Sunday, December 31, 2023

Farewell, 2023.

This is the time of year where we traditionally reflect and review the past twelve months and anticipate and plan for the coming year.

 I'm not going to pretend it's been an easy year. There have been some disappointments, some stressors, some difficulties. I'll be glad to see the end of 2023. But in among all that, there have also been some amazing moments.

My brother and my sister-in-law came to visit from Australia, as did some old friends. It was wonderful to catch up with them. And to hear all the news from my other home.

I've found a new community, and started making new friends there. Unfortunately, due to distances, it's difficult to see them in person. And so it remains mostly online. 

I've heard a new Beatles record, discovered some new authors, read a lot of books. I've also written a lot of words - not fiction, and no one will ever see these, but it has been valuable. And will remain so.

And next year?  My only aim is to make it better than this year.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Just Like Old Times.

I did something last week I haven't done for a long time.  I sent a story out into the wilderness.

In the past few years, I haven't done much fiction writing. A number of reasons, including undertaking my Masters online and the whole Covid thing, meant I just didn't have the time. Or the desire. And then once you lose that momentum, it's hard to get back.

But I did a quick polish on a story and sent it off. I was also quite pleased to receive an acknowledgement within a few hours. A lovely one to boot.

I sent out a story about 11 years ago and never received anything at all. I queried a few times, and still nothing. Technically, I suppose it's still with them.  They did have a submission policy which stated I couldn't submit a piece to more than one place at a time, so please don't let them know I've since sold it. They might not be happy with me.

It was great to get another story out, and to have that anticipation.  Will they? Won't they?  You never know. I might even send out another one.

Friday, November 17, 2023

It's Just Like the Sixties to Me.

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones are in the charts. Last time I looked, Now and Then was number one on the singles charts, while Hackney Diamonds topped the album charts. Who would have ever believed that sixty years ago.

I've already written about how much I love the new Beatles single, and now I've had a chance to listen to the Stones. I like it, but I don't love it.

Remember when Voodoo Lounge was released, and everyone said it was the best thing since Some Girls? This is what they're saying here. And when was the last time Voodoo Lounge was mentioned? It's not hard to be "the best since" when everything else has been average.

The songs, for the most part, are fine. It's the album that is very overproduced, a wall of guitars. It's easy to get sucked in by the gospel infused Sweet Sounds of Heaven, but listen to it a couple of times and it's lyrically lightweight.  Their last great album was Some Girls, partly for the great songs, but also because it was just the band.  Space between the instruments, rough edges, and the guitars playng off each other.

I will listen to it from time to time, but I wish they had gone with an older sound. But we all have different tastes, and I know some will love it.


Monday, November 6, 2023

Now and Then.

I was in Liverpool last week for a work-related conference when I heard the new Beatles' song for the first time. I sat in my hotel room with a glass of red wine, and listened to it, as did many other fans around the world. 

And I wept.

I first heard this song more than 20 years ago on a bootleg.  Just John banging away on a piano, singing an unfinished bridge, and the TV on in the background. But hearing it with George's guitar (recorded during the anthology sessions before they abandoned it), and with Paul and Ringo's contribution, hit me emotionally. Likely the last time I would hear a brand new Beatles song.  It's not a masterpiece - it's not Strawberry Fields Forever, but I like it. And I like it a lot.

The next day, I watched the video and fell in love with it too. More tears, seeing the four of them together from different eras. I actually watched it just as it was released, standing outisde a train station, waiting for the minibus to take me to John and Paul's childhood homes for a tour. And so there was double triple meaning there for me.

But that's it. Let it be. Unless they find a reel of unreleased music from the 60s, we don't need anything new. This has been the bookend we needed.

Thanks Paul, Ringo, George and John.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Love to Hate?

Fandom is interesting, isn't it?  Fans turn on each other, hurl abuse, and even actively work to prevent others from enjoying something.

I've seen it in several forms of fandom. I recently left one of my favourite FaceBook groups, a football group, because of the negativity, the namecalling and general abuse. Ironically, it was a group set up with the intended aim of being a pleasant and safe place, different to the others.  The guidelines, paraphrased, were to not be too negative, criticise players, and to have a good time.  That was great for a number of years, and then it grew too large.  And when people pointed out the guidelines, they were attacked for their rose-tinted glasses, and reminded of the abuser's right to "free speech."

I'm only in one Science Fiction group, run by a friend, which is still small and where people are nice to each other. (I've only had to block one person who insisted I was wrong, and actually commented on my post "What he actually means is....", which is not what I meant.  But apart from him, it is a fun place to visit.  I stopped going to others when it was insinuated that we weren't allowed to enjoy certain films, or books, because they were rubbish. Like many of the Star Wars films, or series, or books.

I left a music one because people would go out of their way to declare their hatred of all things U2, a band I quite like. it was bizarre how these people were on a mission to let you know they didn't like them.

At the moment, there are a number of Beatles fans already declaring they don't like the new Beatles song, even though none of them have heard it. It's not the Beatles, it's not this, it's not that.

Negativity. I'm cutting it out of my life where I can. And my Facebook feed is a much happier place for it.

Thursday, September 21, 2023


I regularly watch a couple of UFO/paranormal podcasts. I never miss an episode of Sean Patrick Hazlett's Through A Glass Darkly, or Preston Dennett's UFO and the Paranormal episodes.

Both of these take quite different approoaches. Preston is a MUFON investigator, and provides details on a number of cases, usually in a themed episode. He is generally positive, believing the encounters and the intentions of ETs are benevolent.

Hazlett, on the other hand, covers a range of topics; everything from UFOs to geopolitics. He has really developed as an interviewer, and while he can get a little excitable on some subjects, he is very much a man after my own heart, seeking the truth and trying to be objective and balanced.  (As a point of interest, my original name for this website, in 2011 or so, was Through a Writer Darkly!)

I have had a few UFO sightings, and certainly experienced some things I simply cannot explain. If you read the literature, listen to the experts and scientists, and watch the documentaries, it's difficult to think anything other than they are here, and the governments are aware of this.

The testimony of David Grush should have been all over the media. A credible, knowledgeable whistleblower, and yet the stroy was hardly touched. I can't help but wonder if he is part of a gradual disclosure by the US government. There are a number of indicators that suggest we will be told in the nxt couple of years that we are not alone.  And that will change everything, which is why they have to control disclosure, build us up to it.

The truth is still out there, but it's getting closer.

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Something Happened!

A few months ago I had a major birthday.  Lindsey took me away for the weekend to a lovely coastal town. We had a fabulous weekend on the beachfront. Scout, out terrier, certainly loved it. We ate well, I bought some fabulous books from a local indie bookshop, walked and scoured the charity shops in town.

For some reason, I had Rendlesham Forest on my mind. I don't know why, as I always thought it was well away from there. And so I googled it and was surprised to learn it was only 10 miles or so from where we were staying. I asked Lindsey if we could go, and playingt he birthday boy card, she acquiesced.  Lindsey had never heard of it, and so I told her the story of the Rendlesham incident.

What?  You've never heard of it either? The UK's Roswell?  You have google. Go there, and go there now.  You can always return here.

Lindsey was amazed that she's never known about this incident. We went, and it was a ovely forest. We followed the UFO trail, which was well signposted and provided great information. It was, I must admit, quite eerie and moving. And then we arrived at the small clearing where the actual incident took place.

There is a sculpture of the craft in place. A stylised model of the actual craft that was seen. It was extremely powerful. Amazing to be there after having read about the incident for 30 plus years,

I've since watched a couple of fabulous documentaries about the incident. The witnesses are credible. They touched the craft. They made notes at the time. The base deputy commander (USAF) had a recorded and taped his observations. Something happened there, something unearthly - despite what the MOD and the USAF say. And we all know what that was.

Since then my niece has seen a show about Rendlesham and told my wife she planned to go there. She was amazed when Lindsey knew all about it, and told her we had been there.

Stay safe, and don't believe all you are told. Something is happening, and it's going to peak soon.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Remembered For A While.

I read a great deal. And widely.

There's something magical about reading old anthologies of short stories. Stories from a different world, a different time. Often written in a different style to modern writing, with language, situations and events that simply wouldn't fly today. They seem quirky, out of place, as though from an alternate history. But I love them for this reason. And there's a joy in discovering a particularly brilliant short story by an author I've never heard of before. I look them up, and sometimes there is no further information to be found.

And then I get to wondering. Did they write anything else, or were they prolific but only had one story published? Maybe they had other stories published in magazines not readily available? And what did they do outside their writing life?  Maybe they only live on through that one written piece.

Last week, this was on my mind when I was walking through a cemetery. This is local, and I often take a short cut through it. I see the names on the gravestones, some going back centuries and none of which I recognise, and continue on. But this time I wondered about them. Who were they? How did they live their lives? Were they happy?

The next day I saw a quote which seemed apt. "One day, someone will mention your name for the final time and then you'll be forgotten."

I've tried to find the source for this, but it appears to be a variation on a quote attributed to Banksy, "They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing, and a second time when somebody says your name for the last time."  And take that a step further, and it appears to be an articulation of an ancient Egyptian saying.  And who said it originally?  Ironically, we have no idea.

Will I be remembered? For a while, I guess. Not as long as others who have fame. Maybe in a hundred years or more someone will stumble across one of my publications, enjoy it, and jump on the then version of the internet to try and find out about me. With so much data out there now, it's possible they will know more about me than I do. They may even read this.

Hello, future reader!

But ultimately, does it matter if we're remembered? Does it change anything? We won't know.

All we can do is our best, and to try to leave the world a slightly better place.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Still Writing.

I was fortunate enough to have another publication a couple of months ago. I haven't submitted anything since then, and I'm not currently writing new fiction. But that doesn't mean I'm not writing.

I've been writing quite a lot, and quite often. And I've been using pen and paper rather than sitting at a computer screen.  My work is almost all online, so I've found it more relaxing to be writing by hand. It took a little getting used to, as it has been a while since I wrote so much by hand, but it didn't take too long. My handwriting, when I focus, is a little tidier too, and much less of a scrawl.

These are a couple of projects which I've wanted to undertake for some time. And I'm making real progress.  It's unlikely they will ever be seen publicly. I never planned for them to be anything other than private. But you never know. Elements, or parts, may become incorporated into other works.

Will I write fiction again? Absolutely. But at the moment it's a matter of priorities, and I want to get through a fair chunk of these projects by the end of the year. If I need a break from them, I do have some older stories which need rewriting, as well as a few notebooks full of ideas, thoughts and random observations. A completely new story is not out of the picture.

But for now I hand write my projects. And I am really enjoying the process.

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Who's A Good Boy, Then?

This is my boy. And he is such a very good boy.

He is patient, friendly, loving, and very gentle. He knows my moods, and acts accordingly. He is always delighted when I arrive home, and shows unconditional love.

We can learn a lot from dogs.

When I'm down, his antics cheers me up. When I'm busy, he reminds me we need to play. And when we play, he teaches me there is much joy to be had in the simplest of games.

I truly believe everyone should spend ten minutes a day cuddling a dog, and playing chase games.

If we were more like this good boy, the world would be a much happier place.

Saturday, June 24, 2023


I had a big birthday recently. One of those with a zero on the end. And for the first time ever, the numbers actually meant something to me.

Usually I agree that age is just a number. And I've never before given a second though to my age. But the lead up to this one was a little odd. It just felt weird, like I was actually passing some invisible barrier which would change things.

A couple of weeks after the event, and I'm OK with it, but the lead up was ... unsettling, to say the least.

My brother and his wife came to visit, and it was fabulous to see them. I managed to show them around all the sights of Lincoln. My brother loves his history as much as I do, so it was great to see his appreciation of Castles and Cathedrals, Romans and Normans.

We had a small family get-together for my bif day, and right on cue the Red Arrows flew over. It was kinda nice. I received some lovely and thoughtful gifts, and have already spent the book vouchers which were included.

It was great seeing my brother and his wife. But it was wonderful chatting to my brother. He gets my sense of humour, and shares a history.

Thanks for making the trip, guys. Truly appreciated.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Beer and Skittles?

It has been an interesting year so far. There have been some incredible positives, and some dreadful negatives. "Yin and yang, heads and tails, yes and no." (and bonus points if you recognise that quote)

It all balances out and counteracts each other.  What we have to do is learn to overcome the negatives and to focus on the positives.  Which, in my case, I have managed to do. And so I find myself in a really good place.

But things never go according to plan, do they?  I had set several goals for the first half of this year, and due to other things (life), they simply could not happen. But we need to be agile, to be flexible, to adapt and change and meet the challenges. And then we have to wonder where karma fits into it all.

And so here we are, almost 6 months into the year, and all is well.

No skittles around here, but there is beer. Pass me a pint!

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

C'mon, Pass the Tinfoil!

I was once accused of being a conspiracy theorist on the basis of a UFO sighting.

OK, so 'accused' is a pretty strong word, but it's how I felt at the time. Someone, who is a conspiracy theorist, heard that I had seen a UFO and had a ghostly experience, and said something along the lines of, "I didn't know you were part of the tinfoil hat brigade.  You're one of us."

At that time I had seen a UFO (since then I have seen several more), and had 5 or 6 ghostly encounters. I'd also had a bunch of other occurances I simply couldn't explain. But I never considered myself a tinfoil hat wearer. I mean, I know the earth is spheroid, I know we went to the moon, and I know Paul McCartney didn't die in an accident in 1966 only to be replaced by William Campbell.

So it was strange to be considered a conspiracy theorist.

I was recently called cynical in regards to a comment I made about a situation. Yup, I stand by that comment, and having worked in government departments for many years, and seeing a couple of managers with little integrity, I do believe that some things are manufactured.

Project Blue Beam? Not a chance. But I do believe governments know more about UFOs than they are letting on. In fact, there are conspiracies to manufacture events, there are conspiracies to keep information from us, and there are people in power who lie about things so they and their friends can profit from us.

I'm reminded of the old adage, "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you."

I'm off to listen to some Wings albums. Surely William Campbell couldn't have maintained that same high standard through the seventies.  Could he?

Friday, April 21, 2023


For the Chinese New Year I wrote about how this was a year of change. And I mentioned how it certainly felt like it was. Little did I know that change was happening sooner than I expected - both positive and negative.

Some interesting times. A couple of most synchronicitous events all lining up, and my life has taken a drastic turn for the better, despite a couple of real disappointments in the past month.  Feelings of hurt and betrayal by people I trusted and respected. Or thought I did. (No, not you. I know it's not you if you're reading this!) And yet I've been able to shrug it off in ways I never could have in January.

I was speaking to a new-found friend a couple of days ago. Cause and conditions, he said - which is completely true. Much has converged at this point. And there are signs and wonders which lead me to believe more is on its way. Positive things. Fruitful things. Good things.

Do you believe in karma?

I recently had a message from someone who hurt me a few years ago. And now, here they were, asking for my help. I wasn't in a position to do so, so I couldn't. A few years ago I had a friend who went out of his way to help someone who had deeply hurt him. I asked him why he did so. He simply said, "Because it's the right thing to do."  Would I have been so gracious? I guess I'll never know.

So where is this all leading? Goodness knows.  But I can't help but thinking something positive is coming. Something wonderful. I hope it's real. I hope it's true. I hope it's not just a misplaced optimism.

Time will tell.

Converge away! Om Mani Padme Hum.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

And That's A Big Nope From Me.

2022 was such a disappointing year for science fiction in film.

Now I realise someone is going to say, "Yeah,  but what about...?" And then they'll mention Everything, Everywhere All At Once, or Nope.  Sorry, but I didn't have much love for either of them. Nope was just terribly contrived, unoriginal, and not as clever as it thought it was. It reminded me,in a way, of the Abrams' directed Star Trek. He simply showed he wasn't a fan and thathe didn't really understand the Star Trek universe.

Nope showed that Jordan Peele simply wasn't familiar with SF as a genre. There was nothing new, a whole bunch of holes and poor plotting. Similar to Shyamalan's Signs. I loved Peel's other work, but this just showed he didn't get SF.

Everything Everywhere was simply a mess. Confused, pointless, and so full of plotholes you could drive an Enterprise through them. I actually got bored about three quarters of the way through.  The actors' performances were good.  And while I'm thrilled SF and the actors won so many awards at the Oscars, I'm really disappointed this was the vehicle.

Avatar 2 was simply what we expected. Beautifully shot, but ultimately dissatisfying and over-long.

The best SF film I saw in 2022 was Don't Worry Darling. Shades of Philip K. Dick and others. Great performances and direction, and a lot of fun. And that set design. Superb.

And if you enjoyed these other films, than I'm happy for you. But I thought they were well below average,

Here's hoping to a better year for SF in film.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

The Leviathan Awakens

Oh wow! Excited here. It has been a while, after all.
Although I sold "The Leviathan Awakens" last year, it was only released yesterday. It's a wonderful feeling to finally see the cover art and my name on the front of The Martian Wave.
I really love this story. Thanks, Hiraeth Publishing.

And in case you couldn't guess, mine is the story which includes "a denizen of the deep ocean on a strange planet."
"The Martian Wave features stories of the exploration and settlement of other worlds. In here you will encounter a denizen of the deep ocean on a strange planet; a remote world where nothing much happens—until it does; hallucinations and other labor problems; a remodeling of future Earth; the arrival of not-so-benevolent aliens; and much more!"

Indigo Reviewed by Gustavo Bondoni

The Leviathan Awakens by Steve Cameron

Short Stories
Namug by Gustavo Bondoni
Night Patrol by Regina Clarke
Salvage World by David Castlewitz
To Lie with Spirit by Shaun Duke
Ares by Randall Andrews
They Came in Peace by John Darling

Flash Fiction
A Dream of the Universe by Christina Sng
Time Shards by Kathy Latusik

Cancer: Celestial Crustacean by Maureen Bowden
What Really Happened at Roswell by DJ Tyrer
At the Edge of the Universe by Christina Sng
A Messed-Up Mnemonic by Maureen Bowden
Footprints with Claws by Debby Feo
Space Zoo by Christina Sng

Friday, February 24, 2023

Everything In Its Right Place.

I've been organising.

Me, my things, my space, and my life.

I have catalogued my books and music, getting rid of things I no longer need, or want. And, of course, any duplicates. There always seems to be duplicates. Same with my music collection. All niceley catalogued on a database, and organised physically. It's a great feeling to know what I have, what I need, and getting rid of the things I no longer want.

I'm also going through my things - ticket stubs, concert programmes, badges - anything that doesn't fit elsewere. Now I know where they are. Exactly. I got rid of a bunch of things I'd kept, and wondered why they seemed important at the time.

I tidied my workspace the other day. Anything that didn't belong, went. It's not perfect yet. There's a bunch of letters, notes and bits in a bag that still need organising, but they're all together. The disorganised is now organised. And I will get to it, work my way through it, and the world will be a wondrous place once more.

It's good for my mind, my wellbeing, to have a space that is tidy. And that space is not only my relax space, but much of the time is my workspace too. It's more enjoyable to be in now it's all sorted out. A very pleasant environment indeed.

But I've been sorting my life too. I've cancelled a couple of magazine subscriptions that I realised were not as enjoyable as they once were. I noticed this because the unread issues were starting to pile up. I threw them out, and felt.... nothing. I continue with the couple of magazines where I am completely up to date. And I added a new one, which is cheaper than the ones I cancelled.

But I've also been working on organising my mind. I've started meditating, and I'm finding it extremely beneficial.

I've always wanted to be more organised, and it's finally happening. The time is now. It feels right.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Great Lost Beatles Album?

I'm not going to make anyone read all this under the illusion that one has been discovered. So straight up, no, I don't know of one. But I do wish there was a lost unreleased album.

Over the years there have been rumours. Hot As Sun was one such album, apparently recorded somewhere between Let It Be and Abbey Road. The master tapes were stolen and held to ransom, before being accidentally erased when carried through an airport X-ray machine

It is, of course, too good to be true. But bootleggers have created editions of this "lost album" using rehearsal tapes, mostly from the Get Back sessions.

Over the years I have been thrilled to discover unreleased tracks. Back in the 90s it was That Means a Lot, If You’ve Got Troubles and 12 Bar Original. And, over time, there have been a few others. It was wonderful hearing "new" Beatles songs. Of course there is a reason they weren't released at the time, and they generally don't get played too often. 

There are tracks we know are still in the vaults. At this time they are nothing more than titles. And, for the most part, I imagine they are not tracks we would play too often. But as fans and collectors, we would still love to hear them.

Unlike Neil Young or Prince, for example, I don't for one minute believe the Beatles have an unreleased album hidden away. Their time throughout the 60s is very well documented, and it's unlikely they would have had time to record a missing album. I think the best we can hope for a track or two hidden away which perhaps even they had forgotten about but might pop up on an acetate somewhere.

No, there isn't a lost album. But I can still dream.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A Time of Change

2023, the year of the Rabbit. A year of peace and patience, according to my Chinese friend.  He also mentioned prosperity, but he says that to me every year.  I'm not sure if the prosperity thing is a Chinese thing, or just him. But overall, apparently, 2023 is a year of hope.

It certainly feels like a time of change.  The weather has mellowed, we're in the middle of renovations, there are a few long-term colleagues moving on from my team at the moment, one of my favourite magazines is closing down, and several TV shows I like are not being renewed.

I suppose that is true every year, but this year it seems more obvious to me, more of these factors aligning and occurring at the same time. Even a couple of my friends have commented on it.

I'm not one to make New Year resolutions, and I don't plan to start now. But beneath the pain that accompanies pain, there is a sense of hope. I can feel it deep down.

There are also some changes I want to make. Nothing drastic or life-changing, but a few things I am working towards. Baby steps.  Which is where the 'Patience' part probably comes into play. These changes will take time to come into effect, but I think I will be pleased with it all.

I wouldn't mind some of that prosperity happening either.

Gong xi fa cai.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Machine Creativity.

A couple of months ago I wrote about AI generated artwork.

Since then, as part of my job, I've been looking at the functionality of some AI creators. And they can be scarily good. In one instance, with only a few key words, I asked one to create a document for me. It was pretty good. An hour later, with the same key words, I asked once more. And the document was much improved. It had trained in the space of an hour, and I doubt many people would have requested a similar document in that time.

This week I've been involved in three separate conversations about AI generated artworks - art, writing, film and music. I did not instigate any of these conversations so it's obviously something people are thinking about. In two of these discussions, my friends were convinced that AI could never create real art, as a machine can't have creativity. I disagree.

I've seen examples of accidental art, where someone has accidentally spilled paint on a wall. They may not have recognised it as anything more than a mistaken mess, but I saw the beauty and took a photo. It really is a lovely piece of art.

After all, don't they say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder?

It's coming. We will, in a few years, have films and albums fully created by AI based on scripts and lyrics written by a human. And then how long until the AI is writing those as well.

Personally, I don't mind. I look forward to seeing and listening to AI created works. And some of these will resonate with me, others won't. Some will be considered masterpieces.