Abstract (Executive Summary)

Let us posit the following statement: ‘Our current systems of governance were designed for earlier centuries and are no longer fit for purpose.’ Sustainable replacement of a governing system relies on the acceptance of that system by the governed and, to earn that, the new system must be better for a minimum of the majority. The status quo is never immutable but, in popular psychology, most people continue to adhere to what has always been done because change requires thought and individuals are risk-adverse with anything as important as their whole society. Accredited philosophers, fiction writers and…

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A runcing light spoils my book, the bulb decaying to orange and split-crackling for attention. Discharge throes of the silent electrical world around me. We’re deep in the night, the bulb, the novel and I, with no shops open. We persist, nosing closer to the page. My glasses make no difference at this range, so off they come and of course there’s a thumb print to find in the morning. A coffee ring on the cover, which wasn’t me, fifty years old if it’s a second’s error. Why do so many things go wrong? This is too hard. Make a…

The Southampton Theory Astrophysics and Gravity Research Centre is pleased to invite you to the 2021 STAG Public Lecture:


By Physics Nobel Laureate Sir Roger Penrose

Wednesday 20th October 2021 2.30pm, Turner Sims Theatre

The singularity theorems of the 1960s showed that not only are the space-time singularities of gravitational collapse generic expectations of classical general relativity, but so also is the big bang singularity a generic phenomenon (work largely by Stephen Hawking) for a rapidly expanding early universe. Whereas the mathematical arguments are time-symmetric in this way…

Nazar Mohammad, stage name Khasha Zwan, was an Afghan comedian picked up and murdered by the Taliban in late July 2021 because he made them look foolish. Portrayal through the lens of comedy, or tolerance of that cheeky process, is an activity our cultures clash on.

A Taliban representative attempted to justify the murder by claiming Khasha was not just a comedian but also a soldier (which he had never been), had fought in many battles (again no) and that he was simultaneously a policemen in another district of the country (um, no). …

Excellent. I can be fairly confident in saying this story is unique and convincingly breaks the usual romance formula in several respects.

Firstly, a lead male character wouldn’t conventionally have this sort of background in either past experience or a more reality-based geographical origin (big Scottish city). He is very careful, humble, reliable and in control of himself most of the time as if he’s been put in his place long ago and accepted Fate’s justice (like a good prospect for a family man, not a dominant egoprick) but that maturity also trips into reckless courage when it is needed…

This is a sci-fi journey inspired by one astronomical event and probably by several books on the same theme which preceded it.

The event was the first observation of a demonstrable interstellar object. Back in 2017, at Haleakalā Observatory in Hawaii, the object Oumuamua (Hawaiian meaning: “a messenger from afar arriving first”) was identified as being of interstellar origin. Specifically, although the 57,000 mph tumbling mass was noticed only after it swung around the sun, its trajectory placed it has having come from the vicinity of the star Vega, 147 trillion miles from our planet.

Apart from originating outside the…

Here are some click and play links to audiobook short stories on YouTube, most of which were from our popular paperback and ebook collection Writers in Lockdown.

There’s every sort of genre and eccentricity in this anthology which spans comedy, drama, science fiction, paranormal and literature. I hope you like them. Please leave a comment to discuss your favourites on YouTube or Goodreads!

Adoption, by Dale E. Lehman (full cast)

The Trout Ticklers, by Kristýna Corres

The Hospitaller, by Mike Sherer

Oberbootsman Becker, by Stephen Mills

RN40, by Magnus Stanke

Digital Nomad, by Saj Brodie

Lockdown Hero, by Jenny Torniainen

By Faith Jones

I’ve always suspected that I might be the world’s greatest sceptic, believing only the experience of my eyes and ears. If you question everything, what survives intact at the end must be important, right? Therefore, I question; until people stop listening to me. Often longer.

You’re wondering if I was always like this, de-linked from standard female impulses. Well, from your perspective, I have to concede that I lived through a stranger’s version of childhood, although a miniscule statistical possibility remains that my early years could have been an implanted memory (Bertrand Russell said that). I can at least be…

When bilge water sloshes around your socks in the all but unreachable depths of the Estonian salt-marshes, it kind of completes the tiresomeness of the day to watch a farmer shoot a goose.


From the dispiriting mists of morning, the poor thing tucked its wings and fell down to the reeds with a resigned slap. The hunter clacked open his shotgun and ejected a spent cartridge into the mire. It would remain there, preserved in anaerobic conditions, for another thousand years but he didn’t give a shit. Ordinarily this would be an unremarkable event but today there was something…

There are a few passages in this book that would be of interest an impartial audience (anyone not swept along by liberty campaigns). If it was just about comedy though, I think it would have appealed to a much broader readership. There is an overwhelming proportion of content to emphasise Graham Chapman defining himself by the attribute of gayness (with a pipe), at the expense of defining himself by his comedy writing and performance talents. Is it just me that thinks of him as a great comedian first and doesn’t care what he did when he went home?

The first…

Faith Jones

Reviewer, Editor, Mars colony volunteer

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