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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Flash Fiction Roundup

It's another full weekend of Flash Fiction writing this week and with the added bonus of another story published on Paragraph Planet. Can I get a 'hell yeah'?



PARAGRAPH PLANET

This is the second time I've had something published on Paragraph Planet but it's my favourite. For me the 75 word limit forces me into something that's more free form than the usual stuff I write. Hope you like.

THE BOOK

I run my thumb from the back page to the front, the musty smell flowing out and embracing me. I sense the history radiating from between each page. How many lives have crossed this tome since it fell from the printing press so long ago? The leather cover that snuggles the contents creaks as I open it and I find a message inscribed indiscreetly in the corner, a message passed down through time. 



MICRO BOOKENDS

This was another tough one for the monster fighting duo. I came home satisfied that my 9th draft was the one I wanted to use. Then, as i sat staring at my laptop ready to type it up, another idea hit me. So this version is the 10th. And it's much better than all that came before (sorry previous drafts, but it's true).

CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE BRIDES OF VENGEANCE

“Pride,” said Chris. “Blind, stupid pride.”

Mike looked down at the body of the deceased bride. “You knew her?”

Chris knelt and closed her eyes. “Worked with her a couple of times before I was institutionalised. Deadly with a crossbow. Made me laugh.”

“I’m sorry, buddy,” said Mike.

“I told her this church was dangerous but she just smiled.”

There came a twisted cackling from the other end of the empty church hall. Two hovering ghosts materialised, flowing white dresses, veils masking their faces.

“So how are we gonna catch these then?” said Mike.


Chris rose, fists clenched. “Oh no, my friend. I’m going to destroy these ghosts without prejudice.”



FLASH! FRIDAY

I had the ideas for both of these in a couple of seconds. As always, I try to find the unobvious and I think I've succeeded again. This week we had to include the conflict of 'man vs self'.


JUDGEMENT DAY

August 13th, 2015. A date that will live in infamy.

No one saw it coming but you can’t argue that it was inevitable. You live under someone’s roof and shit on their bed, they’re gonna get angry and kick you out.

Why should the planet be any different?

I was in a book shop browsing for the latest Brian Creek novel when it happened. The ground shook violently. A member of staff screamed earthquake and I ran to a doorway, crammed in next to a woman who smelled of Jasmine. I remember that.

There was chaos outside. I could see people running past like a flock evading a predator. I didn’t know then how close I was to the truth.

I poked my head out the door as a taxi crashed into a van across the road. The sound of the horn drowned out the screams of the people. I looked up the street and saw something that made my stomach drop.

You’ve heard of Mother Nature, that force that looks after this world? That day I saw her, her and her sisters. They towered over London, 12 mighty beings, cutting a swathe through the city and then the world.

Guess they didn’t like that we shit on their bed.



BUTCHERS DOZEN

Their eyes scream murderer. Their judgement bores into my soul. The twelve women of my jury sit together to accuse me, to condemn me.

My hands are still drenched in the blood of my last victim.

Louise Stillback.

Twenty five.

Waitress.

I slit her throat when she wouldn’t stop screaming. I really hate it when they scream. She bled out quickly; stopped struggling, stopped moving, stopped living.

She became boring, just like the others.

Guess I’ll have to find another. The next one will be prettier. She’ll love me like the others didn’t.

The twelve women of my jury watch me standing there. They think I’m a bad person, they think I’m evil. I can see it on their faces. They want me in the chair. They want to send my soul straight to hell.

Maybe they’re right. I don’t know. I just want to love and be loved but something inside of me wants more. Something I’m struggling to find.

But find it I will. I’ll keep looking because she’s out there, I believe that. She’s out there and I’ll find her.

The thirteen women of my jury stare at the knife, the one that has my prints on it.

Guess I’d better wipe them off before I leave.



ANGRY HOURGLASS

This piece took a little while to get right (big thanks to my editor, Mrs Creek) but it was worth it. My favourite of the weekend.

The MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

I’d give anything for some paracetamol and the location of my clothes.
Actually, they would be number two and three on my list. Right now, I’d just like to know exactly where the hell I am.
The mud I’ve woken up in is cold and the morning breeze is colder.

Think, damn it, think. I was on a date. Pretty girl; we were getting along fine.
No, it was more than fine. She was keen, this one, very keen. She said she’d reward me if I saved her the taxi fare and drove her home. The look in her eyes had a quick word with my libido and it was settled. We’d jumped in my Volvo and headed out of the city to somewhere that looked like the credits of Emmerdale. It was a clear night and the full moon bathed the whole world.

I look around now and it’s clear I didn’t make it to her place.
A small group of sheep are lingering near a stone wall and staring at me in my birthday suit. God, they must be so warm in their nice woollen coats. Shame I don’t have any shears on me or I could make myself a nice jumper.
Wait, they’re not looking at me. They’re looking behind me. I follow their gaze to discover there may have been a few more sheep in this field until quite recently. A pile of carcasses dye the ground red. All I can do is throw up my meal from last night; I had the steak.

Where’s my car. Where’s the girl. What happened last night?
She’d had her hands on my crotch and I was loving it. I’d gone to reciprocate but lost my concentration. That’s when something stepped into the road, something big. I’d slammed on the brakes as the thing went over the car and we narrowly missed a tree before stopping. I checked us over and then told her to stay while I went back to see what I’d hit.
I remember panic then I remember pain.
And then I was hungry.

What happened to me? Why are my hands red with blood?



Wednesday, 25 March 2015

(vol 2) Chapter 11: “Time Is Short”

2015 WORD COUNT = 15480 words



Times are changing.

Technology is shrinking our world and people have a lot more to do. Time is becoming a precious commodity.

Gone are the days when you could find yourself sat down in the evening, bored out of your mind; nothing to watch on any of the four TV channels, you didn’t own a Spectrum or a Commodore and it was raining cats and dogs outside. Back then this could lead you to picking up a good book and spending the next few hours just getting stuck into a whole new world.

Nowadays we have video games, 50,000 TV channels (+TiVo), longer work hours and many more responsibilities. It’s a lot harder to find any time you can justify on just sitting down and reading that latest 500 page novel. I mean, it could be months before you get to the end. And that’s if it’s a one off. What about getting through a trilogy or a fourteen book saga. Since my son was born my wife has barely had time to read any of the James Patterson books I constantly buy her.

So what other option is there?

When your time is short then it makes sense that the fiction you read be short too.



First off, you can’t go wrong with a good short story collection. You can dip in and out and will probably finish a whole story during your lunch break. Instead of waiting for several months before you get to the satisfying resolution, you can have it daily.

There are many short story collections out there but I highly recommend any of the ones written by Stephen King. Although regularly depicted as a horror writer, there is so much more to his stories and no better show case than the following collections:








Of course, if short fiction is still too much then there is always flash fiction. Stories so short you’ll be done in about five or ten minutes. And if it’s really good flash fiction then you’ll feel like you’ve just had an entire meal in one mouthful.

Obviously the sites I normally promote are more about taking part in the writing (and for some of you that might be the next step). But there are some out there that will give you that quick fix, that story with an edge, a five minute tale that’ll stay with you the rest of the day.

Let me divulge:

Paragraph Planet publishes a 75 word story every day and has done since 2008. Stories don’t get much shorter.

Angry Hourglass publish their weekly winner each Wednesday in the Hump day Quickie. These have a max word count of 360.

Daily Science Fiction publish a sci-fi or fantasy story a day at no more than 1500 words.

Quaterreads are a little different to the others in that you need to pay to read. But it is only $0.25 a 
story and, if you enjoy it enough, what better way to let the hard working author know?

Wattpad has a lot of authors posting chapter by chapter releases of their novels, yet they also have a lot of great short stories to browse through.

Of course you might not want to begin a new world every time you find five spare minutes. What if you enjoy characters so much that you want to see them again and again?


Episodic fiction is a growing trend. It’s like watching your favourite TV show with new content updated on a regular basis. I myself am currently working on a project called FRACTURED DAWN which has 1500 word ‘chapters’ being released every other Friday (I’m hoping to go weekly).

And I’m starting to look at other projects and wondering if they might be better in this episodic formula. Sure, there are still projects I’d like to see on a bookshelf one day as a fully-fledged novel, but I have a lot of little ideas that will never see the light of day if I wanted everything to end up that way. Perhaps, at this early stage in my career, this format will work better and get more stuff out there for people to enjoy.

An example of this episodic process being done well is Betsy Streeter’s NEPTUNE ROAD series. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday Betsy posts brand new tiny episodes of this fantastic ongoing series both on her website and on Wattpad (there’s also a paperback collection available). It follows a great cast of characters trying to get by on the planet Neptune. I’m currently up to episode 125 at the moment but don’t let that number put you off. A couple of lunch breaks and you’ll be all caught up.
So is bite size the future? I’m starting to think it is, at least on a publishing front. A lot of people will continue trying to read that epic novel come rain or shine. Others will give up and ditch reading as non-essential in this hectic world of ours.

But right there in the middle is a new breed of reader, one that wants to get in, be entertained, and get out before the next thing flashes before their eyes. And if people want to read that kind of thing then some of us are going to need to write that kind of thing.

Let me know of any other places to go where short and flash is the prominent feature. And I highly recommend visiting the sites listed above. There is some great material out there for you to find.

See you in seven.



Monday, 23 March 2015

Flash Fiction Roundup

Back to norm this week with entries for all three contests released into the wild.


MICRO BOOKENDS

Everyone's favourite supernatural investigators are back and this time there's a little friction between them and the head of local law enforcement (special guest star appearance).



CHRIS AND MIKE vs THE ESCAPED DOCTOR

“Doctor Frankenstein has left the building,” said Chris as he followed Mike under the yellow tape and into the cell.

Mike found a box of the Doctors personal belongings and rummaged. “Photos, badges, a shell.” And a key that ‘fell’ into his pocket.

“Our Doctor had help escaping,” said Chris. “All the damage to the door, I’d say it was opened from the outside. By something very strong.”

“That’s your five minutes,” said a woman stood across the corridor.

Chris grinned as they left the cell. “Thank you, Jo.”

“You’ve figured it out, haven’t you?”

Chris nodded.

”Are you going to tell me?”


“That would be a no.”



FLASH! FRIDAY

I was so happy when this prompt came through. I could finally write a ninja story without having to force it. This week we had to use a parking lot for the setting.



TAPED TRANSCRIPT OF OFFICER MITCHELL
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY CORPORAL HOLLANDS
CASE NUMBER – 07-110979
JM – OFFICER JASON MITCHELL
LH – CORPORAL LEON HOLLANDS

LH: Start at the beginning.

JM: I’d just clocked in when we got the call. As the closest unit we headed to the scene.

LH: The car park on Kapioloni Avenue?

JM: Correct. Upon arrival we found a crowd. Officer Jakes controlled the civilians while I closed on the cause of the disruption.

LH: This would be the ‘ninja’.

JM: Yes, sir. He was knelt in the centre. I announced myself and informed him that he was causing a disturbance. He didn’t move, didn’t react. I then noticed he was armed.

LH: Firearm?

JM: No, sir. A sword. As a precaution I drew my sidearm and advanced. That was when I heard him.

LH: What was he saying?

JM: Not sure. It sounded Japanese. I think he was praying.

LH: Praying?

JM: Yes, sir. I then informed him that he was under arrest for possession of the weapon. He turned to me and said, in English, “I’m here.” And then he faded.

LH: Fainted?

JM: Faded. Like a ghost.

LH: I don’t understand.

JM: Me either, sir. But I’d like to dig up that parking lot.



NINJA CLUB

I see him as soon as I leave the gents.

The guy’s letching all over Lisa and not taking the hint. I march over to the bar and pull him back by the shoulder.

“Hey, buddy,” he says. “What’s with the aggression?”

“Lady’s with me, asshole,” I say. “You wanna grope someone then stick your hand down your own pants.”

He ignores my insult and looks at his pint glass. “You gonna buy me another drink, since you made me spill this one?”

I step closer. “Don’t think so.”

The bar goes quiet. After the tension thickens just enough, someone shouts, “Fight!”

Seconds later me, Lisa, the drunk prick and half the bar spill outside to the parking lot.

“Which one’s yours?” I ask the drunk.

He looks around and eventually spots his ninja. “That one.”

I follow his swaying pointer and see a beat up ninja droid hunched over like a marionette hung by its strings.

“What about yours?” he asks, a foolish grin on his face.

Before I can answer, Lisa steps in front of me. “Let me get this one.” She whistles and a ninja dressed in black stands without making a sound. It turns and draws its sword, eyes glowing red.

The drunk’s grin fades away.



ANGRY HOURGLASS

This was another photo prompt that I was immediately excited about. So many possibilities. I wanted to be a little vague with the back story and the emotions of the characters. 

According to my wife and a couple of commentators on the site, I may have nailed it.


STRANGER THINGS

He rolls off of me, off the bed, and walks over to my bedroom window.

My friend Charlotte said it hurt her the first time. She had me so worried but that didn’t hurt at all.

That. Was. Amazing.

He was gentle and caring. I’m pretty sure I had my first orgasm too. I’m still tingling. God, I want to do it again.

“What’s that?”

I reluctantly take my eyes of his perfect butt. “What’s what?”

“That.”

I grab the covers as a makeshift dress and join him at the window. He’s pointing to the back half of a car that sits beside the garage like some kind of abstract ornament.

“That’s my dad’s car,” I say. “I mean it was. I mean, it’s what’s left.”

“Where’s the rest?”

“No one knows.”

He turns and looks at me then with real thought in his eyes, like he’s solved a complicated equation but he’s worried that he’s wrong.

“The Golden Gate Bridge?” he finally offers.

I forget that my dad wasn’t the only one who disappeared that day. I nod.

“I lost my brother,” he says. “Crazy, right?”

My heart skips. Like the bond we’d just shared then and there on the bed wasn’t enough, we now have something else, something beyond reason. It wasn’t just our bodies that had merged; our history was linked too.

His arms envelope me and I feel safer than I ever have done before.

“Maybe if they did end up somewhere else and they’re still alive, maybe they’ve met. Maybe they’re taking care of each other.”

“Stranger things,” he mumbles.

I feel his arms relax and he lets go.

“I’d better go,” he says.

“Okay.” I try to hide the disappointment. I was still hoping for round two. I sit on the bed and watch him get dressed. He doesn’t look happy anymore. There’s something weighing him down.

“I’ll see you,” he says. A peck on the cheek and he’s out the door.



Friday, 20 March 2015

FRACTURED DAWN - episode 4

Previously on Fractured Dawn . . .

A man wakes on a beach with no memory and discovers a strange purple stone embedded in his chest. After being visited by a silent women with red hair he settles down for the night.

The next morning he heads of in search of civilisation and gets caught up saving a woman who is being chased by bandits. During the fight his body suddenly transforms into stone, giving him the advantage. Once the bandits flee, the man from the beach returns to human form and then the woman he rescued knocks him out.

The man wakes later to find himself in the care of Benso Falter, a doctor from the small town of Bridgewood.




The man from the beach looked around. Bridgewood seemed a nice little town, he thought. He wondered if he’d come from a place like this; quiet and out of the way.
The doctor had talked about the town’s history, about how they stayed away from city business and just got on with things. And they looked to be doing well. The town was settled nicely among the surrounding woodland, not too far from the coast. They worked the trees and supplied timber to the state capital, Iscandari.
After a final check-up and filling meal that was an improvement over the roasted crab, Benso had asked his daughter to give their new guest a tour of the town.
“So,” said Tanel. “What do you think?”
Stood in front of the towns General Store, the man from the beach turned and shielded his eyes from the low setting sun. “You people have a nice place here.”
“That we do.” She nodded at the inn across the street. “Guess we’d better see about getting you a place to stay until you plan your next move.”
The man looked up at the sign above the door to the inn. “The Highwayman’s Hat. What’s the beer like?”
“It’ll stay down,” said Tanel. “Don’t expect much more.”
They crossed the main path and entered the inn. It was already quite busy despite still being early evening. A couple of tables to the left housed card games and the man from the beach could smell something awful coming from the kitchen.
Tanel saw his offended nose. “Bet you’re glad you ate before we got here.”
The pair stepped up to the bar and were greeted by an elderly looking gentleman.
“Evening, Tanel.”
“Evening, Castor. I need to speak with the boss.”
“Head on up,” said Castor.
Tanel started for the stairs on the other side of the room but hesitated. She turned back to the man. “You okay to wait here? I won’t be long.” The man was distracted watching the nearest card game. Tanel signalled to Castor instead. “Watch my friend, would you?”
“Will do,” said Castor.
Tanel headed up the stairs and disappeared into one of the rooms. Castor tapped the man from the beach on the shoulder. “Can I get you a drink, Mr?”
“What have you got?”
“Depends on how much coin you’re carrying.”
“Not a bit.”
“Water it is then.” Castor put an empty glass down on the bar and lifted a full water jug from behind the counter. He poured the glass half way. “On the house,” he said with a half arsed grin.
The man from the beach picked up the glass, checked it over and then took a sip. “Many thanks.”
“You have a name?” said Castor as he took to drying a few glasses waiting on the side.
“Not yet.”
“That must be frustrating?”
“I don’t mind it too much.”
“Not for you,” said Castor. “For everyone else.”
The man laughed. “I guess so.” He took another sip and then something grabbed his attention over by one of the card tables. One of the players had a serving girl by the wrist and he was looking furious; face red and teeth bared.
“Hey, you little bitch,” said the rough looking man. “You spilt my drink.”
“I’m so sorry,” said the girl as she tried to take her arm back. “I’ll . . . I’ll get you another.”
“And how does that solve the issue of my soaking wet trousers?”
“I . . . I don’t know.”
“Maybe,” said a slob of a man sat opposite the commotion, “she could suck the beer outta your pants?”
The rough man looked the girl over from head to toe. “That ain’t a bad idea,” he said. “How about it, beautiful. You feel like apologising properly?”
“I don’t do that kind of work, sir.”
“And I don’t like playing cards with a beer stinking crotch but in life you have to roll with the punches.” As he said this he punched the air in front of her with his free hand. She flinched, lost her footing and fell to her knees, right there in front of him. “That’s better,” he continued. “Now how about making the best outta a bad situation?”
The whole inn was watching the incident now but no one was intervening; not the staff nor the patrons. The man from the beach clenched his fists.
“You don’t want to do anything stupid,” whispered Castor.
“Please, let me get you another,” the girl begged.
“Suck. The. Beer.”
The man from the beach could stand by no more and walked up behind the sobbing girl. “Let the girl go,” he said. “She’s apologised. There’s no need to humiliate her.”
The rough man kept his eyes on the girl. “I don’t recall asking you to join this debate.”
“And this girl didn’t ask you to lay your filthy hands on her. But, you know, you have to roll with the punches.”
The rough man let go of the girl now and stood up from the table. He stepped forward a little so that he was nose to nose with the man from the beach. “I’ll give you one chance to back out of the situation you seemed to have stumbled on before I make you beg to leave.” He drew his sword. A few of the men on the table watched with interest while everyone else moved away from the surrounding area as if the card table was on fire. “Turn around now before my boys here beat the living crap out of you.”
“That’s a kind offer,” said the man from the beach. “But I’d be disappointed with myself if I didn’t at least attempt to knock you out.” He head-butted the rough man who dropped his sword and flew back across the card table.
The other men around the table all stood and drew their swords. The man from the beach grabbed the drinks tray from the serving girl and pushed her around behind him. He felt his chest tightening and his skin began to tingle.
“Enough!” came a voice from the balcony above the bar, a voice that demanded respect and obedience in equal measure. A voice like an angry mother. A voice that would peel the skin from your flesh. “Put your weapons away now before I stick them somewhere that’ll make it hurt to sit down.”
The man from the beach watched as all the men around the table edged back a few steps and put away their blades.
“That goes for you too,” said the woman. “That drinks tray might not look like a weapon but you sir look fixed to use it as one.”
The man handed the tray back to the trembling serving girl.
The whole bar remained silent as everyone watched the woman as she calmly walked across to the staircase and made her way down to the bar area. She had short, red hair and wore such outrageous clothing. Her face wore makeup that would make anyone else looked like a fool yet she pulled it off. Patrons parted for her as she sauntered towards the scene of the altercation.
“So,” she said as she sized up all involved. “What seems to be the problem here?”
The rough looking man sat up amongst the remains of the table, clutching his now busted nose. “This asshole butted into . . .”
The woman raised her hand to interrupt. “You know what, I regretted asking that the second the words left my mouth. I actually don’t care. All I know is that it don’t happen in my establishment. You four, pick up your boss and head out that door. Don’t worry about the tab, the drinks are on the house.”
“But . . .” said the slob.
“Now!”
The slob looked at the other men who all nodded. Two of them helped the rough man to his feet and they all walked out the bar.
The serving girl stood and hugged the man from the beach. “Thank you, mister. You didn’t have to –“
“Abigail,” said the woman. “Get out back and clean yourself up.”
“Yes, Miss,” she said. She squeezed the man’s hand and then hurried out to the foul smelling kitchen.
The woman stepped over to the man. She was a little shorter than he was so she wasn’t quite able to stand nose to nose, but she sure tried. “She’s right you know. You didn’t have to do that.”
“I apologise for the mess I made.”
“Apologies don’t fix tables or replace glasses.”
“I have no money.”
The woman sized him up. “You got any other skill besides being a nuisance to those around you?”
The man went to speak but was interrupted by Tanel from the balcony. “He can cook.”
“That so. Well, you can probably smell from the general direction of my kitchen that there is an area of service we find ourselves severely lacking.”
“I did notice the stench when I walked in.”
“Vesty!” she shouted.
The kitchen door opened a little and a weasel faced little man stuck his head out. “Yes Miss?”
“You’re fired.”
Vesty sighed. “Yes Miss.” He disappeared back inside the kitchen.
The woman returned her attention to the man from the beach. “My name is Dusty Brooke. I own this establishment. You work for me now.”

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

(vol 2) Chapter 10: “All Roads Lead To Ankh-Morpork”


2015 WORD COUNT = 13064 words


Sometimes bad news can have a silver lining. While the act itself can be something unwanted and the cause of sadness, deep down a part of us knows that it’s all better now.

So it is with the sad passing of Sir Terry Pratchett last Thursday. While his family, friends and fans all mourn him in their own way, we must be grateful that his ordeal with ‘That Embuggerance’ is over and he can finally rest.



While Pratchett wrote many things over the years, his greatest achievement and biggest body of work belongs in the Discworld. A hilarious ode to the greatest of fantasy worlds, the Discworld not only pokes fun at the tropes of so many fantastical stories but also holds a mirror up to our world.

With forty novels set in the magically flat world (that resides on the backs of four elephants who stand on the shell of mighty A’Tuin the turtle) the Discworld books contain every ingredient required of a fantasy world; wars, cities, trolls, swords, magic and so much more. But, while most epic fantasy stories are filled with mighty sorcerers and heroic knights, the Discworld is instead filled with somewhat more colourful characters from the other end of the spectrum (all eight colours of it!). While I wouldn’t use the term ‘realistic’, I guess it’s just nice to see characters react differently when fighting evil – like running away.


My trundle into the mind of Pratchett took three separate attempts.

The first was back in 1997 when I was nearing the end of my second year of college. My girlfriend’s friend lent me a copy of Good Omens, a book Pratchett co-wrote with Neil Gaiman. People tell me how good this book is all the time but, unfortunately, I’ll have to take their word for it. You see, I never even opened the book and, several months later, handed it back unread.

Flash forward a few years to 2000. After giving up on my education I was working full time in my local Video Shop. My manager started a conversation one day about the Discworld books he’d read years previous and I built up a little interest. They whole premise sounded like something I could really enjoy so I looked a little more into it. That was when I found I was already twenty four books behind, enough for me to walk away from such a mammoth undertaking.

Another three years passed and one day I found myself stood in a Tesco store looking at a copy of Night Watch for £3.73.  The series I thought was intimidating at twenty four books was now at twenty nine. I figured that if I didn’t start there and then I probably never would. Plus I was powering through books during that period of my life so I saw the entirety of the Discworld series as a rather appetising meal. Not wanting to miss a bargain I thought it best to grab Night Watch for the future and then went about getting myself of The Colour of Magic a few days later.

And I never looked back.



Rincewind’s adventures with Twoflower and the Luggage had me hooked by page ten. I enjoyed the comedy and language, both of which Pratchett excelled at. I powered through the book but was incredibly shocked to find myself at a literal cliff-hanger (or, more accurately, an ‘edge of the world’ hanger). At the first opportunity I went back to my nearest bookshop (which was a 40 minutes bus ride away!) and purchased The Light Fantastic. And Equal Rites. And Mort. Well, Waterstones had a 3 for 2 sale on.

And so my collection grew. Birthdays and Christmases added more and I carried on with the regular six month releases of the later books through the exceedingly good Tesco price point.

Despite how much I enjoyed them, I never rushed through the books. Instead I took my time, coming back to Discworld when someone else’s novel had left me unfulfilled. I knew where I was when walking the streets of Ankh-Morpork or paying a visit to Lancre. It was safe and relaxing, fun to visit; my literature holiday destination of choice.


The books fall into one of four sets; Rincewind and the Wizards of Unseen University, Granny Weatherwax and the Witches of Lancre, the caps lock talking Death, and, my personal favourite, Ankh-Morpork and the City Watch. Ever since Guards! Guards! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Samuel Vimes as both law and order have been dragged, kicking and screaming, back to the streets of the biggest city in the Discworld. In fact, Vimes is my all-time favourite character in the series (hence why my middle name is Samuel).

There really is something for everyone. Other than the first two books, there are no real sequels. Sure, if you read the lot then you can see the characters grow, and, like the Marvel universe, there’s a lot of character crossover. But I think you can really start anywhere.

Something I’m really looking forward to is handing the books down to my son when he’s old enough (and quashed his need to bend covers!). I hope that he finds the same enjoyment as I have and finds his own favourite character.


I still have a little way to go towards, what I now know, is the end. Yesterday I finished Monstrous Regiment, a brilliant story that’s like Mulan on steroids mixed with a little Joan of Arc. I gave it five stars and it is probably going to make my top five.

I’ll be sad when I eventually turn the last page on the series but there are two glimmering lights of hope.


A couple of years ago Pratchett joined forces with sci-fi author Stephen Baxter to write a novel called The Long Earth. The tale of multiple worlds sat side by side, it tells of what happens when mankind no longer has to fight for space and can expand indefinitely. It sounds epic and is the start of a five book series of which the fourth is due for release this June. I’m hoping they planned the final book and that Baxter wraps it all up as I expect Pratchett would wish.

As for the Discworld? Well, sources say that his daughter, Rhianna Pratchett, will carry the torch and continue the stories of what is a truly amazing world. I look forward to seeing what she does with it.


I never met Pratchett and he never had any idea who I am. But, for the last twelve years, his stories have made me laugh and for that alone I’m extremely grateful.

“DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, said Death. JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.”

Well said, sir. Well said.

See you in seven.