Saturday, 16 February 2008

BRAVO Chapter Two (start)

BRAVO Chapter Two - (start)

General Ratz stands up to address the small gathering, he fingers a button on his tunic in an attempt to hide the fact that the uniform he’s wearing is at least two sizes too small for him. “Comrades,” he begins, looking around the oak panelled room and wiping a tear from his cheek. “Comrades, we meet again, hopefully this will be our final secret session before we have control of the world!” Before he sits down, he thumps the huge meeting room table with his clenched fist and takes a long gulp from a glass of neat vodka.

On the other side of the table the Major relights a cigar and blows a cloud of blue smoke towards the open fire that is burning fiercely in the hearth.
“General Ratz,” he says, addressing his colleague. “Have you given the orders to attack?” As he asks the question he licks his lips in anticipation and starts to salivate at the thought of a battle.

The General staggers to his feet and opens another bottle of the 70% proof alcohol. He throws the screw cap into the fire and watches for the little flame that momentarily shoots up before the top blackens and melts in the heat.
“Yes, yes, yes!” Screams Ratz. “The aliens will annihilate the Freedomlanders and give us the power we deserve!” He thumps the desk again, imagining that he has an iron fist. “Karloff!” He shouts to his trusted aide, who comes running to his side from one of the leather sofa’s by the fire. “Karloff,” he repeats, this time in a gentler voice. Then asks, almost as an afterthought. “Have you brought the tapes?”

Karloff looks at the General and smiles, “Yes, General, they are all ready to be shown!” He beams, flashing a mouthful of gold plated teeth.

“Bravo! bravo! I like efficiency it is good, no? Major and Karloff,” begins Ratz excitedly. “You are my most trusted men, in fact, you are the only ones I can trust.”
He tells them these things like it’s the first time they’ve ever heard them. Of course it’s not, he’s told them the same thing over and over again, year after year. This time though, things are different. “The President, huh! He’s just a puppet,” continues Ratz.“He’s our puppet, we pull his strings! These youngsters in The Party, bah! They’re not to be trusted, all they want is wealth, what do they know of the revolution?”
continue reading...

Friday, 15 February 2008

Chapter One - (post five)

Go to the start of ALPHA Chapter One..

ALPHA Chapter One - (post five)

“That’s great!” Screams Arrow to no one in particular but somehow hoping that a passing robot might be hurt by his outburst. “We really are slaves now!” he continues, this time speaking specifically to his close friends and workmates Crescent and Dart. “Work, eat and sleep, work, eat and sleep...” He mimics the robotic voice, before diving headlong onto his bed and pulling the covers up around his chin.

“No leisure period. I don’t believe it, they can’t do this to us.” Laments Dart, as he too climbs onto his bunk and reaches for the blanket.

Crescent is as shocked as anybody to hear the news and for a few minutes he even forgets about his hunger pangs. “You don’t believe it?” he yells. “You don’t believe it? Well you better do Dart, ‘cos they’ve just done it, and you and everybody else knows it. We’ll have to accept it, what else can we do?

“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to sleep.” Says Dart.
“Okay, I’ll wake you for second lunch.”
“Thanks Crescent.”

Crescent goes over to Arrow’s bed and sits on the end of it. “They must be in a panic behind the scenes.” He confides. “You know, making us work around the clock like this.”
“Hum, maybe, I wonder what it is that we’re making though?” Muses Arrow. I’ve never seen components like these before.
“Well, whatever it is, they want it kept secret, all the assembly area is in the forbidden zone, which means only…”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah! Only the flaming robots know what the blooming finished article looks like!!!” Arrow completes Crescent’s sentence for him. Then he starts to laugh, a great big rip roaring laugh. “And they can’t see! Can they Crescent?” he asks his friend, still laughing.

Crescent is too hungry to laugh; instead he pulls a serious face and answers Arrow’s question as though his life depends on it. “Well, not like us, they can’t,” He begins, and then hastily adds. “But, they certainly have some kind of directional sense.”

The bell rings for second lunch, it sounds louder in the sleeping quarters than in the workshop, and the young men like Dart who have chosen to take a little nap before eating, are suddenly on their feet again and running towards the canteen to form an orderly queue for second lunch.
“That was quick!” Exclaims Crescent. “I better wake Dart…” He starts to tell Arrow, as he walks across the dormitory and shakes Darts leg.

This is the end of ALPHA Chapter One.
BRAVO Chapter Two starts tomorrow..

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Chapter One - (post four)

Go to the start of Chapter One

ALPHA Chapter One – (post four)

The young men’s conversation is interrupted by the sound of a loud bell ringing; it’s one of those annoying front door style electric bells, but much, much louder.

“I’m glad this work session is over.” Says Arrow, as the trio down tools and start to move away from their workbench.
“Me too,” says Dart, “I’ll be really happy when I get back to my bunk.”
“You not going to eat then, Dart? Asks Crescent, who is always hungry.
“Not yet Crescent, thanks.” Dart laughs, knowing how much his friend will be craving food right now. “I’ll eat later, I just want to lie down now, really.”
“What about you, Arrow?” Crescent asks, hoping that Arrow will be hungry for once.
Arrow looks at him and smiles and pulls a taut face; he shrugs his shoulders and makes a reply. “I’m sorry, I’m not hungry yet, I think I’ll go later too.” He says apologetically.
Although he thinks that he’s starving, Crescent doesn’t want to go to eat by himself. So, reluctantly he makes a decision “I might as well come back to the quarters with you both then.” He announces.

The young trio only just reach their shared room in the sleeping quarters when the Tanoy Bleeps. Blurp! Blurp! Blurp! It bleeps, over and over again getting louder and louder until everybody in the Dome can hear it.
Then the monotone voice of a robotic machine begins to drone.
“This is an important announcement. This is an important announcement.” It repeats itself, like someone who just likes to hear the sound of his own voice. “There will be no leisure periods until further notice. All personnel will work, eat and sleep. Work eat and sleep. I repeat. There will be no leisure periods until further notice. That is all.”
And the Tanoy Blurps. Bleep, Bleep, Bleep… it Blurps!
read on..

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Chapter One - (post three)

Go to the start of ALPHA Chapter one

ALPHA Chapter One – (post three)

“The thing is…” begins Crescent, puffing his chest out and rocking his head from side to side ever so slowly. “The thing is, we’ve grown bigger and wiser, so they need more robots to supervise us, to keep us in line, if you like!”
“Yeah, but where do they come from? If they can increase their number, maybe we can too! Exclaims Dart, excitedly.
Arrow throws a spanner onto the floor, he’s frustrated with the conversation having heard these thoughts voiced many times before. “Impossible!” He shouts. “We are all males, the females of our species didn’t survive the break up of the planet when we were born.”
The others look at him; they all know that that there is no hope for them, no way for them to duplicate themselves like the robots have. It’s Dart who breaks the silence.
“But there must be a way, a way to…”
“Forget it Dart, we’re here, we’re alive and that’s all there is to it.” States Crescent.
“Not quite all, we’re the servants of these, these machines. We’re being controlled by a bunch of flaming robots! They tell us what to do and when to do it.”
“Yeah,” says Arrow, “we always have been Dart, and yet, we’ve been happy until now.”
Continue reading...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Zblog #2

Zblog #2
I know that I've already said this elsewhere, but I must repeat it here on this posting, just to let you know that I am going to be making posts daily to Space Invaders! from now on. I know that I've got off to a slow start and I apologise to each and every one of you.
At the risk of repeating myself and boring you senseless I add the following remark strictly for the record. Space Invaders! is becoming one of those novels that has more words written about it than written in it! There you are, you see, I've said it now. It's the blogging equivelant of liking to hear ones own voice, perhaps!
Why do it Online? People ask me all the time. Well, good question. I think my answer would have to be that I want the challenge, I want to prove to myself that it is possible to complete such a task with the world looking over my shoulder. I want to write this novel Online because I want to communicate with my readership on a one to one name for name basis if possible in a 'warts an' all' first draft kind of environment. Phew!
All bloggers love to recieve comments and in some situations like writing a work-in-progress-novel, comments from readers not only lift the writer but also endorse the product. Of course, commenting isn't compulsory and one can never legislate such things. But it is nice to leave a comment and I don't mind if you don't like my story or the way I write it. In fact I'm actually looking for critique on this blog and I welcome anybody to leave a comment. So, if you're reading this now, and I know that you are, please leave a little comment and introduce yourself.
Some of you already know that I've found my original play script, the actual hand-written copy for Space Invaders! What you might not know is that when I wrote the play version at Withington Library in Manchester in 1984/85 I used a different colour pen or pencil for each character and I remember I wrote some of the robot bits with my left hand. Anyway, I tell you all this because my son Jack can scan the images into the computer for me and convert the files so I can show them on this blog! How cool's that? And guess what? The original artwork for the front cover by yours truely is still intact!
Look out for the conclusion of Chapter One of Space Invaders! on this blog tomorrow and for the start of Chapter Two which will take us to a very different place. I can't wait to press on with this project and see what happens. So, see you then, then!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Chapter One Cont.

Go to start of chapter One.

continue reading from previous post.
ALPHA Chapter One - (post two)
The young men continue their work in silence, each thinking his own thoughts. After awhile Crescent poses a question.
"I wonder..." he begins, "I wonder how many of us there are against how many of them?

Arrow and Dart shrug their shoulders. They don't want to be drawn into yet another pointless conversation but Arrow knows the answer to this question and after only a few seconds he decides to share this knowledge with his friends.

"At the last count," he whispers, looking around, furtively "there were three thousand of us, that was of course before Jangle disappeared!" Arrow picks up one of the pieces of casting from the bench and examines it. He rubs it on his sweatshirt, like some people do with apples, he inspects it again and gives it a final buff on his sleeve before returning it to the bench. He looks up at Crescent. "Does that answer your question?" he asks.
"No!" his friend replies. "It doesn't, not fully anyway."
"What else can I tell you?"
"How many damn robots there are in this flaming dome?
"That, Crescent my friend, is a very good question! And a very difficult one to answer."
"Yeah," interjects Dart, "nobody knows how many robots there are, there could be thousands behind those doors in the forbidden zone, for all we know."
"Well, we did count them recently," says Arrow, making a face and scratching his shaved head before continuing. "Actually it was Jangle and his friend Flippy, they counted eight hundred Pawns, ten Knights and four Rooks."

A pawn glides up to the bench where the three young men are deep in conversation, none of them see him coming until it's too late. He crashes into the metal frame, steel against steel, sparks flying, sending half finished components to the floor.
"Pick up the pieces! pick up the pieces!" The Pawn commands! "This is not a pic-nic, you men are here to WORK! Pick up the pieces and start again!" The Pawn spins around and glides off across the workshop.

"Phew, that was a close call." Says Arrow.
"Yeah, where were we up to, what were we saying?" Asks Dart, as the threesome crawl on their hands and knees picking up the bits and pieces from the hard concrete floor.
"I was telling you both about Jangle's survey." Mutters Arrow, banging his elbow against the frame of the workbench.
"Yeah, yeah, there's always been three thousand of us, everybody knows that!" Dart recalls, as they continue to pick up the pieces. "But, I don't remember there being so many blooming robots about!" He exclaims!
Continue reading

Hi, Thanks for reading this far! Please leave a comment and introduce yourself. If you're writing an Online Novel or blogging about the novel you're writing, maybe you'd like to swap links.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Zblog #1

Zblog #1
It's funny, to me at least, that most people I talk to about Space Invaders seem to think it must be Sci-fi. It never crossed my mind but there again, I know what happens, sort of...
So, I got to thinking about what genre if any, this little work might fall into. The short and long of it is that I don't really know. In some ways it's not even fiction at all because it really happened. Or did it? I don't remember! If it did really happen, then it happened a long time ago and if it didn't it doesn't really matter, does it?
If it's a fictional story based on fact then I guess it could be faction. Faction? That's for me to know and for you to find out. I will give some major clues though. Firstly Space Invaders is not Science Fiction, Science Faction or Science anything. It is simply a story about good and evil. About the powerful and the powerless. It is a tale of the manipulated and the manipulators. It is a novel about... Okay, then, yeah, I guess you're right, it probably could be categorized as Science Something. I've just checked a list of 92 different genres and it doesn't seem to fit any of them. Well, I haven't actually written it yet!
Don't you just love complications? You'd think it would be an easy task to write an Online Novel with blogspot and it probably is if you know what you're doing. The main problem is that each new posting goes above the previous posting so unless you post a complete chapter or keep on adding bits to an earlier posting there is no real continuity. I've been looking at the way other people get around this situation and the best solution is to have two sites, one with work-in-progress and a second one with the completed task. Anybody got any better ideas?

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Chapter One

ALPHA Chapter One (first post)
The Rook glides effortlessly along the balcony, he's closely followed by a number of Pawns. Beneath their armour plated chess piece exterior, they are robots and masters of the Dome. The dull black painted finish of their coats completes the sinister look.

"Gentlemen we must have discipline!" Alpha begins his robotic rant. "There is no call for stupidity in our lives! The man Jangle has been found in an air shaft..." The Rook's voice echoes around the assembly area of the Dome. "If we are to survive you must obey us. We are your masters! We have built the city to protect you as our planet hurtles aimlessly through space" He continues, monosyllabically, the way only a robot can. "We are a small number on a very small planet. The Dome occupies nine tenths of the surface, the outside is uninhabitable..." His machine like voice drones on. And on..."I repeat, we must have discipline, the man Jangle is dead! That is all... Dismiss."

Young men begin to return to their living quarters or their place of work. Three of them, Arrow, Crescent and Dart walk away from the meeting together.

"I suppose they'll be watching us all, more closely now." Says Arrow, to no one in particular.
"Yes," replies Crescent. "I think there's some big panic going on behind the scenes." Then he thoughtfully adds. "I wonder what Jangle was up to?"

Before anybody could answer a Pawn bumps into Crescent, knocking him to the hardened concrete floor.
"Come on you men, back to work, these components need finishing!" The Pawn urges the three young men before gliding off to admonish another group.

"Slave driver!" Whispers Dart as he helps Crescent back to his feet. "We always have to meet some deadline for these rotten machines." He looks around to make sure that none of the chess pieces are watching or listening.
"That's a bit strong Dart! Don't you think? The machines are our masters, after all. Don't forget!" Says Arrow, speaking up for the robots.
"Our gaolers, more like!" Dart Hurriedly replies.

The three young men complete the short walk from the big meeting back to the assembly line in the highly mechanised workshop. They work side by side at the same bench, day after day, piecing together intricate castings to produce something... but they don't know what it is.

Crescent looks up at the other two and out across the workshop where several hundred more young men are busy working on different projects. The whole place is buzzing with activity.
"I wonder if we'll ever find out where we came from?" He asks, knowing that the others only know what he knows and that everybody only knows what the Rook and his cronies have told them anyway.

"I want to know what's going to become of us, do we really have any future?" Questions Dart, ignoring Crescent's cry from the heart.

The loss of their friend Jangle has affected the men more than they are willing to admit to themselves and the soul searching questions they are asking each other reflect this.

"Can anybody tell ME!!! WHAT'S going to happen to US?" Dart screams! But only Crescent and Arrow can hear him. The workshop is a noisy place, it is jam-packed full of heavy machinery.
It's Arrow who finally answers his question. "Not here we don't Dart, you know that as well as anybody. Here, there's only us and them!"
Continue reading...
Hi, Thanks for reading this far! Please leave a comment and introduce yourself. If you're writing an Online Novel or blogging about the novel you're writing, maybe you'd like to swap links.

Friday, 18 January 2008


First of all, thank you for visiting this page. I decided to create a new blog for Space Invaders as trying to slot it into Proper Joe's was never really going to work. The aim of writing this novel is just to prove to myself that I can do it. Of course I'm going to cheat! You didn't think I was just going to sit here burning the midnight oil night after night did you? Well, when I say cheat, I mean that I've already got the plot sorted out in the form of a play I wrote with the same title in 1984.
Of course I haven't got a clue about how I'm going to present this work as a novel. I have a vague idea in my head about the way I want it to go - whether I possess the skills to achieve this is a different matter.
One thing I will need your help with is feedback. Comments and critique are welcomed from anybody who can take/make the time to respond. If there's something you don't like about my story, please let me know, but do bear in mind that everything you read on these pages will only be a first draft.
You can bookmark this blog and return whenever you like, I'm going to be posting as often as I can.
The thing I always like best about writing is dialogue. Play scripts have always seemed the natural way for me to communicate. Space Invaders was originally written as a play but I wanted to do something else with it. I like the idea of a 'described play' or better still a play that you can read like a book rather than a script. On his blog Blogisode Dave Riley refers to a "Dialogue Novel" as a play that is read rather than a play that is performed. That is exactly what I've been wanting to do for the past twenty four years! So, thanks Dave, I guess your quote is pretty much the inspiration for my-work-in-progress-novel. Phew!