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Fiction

New Blog

I’ve decided to change the other blog I have and turn in from a personal blog, which never really got used and which this blog is anyway, to something more useful and informative. Recently I have been adding to my Bob Shaw collection: actually close on a dozen books in a couple of months. Admittedly most are building up my hardback collection of his works, but there are a few rarities I didn’t have.

I’ve searched the web on occasions and there’s not much about Bob Shaw, which is a shame as he is a great writer. So I’m going to use the other blog to post on the Bob Shaw books I have and am now acquiring.

The blog will be here on this dot com and there already is a link on the front page.

Full link from here: www.shadowdevil.com/jp

I’ve already scanned in a few covers and started on some thoughts and reviews, the first one is up already.

Word 97 v Word 2002, winner Word 2002, loser me

I have OEM copies of both Word 97 and Word 2002. They come with editions of Works, Money and Autoroute attached but those programs are of little importance. Both laptops I have come with the latest versions of Works. And, unless you’re running some sort of business or a student, Word is all you need from the Office Suite.

Word 97 is on the new laptop and after running it a few times I noted that the find feature in particular was very slow. The dialog box would take a couple of seconds coming up on the screen and a further couple of seconds disappearing. It got a little annoying after a while.

The idea popped into my mind one day – no doubt placed there by some little devil – that I should put version 2002 on that laptop as it’s more modern (i.e. bloated) and would no doubt run better under Vista than the ancient 97 version.

So I dug out the disks and duly installed the software. It was quite clever and un-installed Word 97 too. I then activated the product over the net and started working with it.

Only I didn’t.

I didn’t expect Microsoft Word to fnurg up a Microsoft Word document but it did.

On trying to load a file the program promptly cried like a little girl and passed the buck to Vista. Reboot the machine I thought, Microsoft software (indeed any software) likes to do that. I rebooted but still no go. The document wouldn’t load, causing Word to crash each time. Works and Open Office wouldn’t open it either.

I spent at least an hour trying to recover the file, downloading shareware programs and such. None of them could get any more information that the ‘recover text from file’ option in the Word Open File dialog so they turned out to be a waste of time.

I was quite lucky in that I only lost about five, six hundred words, but it’s still five to six hundred words lost.

The problem solver in Vista suggests I download the XP service pack but I’m a bit wary of that. I may or may not install it, depends how soon I stop being pissed of at Word.

TRTM

I have a story that has been bouncing around my head for a year. it spawned itself from a dream: the title anyway. It’s about violence and I haven’t really been able to do much with it. For close on a year it has been building up, fleshing out, but never been written down. Last night I spat out a whole outline and it’s starting to take some solid shape. I’ll be using a literary device to tell the story, so the oultine is going to be cut to pieces and re arranged, turned upside down and inside out, but it’s there, a complete story outline with enough information to draft a full story.

Frightening fiction

I went through a box of old fiction today.

Boy was it scary.

Well, a few things about it was scary.

First it was typed. So this dates it to the eighties. I started off with a manual typewriter, upgrading to an electric model a few years later, moving on to an Amiga (A600, which I still have and which still works) in the early nineties and on to a full fledged PC (a 386 with a mighty 4MB of Ram and a hard disk of about 20 or 40 megabytes, standard VGA display) in the mid to late nineties and from then to more powerful systems. I type this on a laptop with a couple of hundred times more memory and a couple of hundred time the hard drive, attached to the internet – which I hadn’t even heard about in the eighties.

Looking back the manual typewriter could be tricky and awkward but the electric typewriter was close to using a computer keyboard.  Changing the ribbons was always a chore; I don’t think anyone who owned a typewriter enjoyed that chore.

In fact I came across quite a bit of writing in red text. Obviously I didn’t change the ribbons when the black ink faded but just switched it over and started using the red strip.  Memories are coming back about the ribbons.  I remember I used to get a ribbon half black and half red and sometimes a ribbon that was half black and the other half correction. Though I think the latter may have been for the electric typewriter. I also they were quite expensive and required a trip into Dunfermline or Kirkcaldy to get them from John Menzies – now WHS Smith.

The other , more frightening, aspect of rummaging through the box was finding one hundred odd pages of a novella called ‘Cash Flow.’ The frightening thing is that I have no recollection of this whatsoever. Not a jot. Yet I must have spent a month or so at least on it.  I have the one hundred plus pages and a separate plot outline. It was a first draft – I know this because the spacing on the pages is single lined: a final draft is double spaced – and, I have to admit, pretty abysmal.  I only skimmed through some of the pages but there didn’t seem to be anything coherent to the structure to keep the reader interested.

Fiction available

PC owners can download the following e-books.

Diary Of A Mad Scientist

The … er.. diary … of … er… a scientist, who may or may not be mad.

Fetch

A fetching ghost story, to give the full title. It’s a play on words and a story from a long time ago.

Unprofessional

My first published story way back in the ancient times of the 80s.