Sunday, November 10, 2019

November 2019 Facebook Posts

Nov 1st
Well, that was a pretty good lump of work done today. I didn't write any of the book, however. Last night I got an email from Asimov's asking me to do an author's Q & A and if I could do a blog post for them about writing, or something, anything. So, this morning I hit the gym, came back pretty knackered (I've been every day this week), slumped in an armchair feeling like death and semi-snoozed for an hour with a feeling like my arms were fizzing, then pushed myself to get to work. I find this interview/article stuff quite easy. I went through the questionaire. I was supposed to choose four questions from each batch of questions but answered the lot. That was about 2,700 words. I then wrote an article vaguely about writing but more about Crete (the story they are publishing is An Alien on Crete) and that came to 1,800 words. I suspect the woman who sent the email last night didn't expect that kind of turnaround!

Nov 2nd
From David Langford's Ansible Newsletter:

"AS OTHERS SEE US III. Emma Renault, self-proclaimed author of 'literary fiction', was challenged about her posted description of all genre writers as fascists. She tactfully qualified the point: '... whether they intend to or not, they're writing fascist propaganda. That's what escapist fiction is under capitalism. Not to mention the fact that SF/F is structurally and thematically fascist.' (via Facebook, 21 October) [PF]"

I'm thinking of all those woke SFF writers and commentators in the woke SFF world where both the Cambell and Tiptree Awards are renamed because, well, history has to be revised to fit current pc culture, and guffawing.

“‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.’”

They eat their own, don't they?

Well worth watching. . .

The man.

Okay, I'm enjoying this:
Image may contain: 6 people, text

Nov 3rd
Note the name on the bottom. . .

How things change (this is from 2015). I remember the alarmist articles about saccharine causing cancer.

We know that producer James Cameron and director Tim Miller put together a writer’s room to create a bible for Terminator: Dark Fate. They broke down the

And here I am with my buddy:
Image may contain: Neal Asher

Whole interview with Tim Miller here.

Nov 4th
Bit more about Tim Miller's Heavy Metal film I was involved with. Shame it never came to fruition.

“I wanted the battle of the Zulus against the British, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift in the Isandlwana, where this incredible last stand and I gave it to this British sci-fi author named Neal Asher. I said “Neal give me that battle with orcs and elves” and he wrote this fucking amazing short story called Half Breed.”

Image may contain: 1 person

"Neal Asher who’s just a f—ing idea factory." - Tim Miller.

Science Fiction Writer

Okay, enough of that nonsense - time to get back to work. I'll maybe do a blog post about all this Terminator stuff, but I don't know yet what I can write.

Prador Moon by [Asher, Neal]

Image may contain: text

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Nov 5th
I've now brought the latest book to a conclusion at 150,000 words, but I've got a lot of work yet to do. Time now to sit down with my contents list and notebook and sort it all out. Lots of rearranging to do and lots of narrative hooks need to go in. I also have a neat epilogue in mind but have to see how the rest works out first. Busy busy.

No photo description available.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Oh well, as noted previously I've finished the latest book to first draft. I've also mentioned that the time line is all over the place. I've now just pulled apart 17 chapters and lots of additional sections and ordered it under three categories: Past, Near Past and Present. I will go through all of these correcting continuity errors and other stuff. I'm also seeing how to bracket the book and am adding a section - a character visiting the Viking Museum on the moon. I also see now that further sections need to be written. When this is all done I'll tear the whole thing apart again, then stick it back together using narrative rules I'll think of . . . at some point.

That dull thud you heard was not a firework, but my head exploding.

Surprisingly quiet outside tonight. Hopefully people are pooling all their fireworks to use them as Guy Fawkes intended.

Blimey. November 5th. I've been back in the UK for 29 days. That's 29 hours of reading out loud, writing and learning Greek. It's about 35,000 words of fiction (not quite 2,000 words a day five days a week). And 17 hours in the gym.
. . .
Must do more in the gym. 

Must update my website and my blog - so many missing links and books.

Neal Asher was born 1961 in Billericay, Essex, the son of a school teacher and a lecturer in applied mathematics who were also SF aficionados.

Nov 6th
Slowly getting on the move this morning. I feel in need of a spray of damp-start and like a couple of my spark plugs need cleaning. Maybe my head needs decoking too. And I'm pretty sure the shock absorbers will fail the next MOT, while the gum-gum on the exhaust seems to be leaking.

I wonder how many people have little idea of these, or of splitting a knuckle while lying underneath a car trying to undo the oil drain plug?

Heh. Been a while since I've spent a summer in Crete, so I'd forgotten about the yearly letters from utility companies. Anglia Water either think my water meter is broken or I'm somehow bypassing it. Now they want me to phone to book an appointment for the meter to be checked. Spend time in their phone queues just to tell them their meter is fine, not be believed, then have to be here when the meter guy comes? Off you jolly well fuck Anglia Water.

Image may contain: text

Image may contain: text

The Engineer ReConditioned by [Asher, Neal]

Mason's Rats: 3 Short Stories by [Asher, Neal]

Snow in the Desert (Short Reads) by [Asher, Neal]

Hmm. Tolerance levels waning. I feel another wave of unfriending, unfollowing and blocking coming on. Some here are like a guy standing at the bar, listening in on the conversation, and whose only input is to voice disagreement. Arrange these words in a familiar manner: off, fuck.

Yes . . . I should suppress the knee jerk response to twattery and resort to Socratic questions. Allow the answers to reveal the ignorance, the error in basic assumptions, the logical fallacies and non sequiturs. ... If I could be bothered.

Right, that's enough grumping and moaning for tonight. Time for bed. I will wake refreshed and ready to attack that slippery worm ball of a book tomorrow. I'll soon enough have the damned thing nailed down.

Nov 7th

I get that you can choose who sees your news feed on Facebook, but what is this 'your story'? How is it any different?

Steadily running through the now chronologically ordered text of the book, filling in the holes and sorting out the continuity errors. I'm pleased with what I've gone through thus far and have no expectation that I'll be displeased with the rest. The difficulties will arise when I tear it all apart to then stick back together with the chronology back all over the place. I'm repeating myself but . . . there'll be narrative hooks to introduce and new sections to write. I suspect this one is going to be knocking on for the length of The Line of Polity.

I really need to cut down on the veg and salad I buy on each shopping trip. This is not because I don't like them. Love 'em. But when you're trying to do fasts there's always the awareness that something might be going off in the fridge. Just now reached 24 hours of fasting - hoping to go through tomorrow too.

Nov 8th

Somebody after a Darwin Award.

And as the truth comes out they continue to give ecigs and vaping a kicking. It's the authoritarian instinct and of course the vitamin E acetate THC deaths confirm their bias. Far too many 'medical professionals' out there resentful and jealous of a grassroots technology that has achieved more in 5 years than they have throughout their careers.
Image may contain: 1 person

"The problem with state securitization of tobacco bonds is that MSA payments are based on cigarette sales. So, essentially, Tlaib’s home state is relying on the lungs of smokers to meet future debt obligations."

Nov 9th
"When University of Colorado climate skeptic Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. asked the CRU for its original temperature readings, he was told the data had been (conveniently) lost. Lost!?! Do professionals lose something as valuable as original data?" -- Kelvin Kemm

So, flat screen TVs, instant communication and access to information and media around the planet, centrally heated homes, shops supplying a variety of world foods that would make a Tudor gape, high tech clothing, cars that just keep on running, advanced healthcare and access to all sorts of gizmos. We live longer than those of previous ages - the biggest danger in that respect merely being excess - world hunger, poverty and child mortality are at all time lows, pollution is way down, food production is way up and using less land. Human ingenuity and science is coming up startling advances every day. And yet, there are people telling us, from their armchairs over the internet, that because their favoured politician isn't in charge, things are really bad and we're practically living in a dystopia. We're not, but we will be if IQ levels continue in what appears to be a downward slide.

Nice delivery in the post. Cheers Bryan Thomas Schmidt.
Image may contain: table

Nov 10th
Early dispersal for quadrupedal cetaceans: amphibious whale from middle Eocene

Building the first holographic brain 'atlas'

"The 0.06 milliSieverts around Fukushima would take 6 months to reach one CT scan (10 millisieverts). It is generally a lot of radiation all at once that overwhelms the bodies repair systems."

Germany Solar and Wind is Triple the Cost of France’s Nuclear and Will Last Half as Long

3-D Printing of Skin with Embedded Vasculature

Interesting. . .

Nov 11th
Now looking through the final page proofs of The Human. Damn I'll be glad to put this to bed. As I've noted before, by this stage I've read the book many times and am bored with it.

Leeches! You can guess where my mind is going. . .

Scientists Have Invented a Mind-Reading Machine That Visualises Your Thoughts
H/T Justina LA Robson

Chimera formation could favor the expansion of invasive species in the marine environment

Second ranging shot. . .

Bandicoots feeling ticked off?

Up to chapter 4 now *sigh*. When can I make a copy of my mind, edit out the boredom factor, and set it to work?

Drew Zeigler
11 November at 15:21 ·
Working on my Holiday staff recs at work this morning... Neal, I thought using Fucking Idea Factory was a bit much...

No photo description available.

Up to chapter 7 of the final run through of The Human. Picking up one or two small things here and there - nothing major. I did have a bit of a moment when I thought a particular character should be in a spacesuit at one point, which didn't tie in well with him nutting a robot and damaging his skull, but no, I was wrong.

Image may contain: text

Damned cortisol/adrenaline response to fasting. I'm coming to the end of a full day (last I ate was 7.15 last night) and feel like I've drunk a litre of coffee. Get ready for the insomnia postings.

Nov 12th
‎Lee Harrington‎ to Neal Asher
13 November at 03:34 · 
I’m one of those people that likes to read books in order and right now I don’t have the two books after The Skinner so I am starting on Dark Intelligence now .

I should be able to catch up with the others sometime within the next month when I can afford to buy them.
Image may contain: text

Just got one of those stick on blue filters for my ipad. Be interesting to see if it has any effect. Nothing actually looks any less blue.

Nov 13th
Brendon Kelly
13 November at 08:24 · 
Awe stuff it Neal Asher, just finished Peter F Hamilton’s Salvation lost and now I need another read... Gridlinked it is then..
Image may contain: text

Ah, that's what I like to see: dark purple on the keto stick. Now just past 64 hours into a fast. I won't do the 72 hours this time, but maybe next.

Nov 14th‎
Paul Roth‎ to Neal Asher
14 November at 03:18 · 


Nov 15th

Okay, that's it. I've gone through the page proofs of The Human and sent in a few corrections. Back to the next, well, the one after next book.

Hmm. The first time I watched Stranger Things I got bored with it. This time I skipped quite a bit to get to the meat of the thing and really enjoyed the last episodes of the first season. I'm starting the second season now and am enjoying it right from the start.
Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and text

Hmm, Stranger Things. I can only watch an episode or two before I feel the urge to fast-forward. As with many books I try to read now I wonder if the problem is mine: getting jaded with stuff I would have loved twenty or more years ago. That time of ennui of those coming towards the end of their second century in the Polity is just a reflection of the everyday reality of now.

Nov 17th

Nov 18th

"This shows that deforestation in July this year was almost four times the average from the same period in the previous three years. This is important as deforestation is almost always followed by fire—the cut vegetation is left to dry before being burned."

Well today has not been very achievement heavy. Slept badly last night then late this morning, couldn't push myself to the gym, but did manage to push myself to clean through the house and give the vacuum cleaner an outing. I then shuffled some text around in the book, my brain feeling like only a scattering of neurones were firing, failed to fast, then snoozed in my armchair. Must do better.

Um. Look at the upsides. I did read a lot of science articles so I suppose I can classify that as research. I did clean my house. And I'm way ahead of my publisher anyway.

Nov 19th
Damn it all to hell. Insomnia again. My sleep patterns are all over the place. Perhaps I need to stay up for a night (and no snoozes the following day) to try and get things lined up again

Okay, it is cold today.
Image may contain: plant, tree, grass, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: plant and outdoor

Ah good. A day without snoozes. Hopefully I'll sleep well tonight and be able to wrap my head around plot complications tomorrow. I came across one today - rather like a shoddy join that won't lock together - and felt I would need to either change stuff all the way back to the beginning or write a whole new section. In retrospect I realise I will probably have to do both.

Nov 20th
Okay, I've just been updating my blog with posts from here. I've now decided I am not going to put so much in there - just some selected content from here i.e. no more science post links and no more photographs that might end up being troublesome. Frankly, if people refuse to come on Facebook because of, well politics, it's their loss. They're losing all of the interaction that occurs below each post anyway!

Update: I was talking about my blog. I am not going to put so much FROM HERE in my blog. That is, I am not going to put the science posts FROM HERE IN MY BLOG! FFS!

So, some people hate FB and some hate Twitter. In my experience that opinion is mostly formed by the followers they have. But it's easy enough to filter out the dipsticks on either platform. As for how each is run, whether they cut content, ban people or otherwise censor stuff, well, they're private businesses. Personally I'm quite grateful to promote my books and interact with thousands of people effectively for nothing. I don't like that they are monopolies, and definitely some debate needs to be had about that. Equally I'm very wary of the idea of government intervention in either, since the state itself is a monopoly. What do you think about all this?

4 hour power cut today while something was being done. Probably work involving the sprawls of house building all around this part of Essex. The words 'staggering infrastructure' spring to mind. Because of that I didn't get a lot done on the book. I did however spend three hours learning Greek. Nothing quite like being devoid of internet to focus the mind, though the devoid of central heating wasn't much fun.

Well I looked at this and I looked at that on Netflix and Amazon and nothing new appealed. I'm now watching The Expanse from the beginning again. #TheExpanse

Yup. I have nearly a whole shelf full of these Michael Moorcock books and much enjoyed the Elric ones. Nice to see a TV series but, as ever, so long as they stick to the stories and the spirit of these tales and don't start injecting the usual wanked up agendas.

Nov 22nd
Hey guys, my brother, who is into 3D printing and drones - including using Fusion 360 to design items and a slicer called Cura . . . including building his own drones and using Fatshark HD3 goggles . . . is finally interested in getting on Facebook to find people of similar interests. Anyone out there into this stuff? Anyone out there able to make intelligent comment on all this stuff?

Nov 25th
Delightful. I had so many of these in my right eye at the weekend I had illusory flies zipping round me and illusory flocks of birds in the sky. This happened while I was on Crete in the other eye, but I ignored it and it went away. This time I went for an eye checkup and got the expected diagnosis: old bastard.

Nov 26th
FFS. Do something new! That being said, the 'f--king idea factory' would take any money they want to throw about.

Hmm, I've come to the conclusion that I have not been giving myself sufficient recovery times from fasting and heavy gym work. Add on top of that session of drinking Jack Daniels, above and beyond what I'm accustomed to, and the result is not clever. I'm taking a lazy do F-all week now. Hopefully I won't feel like a washed out dish rag at the end of it.

Nov 27th
I often make comparisons between the functions of the brain and those of the rest of the body e.g. if you want more imagination then exercise that muscle. Exercise results in damage, then the body repairs and upgrades to new parameters (grows more muscle) . But it doesn't do this during the exercise but during rest. Same for the brain it seems, and that is of course logical.

Transferring a post from here on Facebook to Twitter can be an excellent exercise in précis. I recommend it for writers. It will help for that time when you have to render a book down into a two-page synopsis.

Nov 28th
Ah you can tell an election is coming up. Everyone is big time falling back to using their hard wiring and confirmation bias. Hopefully some rational thought will re-establish by Christmas. Ho ho ho. #scifi #sciencefiction

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

Nov 29th
Knife wielding bearded nutter stabbed up five people and has just been shot on London Bridge. Doubtless a hipster who drank one or two more craft ales than he should have. . .

Nov 30th
I wonder how many people are thinking about what to carry in their pockets or bags on their next trip into london? I'm guessing a narwhal tusk might be too overt.

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Again, as above: I post a lot more on Facebook that you will find here. I don't want to risk infringing on someone's copyright as far as pictures are concerned, so I've limited them, and I cannot be bothered anymore transferring the links here to all the science articles I post. And of course, just reading here you miss all the conversation and interplay underneath each article. Sorry to those of you that have an aversion to Facebook - your loss. If you change your mind I am here on Facebook.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Writing Update

As ever I’ve been pretty lax in posting stuff here. Mostly I’ve been posting on Facebook or Twitter. I could justify this by saying I get more reaction and interaction there, and that more people spend their time on those social media rather than on blogs. Do I need to justify it? Not really. But the real reason I post there is because it’s easier to bang off a short paragraph about what I’m doing and feed it into the modern version of ‘today’s newspaper tomorrow’s chip paper’. I also spend a lot of my internet time using an Ipad, and typing out some long post on that touchscreen, with just a little window in which to see it, I find annoying. Anyway, I hope the recent FB catch-up posts here have served a purpose. But now I’ll have a ramble through the recent past and present, and probably repeat a lot of what you’ve already read in the catch-ups and elsewhere.

The main reason I’m writing here now is to take breaks from going through the copy editing of The Human – third book in the ‘Rise of the Jain’ trilogy (published on April 16th 2019). It’s a boring chore of mostly going through with a mouse to click ‘accept’ or ‘reject’. By this time I’m about sick of a book I’ve written and gone through ad nauseum and only with gritted teeth can manage two or three chapters without trying to think of other ‘essential’ task to do, like make a coffee, or put bee’s wax on a door. The Human brings me up-to-date on my present contract with Macmillan. At some point I’ll have a chat with Bella Pagan at Macmillan about a new contract (and suggest it’s time for a pay rise) but, despite this contract coming to an end, that does not mean I’ve stopped writing.

Since I was again ahead of my contract I turned my attention to writing short stories. One I started using something I’d excised from a previous book, but it grew in the telling and became a book itself titled Jack Four. This is the tale of a clone taken to the King’s Ship to be experimented upon, steadily ramping up into a border incident between the Polity and the prador kingdom. That done to first draft I put it aside and went back to short stories again. I did a few. Skin will appear in an Ian Whates anthology, An Alien on Crete will appear in Asimov’s and a novella called Moral Biology is destined to appear in Analog. I have others besides I’ve either yet to send or have been rejected. The Bosch is a novella that concerns a biotech world in the far future (after the Polity) where the ruler of that world raises the creatures of Hieronymus Bosch in a quest for vengeance. The Host is linked to Moral Biology. While Longevity Averaging is a near future (novella) based on my reading of present day life-extension research – the ‘longevity averaging’ of the title concerns how government works out when you get your pension.

Again, however, while in short story mode, I started something that had legs and kept on running. I have a working title for it of Cacoraptors but suspect I’ll be changing that in due course. This concerns the colonisation of a world just at about the time when the prador/human war starts up. All the lovable elements are there: prador, Jain tech, grotesque and vicious alien creatures (besides the prador, that is), human transformation, Polity double-dealing and lots of smoking wreckage. However, I’m writing this one in a different way. As I wrote what was initially a short story I started putting in ‘retroacts’ to fill in background. This became, to me, as interesting as the ongoing story and I did more and more. Now the book runs with the story in the present at the start of each chapter followed by the background that has led to present events. Generally, as the book goes on, I’m delving further and further into the past with the latter, but I am mixing it up a bit by putting in past events where they are relevant to the present ones. The timeline is all over the place. It’s interesting and tangled, and I hope you find it interesting too. I was a bit unsure about doing this and considered straightening out the timeline, but remembering that one of my top ten favourite books is Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, I’ll stick with it.

So there you have it – you’re up to date with stuff about my work . . . or rather, you’re not. Something I did three years ago will be seeing the light of day soon. I also have other stuff I have to keep my mouth shut about. And no, before you get excited, no one is making films of any of my books.

Monday, October 21, 2019

October 2019 Facebook Posts

October 1st
The Macmillan sales team have secured an October Kindle Monthly Deal for The Line of Polity in the UK. The deal runs from 1st - 31st October. Find it here: The Line of Polity (Agent Cormac Book 2)

 Image may contain: text

Nice picture of me for a change. No protruding belly in sight and face concealed by vapour.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Neal Asher, people sitting, table and outdoor

Been making a pig of myself with the kayaking. 15K again today. 3.5 hours out on the Libyan Sea. Fucking love it. I've also been walking in the mountains but not so frequently. Not so excited about that in the mornings after beer.

Oct 2nd
Damn but there is so much crap out there about 'burning muscle'. Nice to get back to reading something that makes evolutionary biological sense.

Contemplating my return to the UK. Definitely 2 consecutive days of fasting each week, a serious weigh-training program, zero alcohol and a meat and veg diet with little in the way of carbs. I will lose this bloody tyre around my waist! On the writing front: complete the next book to first draft, then short stories - lots of short stories.

Right, I'm off. It's time to make chilli sauce!

Oct 3rd
Okay, it's that time of year again. I didn't quite have enough chillies for one batch of sauce from my plants, but Peter - the guy who provided me with the plants in the first place - came up with a nice bag full. I forgot to buy cornflour so this is not as thick as I would like but, I have my chilli sauce in the house again at last!

Image may contain: food and indoor

Image may contain: drink, indoor and food

Image may contain: drink, table, food and indoor

Image may contain: drink, indoor and food

Image may contain: drink, table, indoor and food

Oct 5th
Okay, maybe no kayaking today. The waves here are enough to flip me over so I can guarantee they'll be worse once I head off around either of the points.

Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, cloud, sunglasses, outdoor, nature and water

Image may contain: ocean, sky, tree, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: ocean, beach, sky, water, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: ocean, sky, water, beach, outdoor and nature

Peak and final booze intake was achieved the day before yesterday. A carafe of white wine (half a litre) followed by three large glasses (more than half a litre) followed by more white wine then raki isn't a great idea. Do this on a practically empty stomach and it's even less of a good idea. At a certain point my memory of the evening is non-existent. The next day's hangover was of the cringe and curl up somewhere hoping for unconsciousness kind, then this morning an army of dwarves had set up a forge in my head to provide the weapons for war against the orcs. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, lots of water and a walk in the mountains has dismissed the buggers, but the mere thought of alcohol makes me gag.

My last post may have been premature. . . 

Image may contain: drink, table and indoor

Oct 6th
Still cutting up a bit rough, but not as bad as yesterday. I have today and tomorrow (maybe) to take the kayak out. Do I risk it? A sensible person would say no. I left 'sensible' behind long ago. Still pondering. . .

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, beach, cloud, ocean, tree, outdoor, nature and water

Well, there you go. The other kayaker stopped on the next beach round. I continued most of the way to Koutsouras where over one wave the kayak became airborne from the top and landed with quite a thump in the trough on the other side. At this point I chickened out and turned back. I then achieved the height of cool when a wave flipped the kayak over and I didn't even lose my sunglasses. I had to tow the thing in so I could get back on it. Enough for today.

Oct 7th
Who ordered the omens? My last day of kayaking and a wave flips me over. A glass jar that has had flowers and suchlike in it all summer came off the outside table and smashed - 'the glass is broken' having a particular meaning here I won't go into. It clouded over and I said to my neighbours that the rain would start when I took in my tables and chairs. It started spotting when I got up to do this and was raining by the time they were inside. But of course we are human and always looking for patterns and connections. They mean nothing . . . if you dismiss my deep connection to the gods on Olympus.

So I wonder what this omen is all about?

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud and outdoor

Oh well. Sitting in the airport at the departure gate. 😏 It's grim but it has to be done.

This is annoying: still sitting at the boarding gate and the plane is supposed to leave in 15 minutes.

Oct 8th
Parcels opened first because brown envelopes from the Inland Revenue are just too depressing in the early hours of the morning after a flight from Crete.

No photo description available.

The temperature here in Essex has climbed from 6C to a massive 8C. I'm going through my mail in a desultory manner little inclined to do more than look at it, throw away the rubbish and stack the rest on my desk. I'm also taking the opportunity presented by an empty fridge to start my first fast and I'll hit the gym later. I'll do more tomorrow after a decent night's sleep since I didn't get to bed last night until 4AM UK time and 6AM Greek time.

Image may contain: grass, sky, cloud, plant, outdoor and nature

Oh well, that's my gym plan buggered today. Clickety-click from the starter motor - battery flat.

Okay, just getting round to watching Love, Death and Robots. The short films are as various as the stories they come from, so it's unsurprising that thus far the best have been by Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds.

Image may contain: text

Car started and run for a little while now. Thanks Heidi. I also remembered I had the same problem last time I returned from Crete. A simple expedient is detaching one of the terminals, which I forgot to do. I've also ordered one of those portable jump starters.

Is the Dark Crystal series any good?

Oct 9th
Up at 5.00AM this morning, which is 7.00 on Crete so I'm a bit jet lagged. I've dealt with a few irritations of UK living, like telling the BBC to stick their TV licence, and have a few phone calls to make. Next up is shopping, since there's only a bottle of milk in the fridge, then I have to get a routine established for each day: 2,000 words, 1 hour of Greek, gym visit/walk and fasting (I failed yesterday and ate canned fish and beans). Still feeling a bit spaced out, however.

Yay! Cracked it! Happy to have written 2,000 words, slightly sore throat from speaking Greek language lessons out loud for an hour, body tight with a foretaste of tomorrow's aches and pains from a hard hour in the gym. I now feel fully justified to slump in an armchair with a cup of tea. I did have a bit of a food failure, however. You know how they put sweets next to the tills to tempt squalling brats? Well, in Home Bargains they put packets of crumpets next to the till I paid at, the bastards.

Oct 10th
I think I'll head out for a long walk this morning. The contrast to Crete will be interesting: flat, muddy and a temperature reading outside at present of zero. 😏 You may gather that I'm not exactly bubbling over with enthusiasm for this.

‎Jon Wood‎ to Neal Asher
10 October at 09:01 · 
I keep seeing fantastic vinyl box sets and Special Edition Blu-ray boxsets but I don’t see any book collections! I have a full collection of Asher books but some of the older books are a little tattered and have older artwork...are the publishers missing an opportunity here?

No photo description available.

Box sets might be an idea, and they are redoing all the covers:

No photo description available.

Once again the slump in the armchair with a cup of tea. 7 mile walk this morning, 2,000 words of the book written, an hour of Greek recitation done followed by a final hard hour in the gym. I'm knackered.

Image may contain: living room, shoes, screen and indoor

I quite enjoyed Ghost in the Shell - it was a bit of violent fun. But I have to wonder, was she supposed to be clad in a skin-tight suit or, with all their wonderful technology, that they could make boobs but were defeated by nipples?

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and outdoor

Now thinking about watching The Dark Tower. Any good? I will of course briefly heed your opinions before discarding them.

Ooh, excellent. I see that they have Lucy on Netflix. Highly recommended. I think I'll watch it again.

Oct 11th
Oh bloody hell the gym work is catching up with me. Feels like I've been beaten with a stick in places, and like there is elastic under my arms preventing me from easily lifting them. Again today? I dunno. . .

Ολο αυτο το βραδυ εγραψα τα ελληνικα. Μονο λιγο τηλεοραση. Προτιμησα να μαθαινω.
All this evening I wrote Greek. Only little television. I preferred to learn. . . . Or at least that is what I hope that says. I'm sure someone will be along to correct me. Yeah, often I find supposed entertainment boring but, making an effort to learn something, interesting. But then we all know I'm as weird as fuck.

Fuck my body hurts. DOMS. You know you've hit the gym hard when getting out of an armchair is a negotiation, and taking something down from the top shelf of a cupboard is a risky exercise.

Oct 12th
And again no gym. I was going to go, but when I struggled to take off my T-shirt I decided it wasn't a great idea. Food, rest, studying Greek and watching Netflix only today.

Hahahaha! The Boys.

Image may contain: 2 people, beard and text

Saving the last two episodes of The Boys for tomorrow. And yeah, the superheroes would probably end up like that. We see the arrogance of power all around us in politicians and media stars. What kind of arrogance would be engendered by being practically unkillable, able to spatter 'normals' and simply ignore human justice?

Somebody said that in the Brass Man cover picture (the Sullivan) Mr Crane has a little rubber dog in his pocket. I am undecided about this. Maybe I should take a look in better light.

Image may contain: one or more people

Right. That's enough. I've been a layabout for two days. I'm hitting that gym tomorrow even if I still have DOMS. It has faded a bit now - I just realised I got out of my chair without struggling like a turtle turned on its shell.

Oct 13th
Ooh, look what just appeared on Amazon:

Gym visit extended by a five extra minutes on the hour. And I don't stand around talking to people - generally a maximum of thirty seconds rest between sets, though sometimes more for the hard bastards. I'm aiming to go every day and, hopefully, take my time there up to an hour and a half or above. Supposing I don't get crippled by DOMS again.

Ενταξει, θελω ανθρωποι, που μπορεις, να χρησιμοποιεις ελληνικα εδω. Και να με διαρθωσεις οταν ειμαι λαθος. Θελω να μαθενω τι γλωσσα.

Nice sunset this evening. All that London pollution has its uses. 🤣

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

Righto. I've just eaten a couple of cheese and onion sandwiches, and that's the last food I plan to eat until after midday on Wednesday. Time to get back into the fasting routine. I won't even have milk in tea or coffee. Nothing. Zip. Zero calories. I will also continue with the gym visits and maybe get a long walk in too if it's not pissing down. I will damned well go into ketosis and autophagy!

Seen all of The Boys now. Highly recommended!

A lot here to read for those who are interested in fasting and the science behind it, rather than what the bloke down the gym said, or what some site trying to sell you an expensive diet says, or what the latest crap about it in the media is, or what stupidities your GP or the NHS are still hanging onto.

Oct 14th
Apparently something I posted didn't meet FB community standards. Buggered if I know what it was. Aren't they supposed to tell you what they removed?

First full day of fasting begun. I started with an hour and 6 minutes in the gym to burn off some glycogen. Now I'm drinking only black coffee and green tea, and have a salt mixture for those difficult moments later on. Now I need to do stuff, because one thing I've found with fasting is just how much time you have to spare when you're not preparing, eating and digesting food!

Well well well. I questioned FB about that post and now they've said they got it wrong and put it back.

21 hours into the fast now, no real problems - hunger comes in occasional waves and that's all. Though, admittedly, you could have surfed on the one I got smelling fish and chips in Maldon high Street. I've done my hour plus in the gym, my 2,000 words, my hour of Greek and now must occupy my time till bedtime. I think I'll clean the bathroom and maybe get the vacuum out. Meanwhile, tell me what you're enjoying on Netflix and Prime!

Three episodes into Mindhunter and enjoying it very much. Thanks to all those who recommended it!

Image may contain: 2 people

Oct 15th
Past 36 hours into my fast now and all that is going fine. No hunger this morning. I am, however, not moving around very fast. This is due to the gym. A year or so ago they changed their equipment and the new abduction machines were crap - too much slack in them, thighs hitting handles either side of the seat, the necessity to put them up to the top weight to actually feel anything. I used them again the day before yesterday and yesterday - easy exercises that felt like a rest from the other stuff. Yesterday I found a way to take up the slack in one of them (the one where you push your knees inward against the weight). Apparently those machines are now having an effect. The DOMS woke me up in the night and now I'm walking around as if recovering from a kick in the balls.

The new book is now at 127,000 words. Some creatures in it I named by putting together Greek suffixes and prefixes, my choices being 'kako' for bad and 'phage' for eat. Oh dear. This it turns out was not a good choice at all. 🤣 Look up cacophage.

The creatures are nasty predators that eat people, given half a chance. My other choice of name was 'multidapt' because they are capable of rapidly changing their body form - they can adapt fast to challenges or threats. I'm now going to have to use multidapt or come up with something else.

New name for the creatures made . . . provisionally.

Ooh I do like eBay. Seeds for next year now winging their way to me. My garden will be the Papagiannades hotspot!

Um, spent most of today walking round like I'd just stuck a number of decades on my age. Now, do I ease up on the gym stuff, or do I just keep blasting through it? Silly question really since it will always be the second option. No pain no gain, and I'm thinking my gains should be fucking substantial now. 🤣

A change is as good as a rest, eh. Kinda surprised me I've only been in the UK for eight days. It's gonna be a long winter.

Okay, I didn't last as long as I hoped. I blame the characters from Mindhunters always eating and drinking onscreen. But I did manage a 48 hour fast, which is not a bad start. I'll see if I can do better next week.

Meh, insomnia, it's 3.00AM here. But then I did collapse into bed at 9.00PM. I don't suppose staring at an Ipad is helping.

Oct 16th
Still getting annoyed by jerks who talk nonsense about muscle loss from fasting. The myth arose, I suspect, in gyms where people saw their muscles apparently shrinking from loss of glycogen and fat. As I have said before: look at a joint of pork and how much fat is in it, then consider that pigs are less well fed than us. It can also stem from the fact that often, when people fast, they stop exercising - a case of use it or lose it. Autophagy also kicks in to digest crappy cells, which include muscle cells. In this respect and others the body conserves and any muscle loss will be that which is unused or broken. But in the end the basic reality is this: a starving creature that loses muscle it is using in preference to fat, which is there precisely for those times when there is no food around, would have been taken out by natural selection before anything crawled out of the seas. It is like burning pieces of your wooden house to keep warm, rather than using the woodpile out back.

Okay, time to make another attempt at sleep. Annoyingly I took magnesium and melatonin last night. It has not had the desired effect. Probably my insomnia is due to lack of exercise - mooching around all day whining about the pain in my legs.

Nope, I give up. Sleep keeps on evading me. I'll go to the gym, which is open early thankfully. Doubtless sleep will creep up on me later in the day with a brick in a sock.

Good day today. I woke early and went to gym early for a hard hour plus. After that the last of the DOMS started fading away. Next time I'll push through it rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself. I then got some shopping in before sitting down to write. 2,000 words done. Later an hour of Greek, and now time to relax. The glamorous life of the writer continues. Oh, and re fasting. I haven't felt particularly hungry today.

And again with the sky. A couple of minutes either way and you miss this.

Image may contain: sky, cloud, twilight, outdoor and nature

Oct 17th
Interesting. After my fast from Sunday night to Tuesday night my appetite hasn't returned yet. Yesterday I ate a large salad divided into two - one half at 12 the other at about 7 - but not with any relish. More a case of I have to do this, it's necessary. Today I felt some passing hunger in the morning, but since I've introduced an eating window between 12 and 8 I waited till midday. The vegetable omelette I made still sits on a plate only a quarter eaten. I'll just run with this. No point shoving food in my gob if my body is saying no thanks.

And now I have figure out how I'm going to attach this to my kayak!

No photo description available.

Another productive day today with an hour plus of gym, 2,000 words written and on hour of Greek completed. With the Greek I'm reading past lessons out loud to try and bury the words and phrases in my skull. But an odd lack of relaxation at the end of this day. I've sat here trying to watch stuff on TV but just can't get into it. I also only just stopped myself going out to get a bottle of bourbon, and made a cup of tea instead. I think I need a chair to repair! 🤣

Oct 18th
Back on making my own kefir now. Taking advice (thanks Chris Haringa) I just used a bottle of plain kefir from the supermarket rather than buying grains from the internet. It works just as well - I poured some of the bottle into a pint of milk and 24 hours later had a pint of kefir. I've refrigerated most of that to drink and am making more from the remainder. And so it will continue.

Oct 19th
One hour plus in the gym, an hour of speaking Greek but, sadly, only 1,000 words written. After eating I felt somewhat dopy, then woke up in my armchair three hours later. 🤣 Something quite annoying occurred today too. The circumstance, which I can't talk about, for me coming back from Crete, has been cancelled. Bollocks, bugger, shit and fuck. I could have stayed there for another month.

Anyway, the new book has slid past 130,000 words and I've managed a bit more work on the odd timeline. In this I'm running the present story in the first section or two of each chapter, while delving into the past with the rest of each - deeper and deeper as the book goes on. A lot of polishing will have to ensue, as I shift stuff around to link past events to those in the present, or write such links in. It occurs to me that I'm seeking out complication to make the process more interesting for me, but of course with the corollary that it will be more interesting for you!

Image may contain: 1 person

Oh for goodness sake. The trans woman, or man, or whatever in sports arguments still rage. Some say there should be another category for them but, with the way things are going that'll lead eventually to a hundred categories. Perhaps one for those who self identify as a penguin like Piers Morgan. Bottom line: men have bigger bones and muscles and in general 10% greater lung capacity than women. Cutting off their nadgers, taking hormones or growing their hair longer and dying it pink ain't gonna change that.

I've been putting together my posts on here into blog posts - one for each month - for Facebook haters. A few have protested the necessity of coming here to read them. I'm up to August thus far and need to take a break. Oddly, while doing this, I've been plagued all morning with this feeling that there is something I must do - almost a late for work sensation. Each time I rise out of it and realise that well no, there isn't anything and I can sit on my arse all day if I want. One of the penalties I suspect of constantly pushing myself.

Oct 20th
Creatine powers T cells' fight against cancer

Tactile Devices.

Aug fibres and, effectively, body-monitoring nanites.

Fascinating creatures, eels.

How our memories stabilize while we sleep

Still some time left on this. . .

The Macmillan sales team have secured an October Kindle Monthly Deal for The Line of Polity in the UK. The deal runs from 1st - 31st October. Find it here: The Line of Polity (Agent Cormac Book 2)

Here's a review of The Warship by Russell Letson in Locus Magazine.

The Warship, Neal Asher (Night Shade 978-1-59780-990-0, $26.99, 369pp, hc) May 2019. Cover by Adam Burn. Okay, now it’s getting complicated. I called…

Two plus days of fasting begun - last thing I ate was at 7.30 last night. I'm aiming again to go through till Wednesday. Right now I'm sipping coffee and shortly about to go to the gym to burn off some glycogen. Black coffee of course.

Oct 21st
4 years ago
Neal Asher
21 October 2015 ·
The reason I first walked into Revans Bar 7 years ago. A certain guy called Stan told me it was there so I had to go check it out. Now glued together again and ready to be returned.

No photo description available.

No photo description available.

Tiny, biocompatible nanolaser could function inside living tissues

Discovery leads to ultrasensistive way to measure light

They're slowly learning to handle graphene

Material That Could Someday Power Quantum Computer

Nanoscale Manipulation of Light Leads to Exciting New Nanophotonics Advancement

Meh. Despite all my best intentions I haven't done very well with the fasting. I did do twenty-two hours a day for two days. That's okay for weight loss but doesn't put me into autophagy. Ah well. You never fail till you stop trying. Otherwise it's been a good couple of days. I did my 2,000 words, hour of Greek and an hour at the gym on both of them.

Oct 23rd
Heh. Not what I thought it was.

Magnetic supercrystals can assemble themselves

"We also found that over expression of c-Answer causes advanced brain growth and larger eyes, which surprised us, since it means c-Answer modulates for regeneration and brain development," says Korotkova.

Wake-up call: Cellular sleep isn't as harmless as once thought

Novel agent flips on garbage disposal in neurons, eliminating toxic brain proteins in mice

The copy editing has now arrived for The Human. Being a good boy I did my 2,000 words and then went through half of that. No gym today because I've overstrained my back. Damned body. Hour of Greek done and now It should be time to completely relax. I cannot, however. Even though I did do two lots of twenty-two hours fasting, I still want to do two consecutive days and get properly into ketosis and autophagy. If I relax, my mind will probably stray to the cheddar and preserved sausage in the fridge. 🤣

Yay! I made it past the watershed. It was about 6.30 the last two days when fasting collapsed into scoffing what I could find in the fridge.

Just caught up with season 5. Bloody excellent.
Image may contain: 1 person, standing, sky, text and outdoor

Not so taken with Good Omens. Same over-the-top "acting" by Tennant that finally switched me off Dr Who many years ago. And generally the whole thing seems silly and amateurish.

Oct 24th

Gawd I find going through editing a chore. I shouldn't complain really since, having done all sorts of jobs, I'm aware of what a real 'chore' is. To alleviate the tedium I'm taking breaks to waffle out a blog post. Even this is a bit ho-hum because I'm repeating stuff I've already written here and copied into the blog in catch-up posts. But I guess a state-of-play all in one place is . . . okay.

A Concatenation review of The Soldier.
Image may contain: text

Writing Update.

Interesting. Hmm 72 hours. . .

47 hours fasting thus far at 6.30. I'm definitely going for 48 but thereafter all is negotiable. After learning that immune system breaks down old immune cells and generates new ones at about 72 hours, I'll definitely go for that at some point. But perhaps it would be better to get reacquainted with two-day fasts first.

In other news I've gone through the copyedits of The Human and dispatched them back to Macmillan. There may be further queries, but that's about it for that book now. I wonder how long before publication they start printing. I must ask.

I don't know whether it's due to the fasting, but I'm being plagued by optical migraine lights tonight. Thankfully they never develop into a headache with me.

Okay, 48 hours of fasting achieved, broken with two cheese and onion sandwiches, salad and some preserved sausage. I'll do the 'refeed' over the next three days, then get back on it from Sunday night. Regarding 'refeeding', this is very important and I only have to read some of what people post on fasting FB pages to see that many don't get it. The reason diets fail is that if you constantly reduce your food intake your Base Metabolic Rate adjusts to that, and it can do so by dropping by as much as a thousand calories. The whole point of fasting (for weight loss) is you circumvent that. If you fast for a couple of days then go back to normal eating your body doesn't have time to adjust, but you've still majorly reduced your overall intake. So no, don't diet between fasts else you're setting yourself up for failure.

Oct 25th
Excellent. I've made a good step forward learning the Greek. I've got a stack of notes full of sentences, phrases and words (like the verbs with their eighteen different versions). Until now all I've been doing is reading them out loud to imbed them in my mind. Boring and repetitive, but necessary. Now with every word or phrase I'm making up sentences that include them, as fast as I can, and saying them. Sometimes replying to myself too. Just winging it. This is making me realise how much I have actually learned, but also highlighting words I just haven't learned. 'Question' was the last of those tonight. It's also good that I've been enjoying doing so, rather than seeing it as a bit of a chore.

No photo description available.

Um, the book I'm writing has just topped 140,000 words (another 2,000 today) and the ending keeps shifting out of reach. I also need to add some sections throughout and I've only written two or three of those chapter start thingies. This is going to be a long and complicated one I reckon. But I'm enjoying knotting it all up. Oh, and incidentally, this one and the one before it (Jack Four) are both different in another respect. They are both told from the point of view of one character only.

Oct 26th
Heh. Seems I do a post like this at about the same time every year.
2 years ago
Neal Asher
26 October 2017 · 
Meh. I do not like editing. But one has to retain perspective. I won't, for example, be doing what (hopefully soon) the guys from Anglia Water will be doing. Editing is better than unblocking sewers. It is also better than many jobs people have to do all their lives, so quit whingeing Neal.

Oh that's better. My back's been a bit buggered but it was better enough today for an hour plus at the gym. 'Love handles' and that stubborn slug of fat at the front have melted away a bit too after fasting. More will go next week when I attempt a 72 hour fast (I hope).

Oct 27th
Well that was a crappy night's sleep. 11.30 till 1.00 despite melatonin, St John's Wort and Benadryl. Then a half sleeping pill at 4.00 knocks me out till 11.30 and I wake up feeling like shit with a gummy eye. Oh well, at least I gain an hour today. I'm now trying to get functional with excessive amounts of coffee. Need some kind of a reset.


Oct 28th
Well, it seems I got my reset. I drank rather more red wine than should be good for me, fell asleep for three hours in an armchair then for eight hours in bed. Alcohol does that sometimes - floods through knocking the system out of kilter and then it reintegrates with functions changed. It's almost like a format or taking it back to factory settings. Oddly I don't have a hangover and just feel like I've had a good, needed sleep. But I'm off to the gym shortly, so let's see if they need to send for an ambulance. 🤣

The Blood of Roses
No photo description available.

Oct 29th
Microscale rockets can travel through cellular landscapes

Ooh, have they only just noticed?

Pre-Cooler for Hypersonic Spaceplane Cools From 1,000°C in Less Than 0.05 Seconds

Well, since no hangover was interfering, I did start another fast on Sunday night. I'm not being hugely strict with myself i.e. occasionally I'm putting milk in tea and coffee. I'm not too concerned about that since I've done a couple of heavy gym sessions to burn stuff up and am aiming for 72 hours without food.

On other fronts: the book is heading towards 150,000 words but now the end, sort of, is in sight. This one is going to need lots of work after this first draft. I suspect I'll be on it in that respect for many weeks while chewing the edge of my desk. As for learning Greek . . . I'm just reading through my notes and speaking out loud made-up conversations. This has made me realise I know more than I thought I knew as words just rise into place from my back brain. I really need to look up (or invent) Greek words for gabbleduck and hooder to make those conversations more interesting! 🤣

Watching The Magic Pill on Netflix. I know about most of this stuff but, damn it, seed oil and many food companies, along with tossers with their hands in corporate pockets, including politicians and members of the American Heart Association, and many so-called health experts, should be in jail. Shame it's too late for someone to kick Ancel Keys' arse too.

Image may contain: text that says "THE MAGIC PILL"

Interesting to compare and contrast the above documentary with this one on Netflix. But the final upshot in either case is eat fewer crappy foods, and I think we all know what they are.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Oct 30th
I failed to do 72 hours fasting this time (it was 46) but fuck it I'm going again. I watched a couple of documentaries last night (last post below and one in the comments). I didn't agree with everything in them but they were inspirational. I then watched the snake diet guy on You Tube for a bit and told myself to stop being a pussy. I then threw out every piece of bread in the house, every last remaining sweet item. Lot's of veg meat and fat from now on, after another fast. My body will obey.

I wonder how many people tell their friends and family, 'I go to the gym for an hour long session three times a week!' or similar, when the reality is somewhat different. You have Mrs Water Bottle who first fills her bottle on arriving then seems to spend an awful long time sipping from it while contemplating her next exercise. Then there's Mr Fitness App who sits on a machine for five minutes after exercising while checking his fitness stats, and probably messaging and pissing about on social media. Then there are the 'gym as social activity' people, who, when they find a victim, will ramble on into lengthy detail about, well, anything really. Annoying ones are those who do this while hanging onto a machine you want to use. Today three gym goers got together to discuss their activities - how this exercise works and how you really should do this, or that. I did four different exercises, four sets of ten repetitions in each, before they actually got back to doing something. The gym is definitely a place full of displacement activities.

No, not really. It can work if both partners are filling their boots, but usually one partner is getting the shitty end of the stick. It causes damage in a relationship and besides that can damage the partners they choose outside of the relationship.

Study identifies role of specific gene in hardening of blood vessel walls

Oh do fuck off.

This Strange Rule Is What Makes the Human Brain So Powerful


Oct 31st
Hmm, not so long ago.
1 Year Ago
Neal Asher
31 October 2018 ·
Jack Four just passed 125,00 words, which is about the length of Cowl. I am having fun. I suspect this is one you'll read out of breath all the time. I certainly get that way writing it.

Image may contain: ocean

Shortly we'll have: our use of fossil fuels is upsetting the climate, ice melt has cooled the ocean resulting in sea ice, and this will cause an Ice Age. We need to build more wind turbines, pay more taxes and introduce international authoritarian socialism (though that's tautology). Power to the people!

Oh right, it's Halloween. Must remember to not bother answering my door.


Oh well, that wasn't a highly productive day. I went to the gym early, wrote a few hundred words, failed a fast at midday with a large omelette, then slept away most of the afternoon. I did do my hour of Greek, so there's that. Now I have the prospect of being awake until the early hours. Bugger. And I will damned well write this weekend to get my weekly count up to 10,000.