Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Promised extract

Here is my first chapter from my novel.  This is the third time I have tried to write an opening chapter for my novel, I believe that this is the best I have come up with.  To me it is a brilliant start of what is to come.  I hope everyone who reads it likes it, and has something to say.  Anyway here goes...
Starting to end, my life as cyclic
My name is Freya.  I live on the planet Panaterra, on the island of Cotta, well I do for the moment at least; although in a few short hours I will change and ditch this life akin to a snake shedding a skin.  I live in the largest city on Cotta, the city of Nom.  I am a member of the upper bourgeoisie.  I have a high-flying job in Nom, as CEO of Ware Scientific Research; the leader in the area of all things that are cosmic.  On Panaterra, it is the females who work and earn money.  The sole purpose of men is to care for the children and the home.   My solar system is on the opposing side of the Milky Way to the Orion Spur.  My galactic spur is just a small starry stretch called the Norma Arm, and Panaterra is situated cosily on the eastern edge of the middle section. 
I love my husband.  Unusually for most people in Cotta, my husband and I live happily.  He has raised our children wonderfully.  He had to give up his job when I gave birth to the first of our four children.  Yes, on Panaterra females give birth to the children, but when the umbilical cord is cut, so is the feminine desire to nurture the child and the paternal instinct kicks in.  A scarily spreading galactic phenomenon known as single parent upbringing is unknown on Panaterra.
Just like any other average sized planet, perfectly positioned in relation to the central star, life of all kinds is plentiful; too plentiful.  There are now more than 10 billion people on Panaterra now, but this figure is now static.  To combat this issue the Global Government, almost exclusively compiled of Cotta people - the elite, myself included, has introduced a cull on people aged 65 years.  If you are healthy when you are terminated then you also automatically become a donor of useful parts and organs.  Sterile children are weeded out at birth, as the world does not need nor can it accommodate those with any form of mental, physical or emotional defect.  If you are identified as sterile at your monthly screening, or any other problems are noticed then you will receive a termination letter, shortly afterwards. 
On your 65th birthday, you are sent a letter, detailing how many months you have left until you have to terminate.  Depending on your social status, you will be given a longer period of time to pull your life to a close.  A typical low-life, one who makes the likes of my circle shudder, will be given one month maximum on the understanding that his or her life is so bland that there isn’t much to be sorted out.  However a person like me, who is well known and who moves in important and influential circles, could be given up to eight months; on the understanding that we have to spend a great deal of time preparing for our exit. 
In a female’s life there are two events to prepare for, her introduction, and her termination.  The introduction is a symbol of adolescence, when her young mind and body prepare to enter the most colourful stage in her life.  You are expected to work until you receive your letter. 
I have one day left before I terminate.
But unlike everyone else, I’m not really going to terminate; yes I’ve just made my grand public departure so everyone can be nicely under the assumption I’ve really gone, but I have found a glitch in the galaxy.  You see, Ware Scientific Research was really an elaborate cover to manipulate the system.  I was given the longest possible time to wrap up to termination as I am the person who invented the means of travelling extremely close to the speed of light.  Not that it was very hard.  All I had to do was to make a few new calculations about light and the centre of the galaxy and the solution was obvious.  I became a billionaire due to my success.  Once I had jumped over that hurdle, I set my sights on the one thing that every girl growing up dreams of - to cross the galaxy on the day of termination, and start life again as if it were your first.  It is the unspoken dream. 
I however, have found a way to do this.  Due to the inconsistent flow of time through the galaxy I can travel at a minute fraction of a second less than the speed of light.  What I have also found a way to do is to send singular atoms of my body across the Milky Way, as a clump of interstellar gas until I reassemble at my target.  I have found out and carefully mapped the path to my destination. 
To my utmost surprise my chosen destination is almost identical to Panaterra, except it is located in Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha.  What a weird name and how awfully clinical.  I have been researching into this planet.  The one difference that disturbs me is that women on this planet look after the children, while the men have the high flying jobs.  How weird is that!  When I arrive there I will make it my mission to sort that out.  Another thing I have found out is that they have these things called religions; basically people worship a particular person, real or imaginary, for things they have supposedly done.  I find it mind boggling as to why they do this.  On Panaterra you simply don’t have the time to indulge yourself in such fantasies; men possibly might, as they only have to look after the children, but females?  Surely these people can’t choose to compromise their precious sleep hours to worship someone.  I guess I’ll just have to work it out when I reach there.  I wonder if it is planetary self-defence designed to confuse incomers into submission and leaving their strange planet alone.
Two more things have spooked me though.   One is the thought that although the global population of my destination planet is teetering on 10 billion people, the governments of all of their 196 nations in their world, refuse to set a cull age.  I think the word to describe these people is the earthly word liberal.  The other problem is that they have no compulsory donor system, are the people of this planet trying to self destruct?  And why oh why do they use their finite oil resources to propel themselves from a to b, when they have not yet developed a method of hydrogen fusion, the epitome of efficient nuclear power, like we have on Panaterra.  As usual Cotta has led the way for other countries to follow our glorious example. 

As I’m going to be travelling to this strangely similar planet, which I found out has a much less scientific name; Earth, I decided to learn the language of the country I’m going to be staying in, something called British English.  Ever since I formulated the idea of travelling to another solar system, I had wanted to go to the Orion Spur, well it was either that or Betelgeuse, and when I was reading one of the English books; (I feel very smug about being able to speak in a language that no-one else can), it mentioned that Betelgeuse has some frightful creatures. And anyway the computations weren’t nearly as secure as they were for Earth.  One of the ancient languages on Earth is called Latin, and in Latin Earth is known as Terra.  How exciting to have a connection to a planet across the galaxy in the Orion Spur. 

I fall asleep grinning at the prospect of what I am going to face, when the central star reveals itself in the morning.  The next day is my last on Panaterra, I spend time until the peak of the day saying my goodbyes and sharing comforting embraces with my husband for the last time.  I wonder if I will miss him when I am on Earth.  How much of this glorious life will I remember, or does this messed up version of galactic space travel wipe your memory like a magnet over a sim card.  I wish I could take images with me, rather than hope for the strength of my mind.

The grains of sand of my time are slipping away.  My computing device is set up so that all I have to do is press enter twice and I will be sucked through a tear in time, and pulled through to this place called Earth.  Just now I have kissed my husband for the final time; I can’t believe that I’m leaving him forever.  Grudgingly I press the button, once; twice; but I can’t pry my hand away from his.  We are both pulled in all directions at once.  I realise with equal amounts of horror and joy that we are both being sent to Earth. 
Will I meet him on earth?  This was not how it was meant to happen, my poor children losing both parents at once, it should have been a gradual loss, first me then him.  I’m sure they will understand.  Time isn’t kind to me, it rips me away from him and he is lost to me in transition.  Slowly I reassemble as a bundle of multiplying cells in a uterus.  Over nine months I grow and I can feel my body adapting to suit the earthly world.   My memories of Panaterra slide succinctly into oblivion as I gasp breaths of a new world. 
I am born and then without warning life lurches ahead furiously.  As if someone has found my fast-forward button and jammed it.  I see and feel everything, every emotion, success, failure; every moment of Earth time is recorded in my brain.  The sensation speeds up and nearly two decades of life; 236 months or 19¾ years to be exact fly, fumble and flash past me.  However as time reaches forward all my senses are filled with a mind-boggling sensation, as each sense is pushed over the cliff of overload.  I close my eyes and the feeling stops. But I am unable to return and slip into the darkness to embrace my new home.  I have only one ironically appropriate lingering thought that has flown to welcome me. 
“Welcome to the universe Miss Jones.”   

 There you are.  It's long yes, but hey how was I meant to write anything shorter.
All for now
<3 x

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Well that was an experience...

Hi again,
I know I haven't blogged for ages. :(

I was in South Africa for two weeks, (jealous?) followed by three weeks of GCSE trial exams, with a few modules as well (laughing yet?). They were evil as was expected.

South Africa, or Cape Town to be specific was awesome! I was staying at the Vineyard Hotel and Spa just outside the city centre, for the first week, my last few days I spent in an one bedroom chalet on the L'Olivier estate, with all the other people who I was with. My view from my room at the Vineyard was amazing; the balcony looked straight up onto Table Mountain.

Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch
National Gardens

Here are some words of warning though; DO NOT, unless you like me are stupid and don't think things through, go up Table Mountain in the summer at 12 noon when it is 40C+. There is no shade at the top and I could actually feel my legs being caramelized as I walked around the top. There is no wind whatsoever. I got out of the rotating cable car, to find that I had sandal lines after a few hours. In England it takes me nearly three months to get my legs to be slightly less white, the Cape Townian sun is pretty powerful.

It was certainly a change to go out from wearing trackies, hoodies, and sheepskin boots, with snow on the ground, to a minimum of 26C and sandals, shorts and tees. Not that I missed the bulky fleeces. I was lucky enough to know someone who was willing to pay for my Mum and me to fly out and stay there, as I would under no circumstances be able to afford to do that at such short notice.

I visited beautiful places  such as Kirstenbosch National Gardens, went down to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. They had these cute little praline coloured mammals which I found out later were called Dassies or Rock Hyraxes which were most closely related to elephants.

A Dassie basking in the sun
The one thing that got to me though, was that everyone who lived in a house and not in the townships, had high fences, razor-wire and security systems. No-one, and I mean no-one walks around from a to b. People do walk around in the town centre but that’s it, apart from that everyone drives around with the windows tightly shut and air-con blazing. At every traffic light people would come up and tap on your windows trying to get you to buy things that they had made, and it would take five people to fill up your car at a petrol station. Speaking of petrol, it was so cheap out there in comparison with the UK. It cost 8.2 rand which is around 82p. That’s over 50p cheaper, and I wondered if it would be cheaper to buy petrol in South Africa and import it into the UK. It probably would be cheaper as well!

I added the link as I got from looking at Andrew Garfield looking good in Spider-man garb through to a Perez Hilton post commenting on how Bella was acted in New Moon, it included this clip; but due to a faulty internet I had to fish the video out of YouTube. I completely cracked up when I saw this.  But you can make up your own mind about it.

Okay, mini rant now over. :)

In other news Top Gear is back on BBC 2 on Sunday at 8pm, yay! Also I am inching closer to finishing my book, slowly and surely, I'm on about 178k now and counting. I'm just deciding on an extract to post here.

Referring back to my title again…
Oh yes for well over a decade I have been living on my own, with just my mum. I was happy with my life, I wouldn't have made any major life altering changes. So what does my mum do?

She gets engaged to a guy who is over 15 years her senior. They have been going out for a few months, and they want to get married, put both houses on the market, find a new house that they like, and buy it. They want to do this all before I go back to school in September. So they have roughly eight months. The one thing that got to me? It hadn't, in all of their five months in which they had been supposedly dating, crossed my mind that they would even think of getting married. I thought that they were just good friends like the other men that occasionally show up at my mums house.  I know I have made my mum sound completely like a demonic she-wolf, but its just a big change to grasp.

When I told my friends I think that they were firstly amazed, and secondly sad that I would have to leave my current house which I love. I have a pond and a small rowing boat at my current house an i know my friends will miss that when I move.

My favourite poster for the film

So exited about going to see Never Let Me Go in the cinema next week.  I read the book which is by Kazuo Ishiguro when during my christmas break.  It was amazing.  The quality of the writing was phenomenal.  I have fallen in love with Tommy, he is so adorable.  And I am counting down the days until I can see it on the silver screen.  Carey Mulligan [=)], Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield [=D] are starring, and judging from the trailer they are going to make for a damn good film.  Will comment again once I have seen it.

That’s all I have to say for now, I hope no more crazy things happen by the next time I have blogged. I'm going be more reliable about blogging from now on.


<3 x