Mystery Blogger Award

Thanks to Sara Jensen for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award. She’s a Sci-Fi blogger like me who has a real flare for her fiction so make sure you look her up!

So? What is the Mystery Award?

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.
Okoto Enigma


Three Things You Might Not Know About Me

As a recipient of the Mystery Blogger Reward, I am magically compelled to reveal secrets. I”m not sure what secrets to tell… here goes:

  1. I want to have a tattoo but I don’t know what / where.
  2. I once jumped about 15 – 20 ft out of a tree becasue I was forced to
  3. I hate heights

Here’s More…

I am also contractually obligated to answer five questions posed by the person who has nominated me for the award. So here are Matt’s questions and my answers…


1) What writer or book made you want to be a writer?

It has to be Arthur C Clarke and 2001 initially but the man was visionary.


2) What is the value of speculative fiction in the modern world?

I think it’s an imperative part of writing, it’s about visions, hopes, dreams and what could be in the future.


3) Is there anyone that you will not allow to read your work?

No, mainly becasue those people won’t read it anyway.


4) What is your most impressive physical feat?

I’ve not don’t much that’s impressive physically, except that jumping out of the tree thing. But in a way that’s just gravity.


5) Coffee or tea? And how do you take it?

Tea, white with one sugar.


My nominations

Now I get to nominate a few of you bloggies…

Heroically bad writers

Laura

Darkest Fairy Tale

Meg

Award Guidance

  1. Thank whoever gifted you and include a link to their blog
  2. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  3. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  4. Answer the questions from the person who gifted you the Award
  5. Choose bloggers that you wish to gift the Award to no more than 3
  6. Ask 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  7. Notify those you gift the Award to

My questions for you:

I’m keeping the same questions as Sarah… I thought they were great questions:

  1. What writer or book made you want to be a writer?
  2. What is the value of speculative fiction in the modern world?
  3. Is there anyone that you will not allow to read your work?
  4. What is your most impressive physical feat?
  5. Coffee or tea? And how do you take it?

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Final Dusk

This is my entry for March’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.


The sun dipped lower and lower, not quite touching the trees the intense brightness dazzled Jana as she strained to see into the forest. Even with the sunvisor and the sight on the weapon she couldn’t see any more than with her naked eyes. She ducked back behind the barricade, that was all the gun turret from the tank was good for now. Taking a deep breath Jana’s lungs were filled with air tainted with smoke and fuel. There was nowhere to move to, nowhere to run to, this where the unit had made its stand was it.

“Shouldn’t we prepare Sarge?” A young soldier stood in front of her and saluted. Jana jumped up and pulled him down to bring him out of view.

“You want to get yourself killed Darin? You can stop that saluting too – we’re way past that!”

“You think they’ll come back?” Darin asked nervously bringing a cigarette to his lips and sucking on it. Jana hadn’t answered, he puffed the smoke out away from her respectfully.

Jana looked out to the forest again silently going through what had been the last few days of hell. This supposedly harmless moon, rich in vegetation and animal life had been analysed and scanned to death with robotic scouts. This phase of colonisation was usually just for safety’s sake, no risks taken every base covered. This had been her third colonisation mission and Jana was thinking about settling here.

The first few nights went as a textbook colonisation should, then the fourth night it started. From out of nowhere they came, the only warning of the impending onslaught was the monstrous screeches. It only thirty seconds later that the first human screams heralded the start of what Jana could only describe as hell.

Humans, tanks, equipment stuff that usually can survive everything from the harshness of space and battle was totally decimated over the last few nights. The lander taken out in minutes, Jana had watch over a hundred people, people she knew reduced to just twelve.

“They’re coming back Darin. Sorry to dash your hopes.”

“What about the evac craft? When are they going to be here?”

“They need to wait, the solar storms up there would kill the evac lander in moments, they said it could be a couple of days.”

“We don’t have…”

“I know, I tried to contact them earlier but all I got was static. Sparks is on it all the time, I told him to keep trying.” Jana insisted.

“So in the meantime?”

“We wait. We somehow survive.”

Jana crawled back towards the the main group, Darin followed closely. Inside the compound that was the main hangar of the landing craft Jana stood and faced the rest of the remaining soldiers.

“Anything sparks?”

“Nothing.”

Jana looked back, the Sun just touching the tops of the trees, the dimming light brought a chill or was that the cooling air? She wasn’t sure.

“Ok. Listen, we went over the tactics earlier. Keep out of the open, back to the walls. Use the image enhancing goggles rather than visual spectrum.
are the floodlights and fire barricade ready?

“Yes, we got the light sorted and from what materials we could scavenge we have built a fire.” One of the soldiers calmly informed.

“Great – where’s Norris?”

“He didn’t ask about leaving the camp for burning materials?” The soldier asked urgently.

“I thought I made it clear that no one leaves the camp!” In a moment of fury Jana swore “Another man down!”

“What does it matter?” Another of the soldiers shouted at Jana. “You can’t see those things, I’m not even sure they can be killed! Have you seen one dead we’re all -” Thumping him down to the ground another of the men, huge in his build silenced him and then picked him up, dusting him off.

Jana looked around at the assembled troops a last time before the sun set, the darkness was now apparent and the air smelled damp as it would on a summer’s evening on Earth.

“Good luck all – light the fire slowly and be ready to open fire on anything!” The men all dispersed, as she turned to leave the compound Darin was laying at her feet, eyes open and lifeless his body lay still. Crouching Jana whispered a prayer and closed his eyes. She looked up at the sun, nearly set she realised the inescapable truth. She was looking on at her final dusk.


A few days later:

In a clean infirmary back on the colonisation ship, the mission commander looked down at Jana, lifeless except for the beeping monitors showing her vital signs.

“What happened down there?” The commander asked.

“No idea yet, she’s not regained consciousness.”

“Will she?”

“She should do, he signs look ok. Just something different about them.”

“In what way?”

“Hang on… she’s coming round.

As the commander and doctor stood watching, Jana’s eyes moved in what seemed like a moment of eternity they watch as they slowly opened.

“Doc, they – they’re black. What?”

The answer never came, Jana’s mouth opened and a monstrous screech was all that came.



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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit – Blog Date 13-2019

Hi ya Bloggies! The weekly orbit does it’s round again, picking up supplies and new recruits on the way towards another week with,,, something. Who knows.
As this year starts getting into great the lighter days are showing and the Daffs ar out too! This means many things but right now I can’t think of them. What I do know is that this means blogging and writing will get harder still as my time is taken up cutting grass and the like.

During the last Orbit

Since the last orbit passed there have been a couple of new posts. Firstly was my Versatile Blogger award which came from Laura Beth who is a great follower of Planet Simon so make sure you stop by her blog.

I ten decided as work is taking over and I’m being lame at posting that I would put up my next post in my podcast series about Stephen Fry’s Great Leap Years. This is a podcast that kept me hooked for weeks, so have a look at the post and the podcast.


Post from Planet Simon Past

This weeks post from Planet Simon past asks the question of are we alone in the universe and makes the point that when considering the vastness of time as well as space we need to ask – are we alone now and will we always be?

Are we alone in the Universe? – A time / Space Question


Out of this World Bloggers:

As a way of giving back to the blogging world and the great bloggies that you are I thought I would start featuring some of the great bloggies I know or have come across.

So this week’s lucky bloggies are:

S.C. Jensen – A fellow Sci-Fi writer that I’ve been working with on concepts and each other writing. Go and make sure you look her up and the post this links to. Contains my new favourite word – fucketh!

My Dang Blog – I don’t keep up with this blog enough… but that’s my bad, Make sure you don’t make the same mistake as there’s post upon post og humourous life observations!

Easy Diet – This blogger is a recent find and has a great new blog… sharp and to the point, I like their style!



What are you bloggies doing over this week – anything fun and exciting going on?


Keep smiling and writing!


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Great Podcasts that Excite, Educate & Entertain – Great Leap Years

Back at the end of last year, it looked like Radio 2 was going to go to the dogs and indeed it was. I had to find something new to listen to, something engaging, interesting and entertaining… Hence I found podcasts. I’ve tried some that are as dry and old toast but these are the posts about the ones that have caught my mind…

The next podcast I would like to blog about is called Great Leap Years by Stephen Fry. This really is a wonderful look into how the everyday things we take for granted were not only started but discovered.

The Gutenberg press,Electricity, Modern communication all have their stories and they’re told with such great enthusiasm that the listener cannot help but be drawn in.

So what can you expect to get from listening to this podcast? Without giving away too much there’s the story of the Emperor who was taught Chess by a poor man and how the reward he asked for saw him executed.

The humble beginning’s of data processing with IBM was checkered with corruption, greed and how it affected processing of people on both sides during WWII.

How Amber was the spark that ignited the human discovery and exploitation of electricity….

And much… much more. Whether you know about technology or are just fascinated by it there’s a lot to get out of this podcast and I totally recommend it. If you try it, let me know what you think.


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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit – Blog Date 12-2019

Hi ya Bloggies! Once again the weekly blog orbit is round again – once again things have been quite here… but you know it kinda is what it is. If anyone has any ideas on how to get stuff done in the middle ofa business I would like to hear it 🙂


I’m putting back up: ‘Being Diverse in our Writing to Add Greater Depth to our Stories’. which was my guest post on Ari Meghlan’s blog.

Diversity in writing is (I think) key in making stories more realistic and making them attractive to a wider audience – that’s what I discuss in this post.


So becasue I’m pretty lame and not posted much this week I’ve decided to start doing something – I’m going to put up a past post or two or maybe three from Planet Simon and give it some fresh attention.

I’m kicking off with a post about Sci-fi moments and when machines die. It’s interesting but only in Sci-Fi do you get moments of sadness becasue a machine has terminated… I go through some of those moment here, but there could be a second post on this as was pointed out there were a few others I missed.

HAL – Featured in 2001 and in my post on SciFi Moments.


As I was routing through my posts there was this one… from my mate Roger of Heroically Bad Writers.

It’s a quote that I remember blew me away at the time and it did it again. Make sure you look:


The Shape of Things to Come



I hope you bloggies have a great week, let me know what you’re up to and working on!

Keep smiling and writing!


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The Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks to Laura Beth who nominated me for the versatile blogger award. I’ve been following Laura for some time now and she is a very interesting and versatile blogger (more so than me I think). So make sure you look her up.

Here’s the link to Laura Beth’s post, where I was nominated:


The Rules

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 7 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  4. Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  5. Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Seven Facts About Simon

  1. I’m an engineer, I design circuit boards.
  2. I’ve been blogging 6 years.
  3. I love sunrises.
  4. I hate seeing things wasted becasue they’re broken – I try and fix them.
  5. I don’t drink beer (or other wine or spirits) very often
  6. I’m re-igniting my love of art.
  7. I need to make a bucket list.

The Nominees:

I nominate:

Easy Diet Blog

Stella

Cyranny

Melissa Rose Rogers

Hot Mess Memoir

Laura

Gail


No obligation to participate, as always. Thanks for being awesome bloggers!



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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 11-2019

Hi ya Bloggies! Once again the weekly blog orbit is round again – a little later than I would like but I’ll call it a leap orbit or a lag orbit lol.

As I’m not posting much at the moment I thought I would fill the orbit out with some of the stuff from last week, this makes me look busier.


I’m putting back up: ‘Being Diverse in our Writing to Add Greater Depth to our Stories’. which was my guest post on Ari Meghlan’s blog.

Diversity in writing is (I think) key in making stories more realistic and making them attractive to a wider audience – that’s what I discuss in this post.


Now we shoot across the galaxy to last week and I thought about putting this on my other blog (Simon’s Blog) but I then decided that no… I think my podcasts should come here – I don’t know why… but anyways, this was the first post in what I hope will be a series on the podcasts I listen.

The first post on this was a Podcast I’m very keen on – Girl in Space. Have a look and see what you think – anyone that like a good story with twists and turns would like this.


Then later in the week I delved into science fiction again – looking this time at space age suit, uniforms and how in Star Trek they beam down without even a coat:
Science Fiction Concepts – Suits and Uniforms
I didn’t realise when I wrote this but a space suit is custom made for every astronaut, take 4 years to make and costs about $30 million. I mean what?!?!


If you don’t already know:
the bloggers bash is coming in June and the ticket’s are on sale for this event and that also means the Bloggers Bash Awards – Nominations are Now Open!
Have you got a favourite blog you think has caught your eye, someone with the posting skills of a blogging genius – Then why not nominate them?

Whos’ coming this year? What are you looking forward to and who has already been nominated?


I hope you bloggies have a great week, let me know what you’re up to and working on!

Keep smiling and writing!


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Science Fiction Concepts – Uniforms & Space Suits

I’ve not been jumping on my concepts for a little while but as I’m back into it again I thought I would jump into space suits and uniforms / space age clothing and what I’ve been thinking about it all.

We’ve all seem the Moon landings and various astronauts dossing about on ISS and know pretty much what a modern day space suit looks like. They’re big and bulky and they have to be becasue they have to be tough and keep the delicate human living inside it alive so they can do their job.

Space Suit from the Apollo Era

Then if we delve into a little science fiction with The Martian there’s something a little different, it looks more lightweight and with good reason. For a suit to be practical on Mars it still needs to protect the human but it also needs to be much lighter to wear as the typical spacesuit would be really hard to live with becasue of the greater gravity.

So even considering this simple premise there’s more to spacesuits than just throwing on a big suit, there’s thought, purpose and more importantly a lot of engineering behind them, which is what bugs me.

A lot of Sci-Fi doesn’t give it enough attention. Let me explain…

Matt Damon wearing a Martian spacesuit

1. Going down to the Planet

In science fiction there’s normally one of two things going on when people from a spaceship go onto a planet:
1. They’re exploring something new and unknown
2. They’re going to fight something gruesome.

Yet if we look at what they’re wearing they couldn’t be less prepared. Typical of this is my old friend Star Trek there they are cooped up in a nice warm starship, drinking Earl Grey and then decide to beam down onto a planet without even a coat…

I do feel there’s need to be some realism here, what this means is that every planet they beam down on has similar temperature, pressure, atmosphere to the starship they have just come from, not to mention risks like radiation and bacteria or other microbial life.

Prometheus

This was shown perfectly in Prometheus, this time they were suited up but some removed their helmets to feel water on their faces, for one this led to fatal consequences, which was the start of more fatal consequences after bringing on board other alien biological finds and exploding an alien head.


2. Coming back

This brings me onto the next bit – coming back on board. Something interesting that come up in Artemis was when an astronaut came back to Artemis they went through a dust cleanse, becasue Lunar dust is sharp and dangerous to breathe in, so you don’t want it about.

Whether is’ dust, bacteria or other alien life coming back and having a full bio or dust cleandown means any space suit needs to be able to at at least attempt to reject bacterial or microbe growth on its surface, robust enough to survive a clean (and attack) – and a serious clean before the human removes the suit.

Sure at this point I can slip in that it needs to be easy to put on or take off but I think if you put that against having a chest bursting alien growing inside you I think anyone would take the suit.


3. My Suit

This is what I think a suit / uniform should consist of:

Firstly there needs to be an inner suit, this what the human wears about their normal habitat, like a sealable body sock than can protect them from low pressure / vacuum expose in the event of some kind of catastrophe. Sure they need oxygen / a helmet to survive so a lightweight crew headpiece that would fit easily and would be part of their ship based kit.

The body sock wouldn’t necessarily be visible on the outside but if considering that cleaning would be an exercise which costs valuable water then this suit could have smart materials that help keep the skin clean, reclaim water and filter / retain it to help with radiation exposure and with this temperature regulation as it stands to reason it might not always be possible to heat / cool parts of a base / spacecraft to bearable temperatures.

Next when these humans need to venture outside advanced materials make the suit lighter, but this would then be weighed down a bit with water containment between the suit and the human to resist radiation exposure.

Finally, a helmet with clever readouts is all very well, I know Tony Stark doesn’t get this problem but the helmet needs an itch finger, that can automatically find itches. There’s nothing worse than having an itchy nose that you can’t scratch!


Those are my views… what do you think? Let me know in the comments.



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Great Podcasts that Excite, Educate & Entertain – Girl in Space

Back at the end of last year, it looked like Radio 2 was going to go to the dogs and indeed it was. I had to find something new to listen to, something engaging, interesting and entertaining… Hence I found podcasts. I’ve tried some that are as dry and old toast but these are the posts about the ones that have caught my mind…

The first Podcast that I really got into is called Girl in Space – a Sci-Fi chronicle about a lonely young girl who is surviving day to day on a spacecraft with just her semi functioning robotic arm companion Charlotte as company. Her role in life is to maintain the Cavatica, keep the scientific experiments running and watch over the local star called Ra, which somehow seems to exist in symbiosis with the Cavatica and those on board.

The Girl (henceforth known as X) is totally isolated from human life… that is until she fixes a round thing and presses it. This leads to a chain of events that threaten her life, the Cavatica and everything on board. Sarah Werner plays the lead role and I feel has a really well written out story, some simple yet effective effects and somehow when I’m driving home listening to this I can feel the isolation, the loneliness and I was totally hooked on this and got through all the episodes in a week.

I really recommend this to anyone interested in this genre or wants to try it out. I was while writing this looking up the website and shock horror it looks like this podcast is being cut short, but it’s still about and well worth a listen.

What about your podcasts? What do you guys listen to? There will be more podcast posts over the weeks… let me know if you want me to try any.


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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit -Blog Date 10-2019

Hi ya Bloggies! Planet Simon is back again making it’s weekly orbit – once again it was a quiet week here and not a lot happened. Oh why oh why does the day job get in the way I hear myself cry! Well at least I can eat and have clothes eh?

The thing I had to do last week was write my guest post for Ari Meghlan, she’s a great writer and works hard on including all in the writing community, so look her up. My post was about the moment it hit me that I was missing out on a great and diverse range of people to include in my stories. So I wrote the post ‘Being Diverse in our Writing to Add Greater Depth to our Stories’.

I’m pretty pleased with what I came up with and I’m thankful to Ari who published my post. If you feel like you want to collaborate or run some blogging ideas by me then you can find me on my social media (links below) and you can Contact Me.


As it was a quiet week last week I thought I would keep this up – I was kinda pleased with it as a post and it never hurts to throw your own work around eh? Plus it has my first proper quote in it!

This was one of my great thinking posts on why it is humans have deceived themselves into control in this vast and unimaginable cosmos. This https://sfarnell.wordpress.com/2019/02/22/the-awesome-universe-and-human-imagination-of-control/


Unless you have the attention of a hibernating hedgehog you guys should know the bloggers bash is coming in June and the ticket’s are on sale for this event and that also means the Bloggers Bash Awards – Nominations are Now Open!
Have you got a favourite blog you think has caught your eye, someone with the posting skills of a blogging genius – Then why not nominate them?

Whos’ coming this year? What are you looking forward to and who has already been nominated?


What about you bloggies – what have you been up to? I hope you guys all have a great week! Keep writing and smiling!


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