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Category Archives: Conundrums

A Winter full of shorts (stories that is!)

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So this is a sequel to last summer’s extravaganza, where I listed a bunch of stories and where I sent them. Nearly all were rejected and I’m still waiting to hear back from HEARTS KISS about Making the First Move and By the Lights of the Silvery Moons.

I’m still fishing for that elusive, slippery First Commission, wriggling like a fish, if you get the imagery. I have been through and dusted off a few tales and sent them out into the ether, hoping for a response, a bit like the search for Extra-terrestrial Intelligence, there’s no sign yet, but I’m still hopeful!

So what’s out this glorious Mid-winter’s day then? Well, The Last Christmas of Planet Earth went to ALBEDO 1, Time of the Centuroids was submitted to FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, Terror of the Centuroids, to HARD UNIVERSE, I have sent The Band of Firebrothers to GALAXY’S EDGE, The Beckoning Call to ORSON SCOTT CARD’S INTERGALACTIC MEDICINE SHOW and SID The RoboDetective to ESCAPE POD, and finally Arachnicide was brushed off and sent to AMAZING STORIES. My one new story– I Slept Through the Apocalypse, based on Grey Dominion, I have submitted to ANALOG Magazine.

So there you have it. Ten stories and there are another six that need editing/revising and then it’s trying to finish the next dozen or so I have begun. And Tiglet might be getting a few new tales as well. So I’m looking for a breakthrough, anyway possible.

And that’s all from the Literary Front. If you’re interested in reading any of my published stories, both A Riot in the Library and Inquisition were relegated to being online by the University of Liverpool in 2015 while Incineration Day was included in Epic Anthology in 2014 and the Case of the Missing Mince Pies in the Chester Writers Anthology in 2017. All are listed on my Linked In page-

 

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/ian-cai-mercer-3a273233

 

 

 

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COMING SOON- THE DOCTORS WHO SAVED CHRISTMAS!

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There was no real snow again over the Christmas/New Year holidays, but I knew I had to try and film something, so began the long-awaited stop-motion series. First three are ‘in the can’ as they say, just needing effects/voices music and editing together. I think it’ll be Easter by the time they are all done, but here’s a photo teaser-trailer from the epic prelude to Series 6- entitled The NeoDoctor Adventures!

Time Travelling has never been so much FUN!

 

 

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INFINITE WHONIVERSES – ROBOT REVOLUTION REVISITED! (1/2)

IW RR4Back in Series 2 of Infinite WHOniverses, in 2015 I introduced A World Without The Doctor- Classic stories retold without the TARDIS arriving and the intervention/meddling/interference of The Doctor and friends.

The First tale retold was THE ROBOTS OF DEATH, from the era of 4TH Doctor Tom Baker.

Now, finally the Sequel to that story is nearly ready- More on that next time.

For now, here is THE ROBOT REVOLUTION- available to download or read online.

Ian Cai Mercer.

 11/01/2019

robot revolution

ENJOY!

 

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A SMALL PART IN A LARGER PARACOSM- STAR WARS IS MUCH BIGGER THAN THE SKYWALKER CLAN (2/2)

paracosm-pictureAs I mentioned the other day, I’ve been thinking more about the Metanarrative of Star Wars- the ‘larger world’ Obi Wan spoke of in Episode four, but I’m thinking it should be the Larger Universe.

 

One of the things about much Science Fiction is how parochial it can be. Star Trek/Doctor Who/ Firefly and so on concentrate on stories set in the Milky Way galaxy, a few episodes have gone outside to other galaxies, but Stargate Universe went further than most.

Thinking that the Main galaxy, or Galaxy One is where the First set of Tales in the SWU have been set, maybe it’s time to look further afield, see what other stories there are in othe galaxies far, far away.

I learned an interesting new word last week- PARACOSM. A Bigger Universe, a Metanarrative, a story that grows from a serial to an Epic to a Saga spanning generations.

StarWars at its initial release went fro story to Paracosm in an hour, introducing and mentioning so much- The Imperial Senate/The Clone Wars/Jedi Knights and the Old Rebuplic and so much, with Wookies and Aliens never seen before.

That ‘Larger world’ grew even more significantly over the next two films, all built on in comics/books and the prequel and sequel Trilogies. So it’s getting pretty big and crowded in there, yet is still only one galaxy amongst myriads.

It’s worth mentioning other Mettanarrative/Paracosms (MNP’s) like Dune, The Mahaberata, The Bible, Greek myths (and Norse/Egyptian etc) Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, HP Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, The Wheel of Time. Now it’s the Multi-media epics of DC/Marvel multiverses, along with Star Trek/Stargate/Doctor Who/Warhammer 40k/Game of Thrones. The Lord of the Rings kick- started the modern Era, but it was Flash Gordon that the SWU is most indebted to.

Of the old serials it was also longer than most. Buck Rogers, Undersea Kingdom and King of the Rocketmen went for twelve chapters, but the longest Serial was The Hazards of Helen, which lasted 119 Chapters.

Flash Gordon- also known as The Space Soldiers was a 13-chapter serial, with FG Trip to Mars at 15 chapters and FG Conquers the Universe at 12 chapters- making that saga FORTY chapters long.

With The Skywalker Saga being Nine Chapters, what about other tales from The Journal of the Whills?

I think Star Wars has just started its own Meta-paracosm and there are other stories/sagas out there, it’s just a matter of stepping into that Larger World, just like Obi Wan said.

Inspired by Wired- You won’t live to see the final Star Wars movie-

https://www.wired.com/2015/11/building-the-star-wars-universe/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracosm

 

 

Star Wars 101- Galaxies and Stardust (1/2)

 Where is the Star Wars galaxy in the Universe? I’ve been using my knowledge of Astronomy to muse over that one for a while.

It all began a long time ago, in a Cinema not so far away when a young Mercer watched STAR WARS EPISODE FIVE- THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK for the first time on the big screen, then on TV every Christmas, then on video, then back on cinema for the Special Edition, then on DVD Special Edition and then the Box Set with Original version and Special Edition together.

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I’ve even watched it again over the holidays, just the Original version though.

In the Final scene, Luke, Leia and the droids watch as Lando and Chewie leave to find Han Solo.

The backdrop is of the Rebel Fleet in space with a large galaxy in the background. For years this was misinterpreted as being outside the galaxy, now it’s being called a protostar, both assumptions are wrong.

Firstly, the starfield around the fleet means that it is inside the galaxy, as being ‘outside’ would have a void, or at least very few stars. The Falcon then flies OVER it and to one side away, and then the fleet head off away from it too- so clearly not heading into it.

galaxy1

Secondly, ILM made those shots after Lucas asked for clarification of Luke etc in position to the Falcon, hence the window showing outside. In the Special Edition rerelease, it was changed to a reddish nebula (but I don’t really care about them, it’s the Original versions that matter, though that’s just my preference)

Anyway, calling it a Protostar ignores the spiral shape, plus the fact that it looks a hell of a lot like the Andromeda galaxy, especially the closer shot of the Falcon flying over the arms. I’ve seen many different pictures of it, as I set my Intergalactic version of Romeo and Juliet in it and it’s the main setting for my Intergalactic Crime and War serial Rebirth!

As Andromeda is the largest galaxy in the Local Group of Galaxies, it makes sense that a digital rendering making use of parts of it to show a nearby Intergalactic neighbour- call it Galaxy 2. It’s led to some speculation that the SW galaxy is actually Triangulum, but how far is ‘far, far away’ anyway? That implies massive distances and my theory is it lies somewhere beyond a Billion light years, but it’s up to Lucasfilm and Disney to set some stories beyond the Main galaxy. There were the Nagai and Yuuzhan Vong invasions in the old comics and New Jedi Order books, but whether they will be included in the New Canon in some form or another is yet to be seen.

Either way, it’s a First Step into a Larger world, as Obi Wan Kenobi said, but that’s a topic for another time!

https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/74385/is-the-galaxy-depicted-at-the-end-of-empire-strikes-back-a-real-galaxy

Oh, and by the way? The cinema where I saw it was The Empire Cinema in Widnes, where I also saw ET/Superman 1 and 2/Return of the Jedi!

 

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THE FIRST ROGUE- The New STAR WARS Prequel series And Star Wars Fan Film fest Winner- ‘Like My Father Before me’. PLUS- THE END OF THE SKYWALKER SAGA???

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When Lucasfilm/Disney announced that Diego Luna was to reprise his role as Cassian Andor from Rogue One, I thought- “At last!” Something gritty and darker that’s been missing from the last couple of films. Whether it starts off with Cassian with K2SO, or if he finds K2 and reprograms him later on I don’t know. As Prequel ideas go, it’s pretty nifty and I think LF can deliver. It certainly seems like they are making an effort to listen to the fanbase.

The Galaxy of Adventure shorts are fun, cheeky little short Anime-style retellings of scenes from The Original Trilogy, each concentrating on a character like Luke, Chewbacca, Leia and recently Darth Vader. My favourite part is where Palpatine’s machinations and manipulations are shown- “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design”. The Master puppeteer says, although it is Luke and gang who mess that all up for him.

 

THE MANDALORIAN, the live-action series by Jon Favreau is still being a bit enigmatic. I still think it’s about Cobb Vanth, a self-styled ‘Lawman’ who finds a suit of Mando armour and becomes the Sheriff in a frontier Town on Tatooine, but I could be wrong. There were Mandalorians on Rebels, so it could follow them, or could even be about Montross from The Bounty Hunter games on PS2, for all I know.

 

Then there is the SWFFF- That’s Star Wars Fan Film Fest to you, an annual competition shown on the Lucasfilm website. I watched several after a couple of my Friends from The Keystroke Killer shared their entry. ‘Like my Father before me’ is about a trio of ‘retired’ Jedi who face Darth Maul in a mini epic. Aided by R2D2 and BB8, they defeat him to fight on another day.

Played well by DH Lewis, Jack Curenton and co, it’s a nice whimsical tale, even with a possible sequel as Jack C faces Darth V!

It won the Audience Choice award and is listed on the Lucasfilm website, which also includes Exiles/The Kessel Run and The Toys Awaken, a stop-motion Star Wars version of Toy Story, which is also pretty good.

I think I might work on a few short films myself for next year’s Fan Film Fest-

 

Storming the Dead. This was one of those happy accidents that sometimes happen when I went to Hamfest-Oldham Comic con in 2017. Spectre Squad, a cosplay/costuming group were there, along with some painted props/sets, including a door saying ‘don’t open, dead inside’ so I had the idea of Stormtroopers going in, so set up a mini-photoshoot with several of the guys posing in front. When I got home, I saw the footage and was inspired to make a Walking Dead/Star Wars crossover, so had to have Tiglet narrate it- great fun!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI0hQg8BE6w

 

ANOTHER CHANCE. When you think about it, the destruction of Alderaan in ANH is the most heinous crime you could think of- the murder of millions of people echoes real life crimes like The Holocaust/911/Darfur/Pearl Harbour. As leia said, it is the most desperate hour, echoed by Obi Wans line- “millions of voices crying out in terror and were suddenly silenced, I fear something terrible has happened” The saga’s most chilling moment, more chilling than Order 66. I get goosebumps and shivers. Battlestar Galactica has done it, but in Star Wars, the survivors are spread out across the galaxy. Like Games of Thrones, it is an epic tale of betrayal/survival from several viewpoints in different places. There have been hints of a persecution of Alderaani survivors in Inferno Squad and a graphic novel about Leia, but a series like this would be awesome. This could be The SW version of Game of Thrones. And if I could get Sean Bean for it, so much the better!

 

THE DARK ORDER

The universe is filled with galaxies, although Dark Matter and voids separate them, like islands. Unlike many other SF stories, the SW galaxy is far, far away, not like the Andromeda galaxy and forty-odd satellite galaxies of the Local Group.

In Empire Strikes Back, the fleet gather, with a large spiral galaxy in the backdrop. This has been interpreted as The main Star Wars galaxy, but that is a false assumption. The surrounding starfield wouldn’t be there if the fleet was outside, plus the Falcon flies ‘over’ the galaxy, not down into the gravity well.

So, that means it is a neighbouring galaxy, perhaps a twin to the SW one. And that means there is another galaxy of possible stories out there, including the possible Origins of the Skywalkers. What if Shmi was a refugee, or part of a Mengele-like experiment? Wouldn’t that explain Anakin’s abilities? Did Shmi have another child with Lars who then had Rey? That would make Luke her Uncle and Ben her cousin.

Another galaxy opens up even more possibilities for stories. An alternate take on the Yuuzhan Vong or the Nagai, two Intergalactic invaders, and if, as Obi Wan says the Force ‘binds the galaxy together’, what would bind another galaxy? An anti-Force maybe?

Rather than a series, this could form the basis of a trilogy, Episodes 10, 11 and 12. That’s the 45th and 50th Anniversaries sorted.

But that begs the question- how long is the Saga to go on for? Lucas original outline was the Journal of the Whills; alternate versions were the Adventures of Starkiller/Adventures of Luke Skywalker. It was supposed to be nine chapters, based on the 1930’s versions of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, which usually ran for 12 chapters, or episodes. Lucas finished at Return of the Jedi as it was about Anakin and Luke- the Fall and Redemption of Darth Vader- but The Journal can continue with other stories, other heroes and villains, other families, alien creatures and mystical Beings.

As well as the 40th Anniversary of Empire in 2020, 2022 will be 45th Anniversary of Star Wars Episode 4- A New Hope, with the 50th Anniversary in 2027. So there is a lot riding on what happens in the next year. It’s an exciting time to watch further adventures from a long time ago, in a galaxy (or Galaxies) far, far away!

MAY THE FOURTH (OF JANUARY!) BE WITH YOU!

PS- Sharing one of my favourite Xmas pics- see the full album on Tigletverse photography on Facebook!

https://en-gb.facebook.com/MrTigletsTravels/

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The Force is caffeinated in this one!

 

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ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS- THE BEST OF 2018

ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS- THE BEST OF 2018

Time for another video update, well over due anyway, like my Library books probably are!

I had thought about another 10-15 minute epic, but Eric Calderone’s Metal cover of Bohemian Rhapsody swayed me toward something quick and simple, although watching it back, there should have been a few tighter edits- though the end is probably one of the funniest things I saw all year.

There are a few new events I’ve been to- Bolton Comic Con, Lightnight Liverpool, as well as The Pirate Festival and Fire sessions with the Fire Project. I even took in a bit more architecture, though I’m not sure about Art Fairs anymore.

Wildlife has been a bit thin on the ground, seeing the Fox was great, but need to practice that a bit more. Comic Cons are still the main events, so I’m looking at going London or Birmingham this year.

And there were a few Welsh Castles, something else to finish off, at least in North Wales anyway.

So there you go, Any way the wind blows, the Best of 2018!