Copyright ©2011/2012 Simon Daryl Wood. All rights reserved.

A long-held wish, a forbidden magic spell and a kidnapping propel 10-year-old James Bell and his family into an adventure beyond belief. At the moment of the lunar eclipse on the stroke of midnight the World is to be sold. Armed with only the power of his imagination and the contents of his money box, James must challenge the greed of the mighty Bogus Corporation, a sinister bank and the mysterious Gnomes of Zurich in a race against time to stop the sale and prevent the destruction of childhood.
[Fairy Story] "will make you wish you could go back to the magical time of childhood where anything is possible, as it surely is in this book." Masquerade Crew [4-Star] Review.

"An incredible story. Such an interesting world to dive into, with great twists and turns. A mesmerizing read for young and old." Amazon Reader [5-Star] Review.

"Clearly recognizable strands from many familiar stories deftly woven into a new presentation of sin, bravery, adventure, greed and fear. The modern world of Area 51, cell phones, jets and missiles is mixed with Cinderella almost seamlessly. Like all good stories, a basic morality carries the protagonists down their allotted path to an age-old predictable end (which all good stories do). An end for all with another chapter tantalizingly around the corner." Amazon Reader [5 Star] Review.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Machine Stops

E.M. Forster wasn't at all enamoured by H.G. Wells' rosy technological vision of the future. In 1909 he set down his misgivings in a prophetic 12,000-word story entitled "The Machine Stops" in which people do not venture outside their living spaces. They live in a virtual world, wholly dependent upon a global mechanism [The Machine] for delivering their day-to-day needs and means of communication. His was a frightening vision of the future in which he predicted many things, including home-shopping, iTunes, instant messaging and Skype. Forster hinted, too, at the perils of globalization—

"Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury? Why return to Shrewsbury when it would all be like Peking? Men seldom moved their bodies; all unrest was concentrated in the soul."

Needless to say, the machine destroys itself and people set out to try to recapture their lost lives. The story ends with a kiss, something you cannot do virtually, and the line—

"Oh, tomorrow - some fool will start the Machine again, tomorrow."

Because we have no Plan-B for the day when our all-singing, all-dancing 21st Century internet age suddenly goes pear-shaped, E.M. Forster's novella should serve as a warning to us all and be made required reading for every ten-year-old girl and boy.

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