re-watched the original the week before, thankfully the director’s cut, long ago restored to its original glory.

The first twenty minutes were a surprise. A step away from the Los Angeles of the future. A little slow as the plot was developing, I was starting to panic. Still, no need to worry. We were soon catapulted back to that steamy Los Angeles world. That mix of back street Hong Kong or Shanghai, replicant prostitutes, street markets selling robotic parts and organs. That mixture of flying cars and pedal bikes. If you have ever taken a taxi ride in Cairo at night, it is full of fast-moving images. Beautiful, amazing and scary all at the same time. All the cars driving as fast as they can, like around the Arc De Triomphe in Paris, but with no head lights, dodging, camels, donkeys, carts, pedestrians and all the other completely insane drivers. When you arrive at your destination unscathed it is like being reborn.

The greatest of Science Fiction uses its world as the backdrop to tell a great story. Scott’s dystopian world is the stage for a new complex twisting plot that continues and builds on the original story of 2019, now thirty years in the future. I thought it was very well done and I left the cinema feeling lifted, entertained and inspired.

You can’t ask more than that. Harrison Ford, bringing back the role of Deckard was brilliant. Perhaps this film will inspire a new generation. It should do. I hope so.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017

Hjalmar Wåhlin – Digital Artist

I met this amazing young artist at Swecon, the national Sci Fi convention in Sweden, earlier this year. He produces the most amazing Science Fiction inspired artwork of landscapes and worlds in space.

Pink Elephant by Hjalmar Wåhlin

My particular favourite, of a man looking out of a huge window in space at an incredible vista of stars and nebulae took my breath away because it was such a powerful echo of Lord Stiletto’s library in my own stories. Spooky.

Supergirl by Hjalmar Wåhlin

With a background in commercial retouching, Hjalmar describes himself as a freelance illustrator and digital artist who loves to create.

Observatorium by Hjalmar Wåhlin

I follow a lot of amazing art work on Twitter. Hjalmar’s work is as good as anything done by the greats of Sci Fi and fantasy art. Majestic, imaginative, beautiful, the works speak for themselves. Check out more of his work at his website by clinking on the link, and follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Check out Hjalmar’s website   www.hjalmarwahlin.com

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017

Astrum by Faramond Frie

This book is amazing. A story about an adventurer and warrior, recounted to an audience at the Savoy, and written as an epic poem. That’s right the whole book is one amazing epic poem.

Indians living on the moon. Ships that fly, I’m not sure Faramond Frie describes it as such, but there is definitely a Steampunk element to this story, in so far as it is a parallel world of fiction where the science has developed in an alternative way to our own. The blurb on the back of the book describes it as being in the spirit of Jules Verne and HG Wells so I guess that confirms it.

It has grand themes about the way technology is developed by powerful men and misused for their own power and development. The kind of men who in our own world benefitted from the slave trade and develop the machinery of war.

There are elements of love and friendship. Integrity and soul.

The poetry is wonderful. No nonsense poetry that carries the story on a wave of rhyme. It would make a brilliant play.

“I only wanted to test my ability.
I never thought my creations
would come with such responsibility!
And yet the truth is very clear.
My conscience speaks in words of thunder.
I must become a Father.
I will show him love and wonder,
and teach of pain and fear as well
and grow a human heart
beneath the metal shell.”

Copyright Faramond Frie © 2016

Did I mention the robots and dragons?

This is an amazing book and I heartily recommend it.

 

CLICK HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Assassination

Henrik, a nice young man at heart, had been told to up the ante. The order to assassinate Lord Stiletto had come directly from The Rabbit and had put Henrik under a great deal of stress and confusion.

He wasn’t a killer, he knew that in his heart, and basically, he had quite liked Gregory and Stiletto when he had met them in the now vapourised Sweden, that vanished reality of his planet Earth. He realised that he owed his life to The Rabbit, but knew deep inside that he wasn’t a murderer.

Lord Stiletto had been out driving in the Oxfordshire countryside in his favourite Bugatti. It was an original car from 1939, one he had picked up from the Milan home of Ettore Bugatti himself, just as the Second World War was kicking off. He had driven it down to Sicily where he had shipped it over to Malta, and there stored it in a cave on the small adjacent island of Gozo.

Now he was racing along the road to Lechlade, wind buffeting his bowler, goggles firmly in place.

Henrik had gone for an indirect method of murder. His choice, spiked metal sheets nailed into the tarmac surface of the Lechlade road. Almost immediately behind the caltrops he had parked a traction engine, recently stolen from the neighbouring village’s steam fair. He felt a nascent thrill in perverting Stiletto’s love of the arcane and ancient.

Stiletto came around the corner in third gear doing eighty-five miles per hour, and saw the traction engine stationary in his path. Taking his foot off the gas that powered the super turbocharged engine, he slammed it on the brake, and the Bugatti skidded sideways down the narrow Cotswold roadway. When he hit the caltrops, the tyres exploded on the sharp metal spikes, and as it left the ground, the beautiful old car began to roll, and accelerated towards the waiting engine.

Henrik had been having second thoughts about his murderous course. Several days before the date with Stiletto, he had taken the opportunity to send a message to Gregory. Stiletto took some persuading to sacrifice his beautiful sports car, but with Haydrift Eaglebeard as a passenger, and some nifty hand jive, at the moment of impact, the two friends were travelling through an alternate dimension. The classic sports car, almost a national treasure, exploded in a ball of fire as it slammed into the huge steel roller in front of the traction engine, which had been artfully placed in the Bugatti’s path.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2015 2018

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