Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Pyramids Part 2

The Pharoah stood and admired the view.

‘Have they gone?’

‘Yes, Your Majesty. Their chariot has left to return to their home land.’

‘Thank heavens for that. I thought they’d never leave.’

‘Indeed, Your Majesty. They did rather over stay their welcome.’

‘Where did they say they were from?’

‘From beyond the stars, Your Majesty. I never did understand what they meant by that.’

‘No, me neither. It all seems very strange, really. They turn up here unannounced, convince us to build these things, and then leave before they’ve explained what they are and indeed what they are for.’

From where they were standing, they could see the entire complex: a selection of pyramids of different sizes, and a statue of a sphinx.

‘Well, Hemon, I must say it all looks very impressive. There’s a certain pleasing symmetry to it all. I’m not sure why they got us to build the sphinx, but still, it’s all rather fun to see.’

‘Thank you, Your Majesty. I am honoured that you approve.’

‘Yes, well, don’t get carried away with taking all the credit, will you. I think our visitors had a little more to do with the construction that you did, wouldn’t you agree?’

‘As you wish, sir. They certainly were a big help.’

‘A big help? That’s a bit of an understatement, isn’t it? They came up with the idea, helped bring the rocks here, and then organised the thousands of men and got these things built. What was it you did, exactly?’

‘Well, Your Majesty, I was the one who had to liaise between the visitors and our men. It was quite a hard task at times.’

‘’Mmm, well, it didn’t look too hard from where I was sitting, but we won’t dwell on it. I’m sure you’ll let everyone know who was behind it all.’

‘I don’t think that would be a good idea, Your Majesty. I think it would look better if we said it was all your idea, and that I was the architect who made it happen.’

‘Why? That seems a little dishonest, don’t you think? I didn’t want to build the bloody things. As impressive as they look, they did take a little longer than I would have liked. And a few more men than they first said, as well. Thousands of them. Gods know what we’re going to do with them all now. I think we might have a bit of an unemployment problem. What we need is a good war.’

‘All valid points, Your Majesty. However, there are very few people who know about our visitors. We shall probably never see them again, as they have a long way to travel home. Who’s going to know if we lie a little? We can go down in history as the builders of something great.’

‘Something great, or something pointless? Did they give any indication to you as to their purpose?’

‘Not really, no sir. There are various chambers inside. Perhaps you could use the largest one as a palace, or maybe offices for your staff.’

‘But there aren’t any windows, man. Why would I want to live a palace that is completely cut off from sunlight?’

‘True. How about you use it as a cold store? In the heat of the day, it is very cool inside. You could store milk, cheese, and keep your wine chilled.’

‘Look, Hemon. I know I am the pharaoh, and I can do pretty much whatever I like. Actually, I can do anything I like, there’s no “pretty much” involved. But even I draw the line at making tens of thousands of men toil for all these years, many of them dying in the process, just so that I can enjoy a chilled glass of rosé on a warm summer’s eve. There must be something else we can do with these buildings.’

‘True, sir. It would look a little extravagant.’

‘Ooo, I’ve had an idea. What about using it as a prison? Lock the bastards up, keep them in the dark, feed them bread and water for a few years. What do you think of that?’

‘That is indeed a most excellent suggestion, Your Majesty, although I feel that may be a little too cruel, even for the most hardened criminals.’

‘Fair point. It would get a rather unpleasant in there, what with no ventilation. Why on Earth did they not put any windows in? A serious lack of foresight on their behalf, wouldn’t you say, Hemon?’

‘Indeed, sir. They didn’t think it through, did they?’

‘Just as a matter of interest, did you ever ask them why they were here? Or what they hoped to achieve?’

‘I am afraid I didn’t, Your Majesty. I thought they might have told us before they left.’

‘Ah well, we’re stuck with them now. Tell you what, while we’re thinking about it, go and pop a few bottles of wine in one of them, will you? They should be chilled in time for dinner.’

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Don’t be scared of poor reviews

A few weeks ago I placed an offer on Librarything for a free copy of Have a Nice Weekend, asking if the recipients could post a review if they so wished. Around 150 people requested a copy, and shortly after it ended reviews started to come in. They were mixed, ranging from four stars down to one. I had always known that a one star would happen sooner or later, but when three came in in quick succession, I was a little surprised.

Now, I had always been told not to respond to poor reviews, as this could make the situation worse. Then last week I read a blog from an author who said she always responds to poor reviews, and in many cases she was able to convert them into three, four or even five stars. So, I thought what the Hell, I’ll respond to one of them.

I should point out now that it was not my intention then, nor is it now, to get the review changed. The reviewer gave her opinion, and that is her right. I am not interested in changing that, nor getting a review that is not honest and heartfelt.

So, I merely commented on her blog, thanked her and picked up on the one point where we agreed – we both like Steely Dan. It also turns out that we both like Radiohead. I haven’t asked her about Willie Nelson yet.

We are now following each others blogs, and who knows, maybe we will even be friends on Goodreads or FB one day. I have read through some of her other reviews, and they are all well thought out and constructive. The fact that she didn’t like my book has no bearing on how I feel about the rest of her reviews. I will even be sharing some that are of interest.

Since her review, I have had two more which were four star, one of which described the book as ‘a little gem’. The other one was titled ‘A Refreshing Change’. The first was from the Librarything giveaway, the other was from a buyer on Amazon UK.

It might also be worth pointing out that my mother does not like my book, and my CEO couldn’t read it because he found it too depressing. Even my friends and family are divided. But all the reviews, positive and negative are genuine.

So, what is my point here? I’m not sure, really. Maybe it’s to say that one star reviews are not personal, and should not be taken as such. Maybe it’s to say don’t be scared of your reviewers – you’re both human, and have different likes and dislikes.

But what I would definitely say is, thank you, Susan.

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The Pyramids – Part One

The Pyramids

As they looked down on the planet below them, the Captain was trying to remember the last time they’d been here.

‘So, this is Earth, is it? I seem to recall they were a bit primitive. Any news on whether they’ve developed at all?’

The First Mate stood next to him, with a clipboard in his hand.

‘Reports suggest they have moved on a little, sir. The population has increased to seven billion, with around two hundred separate nations. They now have electricity, indoor plumbing and nuclear fusion. A small amount of space travel, but they haven’t reached any further than their own moon.’

‘Ah well, it’s a start. I remember we built them those pyramid things last time. Completely pointless, but they liked them. I wonder what they used them for. And seven billion people all living together must mean they all get along well.’

***

‘OK. Run that past me again. What exactly is a hamburger?’ asked the Captain.

They were back on board the spacecraft, after a week of touring the planet in disguise.

‘They take the flesh of a cow, grind it up into small pieces, then stick it back together again, cook it and place it between two slices of bread.’

‘And the Big Mac is the finest example of this, is it?’

‘Judging by the numbers that are sold, I would say yes, sir. Although I did try some much finer versions.’

‘And did they all have that strange, round green thing in them?’

‘The “pickle” or “gherkin”? Not all, no, sir.’

‘Does anyone actually eat those things? I saw most people take them out and leave them on the side. A most strange flavour, I must say.’

‘Opinion seems to be divided, sir.’

‘Anyway, there were much better things to eat. And I must say, the “Internet” was a fun thing to see. It’s just a shame that the main use for it is looking at photos and videos of people performing acts of sexual reproduction.’

‘Indeed, sir. There seems to have been some great advances since we were last there, but their base instincts are still very much to the fore.’

‘A good observation, Number One. I couldn’t help noticing that they have mastered nuclear fusion, and as soon as they do, they use it as a weapon for mass-destruction. It’s all very sad, really. And tell me, please, what on Earth happened to the pyramids we helped them to build? All that time and effort and what do they do? Use them as tombs. Why? I thought they were going to use them for storage, or maybe a nice palace. Even a shopping mall would have been preferable to sealing them up for thousands of years. What a waste of time that was. I wish we’d never bothered.’

‘I understand, sir. It does seem a little pointless. Perhaps if we’d put some windows in, that might have helped. Do you think maybe we should have left them something more useful, like the internal combustion engine, or calculus?’

‘No, I don’t think so. It’s quite clear that whatever technology or intelligence we might have left them at the time would have been wasted. They can hardly cope with what they’ve got now.’

‘Indeed, sir.’

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Here we are (again)

Hey, look. Yet another blog. One I’m sure no one will read, but still: it gives me something to do.

I think this is the fourth blog I have created, each one having died before. I really must make sure I keep this one going.

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