philip stephen rowlands


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Calling Aspiring Science Fiction Writers

user image 2014-03-31
By: philip stephen rowlands
Posted in: Guest Articles

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Who doesn't love the story of Orson Welles radio production of War of the Worlds which caused many listeners to head for the hills - literally. Deliberately introducing the play as a news broadcast proved too realistic especially when one of the actors described the emergence of an alien from its spacecraft:

"Good heavens, something's wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake," he said, in an appropriately dramatic tone of voice. "Now it's another one, and another. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing's body. It's large as a bear and it glistens like wet leather. But that face.'s indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate....The thing is raising up. The crowd falls back. They've seen enough. This is the most extraordinary experience. I can't find words. I'm pulling this microphone with me as I talk. I'll have to stop the description until I've taken a new position. Hold on, will you please, I'll be back in a minute."

Many people didn't bother to hang around as panic began to grip the population. Instead of suppressing a superior snigger at all those naive folks perhaps we shouldn't be too quick to cast the first stone of ridicule. Technology is moving so fast the lines between science and fiction are becoming increasingly blurred. Perhaps there never has been such a great time to be an aspiring writer of science fiction which brings me to the point of this post. If anyone would like to provide a paragraph from their work, unfinished or published, I will feature it on this blog next week along with a link to whatever you provide.
To kick us off I'll include a few paragraphs from my own project that I will have to finish one day soon! It is set in a post apocalyptic world where some of the survivors live within vast cellular domes protecting themselves from the anarchic wasteland beyond. Genetic technology has been developed to such an extent that it is now possible to identify deviant genes that give rise to anti-social behaviour.

There was little traffic on the auto link. Occasionally they would speed past huge land transporters ferrying goods from zone to zone. Once, the monstrous bulk of an interstate freighter moved deferentially to one side in acknowledgement of the distinctive markings displayed on the sleek black limo. Only essential personnel owned petrol powered vehicles. Most drove solar powered transporters that were by law restricted to zonal sectors only. The advances in cellular construction which had made possible the development of the vast 'zonal domes' also concentrated the suns energy providing all necessary power. The domes also protected the inhabitants from harmful effects of solar radiation that so easily penetrated the impoverished atmosphere.

At least traffic jams were a thing of the past. Chief Inspector Dale had read of this late twenty first century phenomenon with amused fascination. He afforded himself a wry smile. The problem appeared insoluble to scientists and politicians alike as the multiplying mass of humanity threatened to exhaust rapidly decreasing global resources. Pollution, the suppurating wounds of industrialised society, festered openly. A disease many believed incurable. Overshadowing these horrors hung the threat of the nuclear holocaust.


When the end came no one even recognised its coming. The collapse of the Western monetary system proved disastrous. Economies disintegrated. Inflation soared. Nations plunged into a world wide depression deeper than an ocean trench. Swept away by the tidal wave of events governments lay stranded and helpless like beached whales. Anarchy prevailed. Continents became one vast battle ground. Wars raged within and between nations. Nuclear weapons of unimaginable destructive power were unleashed and a second Dark Age enshrouded mankind. Famine, the camp follower of war, carried her children, disease and misery, at her breast. The human race teetered on the brink of destruction.

Out of chaos arose a saviour.
But salvation carried a price. Theirs had been Jonathon.

The car sped through the nightmare landscape. Beyond the elevated auto pass security patrols wailed as they passed along the restricted area that marked the boundary of the Outworld. The occasional staccato roar of a helipatrol thundered a primal challenge across the reddening sky as it swept over the wasteland in scything arcs. A vivid sunset seeped through the heavens bloodying the scarred earth. Against the skyline the wreckage of a lost world cast its grotesque silhouette like the exposed bones of an ancient beast time has long since devoured. Camp fires flickered amidst the sepulchres of dead cities. Still the car sped on.

Dale glanced at the window and saw his face reflected against the desolation.
Kay still believed he was out there.
In exile.
She must never know the truth. No one must."

That's my contribution folks the rest is up to you. If you are interested please contact me at

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You may or may not know that I also write educational programs for children. If you have a young child I am currently giving away free copies of an app that simulates Cuisenaire Rods. My grandson, who's seven, loves using it. If you would like a free copy follow this link FREE APP