Monday, November 24, 2014

What to read after The Cyber Chronicles

If you’ve read The Cyber Chronicles and are looking for another series to lose yourself in, I recommend my space opera series, Slave Empire.

The protagonist, Rayne, shares Sabre’s struggle for freedom… she is the golden child who many wish to slay, prophesised to save a galactic empire.

As with all my series, Book 1 is free!

Alien hunters invade a dying Earth in search of a saviour, and an ancient prophecy predicts a golden child who will save a galactic empire. A mysterious black ship is Rayne’s guide and a masked outlaw known as the Shrike her guardian. Others want to slay her and prevent the prophecy from coming true. In the midst of two great empires’ strife, the Shrike holds the power to save or destroy her.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Favourite Television Programme, from a Writer’s Perspective

Not surprisingly, my favourite TV programme is a sci-fi series, Almost Human. There are many others I prefer, but that’s the best one showing at the moment. While it’s a rather run of the mill crime detective thriller sort of thing, it is set in the future, and the technology is interesting. It’s more character driven than most, and the hero is a handsome, but somewhat damaged and flawed individual. I like damaged heroes! There’s no romance in it, sadly, but there is occasionally some mild flirtation. More importantly, it isn’t rife with gratuitous sex scenes or foul language.

Almost Human revolves around a detective and his android partner, who has a supposed ‘synthetic soul’, which makes him almost human. It has a bit of fairly funny comedy in it, and I haven’t spotted any instances of deus ex machina or illogical, inexplicable technology, or plot holes. I hate plot holes. I tend to shout ‘ah, come on!’ at the TV when I spot those. They’re annoying! So, the writer wrote him or herself into a corner and couldn’t figure out a good way to extricate him/herself. That doesn’t give the writer carte blanche to ‘make it so’ because that’s just ‘the way it is’. Or, worse still, ignore the problem. Put some effort into it, people! TV audiences aren’t morons, and I stop watching shows that irritate me. If I sit after the show wondering how the heck that made any sense at all, I’m not going to annoy myself with more of the same next time that show’s playing.

Almost Human also has believable action scenes. The hero is sometimes beaten up, and he and his android partner save each other from time to time, each having abilities the other lacks. That makes them easier to relate to and sympathise with, making the audience inclined to care about them and root for them. So, hats off to the writers of Almost Human. Good job.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Defending Against Assassins

Just like the wealthy in my The Queen’s Blade fantasy series, one of the first things our ancestors did to protect themselves from assassination was employ armed bodyguards. Bodyguards not only act as a shield, but keep an eye out for any threats, often scouting ahead. Those who hired them had to be careful about who they employed as bodyguards, though, for divided loyalties often led to the bodyguards being the assassins. This method of defence was so effective that assassins began to use stealthier methods like poisoning. This type of assassination, too, was easily avoided by employing food tasters.

Another popular means of defence against assassination is the employment of a body double – someone who pretends to be the potential target in order to draw attention from him or her in high-risk situations, and who looks similar enough to the potential target to be mistaken for him or her.

When firearms and bombs became a more popular method of assassination, one of the first things potential targets did was increase their number of bodyguards. Large public areas where the person was due to appear were also cleared in advance, to make would-be assassins more visible.

At the dawn of the 20th century, armoured vehicles began to be used to transport important people. Today, these vehicles can save one from most small arms fire, and even small bombs and mines. Bullet-proof vests also came into use, worn mostly just for public events.

Another way of defence against possible assassination is to limit access to high-profile people by putting visitors through numerous checks before they’re allowed to see the VIP. Bomb and metal detectors are also widely used in today’s world, as are security cameras in homes and offices.

Some potential targets go as far as to isolate themselves as a way of defence – not a nice way to live, I imagine!