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

The Lift

Polly was late for work. Everything had been going wrong. She had slept through her alarm this morning. How could that happen. She felt grimy, because in all the rush she hadn’t hadn’t time to shower. She had laddered her tights, snagged on something on the tube. She had had to stand the whole way from Holborn.

Now she was waiting for the lift at her office building on Canary Wharf. A magnificent building that rose into the sky, floor upon floor, as it dominated this part of the London horizon. She was involved in the bizarrest of conversations.

“Believe me lady, you don’t want to catch this lift.”

“Yes. I do.”

“No Ma’am,” replied the smaller, compactor of the two, “not now, not this lift.”

“But this is my lift, I work here.”

“Not this lift Ma’am, try later, or that one over there.”

Polly wanted to scream, but she was still holding it together.

“Listen to me. This is my lift. I catch it everyday. I am very late. I am catching this lift.”

“Can’t let you do that Ma’am.”

“And stop calling me Ma’am. Are you Americans?” she asked exasperatedly.

“No Ma’am, we are adventurers.”

Polly paused for thought. They were two of the weirdest guys she had seen in a long time. It wasn’t the brightly coloured hair and beards or the alchemical symbols tattooed on their faces. It was their costumes. Like two guys from a SWAT team, but tie dyed instead of camouflage. Perhaps that was their camouflage. Both men carried large holdalls.

“Gentlemen, I am catching this lift.”

“Okay Ma’am,” replied the smaller, who now accepted that the persistent woman was going to share their ride. He had introduced himself as Walter. “And this is André,” he indicated his larger companion.

“Like the giant?”

“Yes, like the giant.”

“Weird,” she muttered to herself, “who are these nutters?”

“Not nutters Ma’am,” said André, in a voice that was decidedly silken for a man of his stature, adventurers.”

“Adventurers with supersonic hearing?” she muttered again embarrassedly.

“Yes Ma’am, it comes in handy.”

“On adventures?”

“Yes Ma’am, on adventures.”

Polly was saved from any more of this whack job conversation by the ding of the bell. The lift doors whispered open.

Standing either side of the door, the two mismatched, but identically dressed men bowed their heads and held out an arm, inviting her to enter first. With a few unexpected butterflies in her stomach, Polly stepped into the lift.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar ©2017/18

 

 

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To get a free eBook of THE LIFT, click on the link          THE LIFT – FREE BOOK

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 collosus 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 it’s lovingly polished wood.

It’s 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 it’s 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

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 multilayered 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 rewatched the original the week before, thankfully the directors cut, long ago restored to it’s 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 catapaulted 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 it’s 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.

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

 

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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Beano Grigio

Beano Grigio was a confidence trickster. He didn’t really know what he was doing here, because Beano Grigio moved on the edges of the underworld.

He knew enough about his host to know that he was one of the good guys. When he had received the invitation to dinner he had thought it was a joke. There wasn’t a great deal known about Lord Stiletto in the general ‘Verse, but there were all kinds of myths and legends about his fabled tech star, Sunshine, on the edge of the Horse Head Nebula, his incredible team of genius scientists and engineers, and of course his dinner parties. In truth there was virtually nothing known about Lord Stiletto, but in the dark fringes of the ‘Verse where Beano comfortably moved, there were plenty of rumours.

Beano was dying to use the bathroom. That was another one of those rumours. It was said that it was never the same one twice. It was said that when one entered, the room was selected from thousands. It could be an exact replica of a Roman bathroom, replete with senators communally sharing the other pots, a spotless iridium creation from some Nebulan designer, or the famous ceramic urinals from the lavatory of a public house in the centre of Liverpool.

Beano Grigio may be an interesting and questionable character, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t cultured. Still he was bursting. The reason for his reticence was that rumour said that the bathrooms weren’t fascimiles, but the real thing, and worse, anyone rude enough to disturb the harmony of Stiletto’s table, or unwise enough to try to turn the occasion to their advantage, would find themselves exiting their bathroom, and discovering they were in a cafe or a diner somewhere in the middle of nowhere, on the farside of some forgotten planetary system.

Lord Stiletto was observing his guest with interest. Beano needn’t have worried. The only guests at his table were very close friends or in Beano’s case those that were going to be. For Lord Stiletto was a Master of the space time continuum, and Beano Grigio had a very interesting future.

Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2017

To Read Beano Grigio you can buy the eBook from Amazon. For a link to your nearest Amazon go to my book page.

LINK TO BOOK PAGE

The Adventures Of Miss Ann Thrope

The sound of the explosion was deafening. Sanguine, Miss Ann Thrope gently squeezed her trigger and another merk evaporated. She never really understood the technical function of the futuristic weaponry her friend provided, just that they worked.
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Whipping around with a lightning speed that belied her appearance, she casually erased three more. That’s how she saw this space pistol, or ray gun as she told it to her grandchildren at their bedtime stories, like an erasure, rubbing out a smudge on her beautiful pencil drawings.
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Racing ahead at breakneck speed she dived low under a hatch to the left, coming out in a roll as her eraser led before her and sent a volley of precision shots into the troops trying to pin her down with their erratic fire.
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Silently Miss Thrope edged her way down the metallic corridor with the low level lighting. In this future age, security was controlled by the Station which was almost sentient. In the age Miss Thrope chose to make her home, they were just coming to terms with intelligent fridges and central heating that linked into the home computer network.
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In the distant future every surface, space, temperature gradient, any physical existence was controlled and monitored by the Station.
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The only way to possibly be covert was with some very special counter technology, like physical hacking. Miss Thrope walked down the corridor with complete confidence of, in essence, being an invisible undetectable physical virus.
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That was her first mistake.
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The creature that sank it’s huge claws into her shoulder pulled her back off balance. Sentient itself, it paused just a little too confidently before sinking it’s scything savage jaws into it’s victim.
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Having dropped her eraser Miss Thrope was surviving purely on instinct. The long bladed stiletto from her wrist sheath appeared in her hand and was thrust through the soft flesh below the lower jaw and hopefully into it’s tongue. With a roar of pain the great leviathan reared back opening up the wound and nearly tearing Miss Thrope’s arm out of it’s socket. Over-riding the terrible pain in both shoulders she took an incendiary grenade from her harness and activating it via her neural net, threw it down the roaring throat of the beast. Her friend’s grenades were very sophisticated. She picked “bang” on a scale from one to ten, of two.
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“Should have picked one,” she thought to herself as she limped down the metal passageway, completely deafened and covered in ribbons of stinking flesh.
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Copyright Jhedron Luckspar © 2016 2018
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To enjoy THE ADVENTURES OF MISS ANN THROPE you can buy it via my book page
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Stockholm Conversation

You ask me about the meals in my stories. The friends dine together a lot. In my life I love to eat. Eat out, eat in, good food cooked well. But sharing the experience, that adds quality of life. I love to eat out with friends, or to cook a meal for them, or to be cooked for. Good food, good wine, good friends it’s the stuff of life. Location too is important. Dining, like life is all about ambience, mood. You can find it, you can create it, you can enjoy it. When you get it you have to be a part of it, like being an actor in a play or a film. One of the differences I found going to Steampunk conventions in different countries. In some places the visitors dress up in their bowler hats, goggles, boots, ladies in extravagant dresses. They are into the ideas, the stories of Jules Verne, Phillip Pullman, Cory Doctorow. They assume a character they have created and stay in character all weekend. They create and share in an ambience. In some other places, Steampunk is just a tribe fashion, like mods and rockers.

No, it’s not elitist. Look at Bruce Willis’s character in The Fifth Element. He is a hard nosed character who kicks ass. He still dresses smartly when he goes to the opera.

When I wrote the Rabbit Chronicles, a lot of events and characters were based on real people, real events. I still do that a little. A trip to London or Stockholm will inspire elements of stories. A few characters are based on people I know, friends. Mostly now it’s imaginary characters and events.

When I was writing the Rabbit Chronicles, which I started at a Swedish Sci Fi / Steampunk convention, the story started at that convention, with people I met there. If anyone gave me their email address I used to send out a weekly chapter from the new book. The main villain in the book is based on a guy who emailed me back a few times because he liked the stories. I asked him if he wanted to be in the book, and did he want to be a hero or a villain. So the Hrym was born.

I had about twelve characters and because the friends dining together was so important, and as I was returning to Swecon the following year, I invited all the real people out to dinner at Linkoping at my expense. Three from England and eight from Sweden. We had a great dinner and it became part of the book. The ones who turned up in real life are the ones in the story who survived. I finished writing the book the next day.

Yes, my own character died quite early on. I wasn’t comfortable writing about myself, even if it is imaginary. The surviving characters have reappeared in what is now a trilogy. The Adventures of Miss Ann Thrope is my second book in the trilogy and I hope to have the third book ready for July, six weeks from now.


Yes, I do write quite fast. Short, sharp chapters, and hopefully plenty of them.

Even during the last few days, in Stockholm, I have written every day. I’m off to Uppsala tomorrow for the convention. Looking forward to meeting old friends.

My next project. Well, as I said, the third book is going well. My friend Faramond Frie will be at Swecon signing books. He arrives tomorrow. We are working on a graphic project together which we hope has potential for the future. As well as a writer he is a great artist and has done the covers for my last two books. We were at a Sci Fi convention in Ghent, Belgium, a few years back where we were just across the aisle from his childhood inspiration, Ian Gibson, who worked on the Judge Dredd comics.  He got to spend half an hour talking to him. Whether it’s in the pages of a book, or your life, it’s an amazing adventure. You get to choose.

Thank you very much.

Chapter Three by Herbert

In the dabbled shade cast by the deep purple foliage of a Crimson King Maple sat a pale old lady. A quilted rug covered her aged knees as she sat staring into the distance. On her lap was a well thumbed copy of H. G. Wells’ war of the worlds.
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“They’re coming you know,” mumbled the old lady, “They are coming. My dear husband Robert always said that one day they would.” She picked up the book and closed it, then tapped it with a thin finger. “But not the way Wells said. He was a clever man my Robert, knew his stuff. Knew the tall from the short just by their smell.”
The old lady gently placed the book on a small table next to her and continued. “Do you know what he said to me the morning of July 2nd, 1997. The day Robert and I were, erm… the day we were… visited…” she paused, hushed her voice, leaned forward a little, pushed her teeth back into position, and then quietly continued, “…by the men… in the hats.”
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“Edith dear,” interrupted a woman, in a pale blue well pressed cotton dress, who had been standing impatiently next to the old lady for a good 20 seconds, “You’ve told me this a hundred times. It’s a good story but, well… you know. It’s a bit mind-numbing. Here’s your soup.”
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The woman in a pale blue, well pressed cotton dress carefully placed the bowl of thick yellow soup and a spoon onto the quilted rug that warmed the old woman’s knees. The pale blue well pressed cotton dress was sporting a badge, pinned proudly to its lapel, and on the badge printed in a bold arrogant font was ‘Sunset Village Retirement Center’ and underneath that was a name, printed in a slender modest font  – Kimberly Miller (that’s the name of the lady, not the dress), and printed in brackets next to Kimberly Miller, in a thin obliging font, was ‘Personal Care Assistant’.
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“Mind-numbing is it,” squeaked the old lady through pursed lips, “well that’s exactly what happened to my Robert. Do you know that he…”
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“Edith, your soup… it’s getting cold.” Once again interrupted the increasingly uninterested Kimberly Miller as she turned on her polished heels and walked off. Her shoulders shrugged and her bored face wobbled as she continued. “Oh and another parcel has arrived for you. I managed to squeeze it into the cupboard with all the others.”
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“Presents dear… more presents.” Edith explained, her voice trailing off into the distance as it tried very hard to catch up with Kimberly Miller before she went back inside to tick her soup delivery checklist.
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“Edith,” said Edith to herself, “why don’t you just keep your wrinkled old mouth shut? Robert would be turning in his grave to hear you telling all these secrets.”
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Just then as Edith carefully scooped up a spoonful of thick yellow soup a small and very strange looking creature came spiralling down through the sky. It looked like a cross between a slug and very, very, very small dog. It’s angle of descent heading it straight for the Maple tree. It entered the top of the tree and ricochet through the branches like a pinball, right above the head of a sweet old lady who was just about to have her first slurp of soup. As she lifted the spoon to her wrinkled old mouth the creature slipped through the bottom layer of foliage and plopped elegantly onto her spoon, splashing soup thickly and yellowy down the front of Edith’s floral knitted jumper.
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The surprise encounter shocking her motionless.
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Edith stared unblinking at… it.
It stared unblinkingly back. A bead of soup slowly slipping down its dog like face.
Edith stared more unblinking at… it (that’s the slug-dog not the soup).
It stared unblinkingly back even, even more.
The drop of soup thickly ignored them both and continued to dribble slowly down between the dog like eyes of it.
Edith stared even, even, even, extra more unblinking at… it (again that’s the slug-dog not the soup).
It tried to stare even, even, extra, extra unblinkingly hard back, but the soup however, had other ideas – seeping into it’s eye sockets – causing it to blink.
The moment it’s eyes shut, like a highly trained Ninja, Edith snatched it from the spoon “Got ya,” she smirked and stuffed it into her pocket.
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“I told you they were coming Kimberly Miller, but you wouldn’t listen.”
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