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#Chester Author is nuts


I was 26,291 days old (72 years in Earth orbit terms) and went for a hike in Delamere Forest in Cheshire. I forgot to smile because… …I am worried. It’s book three of the Flying Crooked series and it’s getting away with me. Characters are writing themselves and telling me to fuck off, make a cup of tea while they get on with plot, subplot, craziness, proving me right by being wrong and all that. I was teaching in Chester’s Queen’s Park High in Handbridge when I wrote my first novel. While I enriched kids’ lives with my antics, field trips and tales of blood and fire (I taught Geography and they loved natural disasters) I found a piece of amber with a fossil seed in it. A kind of Extinction R...
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FALLING UP


FALLING UP is the sequel to the surreal science fiction novella, Suppose We, published in May 2019. The fifth draft of Falling Up is now complete having gone through the rigours of Orbiters 7. Orbiters? That’s one of the critique groups of the British Science Fiction Association. Every two months we send around 5,000 to 9,000 words of our latest oeuvre to be hacked at by eagle-eyed wordsmiths in return for mutual editing. The funny thing is that if there are, say, six members of the critique group, by the time you’ve received five detailed edits (using MS Word’s Review / Comment feature) you’d think there’s nothing left to change. After all, Falling Up had already been outlined, rough drafte...
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SUN DRAGONS


I’ve been taken over today by another writer, Gillian Rooke. We’ve known each other for many years online and unless she tells me differently, we actually met at a literary event in Derby many Earth orbits ago. Gillian was an early member of the British Science Fiction Association Orbiters, where members send chapters or short stories to each other for critique before submitting them to publishers. SUN DRAGONS is a debut children’s science fiction ebook by Gillian. While it is a fantasy, there is some very interesting solar science behind it. This blog piece is her promo. Read and be amazed then buy her book for your children, nieces, nephews, neighbours. Sun Dragons By J K Rooke I see no re...
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Is Ggantija an astronomical portal?


Watching a documentary on an ancient Irish dolman the other night, in which a theory was proposed that it was built to observe and time the equinoxes, it seemed to me that perhaps the Ggantija ‘temples’ in Gozo’s Xaghra was built for a similar reason. The Irish dolman reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaulstown_Portal_Tomb One thing to bear in mind is that the sea level around Malta was 5 metres lower when Ggantija was built 5 to 6k years ago. Not really important though is it? Relevant though is plate tectonic activity. Much of northern Europe is in the middle of a plate but the Mediterranean still has tremors and quakes because of the northerly migration of the African plate. Over t...
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#WorldCon in Dublin 2019


The international science fiction convention WorldCon is in Dublin as we speak! I can’t be there because I am recovering from a hernia op but my books are there for me. I hope they’re having a blast. Authors who are there who know of my SUPPOSE WE is Jaine Fenn who said the book has original touches, and Jon Courteney Grimwood who once said I wear science fiction like other people wear clothes – haha. My books are in the main hall on a stall manned by the facebook authors’ services group BooksGoSocial. So if you’re in Dublin please pop in, say hello and pick up a 5 euros copy of Suppose We. If you cannot do that it is on sale as ebook or paperback at https://mybook.to/SupposeWe   You can rea...
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#Vegan in #Prague


Two big surprises for me in Prague. Everyone knows it’s a cultural city, steeped in history both ancient and modern. Even before the Slavs occupied Bohemia in the 6th century, there were Celts and German peoples living there. The city became a hub for culture, science, arts and the Hapsburgs over the centuries. Upheavals during the first and second world wars and a mix of feelings over Communist rule until the Velvet Revolution of 1989 saw through many changes. Ironically, the city kind of stayed the same, physically, since then. That is, the buildings, streets, trams, bridges, the large student population and an esprit de corps inhabit the city like a warm glow. First surprise is the abunda...
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Excerpt from SUPPOSE WE


From Chapter 12 in SUPPOSE WE Science fiction novella by Geoff Nelder Setting: An exploration mission from Earth on Kepler-20h goes wrong. Their ship, Alt cover for Suppose We by Peter Baldiccino Suppose We, crashlands and they need local assistance but are ignored. Their commander becomes unhinged during the 1062 years hibernation sleep and their AI has become weird too. French science officer befriends an alien butterfly and he can’t help quoting the Flying Crooked poem by Robert Graves and yet, unbeknown to him the butterfly is a virtual part of the planet’s most ancient Kep (a few thousand years old) and not the infant Kep the Frenchman thinks he is. Scene: alien planet. The four humans ...
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SUPPOSE WE is released!


Is there anything special about May 20th? Yes! Five important events occurred on that day: 1498 Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama discovers the sea route to India. 1609 Shakespeare’s sonnets are published for the first time. 1932 Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. 1972 Gaynor Smith marries Geoff Nelder in Latchford Methodist Chapel tucked in between the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. Yes 47 years ago! 2019 SUPPOSE WE is published – the first surreal science fiction novella in the Flying Crooked series. Blurb: When a ship crashlands on a faraway planet the crew needs local help. Unfortunately, the natives are a million years ahead of us. Ignored, the cre...
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Across a Nightingale Floor


I belong to an active science fiction and fantasy book group that meets monthly in the fabulous new Storyhouse library / theatre / cinema / restaurant. We are an eclectic mix of old and young, male and female but mainly from Earth. Our book for March 2019 was “Across the Nightingale Floor” by Lian Hearn. This is not a book review as such and this blog post would not have been written were it not for the intriguing title.  In brief the novel, probably targeted at teens, is set in medieval Japan, but using generic settings and mores of the era rather than real geography as I prefer to do. It’s a classic revenge story in which our hero discovers he has powers such as super hearing, invisibility...
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TOUCH by Claire North – a writer’s novel


Touch by Claire North  (2015) 426 pages (paperback) I started reading this intriguing science fantasy novel in October and finished it Christmas Day, 2018. It would take a normal reader a couple of days but I had my own nonsense to write. Should be compulsory reading for writers. Just like a piano tuner once told me that Puccini’s La Boheme was a singer’s opera then so Touch is a writers’ novel. Why? Many novels are 100,000 words of a story told through the senses of a single narrator in his or own singular body. Many others have perhaps a handful of narrators still within their own bodies. The art of the writer is to make the reader believe in those narrators, feel their sensations – what t...
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Fond of a font


The publishing industry professionals are up in arms. Well not all of them, but the traditionalists are. There I go tainting a swathe of friends unfairly. Let’s start again. A year ago at a writers’ retreat in Greece (Limnisa.com) I launched my imagination into space. LL-Publications, who publishes my ARIA Trilogy and INCREMENTAL short story collection, said, ‘Nelder, we want a science fiction novella – a series.’ I admit that the scifi story in me bursting to get out is a trope: crashlanded spaceship lands on a barely inhabitable planet and need to survive / check possibility of human settlement / watch for nasties. Where it is different is that the natives are a million years ahead of Eart...
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#Copyright flutterbies


There are butterflies in my stomach. What does that mean? Am I worried about something, or scared that an event is approaching about which I have little control? Yes, and no. SUPPOSE WE is approaching lift off and it nearly got away from me, its author. This working title for a spaceship is quirky enough but stuck as I and the BSFA Orbit 7 critique group became familiar with its four human crew and a wayward AI that called itself CAN because… well, many reasons but one was that it came out of a can. Butterflies? Get on with it. When I was 10 a teacher made my class learn a 60-word, 10-line poem about a butterfly. It was Flying Crooked by Robert Graves. Here it is by kind permission of its co...
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MORE MENTAL THAN INCREMENTAL


https://geoffnelder.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/fire1537514316.mp4 I am really pleased with this collection of my own favourite short stories. Some have been published before, but in anthologies or magazines no longer available or rare. Such as What Kept You? A story published in Ultraverse in which time accelerated with altitude on a strange planet. My favourite is Prime Meridian in which a teacher’s house is hit by a grape-sized meteorite at 3:15pm — every day! Here’s the blurb: Did you enjoy The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, and those stories that follows the logical consequences of a slight abnormality in everyday life? This collection of 25 surreal short stories are of mixe...
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One new and one revised book


I’m delighted to report… several things. INCREMENTAL is to be published on the 6th October 2018 by LL-PublicationsAn updated version of How to Win Short Story Competitions by me and Dave Haslett has been released todayI am reading Claire North’s clever body swapping novel, TOUCH, and she wrote the sky having the colour of “a two-day bruise.” Another phrase I might have to steal. 1)INCREMENTAL is a collection of 25 short stories I’ve written over several years but mainly in the last 12 months. They are slightly mad, surreal tales with an incremental element to them. ie. something grows or is added to each day, or other unit of time. For example a pothole doubles in size daily. You’ll be amaze...
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Books and biscuits


Yesterday I gave my fifth book talk of the season about Xaghra’s Revenge to readers at the Lache Library, Chester, UK. I gave a quick outline of the plot. Fact: pirates abducted 5,000 people off the Mediterranean island of Gozo in 1551 and sold them into slavery or ransomed the rich. A few young women were shipped to a harem in Constantinople. I gave those souls revenge in the novel, but often while doing research the truth is stranger than fiction. Most of the attendees at my talks in Britain had been to the Maltese islands but didn’t know of the pirate raid in 1551 and were as shocked as I. Most didn’t know that one of the oldest buildings in the world (older than the pyramids and Stonehen...
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Sample of Xaghra’s Revenge

Xaghras-Revenge-MockUp-2
Xaghra’s Revenge excerpt from Chapter 23 used on talks Read to the Salon literary event in Malta April 2018 and at the Gozo Central Library 1551 – Stjepan was one of 5,000 people on the island of Gozo, near Malta, who were mass abducted by pirates and sold as slaves in Libya. His wife, Lidia, was taken with other women to a harem in Constantinople. Convinced his life couldn’t get worse, Stjepan sat on a warm stone outside a single-floor long hut. On the rocky horizon, the pomegranate sun whispered goodbye to another blistering day. It appeared huge, as if welled up with the same tears Stjepan fought to control. Losing his family was bad enough, but the talisman, too? A whiff of rosemary reig...
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Why do a book tour?


Why do a book tour? It was inevitable. I’d written a historical fantasy set in the Maltese islands. We go there for a holiday every few years so as sure as sand + cement = mortar, this year’s holiday had to involve the nervous energy involved in public appearances. It was made easier because the Preluna Hotel & Spa in Sliema, Malta offered to host a book signing. Aren’t they nice? Their Marketing Manager, Mandy, said that since I’d stayed at their hotel while researching XAGHRA’S REVENGE and wrote some of it there, they’d be honoured to arrange a signing. They released a notice in their newsletter and created a poster. Information was posted on a facebook group Gozone (nice play on the name ...
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Storm in a teacup


Bénard cells in a beverage  As a teacher I relished taking unconventional steps to the delight and edification of my students. I’d be the rare teacher that would allow pupils to rush to the window to watch a rainbow, catch snowflakes, measure the acidity of rain and hurl leaves in a vortex. Why not, after all I taught weather and climate. It didn’t always produce awe. I recall taking 13-year-olds on the school field. I stood in front of them such that the sun was behind them. I knew it was raining on the hills behind me so I said to them, “You should be able to see a rainbow. Can you?” “Yes,” they chorused. “So what?” I tried to explain that I couldn’t see it because the sun has to be behind...
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Angular Size is up for a #BSFA Award!


What a turn up for the books – well, short story. I have a preposterous tale shortlisted for the prestigious BSFA Awards 2018. If you are a member or are attending the FollyCon / EasterCon in Harrogate this Easter I would be enormously grateful if you would consider voting for ANGULAR SIZE in the shorter story category. Link is here   http://bit.ly/2GghsKe   The premise is predicated on the concept of Angular Size, or the apparent size of an object. Eg the sun is the same apparent size of the moon, but we know it’s not the actual same size. Similarly there is no coin small enough that will blot out the moon, or sun, if you hold it out at arm’s length. A blouse button might do! In Angular Siz...
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Ambushed by Anita


There I was cycling happily along a winding country lane when a wagon forced me off road. Lying in the long grass the driver said, “We’ll let you back on the highway as long as you publish word of a fabulous new book by Anita Kovacevic.” I had no choice, but luckily she happens to be one of my favourite writerly pals. So, Anita, blow your cycle horn! THE FOREST OF TREES BLURB: When a family of four faces the brutal reality of their city life, they readily embrace a complete change. Emma and David Stone, with their kids Jeremy and Dot, move to a small town with their big hopes. However, small towns have their own secrets – from urban legends about The Forest of Trees to family skeletons in cl...
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