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

Andit stopped for a moment, the mid morning sun sun forcing him to take off his jacket and tie it round his waist. Even with the forest as some shelter the heat would soon become too much and he would have to seek shelter. Tying the sleeves of his jacket around his waist he once more set out along the path. Andit was only 10 and there was danger in making the trip every few weeks to Keevan’s moisture farm. But it had to be done and this mother couldn’t do everything now that he was old enough to make the trip.

Keevan used to come to them but he was more reluctant to leave the farm and with dad gone, who knows where he was man of the house. What he lacked in strength his size meant he could hide easily from predators, man or beast. It wasn’t nearly as dangerous as going to the city, his mother hadn’t been here in years, not since dad…

What was that?

Andit thought to himself suddenly, slipping behind a large tree. For a few moments he waited, waited. Nothing. Nothing was there. but something else was missing. It took a few moments, there was no sound at all, the birds were silent and the insects too, the silence was like a thick blanket of fog laying across the forest. Suddenly chilled despite the sun Adit moved carefully on, it was farther back than where he was going.

As he moved he listened for anything, animal or otherwise but even the air was still, still slightly fresh with warmth starting to overtake the fresh smell. He took out his scanner and turned to see what was around. Nothing. Nothing at all – that was strange. A chill crept over his body slowly, almost imperceivably. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but as he looked up he thought he saw something. Removing his eyes he covered them, tears streaming down his face. Wiping then he look back through his fingers to try and shield the glare of the fusion furnace.

There’s something there! Definitely!

Andit stood there as slowly the light faded, the silence continued. Slowly and silently the daylight was robbed by the circular invader as it ate the light from the sun. Andit knew a little about the universe and none of the three moons were due to eclipse now. Only one was even remotely as big as this object.

But then of course it was closer, much closer and it was moving across the sun, so much was covered now that it wasn’t too bad to look at, the bright edge of the sun was still too much to stare at but Andit could focus on the shade. He pulled his jacket back on, as his skin goose bumped, either from the cold or from the apparent fear. His breath now forming a moisture cloud in the air.

Unable to remove his eyes from the spectacle the darkness enveloped him and the landscape. He was always told the woods were dangerous at night, but that danger right now seemed to pale. The invader and the sun were now in perfect alignment and the corona from the nearby star dimly illuminated the land now. Shivering as he stood transfixed he somehow sensed that even the wild animals that come out at night now cowered and fled.

A few moments later and light started to return again, warmth was coming back and Andit continued to watch. Just before the brightness was too much to bear a blue light silent emitted from the circular terror and was shot towards the planet some distance away. In the distance a cacophony of rumbling and thunder could be heard. Andit was unsure how far away it was but he started, sprinting madly towards Keevan’s farm, his heart trying to beat out of his chest. The thunder was ever louder, filling his ears. Whatever was happening, it was coming, much faster than he could ever run. He was still at least twenty minutes from Keevan’s.

He knew there was an old bunker not far n the wood, he would often hide there from the noon sun, scrambling through the branches and thorns his little lungs couldn’t take in the air he needed, his muscles screamed and in blind panic he searched.

Where is it? Where is it?

After what seemed an eternity his eyes found it, pulling the huge metal door open and then shut as he dived into the dark damp shelter, latching the door before collapsing. What sounded like a rock storm seemed to roar outside like some unimaginable beast baying from him as prey. But then as soon as it begun it was over.

Andit finally made it out. The doorway strewn with rock and wood and junk. Squeezing out of the tiny gap he had made he stood on a rock and looked around. The sun shone bright again and a few trees somehow still stood. But where the forest had been was now mostly desolate, as if the desert beyond had decided to devour it in some hideous feast and all that was left was lifeless and barren. The path to Keevan’s was destroyed as was the path home. If either place had survived.

Andit sat on a huge boulder, doing nothing, thinking nothing a tear slid down his dirt encrusted face as he waited. Waited for something, waited for death, for a saviour, for something. Anything.

Andit woke suddenly from sleep it was nearly dark again and chill filled the air. Something had come, footsteps. Keevan’s footsteps.

“There you are boy – you’re alive! Come with me boy, come with me before they find us.”

© Simon Farnell 2020

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Creating a blog strategy that engages with your audience

Only a few days ago I posted that I had changed my blog identity and that I’m going to be working on it as a brand and I have a number of ideas around this. You can see the post here:

Planet Simon rebranded to Beyond the Infinite

But what does this mean? What is a blog strategy and why does it matter? If it matters? What makes good blog content?

Those of you that visit regularly will know that I’ve been having a think around this and I’ve come up with a strategy, I have no idea if it will work but let me share my thinking with you all.

Blog branding that gives you identity

For a long time my blog didn’t have a brand except to say that it was random. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you’re trying to get out a message and have an identity for that you need a brand, this is the name, look, logo and what the reader generally sees and it need to tie up and make sense. Good blog branding will make your blog stand out and give the identity that is needed.

So if I was going to have a food blog, my content needs to reflect that so that the reader may well come back over and over to see posts on food, or people searching will find your posts easily. On top of this as part of the back you may have a look, it might be bright, dark, red blue or… you see the point.

This is something I’ve struggled with for a while many bloggers know me as a Sci-Fi fanand a lot of the work reflects that but in the case of Planet Simon I was struggling with now I can sell that as a brand. Not necessarily in the money way but in what I’m trying to give.

Content that engages

The next thing we have is a site, filled with stuff, posts, pages and all that. This is content and like anything what we put into it, it’s what we want people to read and engage with.

Now I know this sounds a bit daft, but we have to sell this content. Not for money, but for people to read it. That’s how I feel a blog post needs to be approached. When push come to shove if we want to blog to engage with or create an audience we need to create content and get them to stick around and subscribe or whatever. We’re building a relationship just as we would with a paying customer.

When and if we can do that then maybe, maybe we can sell something for actual money if that way inclined. Whether we are or not thinking about what you’re giving the reader is key. The kind of basic needs we’re looking to tempt our reader is:

Information / Knowledge.
Material Things
Emotional gain or hit.

All these can be achieved with blogging and it might be that any number of these aren’t covered in a post or at all in a blog but something needs to be given in order for the reader to decide to consume or read or engage.

A Site that draws your audience in

The blog site is where I struggle, the question of do I have a front page and bring them into the content somehow or have the posts listed with a few favourites pinned at the top – what’s best?

Who knows? I don’t but think about what’s best, try things and see what works best. The key is to draw your reader in, to look around your blog site, love it and keep coming back.

So think about what they see, how the site is laid out and what it says about you as a brand.

Posts that are readable

What about your posts? I think this has got trickers even in the few years I’ve been blogging. I used to have a limit on a post of 1000 words in my head because that seemed to be enough but not too much. I think that a wall of 1000 words is too much now.

People reading a blog are trying to get through a lot and while they may like to read your 1000 words or so if you are going to post that much break it up, with pictures or a split the post into smaller pieces make it easier for the reader to digest. Even make two posts out of one. As always watch the spelling and grammar (I know please don’t point out all my errors – my bad)

Titles that create a question (where necessary)

There’s been a lot of topic over titles and using the right words to create impact and draw in the reader. This might be fine, but I’ve played with co-schedule and I’ve made some high scoring headlines that make no sense at all.

What I think is a better approach is use co-schedule or something similar fine but how about this as approach:

Make your title a governing thought or question where the reader is inclined to ask – How or Why.

What’s the point of this?

It’s searchable. One post from ages past still makes it into my viewed posts is entitled “What happened to bit strips?”

When bit strips vanished and I posted this I inadvertently created an experiment that shows a it about how posts work. If there’s a question or thought that you’re having – maybe someone else is having it and maybe they will search for it and find your post. It’s hard doing this and I sat here for a while thinking of the title of this post. I don’t think it’s a 100% search term but it’s close, There is a question that comes from reading it, I think it’s a “how?” question.

I get this doesn’t cover all posts and if you’re writing a story or showing off some other work then it’s a little irrelevant, so in these cases consistency and meaning are probably more important.


Don’t expect to sit back post and watch it happen. Interact and keep interacting. Keep talking to bloggers old and new. I say this becasue (and I hate to say it) blogger friends often come and go, those that interact with you now are likely to not be interacting in few months or years time let alone a few years down the road.

Some do, some stick around but in my experience many go. For all kinds of reasons, some have stopped blogging other move on some I’m sad to say get ill or die. So treasure those that are around – always.


Have fun doing this! That’s the most important thing. I hope this has been useful – all of this is based on my own personal experience and other might disagree. But it’s this kind of strategy I’m going to be pursuing from now on… well I’ll do my best!

What do you think? Any thoughts on this?

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Beyond the Infinite

In 2001 a Space Odyssey Dave Bowman leaves the spaceship Discovery and enters the Monolith star gate. This chapter of the book is called Beyond the Infinite.

That’s the name that I chose to re-name this blog to – ditching the old name of Planet Simon and creating a whole new identity for this blog. I hadn’t realised the connection until after I had thought of it – really, honest. But when I saw the connection it was like a eureka moment.

This was it!

So welcome to Beyond the Infinite, much of what I’ve blogged about before will be blogged about here. World building, creativity, knowledge, exploration with my own thoughts on the universe.

I really want to take this into another dimension another level and see what happens see where this take me the writer and you the reader. This will be where science, creativity, imagination and a bit of philosophy meet.

I hope you all enjoy this as much as I will as I hope to take us to the second star on the right – and straight on till morning!

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Weekly Orbit – Blog Date 25-2019

Planet Simon – The end and a New Beginning

Hi there bloggies! I’m back!

Those of you that are regular bloggies will have known that I’ve not been about for a couple of weeks. There’s a few reasons for this most of which is that I’ve been doing stuff and secondly I’ve been working out what I’m going to do next.

By way of a side note – last Saturday I was at the bloggers bash and I picked up a few important notes on branding and on blog content and what a blogger needs to try and achieve. There will be more on this in the next day or so, I’m hoping my thinking will be helpful to some of you that have been facing the same or similar issues.

What do do…

Before I go too far into the details you’ll have noticed that there’s no Planet Simon on the blog title and it says Planet Simon the end??? Let me make one thing clear – I’m not going and I’m still here!

So I’ve started creating digital alchemy, I’ve started with this blog and I ‘ve still got some way to go on this but there’s more. Much more.

I’ve decided that my Photography needs a seperate place to find a home as does my art work. These will be created hopefully in the next week or two and I’ll let you know where they find themselves. This is all part of the goals I’ve set myself to try and achieve… I want to see if I can show off my work on it’s own and see where that takes me.

Also my journal / random blog has changed a little too – you can now find it at:

And thanks to a fellow blogger for this for calling me Siborg 🙂

What about you guys – what are your goals? Do you have any?

So by way of introducing the new look blog here… we need a drum roll….

Planet Simon is no more… welcome to Beyond the Infinite. As I said there’s still work to do on the site. There are some changes coming but I’m focussing heavily on giving this blog it’s own unique look and feel. Will this get me more views and likes and all that – no. But I’m hoping it’s going to give those that visit something to capture their imagination.

Let’s see eh?

Some changes have already taken place, much of the social media needs updating and some might not be able to but hey ho that’s how it goes. Any thoughts welcome.

Anyways, if I don’t see you about have a good week and keep up the good work!

Keep smiling and writing!

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Take part in the next Mars mission by adding your name!

One of the things I’ve come to realise is that I will not be an astronaut, I will not walk on the Moon and I will not walk on Mars. I’m too old and to be brutally honest to myself I would cost to much to launch! I was ind of born a few generations too early I think, but hey.

But – I can apply to get my name sent to Mars. NASA is inviting people to get their names etched into microchips that will be used on the Mars 2020 rover launching next year.

Read about it here:

The Mars Insight mission took with it some 2 million names and if you want to be in with a chance of getting your name onto Mars 2020 click here:

Click here to send your name to Mars

As part of it you get a boarding pass and digital mission patch. While it’s nothing tangible it’s pretty cool and it gives everyone around the world the chance to take part and award point for miles travelled – which is more than a few!

What do you think? Is this a good idea or is this kind of thing not your thing?

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Planet Simon’s Weekly Orbit – Blog Date 23-2019

Planet Simon – Me and the World (The saga continues)

Hi there bloggies!

Regular bloggies to Planet Simon would have noticed something – nothing much. At least from Planet Simon. I made up for it slightly later in the week with my Blog Battle Story – more on that later.

For this bit I’m kind of thinking I should tell you what on my mind… but there isn’t much of that either really. I have to get my bum in gear and do something about what I’m going to do with this blog and the other ideas that I have. It’s kind of annoying really, I have these thing I want to do and yet time and embuggerance conspire against me.

Something I have done though is I have got myself… a work space! Ta da!!!! Made from something else I have a room and a space where I can hopefully start to create, write and do… Not bad eh?

So this leaves me with a few loose ends – how to properly give focus to the work that I create and as I write this the ideas and the plans are forming… watch this space. There should be some goo stuff coming soon!

What do do…

As for last week… well the was as I said Earlier the blog battle. The prompt was airtight and this is what I came up with:

Capsule Echo

A rather interesting little one if I don’t say so myself, with a nice little twist at the end – I love a twist don’t you?

I’m still thinking about the right mix of digital alchemy I was talking about last week, I think that was quite a brilliant concept in itself and would make a pretty good blog title.

Writing and stories is part of this mix but there so much more and I still don’t know how all the pieces need or should fit.

I’m still hoping for that Eureka moment… Keep an eye out for it as it seems to be on holiday somewhere. But I’m hoping pretty soon there’s going to be some more fun and exciting stuff about from Planet Simon… I need to inspire myself!

What’s going on with you guys?

Keep smiling and writing!

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