Notes from genre author Stephen Palmer

Category: Science Fiction

FCC Fictions fourth story

The fourth story in the FCCs series Fictions: Health & Social Care Re-imagined is published today. It’s by Liz Williams. Have a read of it, then join in the debate!

Life’s Lottery discussed

Future Care Capital’s Peter Bloomfield discusses the themes of Keith Brooke’s story Life’s Lottery.

FCC Fictions: Third Story

Keith Brooke’s new story Life’s Lottery has just been published as part of the ongoing ‘Fictions: Health & Social Care Re-imagined’ series. Have a read, then join the debate!

Escape To The Shire

Many people, myself included, find themselves increasingly repulsed by the modern world. This could in my case be a consequence of age – I’m in my fifties – but I think it’s true of many younger people also. When I see unchecked pollution, the razing of nature to make space for livestock to feed thoughtless consumers, the destruction of pristine environment for no humane reason, and the overall attitude that this planet belongs to human beings and is theirs to do what they like with regardless of the implications – a message reinforced in the West by its main religion – I feel revolted. I visualise too many fellow human beings as thoughtless devourers, uncaring, lacking even the most basic understanding of the consequences of their actions. Having said that, corporations are the main problem – with modern corporations humanity has written itself a story so dangerous it could ruin the planet. Corporations mesmerise too many.

As regular readers of this blog will know, one of my summer rituals is to listen to the 1981 BBC adaption of The Lord Of The Rings, and often to read The Hobbit and The Fellowship Of The Ring, or to listen to Rob Inglis’ excellent narration of the novel (something I’m doing at the moment). Last night I found myself wondering why I do this, and whether the qualities of the two aforementioned books have a specific meaning for me.

I think they do. Tolkien was a lover of all things natural. He loved his West Midlands countryside, and, as is well known, the Shire is a fictional version of those fields, meadows and hills which he personally knew. Most Tolkien fans will say that nature – the land, the country, the weather, the geography of Middle Earth – is its foundation. Tolkien’s love of nature shines through his tales. Middle Earth, from dell and stream to mountain and ocean, is the heart of his creation as a whole. The Ents, to take just one example, symbolically stand for his love of trees.

So I think many people find themselves soothed by the lack of industry and vast open spaces of Middle Earth. Those people, like myself, appalled and disgusted by what humanity is doing to the planet, perhaps find themselves soothed by the bucolic, pre-Industrial qualities of The Fellowship Of The Ring. It’s the early chapters of that book – everything up to the arrival at Rivendell – which I find myself returning to time after time, especially the third chapter ‘Three Is Company.’ I don’t do this to reacquaint myself with the story, I do it to re-experience the soothing qualities of meadows walked at night under a sky of stars: unpolluted meadows, crossed beneath a sky unspoiled by sodium light pollution…

Many psychologists observe that human beings have a deep, intrinsic need for nature. It’s hardwired into us. Some cultures know this – I’m thinking of the Japanese art of forest-bathing. I think Tolkien knew this too, which gives deeper significance to the part at the end of the novel where Sandyman’s proto-Industrial Revolution is underway. I think this section, integral to the whole work from the beginning of its writing as Tolkien himself said, expresses Tolkien’s disgust at the pollution of the land and the ruination of nature. His sensitivity was shaken by such destruction, if not shocked by it. Though the section serves to deal with Saruman and Wormtongue, that is only the narrative aspect. The deeper aspect is the Mill and its black effluent.

I will continue to use Tolkien’s work to soothe myself at those times in which I need soothing – to escape to the Shire. His love of nature chimes with my own; and through it, I see the deeper qualities of his extraordinary creative achievement.


FCC Fictions: Second Story

The second story has just been published in the Future Care Capital’s series of twelve storiesFictions: Health & Care Re-imagined. It’s by the award-winning SF author Anne Charnock. As before, comments and debate are encouraged; this is the goal of the FCC.


Tales From The Spired Inn special offer

Covid-19 has hit many people, including at Newcon Press. They’ve set up a special summer offer – check it out! Great books by great authors. If you didn’t get a signed HB copy of Tales From The Spired Inn, now is your chance…

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Goodbye response blog

Here’s a thought-provoking blog response to my Fictions: Health & Care Re-imagined story Goodbye, from the FCCs Dr Peter Bloomfield. Join the debate!

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Conjuror Girl

Having said I’d never again write a trilogy because it’s so much work, I’ve completed a new one. The Conjuror Girl trilogy is set in an alternate England of 1899/1900: Monique Orphan, Monica Orvan, Monica Hatherley. The work would be best classified as steampunk with a hint of magic.

Monique, living at the grim Shrobbesbury Orphanage, where she has been for as long as she can remember, discovers she has a talent only men can have. Should she hide it and live an unfulfilled, frustrating life? Or should she exploit it and risk men’s wrath and censure? With her best friend Lily she tries to navigate this dilemma, but as events spiral out of control she finds herself increasingly in danger…

FCC Story First Reaction

Really nice reaction to my opening story ‘Goodbye’ of the Fictions: Health & Care Re-imagined series. Pleased!

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Beautiful Intelligence audiobook

I’m delighted to say that an audiobook of Beautiful Intelligence is in production. The narrator is Nikola Mučkajev, who is a classically trained actor, and a narrator for many other audiobooks. I’ve heard the first chapter, and it sounds pretty awesome! Nikola has a real facility for voices. His voice for Hound and Dirk Ngma were particularly good. This is exciting news! More details to follow…