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

Interview with Awesome Gang – Part two

What other books have influenced you?

This is a real toughy. All of them to some degree. I am in my late fifties and have been reading all my life. The great Anthony Burgess didn’t distinguish between ‘Literature’ and other genres, in what makes a great novel. I have read much Science Fiction, but mostly written last century. I think great novels are timeless. Great Sci Fi can be superseded by time and technology, but the ideas and the characters carry on. “Slan,” by AE Van Vogt is as brilliant today as when it was written. But a space ship travelling at 300mph. Things have moved on.

A good novel, like good music is priceless, wherever it comes from.

Sci Fi, Asimov, Clarke, Simak, Van Vogt, Card

Fantasy, Tolkien, Donaldson, Peake, Silverberg, Moorcock

Aldous Huxley is a genius.

Lit, Burgess, Fowles, L Durrell, Hesse, Camus, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Greene.

Action (thoughtful), Deighton, Clavell, Brown, Yoshikawa.

Humour, Sharp, Adams, Moorcock, Elton, Bryson.

Classic, Dickens, Voltaire, Balzac, Goethe.

That’s enough of lists. Modern stuff. I liked The Girl With All The Gifts, by MR Carey. I missed him at this year’s Swecon, as I was only there for a few hours. Pity.

I think Philip Pullman is brilliant, and George RR Martin. I loved Game of Thrones, Ayra Stark is an awesome character.

What are you working on now?

Three concurrent projects.

I am writing the second book in the Polly Granger Series, sequel to The Lift. Set five years after Polly meets up with Walter and André.

As yet untitled, the fourth book in the Friendship Series is well underway, and finally treading water is Vigilante. This was originally two connected short stories in my book Equations Of Being. I always felt it could grow into a novel, and it’s about 20 chapters in. A superhero noir.

Any advice for new authors?

Yes, copyright your book, and don’t blog every chapter. The second caused me massive headaches with Amazon. The first fixed it.

What’s the best advice you ever had?

That’s a pretty broad question. My Dad told me it’s better to be half an hour early than five minutes late. I guess we can apply that to all situations, even preparing a book for publishing.

What are you reading now?

Dan Brown’s new book, Origin. Very good.

What’s next for you as a writer?

More writing, more travel, which often inspires writing, both in content, and opportunity. Audio books.

What books would you take on to a desert island?

The ones I have read again and again.

Lord of the Rings, A Song of Ice and Fire, Coleen McCulloch’s Masters Of Rome, I missed her out, absolutely brilliant, and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

Thank you

 

 

Copyright © 2018 Jhedron Luckspar

 

Interview with Awesome Gang .com Part One

Tell us about yourself? How many books have you written?

So, I have written 7 books so far. The first two were Philosophical novels about a Boy who is mentored by Death and travels through time and history learning about life. These were privately published. Death was a mix of Death from Terry Pratchett’s brilliant books, and Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. I used one Chapter, which was set in Space, in my book of short stories, Equations Of Being.

So at the beginning of 2014, I was hospitalised for a month. I was writing a lot of poetry at the time. I had written several poetry books, so that’s 9 books in total, forgot about those. I wrote a poem in Accident & Emergency about what was happening to me and that was how my friends found out what where I was. I like emailing my stuff out for feedback.

Anyway I’m stuck in hospital, can’t work, can barely leave the ward. My one advantage is I have been taught to be positive.

I have great friends who visit me every day. They talked me out of my first plan to be a professional backgammon player in Monte Carlo and Geneva. Writing this, I’m a little sad about that. I thought it was a corker.

So I think it would be a crack to make a graphic novel and go to Comicon. One of my good friends was a brilliant artist. He was too busy to do the artwork. So, I look online for a Sci Fi convention, and find Swecon, Sweden’s National Convention and book in as an author.

Well, I left hospital in February and the convention was in July. I wrote my book of short stories. My friend did a great cover for me, but couldn’t come to Sweden.

Another friend, the author and illustrator, Faramond Frie, offered to come with me and help. Good job, because I would never have coped flying to Stockholm and getting a train across Sweden with two suitcases full of books.

It changed both our lives, and like all pebbles thrown in ponds, has sent its ripples out in to the ‘Verse.

Our adventures sparked off Revenge Of The Hrym, and the books that were to follow.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

My latest book is Beano Grigio. It’s the third book in The Friendship Series.

I mentioned in a previous interview it was based on a joke. The band I am in were trying to come up with a name, and I came up with Beano Grigio. I thought it was brilliant. No one else did. Too good to waste, I made it the title of my next book.

Lucky really because it’s my best book so far.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

What like sitting in a bowl of custard with a windmill on my hat?

I can write anywhere but I write best in the mornings, often after waking. I need time, and to be relaxed. Years ago, I could only write with a pen. Unfortunately, the writing process is so urgent with the flow of creativity, and comes out so fast, I had trouble reading my writing. That is a little troublesome, especially as sometimes individual words can be quite specific, and important.

Now I write straight into Notes on my smart phone. This is great, because I read it through, spotting errors. Then I send it to a few friends by email, both because that is satisfying, and also, it’s good to get feedback.

I will read it through a couple more times, because I enjoy it, which is good, but I also pick up a few more commas, and maybe tiny alterations, and email myself the edit.

Later I transfer it into Word, which picks up all kinds of errors, and finally into the final publishing software, ready for my proof readers.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2018

 

 

 

 

London Conversation

This conversation dates from February, and some how missed being posted. Things have moved on. Beano Grigio is being published on July 1st. The Lift is already available on my book page. I finished the sequel to the children’s book yesterday. Guess I have been busy.

My plot lines? Well, good question.

My plot hopefully runs through with some kind of logic. But it’s a bit like a Morecambe and Wise song, all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.

Because my characters are cosmic adventurers, assassins and warriors, bouncing backwards and forwards in space time, so do the series of events. I like to break up the action and come back to it. So there are multiple plot lines running, but also multiple times, not just now, the past, the future, but also different times in the life experience of each character. The way I look at it, a person’s life is a thread of moments. If I catch the train to London and spend the day at the British Museum and Ronnie Scott’s that’s the thread. Tomorrow I fly to Paris, drink coffee and play chess on the banks of the Seine, browse the shelves of the American Bookshop, and base jump inside Notre Dame. The thread continues. Next day I go back in time, still in Paris, and have dinner with Robespierre. Sunday, I travel by horse to Giverny, and look at the water lilies 130 years before Monet paints them. Four days of my thread. Each character is living their own thread, which crisscross, and intermingle throughout the plot lines.

Base jumping, no I’m only kidding. Never parachuted. An old friend once base jumped inside a cathedral. We pick up inspiration from all places.

I once heard the secret of life. The first two, of three, absorption, expulsion. Expulsion, in this case, creativity, but you need absorption in your life. Experience, travel, books, movies. Sometimes I will hear something in the morning on the radio, and by midnight it will nudge a thought, a sentence, an idea.

My stories are about adventures. People get shot, blown up, stabbed, but they also look at sunsets and enjoy dining together. At the moment in the world, there are events happening, and sometimes their ghost will haunt an idea.

Who knows how the creative process works?

What am I working on at the moment? Polishing off Beano Grigio, my third novel in the Friendship Series. The last few weeks I have been writing some side plots and character stories. I keep being asked for more detail, so I’m trying to listen.

I have a small group of friends who I send out my latest chapters to, when I have written them. It’s good to get feedback. Recently I wrote a stand alone short story, The Lift, which I posted out. Three friends were quite adamant. What happens next? It’s now ten chapters. I have set it aside now to concentrate on finishing Beano, but I guess that’s my next project.

I have the prologue written for Beano, and I know roughly where I’m going on the fourth book in the series. I wrote the first page months ago.

Also I am doing a children’s book with my friend, Faramond Frie. We did a private edition for children of friends and family for last Christmas. We only had time for the cover illustration then, but Fram is working on the artwork for an illustrated edition for publication.

How is it? Well I’m really pleased with it. We got some great feedback from parents, but most importantly from the kids.

It’s a fantasy about a princess, a horse and a dragon.

Why did I write it? Three weeks before Christmas I had dinner with friends. One friend was talking with me about reading to his ten year old daughter, and trying to find something she liked. I inquired about her likes, and was told horses. That was on the Friday night.

On the Sunday I wrote the book. It’s only 25 pages. Fram did the cover and I managed to deliver a hardback copy for my friend’s daughter in time for Christmas. There’s that thing again. Absorption, expulsion. If I hadn’t had the conversation, I wouldn’t have written a children’s book.

 

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2018