Like a happy promise to myself

Photo by Rutger GeleijnseFebruary and March were hell. Unbearable pain without relief. Lots of you already know this from FB and Twitter and Instagram so I won’t bore anyone, but it was hell and I’m very glad I’m through it. In recovery from that now, which involves 20 hours a day in bed and 16 of them uncomfortably unconscious. No writing as such, but the heartening thing is that this past week or so my creative button is pressing itself on three different projects.

I’m also heartened, ish, in an odd way, about being frustrated suddenly that I haven’t been able to do a minute of preparation on either of the two books I intend to release this year. All ducks are lined up except for the pre-formatting work. You know, tidying everything up before I send them to be professionaly formatted. That’s still a mountain too high in my current state of health, but the fact that I’m suddenly itching to get it done is like a happy promise.

But mostly what I want to do is decide which one of two SF novels I want to write this year, and dive enthusiastically into that story. Keep jumping back and forth from one to the other. I expect I’ll know the answer when I realise that I’m writing one of them. 🙂

What would Soviet occupiers have named London?

Photo by Matteo CataneseWhat would Soviet occupiers have named London?

That’s the question occupying my mind today, and I’m happy to say so because it’s been weeks since anything occupied it except terrible pain. I’ve been so ill, friends. Scarily ill all through the winter. But I’ve surfaced now, and I have a pleasant new GP who wants to try and reduce the constant high pain I’ve lived with for so many years. My world hasn’t been this good since that big relapse started last autumn.

And talking of worlds, the most exciting measure of me surfacing is this fictional world that’s exercising my brain.

It’s a dark world, for a dark SF novel. Started life as a complicated time travel story right out of the box, and over this past weekend it got a whole lot more complicated when it became an alternative history time travel SF novel, with the two global superpowers in the year 2080 – USA and USSR – each sending teams of operatives back in time to change events to their advantage.

So, anyhow, this question isn’t the most important issue I’ll face in building this very complicated world, but today it’s nagging at me. This is it:

When, in 1945, the USSR occupied Britain, might they have renamed London? If so, what might they have called it?

I’ve been using the working name Londongrad, but increasingly that feels like an Anglo Saxon solution. I’m concerned that readers might think I’m tipping an ironic nod at the modern Russian oligarchs who have been busy in recent years buying up quality property in London, which of course  I’m not because in my world the dissolution of the USSR never happened and those people don’t exist.

Four suggestions I’ve received so far are from:

@cabs – As the ‘grads’ don’t always link to previous name, and use ‘hero of the revolution’grad you could do anything. In fact, given the shifting nature of political favour, could have it change during that time period with no-one being allowed to mention the old name.

@sportstweet – Your best bet might be choosing a character/person who was important in causing UK to join the ussr and -grad Ing his name or naming the city for its main trade.

Elin Gregory – It would be named after the first successful local governor who was assassinated by British insurgents – so maybe something like Sokolograd?

and

Elizabeth Barrette – The format is surname of famous person + -grad. In your timeline, who’s the person credited with taking the city? It’s probably named after them.

 

These are excellent, mind-expanding ideas. And I’m open for more. 🙂

Any thoughts, friends?

Do no harm

Photo by Ash EdmondsMy responses to world events since Brexit in the UK and Trump’s election in the USA have brought me to a crisis of personal morality.

My growing instinct since then has been to embrace the necessity to fight violence with violence. Punch a nazi? Please do. Kill a nazi? We’re not at war yet, but when it’s declared someone give me a sniper rifle and set me up in a hide. I’m physically broken, but still the same person who served a long career in the military until I got badly wounded and retired on a medical war pension.

But there’s the problem. I’m not the same person. After a long struggle with my conscience some ten years ago, I set violence aside and became a quaker.

So now you see the crisis. In these past eighteen months, my old willingness to use violence in order to protect vulnerable people reasserted itself. Except that it hasn’t felt right any more. It hasn’t felt right for me. For the person I’ve become.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that the dreadful wrongs being done in our world shouldn’t be fought. Or that the many vulnerable people being harmed and endangered and oppressed shouldn’t be protected. What I’m saying is that there are different ways to protect them.

What I’m saying is that while I will continue to call out wrongs when and where I see them, I’m no longer someone who will smack a nazi or pick up a sniper rifle against them if and when the war is declared.

What I’m saying is that I’m a quaker. I’m a pacifist.

My WIP is already reflecting this change.

It gets easier by the day to tear our world apart. Circumstances make it scarily possible. I won’t be part of that harm. As far as I am able, I will help to heal our world.

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