4 June 2011


I may have mentioned my SF novel, Technical Difficulties, that I am in the process of revising it for publication, that it is set in the near future and that weird things happen.

The main character was described as hapless by my editor. Actually, that's a watered down version of what he actually called him but it will do for our purposes today.

Hapless, maybe. I'll let you be the judge.

Let's imagine our hero is searching for something in, let's say, a fridge. As he rummages about, the fridge suddenly goes dark and silent. It's broken, he concludes. He empties out all the food and waits in for several days until the repairman calls. A small switch is pointed out to him. When pressed, the fridge bursts into renewed life. Our hero resolves to remember that handy switch and keep well away from it in future.


Or how about our hero answers a firm knock on his front door to be confronted by a courier holding a cardboard box from which buzzing can be heard.
"Sign here, its your bees."
The instructions for inserting the bees into the hive are clear. Let them settle down before attempting anything, they advise. When the little things are nice and quiet, open the flap and quickly block up the entrance with the bung provided which is tied to a long piece of string. Retreat to a safe distance and pull out the bung, thus releasing the bees.
Our hero opens the flap but, before he can put the bung in, a bee escapes. The bee is not best pleased. It is actually looking for the City Link driver so that it can complain about the discomfort of the journey but our man is nearer so it chases him instead.
The instructions do not mention what to do if one bee gets out and is guarding the hive where the others are still trapped. The bung and piece of string ploy is the only one offered.
I think not. Resourceful, I would suggest. Our hero dons his all in one white chicken overalls, pulls up the hood, puts on a pair of ski gloves and strides purposefully back to the hive. Bravely, in the face of the fearsome adversary that any moment might abandon the distraction of the flower it is examining, he opens the flap, releases the bees and walks back to the house unscathed.
I suppose that makes up for the fridge episode.

All stories are character driven, or at least they ought to be. My editor wants to see my main character showing some increased awareness as he goes through his amazing adventures.
I can understand that.
I only wish my hero could.

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