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Many ordinary lives feel static and mundane. We all need escapism for diversion in leisure hours and fantastic fiction, science fiction and speculative fiction are in great need. Over the past 70 years so many decades of change arrived, from the Second World War to the present time. This is author Robin G Howards short biography dating the 'escape from life' periods.
The lyrics of a country song says it all 'you'll never get out of this world alive' But relax, you can escape now and then.
If you read Jim Long space agent stories you are a very special person. You the reader bring Jim Long to life. The creation of this character was made possible by me, a thirteen year old boy then, now aged into a mature man. In these days of financial and uncertain upheavals do you feel as though you want to escape from life for just a few hours? Escape from this world of disunity and chaos is essential. It is not just today that we need to do this. The turmoil of world events that in turn affect us and the way we live have been here for centuries. In bygone days before books there were story tellers. They told stories passed on by others from their own minds. My own grandfather was a story teller who related stories to me when I was very young.
The advent of books passed on the stories to thousands more people and gradually a world market emerged. Today, our young are immersed in movie videos and computer games to escape reality, and the best are based on stories from books. The golden creativity of the 1950's decade of my teenage years made a great impact on me. Music changed considerably. From the smooth big band sound and jazz, rock and roll emerged and the creation of what I describe as the emotional big ballad. The music cried out to the teenagers of that era, men and women now in their 60's/70's. Due to the wonderful advance of technology I now sing those songs. As a young boy in Sheffield I would walk miles to different local cinemas to see the movies of the week including Abbott and Costello, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, George Formby and a great deal of escapist science fiction. Even at a certain Sunday school they showed fifteen episodes, one each week of Flash Gordon.
The decade brought huge change to many markets. In the UK if you failed your eleven plus (an exam taken as an eleven year old) you were placed on the job scrap heap. You were considered inferior by the establishment. It took great personal pain and commitment to fight a way out of it. The schools then had their share of bad academic teachers. Men and women with great qualifications who could not teach! Teaching is not something you can judge by placing ticks on paper. It is a strong quality of interaction between teacher and pupil. The good teacher needs to inform of everything that he or she knows in a way that causes a response to the majority in a classroom, it is a vocation rather than a job. My father was a teacher who I never knew; he disappeared in the war on an aircraft somewhere over the ocean when I was two years old.
My imaginative side propelled me on and stopped me from becoming depressed. It was a great science fiction and speculative fiction era The Forbidden Planet The Day the Earth Stood Still, were the classic films of that time. Cinemascope and 3D films came into being with thousands of comics in the shops illustrating strange alien creatures and super heroes. The Eagle comic came into being with the famous character Dan Dare on the front cover. Inside were pages of scientific knowledge of the day, not just written but illustrated in comic form. At 6.45pm on the radio was Dick Barton special agent and switching channels to Radio Luxemburg at 7pm you could then hear Dan Dare pilot of the future. It was rich in the age of illusion and lifted your soul out of the physical drabness around. Television has now taken over that option. In the 1970's and 80's life became more affluent, big money could be earned by hard work. This in a way drove out the escapism and brought in what was called 'the kitchen sink drama'.
People became immersed in watching others problems. Like the Great Roman Empire where the crowds shouted out to see if a gladiator could survive being killed by another or a lion. The soaps were flourishing and the cinema followed on with a spate of heavy family drama. This has now evolved to reality television where humankind shows all the hate, jealousy, stupidity and tribulations of real life. This is now slowly waning as a financial depression hits the world. Now, Doctor Who is back and flourishing once again and so is the cinema with sci-fi and supernatural blockbusters. We have reached an age again where we can all escape from our life and homes for a couple of hours. In the 1980's I wrote six British professional pantomimes in 18 months as a director of a theatrical company and saw each one produced on stage including Charlie Drake and Harry Worth.
Today I buy software and experiment in a 'self taught' environment. I spent hours on word processing, far easier now than the old typewriter, then more hours on PDF to be able to create ebooks. The creation of a website took many hours of labour including the working of HTML. I then mastered a movie programme and placed several trailers on You Tube. All this happened in the last 8 years, not bad for an age of 65 plus.
In 1994 the first Jim Long book emerged 'Ancient Ones of Light' I wrote it all in long hand and then used a typewriter. It was a long process and due to the intense writing there was an indent in my index finger where the biro rested. I had decided to write five books in the series. It was reviewed in a science fiction magazine the reviewer liked the first two chapters and then described the rest as a 'hack' story. At that time two teenagers bought the books and really enjoyed the story, telling me so, face to face. Snobbish reviewers deemed the book as inferior. In fact, hack to them is comic book stories. I don't know about you, but I love comic book stories. In this day and age some great action films have been a huge success but the storyline is deemed as hack. It seems if you pander to the masses the literary critics deem that you are producing hack.
The second book was published 'The White Hole' and although I do not see this as a great literary work, to me it is the most imaginative one of the series up to now. It departed on a 'book-crossing' journey sent all over the world to different readers. I found out that the ladies could not come to terms with it but men loved it describing it as old sci-fi school and there were several very good reviews, one from France.
The third book followed 'Soulgate-Temple of Souls'. This is a supernatural speculative fiction story about a buried underground structure that was used as a kind of temple of worship. There is also a love story running through between the actions for the ladies. I had it properly edited by an American editor but was so busy writing the fourth that I never had it reviewed.
The fourth SF story, just released in ebook format 'Divine Fanaticism' was well received by my editor who states: '
a very clever idea it works very successfully as a sci-fi action novel, a terrorist suspense thriller, an implicit critique on religious fundamentalism and also as a psychological / metaphysical detective story. The interrogation of Jel Hal Kinima by Jim Long, is of course one of the highlights of the novel a masterly piece of dramatic exposition, in my opinion, in which Jim slowly, surgically, psychologically breaks down Kinima's illusions comparisons with the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov even sprung to mind!' The paperback edition will be released in November 2010. The cover was illustrated by my friend Keith J Luck, in my opinion a fantastic artist from my era, thank you Keith for an exceptional cover. Now it only leaves for you the public to tell me what you think of the story.
The fifth book which I am now working on is pushing my imagination to boundaries of a more profound nature. The whole of existence is threatened by high creatures of the spirit who want to bring physical existence to an end. Two Jim Long short stories are now available to read Justiciary of the Hoverers and Mosaic Death both set in alternate dimensions of time.
There is no modernism in my works to show sex or swearwords. If I though it necessary I would use this, but as I imagine in a future advanced society as the Galactic Police they would not need foul-mouthed adjectives to issue orders or directions. Therefore, I like to think that Jim Long space agent can be read by teenagers upwards. However, they will see the evil in men escalate to new boundaries, and that is ugly, as Jim strives to finally defeat them.
This article is from Robin G Howard the author of Jim Long space agent series of books. All books can be bought using ISBN numbers or from the publishers All Interest Books.co.uk. To find out who is Jim Long space agent, go to the author site at www.sfauthorsite-JL.com library and bibliography of four full novels and two short stories are now on release in the Jim Long space agent series. The fourth book 'Religious Fanaticism just released as an ebook and paperback edition, can be bought from the publishers site All Interest Books.co.uk. Further info can be found at the Jim Long space agent video on YouTube.