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Archive for the ‘Saturn’ Category

Although this web site is now open, it is still in the process of being created. I have a lot more to add to it such as ‘Work in Progress’, so I hope you will come back from time to time to see how I am getting on.  I hope too that you’ll send me a message to tell me what you think, whether of the books, the poems. the essays or the plays.
A word now about the image above. Saturn has always interested me since I first saw images of it in Arthur Mees’ Children’s Encyclopedia.  This volume was, of course, well out of date even by the standards of the 1950s – but what it may have lacked in scientific acumen, it more than made up for in its enthusiasm and optimistic belief in education – and it is those qualities that have stayed with me over the years.

In Saturn's Shadow - The Pale Blue Dot (Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

In contrast, the picture used in the banner is very up to date. It was taken by the Cassini Imaging Team and can be viewed in full at the Astronomy Picture for the Day website for January 11th in 2009. Apart from its uniqueness – the eclipse of the sun by Saturn, something that could never have been seen before – the picture is important because of the little spec which you can see just beyond the bright ring and at about 10.0’clock.
See it? Well that is us. All of us. Every man, woman and child alive today as well as the bones of our ancestors. Every Buddhist, Muslem or Christian as well as  every other religion or nationality. Every fish, spider, crocus and pohutakawa tree. All of us on every plane of existence.
As a writer, I think it is the most perfect image of everything I am trying to do in my books and stories: to give pleasure, surprise and perspective, certainly. But beyond all flights of fancy, it is that little dot that is the focus of all my efforts. Sometimes Science fiction is seen as escapist or unrealistic literature – and so it may be, sometimes – but to me, Science Fiction allows me to approach our world with all its complications, troubles and delights, in a way that allows realism and  raw imagination to work hand in hand. Not that there is really a choice: all us scribblers cope as well as we can given the proclivities and limits  we are born with. I am sure Jane Austen would agree with that.
Although all my books are out of print, copies can still be obtained from bookellers such as Amazon.co.uk, The Book Depository and Abe Books.
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Malcolm Burgess who has guided my every step on the way to creating this website.  His patience has been extraordinary, combined with his enormous good humour.
I would also like to thank those friends who have looked at the webpage and given me their advice and suggestions.

 

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