Category Archives: Science Fiction

THE DOCTOR, BRIAN COX AND THE TRIUMPH OF THE BBC

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The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead — his eyes are closed.”

Not the words of Professor Brian Cox, who just gave his charming and brilliant TV lecture at the Royal Society on The Science of Dr Who, but the words of the scientist at the heart of his physics, and the Dr’s too, Albert Einstein. Cox’s programme, including inserts of his mistaken entrance into The Tardis, in confusion over BBC make-up and his witty interaction with Matt Smith’s Dr, was both beautiful and filled with rapt awe, that sings out of Cox’s endlessly clear and accessible voice. A hugely popular voice, much enjoying the show too, not unreasonable for a former small-time rock musician, but never a populist or dumbed down either.

Beginning with Michael Faraday’s nineteenth century lecture at the Royal Society on the chemistry of candle light, he asked the question of whether Time Travel is possible. With the use of celebrity entrances, doing experiments explaining the point and wave movements of light, the spectrometry of elements, with Charles Dance squirting colourful, flaring things into flame, and the relationship between Space and Time, viewer and viewed, he effortlessly opened the box on Relativity. So proving future time travel possible, in fact always happening, in small ways, depending how fast you are travelling, since we move in relative space and time to one another. But clearly mapping the issue of travelling into the past, since the Cone of the Future is defined by the Universe’s ultimate speed limit, the big no-no, travelling faster than the speed of light itself.

He also ventured towards the Dr’s great opponents, Aliens, discussing the paradox that in an infinite Universe we should be being visited by Aliens all the time. They might have brought in a Sontaran or a Cyber Man, but on the other hand it would have been creaky, and Cox went back to wonder instead, to the journey of imagination, when he described how far the radio waves have travelled into the Universe, since the first broadcast of Dr Who in 1963; beyond the reaches of the Milky Way.

Of course we all travel back in time in our heads, through the physical notes that Faraday left of that lecture, through memory too and the accumulation of knowledge, the discarding of what is proved false. What we leave behind too, when we are gone. But Cox always has his eyes clearly set on the future, and the future of teaching science too. So, grasping that ultimate ‘speed limit’, he explained what happens when you touch the edge of the Future Cone. You only can if space-time-bending matter implodes, a Red Dwarf, creating a Black Hole. Of course a Black Hole, in the very smart and very modern reality behind the poetry of Dr Who, is what powers The Tardis, The Eye Of Harmony.

Cox’s words were beginning to sing, filled with harmonies, as he described both the reality and beauty of the Eye of Harmony, a point in time always frozen for the viewer, where you get very strung out indeed, if you are passing beyond that Event Horizon yourself, until you are crushed to a point of Infinite Mass. But as to traveling back in time, he also explained how no one knows if it is possible, because it might theoretically be possible to bend that entire and limited Future Cone around on itself and change the current map of physics, so effectively coming up behind yourself, and everything else, though never in this case up your own backside.

It left open the continuous possibility of wonder and discovery, worthy of all that poetry and imagination in Dr Who. So to a quiet nod to that Universe engine inside the Tardis, something bigger on the inside than outside, like the Human mind itself, with an eye on the limits of reality and discovery, but still in Einstein’s world of open-eyed awe. It was brilliant from start to finish, and unites what the BBC does best, passion and invention, with the time travel of creativity. Another thing it did was stress what is behind the Dr’s character itself, the freedom and courage of imaginative creativity and extraordinary adventure. We need more of this, but perhaps the excellence of Dr Who leads the way.

PHOENIX ARK PRESS

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AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER PREDICTS DOOMSDAY

OK, it was a publicity stunt to support Australian ‘end of the world’ celebrations, but if the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard can talk of the Mayan Calendar on tv, it has certainly got into the mainstream. So here are the Phoenix Ark End of World Celebrations! The thriller The Godhead Game, by David Clement-Davies, will be completely free for Kindle download at the ‘end of the world’ itself, December 21st, 22nd and the 23rd, as a delicious stocking filler, now it’s virtually snowing again of Phoenix’s blog.

If people are slightly confused about when the world stops, in terms of the Mayan Calendar anyway, it is because that 13th Ba’aktun cycle of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, one of several calendars, but counting time in terms of thousands of days, is related to the Mayan’s practice of divination and counting linked to the cycle of seasons, and of course solstices, but also an apparent prophecy of darkness related to something called the Tortuguerro stela, or stone, in Honduras. But the solstice always varies around the 21st and 22nd of December, tipping us back to life and the sun, while something exists called the Lounsbury Calculation too, that questions the precise date of the Long Count’s end.

It is all explained in The Godhead Game, a story that starts with an end of the world warning and a threatening email to an FBI system’s man in Washington, since we are all now ‘net’ connected, inviting him to change his life forever, while his brother is simultaneously kidnapped from a World Cup football match in Brazil. If writers try to look into ‘truth’, or even prophecy events, some fictional events have already come true (though the novel is set in 2014) with the re-election of President Obama. Hopefully other elements will not come true, namely what the thriller is also about, the murderous conflict over Iran and a hunt for nuclear secrets, that might really bring an end to everything!

Otherwise it is a philosophical investigation of ‘Apocalypse’ ideas, which in Ancient Greek really means a revelation, of science versus faith, and a romp through history, to tell a good story, with some kind of lasting message. That is perhaps what ‘new agers’ see in any Mayan Prophecy, not that it is the end of the world, but the end of one world and the dawn of another kind of awareness in Mankind’s consciousness. If we all evolved out of nature such a thing is surely possible. Namely what is really being seen right around the planet now, that to survive we have to start waking up to each other, and the enormous power for creativity or destruction that we all possess and somehow start to do things differently. Quite apart from the fact that every single second is the end of the world for someone dying on the planet, and the beginning for someone else being born into its bizarre and amazing mystery. Perhaps too that old ideas of religion have to be put away, and yet a ‘spiritual’ language has to be rewritten, not destroyed by the truths and marvels of higher science, which can help us all be fully human and find out what it is we truly value in ourselves and each other.

For the link for an END OF THE WORLD FREE DOWNLOAD, on 21st, 22nd and 23rd December just CLICK HERE

Happy Christmas or whatever festival, atheist hols, Solstice and a very happy future to everyone.

PA PRESS

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LOOKING FORWARD TO THE END OF EVERYTHING!

Well, it’s December, and forget Christmas, running nto the 21st/22nd is a last Advent countdown to the End of Everything. At last(!) comes the end of the Mayan Calendar, after a brief five thousand years, well, the Thirteenth Baktuun at least. It’s the solstice and hopefully a new dawn of awareness for all Mankind, which would obviously be nice!

So if we are still around, you can settle back and read the definitive thriller all about it, and Iranian Nuclear Secrets too – THE GODHEAD GAME by David Clement-Davies – A Game of Secrets, A Hunt for Skulls, A Battle of Spies.

For your FREE Phoenix Ark Press stocking filler, you can download to kindle for nothing, this Thursday, December 6th, and there will be more give aways before the world blows up (hopefully). Just CLICK HEREthis thursday. Happy Christmasy reading.

PA PRESS

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THE END OF HISTORY AS WE KNOW IT!

Fukayama, what do you do with a journalist whose nose for sniffing out truth might have been a tad bunged up by taking out his own Super Injunction? You have the all compassionate BBC slash the budgets and behind the scenes talent, then give us ANDREW MARR’S HISTORY OF THE WORLD. BBC 1, Yesteryear. “And God divided the waters and made the Heaven and the Earth and Adam, Eve and possibly Transexuals, to dwell therein, or in Middlesex, and saw that it was Good, and Man made the BBC and CGI and Andrew Marr’s History and everyone saw that it was awful and turned off.”

Except that it is so side splittingly funny, it is almost worth watching. With terrifyingly tacky historical reconstructions, to match Mr Marr’s up to the minute journalese and ‘just like Eastenders’ comparisons, including an ‘Out of Africa’ moment and a CGI sequence stolen straight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – mind the exciting drop – we got big-turning-points-in-astonishing-but-troubled Human History, as wise Mr Marr bestrode the plastic world like a colossal twit.

So we SAW the Mother of Mankind, from whom we are extraordinarily all genetically descended, except the poor Sub Saharans, not a bad bit actually, then nasty Neolithics hunting down cranially challenged Neanderthals (although, hush, scientists argue about it, and Mr Marr proves elegant Neanderthals are still among us). Then ‘Caveman wos here’ handprints in France, with not one thrill of real wonder because reconstruction kills wonder, to the 11,000 year old equivalent of the Cat’s Eye – you got it, woman invents the animal-bone knitting needle. Thus giving us domestic sewing, fitted clothes, and why Commissioning editors despise the public and love those dinky little symbols at Ralph Lauren. On to Anatolia and, yes it must be, underfloor-overheating Ancestor Worship. Do you ever get the feeling you are being stitched up? Mr Marr, the tapes and the production crew should all be immediately buried in the Leicester car park where they just dug up Richard III, who was a GOOD KING.

So to reconstructed women on Tigris bank, suddenly pondering simpleton grass-eaters, to invent the SEED and AGRICULTURE. Eureka. The heavens shattered, lighting broke and they really did give three minutes to little round stone wall and woman watching single seed sprout. ‘I shall pedal the window box franchise and move to Hollywood’. The tears of laughter started to burst like the banks of the badly reconstructed Yellow River. ‘And you know, there really is evidence there was once a big world Flood?’ Never! Thence to Egypt and Man invents writing, LAW and the whipped tomb raider. Not all those boring Pharaohs, but what its like down there at street reporting level.

If Mr Marr is one of us though, or one of them, he makes the study of history completely pointless, by engaging in modern relativisms so extreme we should have stayed up the trees. Which is why, like travel writing, you should never give history to journalists, but only Sirs Kenneth Clarke, or perhaps David Attenborough, although at least Sir David defiantly sticks to what he knows and loves so deeply. Like that time Andrew hung out for a night in an Indian slum, he should remember his giving us the experience ‘as they experience it’ is just not the same, since he is always about to be whisked back to White City. David Ike was right, TV is evil. Then TV journalism these days is just a chance to climb The Shard in public, visit expensive Shanghai hotels or become a National Treasure.

It is hard to entirely dislike Andrew Marr though and don’t fear, in an hour, Civilisation had arrived and we reached The Minoans. Phew. But this is top scoop, so we learn the hot-off-the-press news that Sir Arthur Evans’s Super Injunction was breached, and he really rebuilt in 1920’s Voguish Art Deco, while the Mayans might have had a dark side too. No Minotaurs or Labyrinthine clichés here though, heavens no, but Andrew squatting by real stones, with truly authentic scientific evidence of blood sacrifice, a warning from history, and then a wailing, knife wielding priestess warning from TV land, only worthy of Up Pompei.

Of course archaeology and science wins the day with pre-history, but history is not a science but art, itself an act of civilising, and this was not it. Who can wait for the joys to come? As every cut-n-past moment is pulled out of the Lady Bird books, to bring us ancient Greece, Alexander The Great, awful Empires, but why the present Queen is the pinnacle of all human life, God Bless you Maam.

David Clement-Davies

PA PRESS

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