How to lower a nation’s IQ.

While having an online chat with a dear friend of mine in the US earlier today, we were talking about the appallingly low educational standard of one particular eighteen year old American teenager. She had tweeted that since Obama had been returned for a second term as President of the United States, she was seriously considering going to live in Australia because its President was a Christian man with Christian ideals.
To say she was shot down in flames on Twitter, mostly by Aussie’s, would be an understatement. But then again, I doubt that anyone that dim wouldn’t even appreciate that she had put her foot in her mouth. For those that don’t know, Australia has a Prime Minister who is female and an atheist.
It got me thinking about the declining standards here in my own country:
There was a time not long ago here in the UK when you knew that within the hours following the 6pm early evening news on television from Monday to Friday, you were not only going to be entertained but also learn something of interest until 9pm.
Back then at the end of the working week Saturday afternoon was for sport, while the night was when we could sit and relax to watch light entertainment programs like Saturday night at the Palladium, where we would be entertained by all manner of brilliant acts from across the whole entertainment spectrum. Sundays were for quiet reflection, religious programs and the weekly play.
That time no longer exists. If you are a member of the older generation like myself, most nights we are now forced to wait until 9pm before there is anything worth watching with one exception BBC4.
Today’s UK television schedulers have borrowed an idea from their counterparts in the US, shamefully pandering to the lowest common denominator by filling the time between 7pm and 9pm most nights during the week with endless reality, property, gardening and cookery programs – not forgetting repeats, believing that this is exactly what the nation needs to keep it happy.
Rubbish, nothing could be further from the truth!
While it is true that it may satisfy the brain dead among us, the majority still want to be educated. If we are to raise the nation’s general IQ we need that time slot each night for us to be exposed to the kinds of programs I was brought up with like serious documentaries, plays, cultural and scientific programs, current affairs programs about what is happening elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, instead of producing better programs, all that has happened is that our television companies have increased the number of channels to spread the garbage even further.
By showing endless repeats and reality style programs on all of the television channels, our nation’s intelligence level has clearly deteriorated, reinforcing the widely held belief that the UK is inhabited by hooded morons who utter cringworthy things like “innit” and phrases such as “no wot I mean”. Or even worse, use the word “like” fifteen times in one sentence while robbing you of your wallet and mobile phone in your local high street.
There are one or two thoroughly worthwhile programs which still occur within the so called peak viewing slot like the long running monthly astronomical program The Sky at Night at 7.30pm on BBC4, or University Challenge and Mastermind on one night out of seven. But they are the absolute exception to the rule.
All this makes me wonder why it is that we are still required by law to pay an annual television licence when so much of what’s on offer is total trash!
I suppose I should consider myself lucky that we still have BBC4 given over to programs that actually stretch my mind instead of boring me stupid.

Sticks and Stones

It’s a funny thing, but despite the best efforts of a tiny handful of individuals, if a book grabs the public’s attention it will be bought and read. It is also a fact that the vast majority are not the least bit interested in praising or condemning. All they want to do is merely read the book they bought.
My most popular book to date – The Seventh Age, is a classic case in point.
While it continues to enjoy excellent sales figures (currently well beyond three and a half thousand), some individuals seem intent on delivering brickbats in the form of their reviews, hoping to dissuade the vast majority from buying and reading it.
It begs the simple question, why? 
Could it be that they are envious of Seventh’s apparent popularity? Maybe they are in the employ of other writers who have written similar tales to mine in the hopes of attracting readers towards their client’s own work.
I most certainly do not know the answer, nor do I particularly give a damn.
While I still continue to breathe I will write the stories I personally wish to read in the particular style I choose to use as well as the form of my native language I am most familiar with – English English. I will also continue to offer them at US$0.99. I’m not here to make money. Instead my reason for being is a simple one. I love creating stories which appeal to the vast majority.
There is an old saying, which those who believe it is their god given responsibility to trash my work should remember the next time they feel the need to offer their opinions – sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
For goodness sake get over yourselves. Jealousy is totally self-destructive and serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

I’m almost there…

In a couple of months from now the sequel to The Seventh Age should be ready to publish (cover shown above). I have just started the penultimate chapter in this novella.

Nick Palmer and most of his team are back. This time the story occurs mainly in an underground complex beneath the Giza Plateau during a time of deep unrest and civil war after the overthrow of Egypt’s civilian government by the former military regime.

Please remember, I did say a couple of months, so you will have to be patient. Once I’ve finished the first draft, the real work of editing begins while I ask some trusted writer friends to beta read.

Meantime to wet your appetite, here is the blurb:

The Forgotten Age
The perfectly preserved corpse of an elegant man, dressed in exquisite white silk robes trimmed with gold thread, lay on a simple gilt wood cot with an unusual bejewelled staff clutched firmly between the perfectly manicured interlocked fingers of his hands. His still luxuriant black hair was braided in the fashion of the time, reflected in the frescos on the walls around him. Even though he had clearly died thousands of years in the dim distant past, unlike the barely recognisable desiccated remains of the later Egyptian pharaohs like Ramses II and Tutankhamen, thanks to the atmosphere of the underground room, he looked as if he had died recently.
In the world of archaeology, only the brave or foolhardy will ever dare to challenge the establishment and its accepted theories. Dr Nick Palmer had proved himself beyond any reasonable doubt by saving the Earth and the entire Solar system from total destruction on December, 21st, 2012, enabling humanity’s seventh age to begin.
Now it was time to upset the academic world once and for all. He returns to Egypt to find the fabled library of the ancients to disprove the blinkered thinking over who was responsible for sculpting the Sphinx as well as establishing the true purpose of the pyramids. Along the way he is joined once again by most of his old team and a few new recruits. In their bid for proof they are subjected to all manner of obstacles put in their path.
Apart from attempted murder, kidnapping and torture, even the environment is hostile towards Nick and his team in his latest adventure. Will he succeed in his quest for the truth about the Sphinx and the pyramids? Find out when you read “The Forgotten Age”.
PS   At the moment I have three possible endings swirling around in my mind – decisions, decisions, decisions…