Wot – No New Comedy? An Explanation.

Generally I try to avoid blogs and posts that are ‘in the moment’, or, to put it another way – pertinent to NOW, but not necessarily to a point in the future. Oh, cripes, what I’m trying to say is: I don’t do Facebook style communication. I’m here to entertain. I always plan my post to stay here a while. But today I’ve put that reticence aside – to explain why I have been posting excerpts of ancient works and why I haven’t produced any new episodes of Distant Land. Well the simple explanation is this: I’m not in the best place (mentally) that I could be. A year ago my wife and I were on holiday, where she complained of pain deep inside her. Long story short, we discovered she had cancer. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy both failed. In fact they seemed to really piss the cancer off. Short story shortened: she had to undergo a massive operation to remove pretty much everything. As I write this post she is in a specialist hospital 75 miles away from me. The operation is over, and has proven successful. She is in Intensive Care and “doing fine”. Whilst I am hugely relieved that she is still alive (and presumably the cancer is gone), I can’t relax until she is at my side once more. So, if the comedy is a little sporadic, please bear with me: I will be firing on all cylinders before too long: I promise. But don’t expect this post to hang around for long: I fully intend to delete it soon. News quickly gets old. And I don’t do Facebook, remember?

Tooty

In lieu of a picture of her (which she has banned, by the way) I present this representation…

   

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Ridiculous Rodentia 3

Okay, here goes with another flagon of hamster fiction…

The moment that the gangling young hamster, Lionel Flugelhorn, first suspected that something was amiss was when the crockery fell from the draining board, and shattered into a thousand pieces upon the kitchen floor. This was accompanied by an insistent whine that seemed to boggle his eyes, and turn his insides into outsides. Then the time-storm’s wave front hit, and Lionel didn’t care what his eyes and insides were doing; he just hoped that the invisible force that was pinning him to the ceiling would soon stop jangling his private parts like a two-stroke outboard motor with a jammed wide open throttle.

In the latrine Boney had much the same sentiments, except that he also fervently wished that the contents of the lavatory bowl would quickly allow gravity to do its work, and get back to where they belonged – leaving him alone to his agony.

And in the Artefact Store – at the very epicentre of the time-storm – Fanangy and Colin were doing excellent impressions of untrained amoebas, as they utterly failed in the task of avoiding being squashed into incoherent blobs of biological, and mechanical, jelly. Or at least that’s how it felt to them.

“Yeech,” Fanangy managed to force past lips that vibrated with a resonance frequency slightly higher than suspension bridge support cables in a hurricane, “you never mentioned that it would be this bad, Colin!”

Colin was having difficulty accessing his speech centre information transfer nodes. “Gugh,” he replied.

Fanangy agreed utterly: “Gugh” seemed to perfectly sum up their situation. Then she noticed a Sentinel Robot trundle into the room – swaying from side to side violently, with peripheral parts, like ears and radar dishes, being scattered to the four quarters. It was making scant headway against the impossible energy force that was emanating from the Time-Storm Machine, but somehow, centimetre by centimetre, it waded through the invisible molasses that was the Time Storm.

She wasn’t sure, because her eyes refused to focus properly, but she thought she could just make out the Piss Bowl cradled gently in the iron grip of the simple, if very scary-looking, automaton.

“What are you doing here?” She demanded in a tone, that although horribly distorted by the forces of temporal relocation, sounded both concerned and halfway hysterical at the same time. Her next line explained the reason for this, “Colin never mentioned that the Piss Bowl came with us!”

Either it couldn’t hear, because its ears had been torn off, and thrown into the wind-ravaged corridor outside, or it didn’t care: But the Sentinel Robot continued its advance upon the Time-Storm Machine with a remorselessness that beggared belief. The watching hamster simply couldn’t believe that drive wheels could grip that hard, and she promised herself that if she survived this particular adventure, she would seek out the manufacturer of those tyres, and have some fitted to her go-kart – irrespective of the purchase price, or the ghastliness of the tyre-fitter’s half-exposed bum crack.

“I wasn’t shouting at you:” She aimed this at the Sentinel Robot, “It’s the Piss Bowl that I’m bellowing at like an idiot.”

Fanangy then screwed up her eyes in an effort to resolve the almost-frozen tableau before her. She wasn’t sure, but the Piss Bowl appeared to be attempting to eject a sheet of paper from its lower slot. It was difficult to tell, but there might have been some words printed upon it.

Fanangy couldn’t have known it at the time, but although “Gugh.” was the best verbal articulation available to Colin during these moments of high anxiety, his ocular zoom lens remained in perfect order. All that was required of him to read the Piss Bowl’s printed message was that he point his eyes in the correct direction. And, despite his metallic cranium coming under all sorts of electromagnetic and gravitational stresses, this was exactly what he managed to do.

“Gugh!” he managed to shout above the din of displaced air and ruptured space/time, and rattling waste bins. “Gugh! Gugh! Gugh!” With ever-more desperate eye movements and ocular semaphore.

Fanangy was no empath, but even she could tell that something was alarmingly wrong with her co-worker.

“What is it?” She screamed at Colin as the ceiling plaster began to dissolve, and then be carried away by violent eddies.

She answered herself on Colin’s behalf. “Gugh: Yes I know.”

Then the sheet of paper was torn loose from the Piss Bowl’s timid grasp, and, as strange luck would have it, it was swept upwards until it came to rest in Fanangy’s left ear.

Against the almost unimaginable forces that were acting upon her finely boned skeleton, Fanangy heroically yanked the sheet of paper from her ear, and quickly scanned it with her boggling eyes – before it was once more dragged from her rapidly tiring fingers, and torn to shreds by the wildly oscillating ceiling fan.

“You what?” She screamed eloquently at the Piss Bowl, “You can’t let me go? Go where? What do you mean – you can’t…”

But she said no more: The Sentinel Robot had brought down its massive steel fist upon the fragile form of the Time Storm Machine.

In the blink of an eye everything simply stopped. It was like a moment frozen in time, or a huge sachet of freeze-dried peas jammed into the blades of a public lavatory hand drier. The passage of time simply ceased. Then the machine slouched into a pile of parts, and time re-commenced. Or rather it didn’t: It started afresh – as though all the most recent events had never happened. Not that anyone knew it though.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2012

Yes, this e-book remains available at most e-book retailers. To check out Amazon, B&N, Lulu, and iBooks see either the side bar or beneath the page header.

 

Ridiculous Rodentia 2

More Hamster-Sapiens excerpts? Surely not? Surely so! This time the temptation comes in the form of this stunningly hamsterish e-book…

Once free from the close company of the others, Roman made haste for the cotton candy machine. Naturally, since he’d been invited to attend, Wetpatch went in scurried pursuit.

“Why do you need me along?” The school-hamster inquired of the young police constable as they made best marching speed along one of the SS Bargebutt’s many corridors. “I know I used to be really insolent and everything, but I don’t know anything about becoming introverted and disappearing up my own rectum. Surely I’m entirely superfluous?”

Roman didn’t break his stride despite the fact that he had his neck craned around to look at Wetpatch, who was having difficulty keeping up. “Oh no, Wetpatch.” He said with a mirthless chuckle, “If there’s one thing that you’ve proved during this voyage – it’s that you’re far from superfluous. In fact I don’t think we could consider the idea of success without you. You have a secret talent, young male hamster – for being in the right place at the right time, and saying the right words in the right order, or doing the right thing when the wrong thing is the far more obvious course of action.”

It had been a long sentence, and the young police hamster had almost run out of breath. Fortunately they had arrived at his chosen destination at the same moment that he’d uttered his last syllable. As a result he was able to sit himself down upon the cotton candy operator’s stool, and take a few moments to recover.

Wetpatch set the machine in motion, and within moments a miasma of sugary goo began to form inside the spinning drum. “Want some?” He inquired of Roman, as he began prodding at the confection with a smooth thin stick that he’d taken from a packet of many more such objects upon the counter.

Roman was still feeling quite groggy from lack of oxygen to his brain, but nevertheless nodded enthusiastically. So whilst indulging their taste buds in the delights of spun sugar, the two hamsters spoke of things esoteric. Roman’s opening gambit was, “Have you ever read The Horatio Horseblanket Chronicles, Wetpatch?”

Wetpatch was well aware that it was a rhetorical question: No one born this side of the Year Twingo, and lived in Hamster Heath, could possibly have avoided reading those twin tomes that charted the life of Horatio Horseblanket – from pre-pubescent dipstick to Hero of Hamsterdom. But he nodded affirmation anyway – just to be polite.

Roman continued with, “What about The Where House? Are you familiar with the name?”

Wetpatch was now a little less certain where Roman’s verbal trail was leading him, and duly frowned. Did the constable mean The Where House in the literal sense – that being an emporium just outside Gerbils Ruin – in which were housed the wonderful artefacts from the formerly-lost continent of North America’s legendary Area Ninety-nine? Or did he mean the serialized diaries of the same name that were often reprinted in the local paper – The Bucktooth Times?

These questions must have appeared as transparent as a fairy’s gossamer condom as they marched across his face, because Roman said, “You know – the diaries of Lionel Flugelhorn’s adventures in The Where House, and all the weird shit that happened to him after his mum threw him out of the family hovel, and he was forced to move in with Boney Legge.”

Divine inspiration didn’t strike Wetpatch very often. In fact he couldn’t recall it ever happening before. But he was in receipt of it now. “Rat Trek!” He blurted.

Roman was mightily impressed with this. “That’s right.” He said with a smile so broad that he resembled a wide-mouthed frog that had been smoking the magic mushrooms of Danglydong Dell. “Mister Horseblanket was well versed in the science fiction genre, and would often utilise the events that took place in episodes of Rat Trek during periods or crisis. And like his hero, Lionel Flugelhorn made the best use of the fertile minds of those far away script writers. He freely admitted in a recent interview on Heathen Radio that without a thorough grounding in sci-fi, he and his friends would surely have perished in one of those frightening scenarios thrown up by the alien artefacts from Area Ninety-nine.”

Wetpatch didn’t know what to say when an auditory vacuum formed during the period that Roman spent trying to re-gather his breath following an ill-advised second extended sentence. So he fell back on old ways. “Yeah? So?” He grunted.

Like some sort of truncheon-wielding biathlete Roman drew in sufficient air to calm his tortured lungs for just long enough to say, “You’re a fan of the show. You have a box set of DVDs. Have you seen an episode that might pertain to our current situation in any way?”

So whilst the young police officer rolled about the carpeted floor gasping for his life, Wetpatch considered the question. It was patently true that science fiction had often pulled Horatio Horseblanket out of the metaphorical shit and probably saved the lives of countless hordes. It was equally true that Lionel Flugelhorn had also utilised his knowledge of the genre for the betterment of his situation on more than one occasion.

Wetpatch had once met Lionel at the grand opening of a rather graceless unicycle ballet, and couldn’t help but be impressed by both his girlfriend, and the copy of Fantabulous Stories that protruded from his back pocket. And he had at least seventeen copies of Horatio’s autograph: So he could see no logical reason why he – Wetpatch Wilson – shouldn’t duplicate the efforts of his illustrious predecessors. So he set to work, and quickly began running titles of Rat Trek: Season One past his inner eye.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Ridiculous Rodentia

Once upon a time, I wrote a series of books that I titled Hamster-Sapiens. Initially they were quite successful. But, as time passed, I promoted them less and less, until they ceased to sell at all. Every so often I like to remind everyone that they still exist and that the e-book versions remain available at most e-book retailers. This is one of those occasions. So today I’d like to tempt you into sampling an excerpt from this wondrous tale…

And here it is…

Felicity, Roosevelt, and Brenda sat huddled about a small fire. Quentin and Darkwood graciously removed their impressive capes, and placed them about the rodent’s shoulders.

Brenda had no memory for names nor faces: Both tall handsome hamsters were both strangers to her despite the fact that she should have recognised them both from the time they fought upon opposing sides at The Battle of Weasels Pit. She knew instinctively that they were both desperately good-looking, and also that they were hamster-sexual; but their identities remained a mystery to her – even when they both hugged her close, and said, “Brenda, how simply divine to see you again.”

Roosevelt, on the other paw, recalled them instantly, and made sure that his novelty sporran remained firmly attached to the front of his kilt: He didn’t want either hamster getting any ideas.

“Yes,” Felicity was saying, “As soon as we could we came looking for Joan.”

“I imagine that you have a fabulous plan contrived already?” Quentin half inquired – half stated.

“Um, not exactly.” Felicity bit her lower lip gently. “I was just checking out the scene – when I discovered you two.”

“Four.” Margarita corrected the dormouse from behind a dense bush as she attempted to shake some of the mud from her finery without coating everyone else in the process.

“Four.” Felicity corrected herself. “I was so surprised that I let go of the window sill. This caught Roosevelt by surprise, who then tripped on our new bath mat, and poor mum couldn’t decide whether to let go of my tail, or hang on for dear life, and risk twisting her rather weak gerbilish wrists.

Both hamsters regarded Brenda’s rather short forepaws.

“Hmm, quite a quandary I can imagine.” Darkwood sniffed with obvious disapproval.

“So she let go.” Felicity surprised the listeners, “But in my panic I accidentally wrapped my prehensile tail around her neck, and dragged her here with me.”

“And I was squished up between them.” Roosevelt complained, “So now nobody knows what’s happened to us, and none of us can go fetch help.”

“Perhaps if we constructed some form of ladder…” Quentin began to suggest.

“It’ll take for ever, Quentin.” Darkwood verbally slapped his friend around the metaphorical cheek pouches, “None of us possess either the skills, temperament, or tools to perform such a rudimentary carpentry act. By the time Felicity re-accesses her reality, it could all be over for Joan. No – we must march on resolutely, and save that charming, if slightly tubby, female.”

Of course Darkwood was entirely correct. It was merely a matter of time before Lucas Cleats would act – even if it meant burning down the abbey to reach his quarry.

“What do you suggest we do?” Roosevelt spoke in his most complaining tone – a tone that had lost him several girlfriends in the past, and sometimes got him beaten up on the football field, “I mean, there’s only the five – seven – of us: What are we supposed to do against a whole gang of Stix cutthroats?’

“That boy’s sure got one darned good argument there.” Brenda voiced vociferous agreement. “What was you two dandies figurin’ on doin when ya’s got there? Kiss ‘em all to death?”

Quentin looked down his considerable nose at Brenda, and could clearly be seen considering taking back his satin cape. But he managed to retain his decorum.

“It’s Crimblesday.” He stated bluntly.

Darkwood recognised the three stranger’s expressions for what they were: Confusion.

“Posses don’t ride on Crimblesday.” He explained, “It’s against the law. And Quentin’s deputies are all away on a male-bonding seminar in Knackered Dobbin. So we came along, and hoped for divine intervention. Instead it rained, and then you lot turned up.”

Brenda and Roosevelt didn’t react immediately. In fact they didn’t react at all. Roosevelt – because he found the whole idea of absent deputies so abhorrent that he was left speechless; and Brenda – because she had no idea what male-bonding entailed, and was cooking up some pretty vivid impressions inside her head.

“Is they all poofters too?” She finally managed.

But in the time that her adopted mother took to conjure up that pearl of wisdom, Felicity had been thinking hard: Possibly harder than at any time in her life: And the conclusion that she drew proved the fact…

“Divine intervention.” She said through a smile so warm and inviting that it caused Darkwood to sigh, and clasp his paws together in sheer delight. “Darkwood – you’re a genius.”

“I am?” The heir to the throne of Sponx was surprised. “I wasn’t aware of the fact – except perhaps upon a subliminal level. What did I say?”

In answer Felicity whipped Darkwood’s cape from around her shoulder, and passed it back to its rightful owner. “I’ll tell you on the way.” She said. “Douse the fire: Mount up: We ride for Far Kinell!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Cardboard Dreams Become Reality (part 1)

Okay, maybe that title does overstate the usefulness of cardboard slightly, but as the creator of the Earplug Adventures I can tell you, I wouldn’t be able to visualize half of what you see in these dippy tales without it. Wonderful stuff; and free too!

If you’ve been following the stories for a while, you might recognize this circular item. It, and many very like it have appeared over and over. Check out these examples…

Looks like the engine room of the early version of the K T Woo to me. And what about this?

A scientific lab, obviously. It makes for a charming religious establishment too…

Just look at those burning torches. Attention to detail – or what!

Cardboard tubes and rings can come in handy too…

This is the ‘before’ shot of Scroton Prime – capital city of the Cable End’s home world, Scroton. Note the use of plain cardboard sheeting as a background and as sharply-angled ‘buildings in the foreground. This is how that locale appeared on the cover The Masters of Scroton

And in a segment of the story…

Cardboard blocks are groovy too. Especially those items perched on the top of this pile of tubes…

With the help of a length of insulation material, a canvas backdrop, some bits of sticky-backed paper, a sheet of plastic laid on top, and a nice example of perspective…

..something starts to take shape. Here’s a ‘before’ shot of Don Quibonki and his side-kick Panta Lonez in situ…

But to see the resulting pictures from the story, you’ll have to come back for Part Two of Cardboard Dreams Become Reality!

What a rotten git I am.

 

Silence, Please!

I couldn’t help but notice that, incredibly (and against the grain of recent times), sales of this book…

…have perked up. Thank you to all those e-book purchasers. Of course, what I’d really like is for those readers (and others) to come back for the (better) sequel – written a full decade after the original. It looks like this…

And a portion of the text closely resembles this. All the characters in this extract are teenagers, by the way.

For whatever reason, everyone had expected that we’d take the bus upon our sojourn. Everyone with the exception of Jason. If the rest had thought they’d properly explored Crag Base, they were all very mistaken. Jason, though, had thoroughly explored the huge subterranean refuge. He’d been over it with a fine tooth comb. With the exception of Tasman and I he was the only person who knew about the lower garage in which various United Nations vehicles had been mothballed for the duration. There were several types hidden beneath heavy canvas covers – ranging from single seated ‘despatch rider’ motorcycles to large six-wheeled amphibious off-roaders. In between these extremes were several small four-wheelers ranging from quad bikes through Land Rovers, Humvees, and three lightly armoured vehicles, the design of which none of us recognised.

The general consensus (once I’d presented everyone with the sight of the cavernous garage) was that the amphibious vehicles were beyond our ability to drive safely; the Humvees would stand out like a sore thumb; but that the Land Rovers would do fine once we’d stripped them of their very obvious military appearance.

‘Exactly what I was thinking.’

 Stripping away the U.N insignia from (and re-pressurising the tyres of) the two Land Rovers that Jason selected took perhaps a half-hour. Charging the batteries naturally took considerably longer; but by nightfall we had ourselves two pristine, low-mileage, ex-Ministry of Defence Land Rovers ready to roll.

Jason, I’d decided, would drive one: Kylie the other. Two vehicles, I considered, was prudent. Three might have gained someone’s attention, and looked too much like a tempting convoy just begging to be ambushed. If we took one and it became disabled it might be a long walk home. Two seemed to me to be the perfect number.

Jason was unable to disguise his eagerness. “When do we shove off?” He asked. “It’ll be dark outside by now. It’s the perfect time to leave.”

“Yes it is.” I replied as I checked my watch. “Why don’t you bring down the elevator.”

Had there been any exterior lights on Crag Base they would have been far astern of us when I finally stole a backward glance. The world around us was cloaked in impenetrable blackness. Even the Moon and stars had failed to make an appearance in the overcast late autumn sky. I’d hoped that the drivers could use night vision goggles to see where they were going without the need of headlights, but we hadn’t driven more than a hundred metres from the derelict service station before Jason ran off the road, and slithered to a halt upon the tussock-strewn verge. I’d suggested that perhaps we could run on minimal lighting in the shape of side lights, but Jason had discovered an unmarked switch upon the dashboard that when depressed lit up his goggles almost as brightly as day.

“Infra-red headlights.” He cheered. “We can see, but to anyone else we’re invisible.”

“That’s comforting.” Kylie had replied as she ran back to her vehicle to find a similar switch upon her dashboard. “Just as long as they don’t have night vision goggles too.”

Before long we’d passed the roadside café and were amongst the hills. With the loosest of plans to guide us we began the long descent to the level ground beyond the ridge of hills that hid the sea. We were once more amongst the overgrown back roads when I finally began to question the wisdom of the trip. How exactly did I intend to find the Espeeg? Let them find me perhaps? Should we turn on the lights and draw some attention to ourselves? But what if we drew the attention of the wrong people? What if we encountered terrestrial humans? Did we surrender to them – or fight our way through? Neither was acceptable: ergo we could not make our presence obvious. Then an idea formed inside my head…    

“Pull over.” I instructed Kylie.

She gave me a questioning look, but complied without speaking. As the Land Rover bounced to a halt upon the muddy verge Jason followed with the second vehicle. As he drew alongside he shouted through his side window.

“Forgot to pack your mascara or something?”

“I have a stunning plan.” I said as I opened my door and dismounted. “I don’t think you’re going to like it. Let’s have a pow-wow.”

I’d been quite accurate when I’d told Jason that I had a stunning plan; I just didn’t realise how stunning and in what manner it would affect the others. I watched as a look of incredulity appeared upon all their faces.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

The aforementioned tomes are available on-line at many e-book suppliers. Check out the page beneath the header or on the side bar → to access Lulu / iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Also appears in paperback form at Lulu. Just thought you should know.

Dwindling Numbers

Having the misfortune of being a literary genius and international author of vast repute, it’s not often that I find the time to drag my attention away from all the wondrous creations that have sprung from my ageing, yet still fertile imagination and actually scan the WWW for signs of life, particularly in the blogs that I used to follow in the early days (when I was still relatively new to this blogging thing). Well today I found that time and I was shocked. They’ve been (mostly) deleted or abandoned. Their creators, it seems, had simply given up in the face of planetary indifference. So I took a wander through more recent blogs. In many cases their authors are lamenting about falling readership. Some are considering calling it a day. Others remind me of the old axiom: ‘If it isn’t working, try something else’. This gave me cause to pause, as it were, in the pursuit of readership and – hopefully – commensurate book sales. I logged on to my publishers’ web site and checked out my book sales. Ten books sold in July – seven of which were freebies. Not good. Then I compared the numbers of visitors to this blog. Disappointment turned to concern; despite the fact that the number of ‘followers’ have continued to slowly increase, those reading my literary and photographic efforts have fallen spectacularly. People really do seem to be giving up on the Internet – or at least WordPress. In May 2017 I had 3600 visits. The same month in the following year saw only 1800 readers call by. This May I got just 524 visits. By June I was down to 302. I know Summer is never a good time: people have other things to do; so I was slightly relieved to discover that July hasn’t been quite so bad. As of the moment I’m up to a heady 767 hits. On Flickr figures are better; but I can’t post stories and comedy there – although I do air a few Earplug Adventure photos to mix it up a little. So, with dwindling numbers, I’m beginning to question the logic of continuing HamsterBritain.com. But I don’t want to stop promoting my serious fiction, hamster-fiction, or earplug silliness. That would be a crime against humanity – wouldn’t it? Maybe it’s time to try something else. Any suggestions?

Tooty