October 2019 Facebook Posts

October 1st
The Macmillan sales team have secured an October Kindle Monthly Deal for The Line of Polity in the UK. The deal runs from 1st – 31st October. Find it here: The Line of Polity (Agent Cormac Book 2)

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Nice picture of me for a change. No protruding belly in sight and face concealed by vapour.

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Been making a pig of myself with the kayaking. 15K again today. 3.5 hours out on the Libyan Sea. Fucking love it. I’ve also been walking in the mountains but not so frequently. Not so excited about that in the mornings after beer.

Oct 2nd
Damn but there is so much crap out there about ‘burning muscle’. Nice to get back to reading something that makes evolutionary biological sense.

Contemplating my return to the UK. Definitely 2 consecutive days of fasting each week, a serious weigh-training program, zero alcohol and a meat and veg diet with little in the way of carbs. I will lose this bloody tyre around my waist! On the writing front: complete the next book to first draft, then short stories – lots of short stories.

Right, I’m off. It’s time to make chilli sauce!

Oct 3rd
Okay, it’s that time of year again. I didn’t quite have enough chillies for one batch of sauce from my plants, but Peter – the guy who provided me with the plants in the first place – came up with a nice bag full. I forgot to buy cornflour so this is not as thick as I would like but, I have my chilli sauce in the house again at last!

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Oct 5th
Okay, maybe no kayaking today. The waves here are enough to flip me over so I can guarantee they’ll be worse once I head off around either of the points.

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Peak and final booze intake was achieved the day before yesterday. A carafe of white wine (half a litre) followed by three large glasses (more than half a litre) followed by more white wine then raki isn’t a great idea. Do this on a practically empty stomach and it’s even less of a good idea. At a certain point my memory of the evening is non-existent. The next day’s hangover was of the cringe and curl up somewhere hoping for unconsciousness kind, then this morning an army of dwarves had set up a forge in my head to provide the weapons for war against the orcs. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, lots of water and a walk in the mountains has dismissed the buggers, but the mere thought of alcohol makes me gag.
My last post may have been premature. . .
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Oct 6th
Still cutting up a bit rough, but not as bad as yesterday. I have today and tomorrow (maybe) to take the kayak out. Do I risk it? A sensible person would say no. I left ‘sensible’ behind long ago. Still pondering. . .
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Well, there you go. The other kayaker stopped on the next beach round. I continued most of the way to Koutsouras where over one wave the kayak became airborne from the top and landed with quite a thump in the trough on the other side. At this point I chickened out and turned back. I then achieved the height of cool when a wave flipped the kayak over and I didn’t even lose my sunglasses. I had to tow the thing in so I could get back on it. Enough for today.
Oct 7th
Who ordered the omens? My last day of kayaking and a wave flips me over. A glass jar that has had flowers and suchlike in it all summer came off the outside table and smashed – ‘the glass is broken’ having a particular meaning here I won’t go into. It clouded over and I said to my neighbours that the rain would start when I took in my tables and chairs. It started spotting when I got up to do this and was raining by the time they were inside. But of course we are human and always looking for patterns and connections. They mean nothing . . . if you dismiss my deep connection to the gods on Olympus.
So I wonder what this omen is all about?
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Oh well. Sitting in the airport at the departure gate. It’s grim but it has to be done.
This is annoying: still sitting at the boarding gate and the plane is supposed to leave in 15 minutes.
Oct 8th
Parcels opened first because brown envelopes from the Inland Revenue are just too depressing in the early hours of the morning after a flight from Crete.
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The temperature here in Essex has climbed from 6C to a massive 8C. I’m going through my mail in a desultory manner little inclined to do more than look at it, throw away the rubbish and stack the rest on my desk. I’m also taking the opportunity presented by an empty fridge to start my first fast and I’ll hit the gym later. I’ll do more tomorrow after a decent night’s sleep since I didn’t get to bed last night until 4AM UK time and 6AM Greek time.
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Oh well, that’s my gym plan buggered today. Clickety-click from the starter motor – battery flat.
Okay, just getting round to watching Love, Death and Robots. The short films are as various as the stories they come from, so it’s unsurprising that thus far the best have been by Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds.
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Car started and run for a little while now. Thanks Heidi. I also remembered I had the same problem last time I returned from Crete. A simple expedient is detaching one of the terminals, which I forgot to do. I’ve also ordered one of those portable jump starters.
Is the Dark Crystal series any good?
Oct 9th
Up at 5.00AM this morning, which is 7.00 on Crete so I’m a bit jet lagged. I’ve dealt with a few irritations of UK living, like telling the BBC to stick their TV licence, and have a few phone calls to make. Next up is shopping, since there’s only a bottle of milk in the fridge, then I have to get a routine established for each day: 2,000 words, 1 hour of Greek, gym visit/walk and fasting (I failed yesterday and ate canned fish and beans). Still feeling a bit spaced out, however.
Yay! Cracked it! Happy to have written 2,000 words, slightly sore throat from speaking Greek language lessons out loud for an hour, body tight with a foretaste of tomorrow’s aches and pains from a hard hour in the gym. I now feel fully justified to slump in an armchair with a cup of tea. I did have a bit of a food failure, however. You know how they put sweets next to the tills to tempt squalling brats? Well, in Home Bargains they put packets of crumpets next to the till I paid at, the bastards.
Oct 10th
I think I’ll head out for a long walk this morning. The contrast to Crete will be interesting: flat, muddy and a temperature reading outside at present of zero. You may gather that I’m not exactly bubbling over with enthusiasm for this.
‎Jon Wood‎ to Neal Asher
10 October at 09:01 ·
I keep seeing fantastic vinyl box sets and Special Edition Blu-ray boxsets but I don’t see any book collections! I have a full collection of Asher books but some of the older books are a little tattered and have older artwork…are the publishers missing an opportunity here?
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Box sets might be an idea, and they are redoing all the covers:
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Once again the slump in the armchair with a cup of tea. 7 mile walk this morning, 2,000 words of the book written, an hour of Greek recitation done followed by a final hard hour in the gym. I’m knackered.
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I quite enjoyed Ghost in the Shell – it was a bit of violent fun. But I have to wonder, was she supposed to be clad in a skin-tight suit or, with all their wonderful technology, that they could make boobs but were defeated by nipples?
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Now thinking about watching The Dark Tower. Any good? I will of course briefly heed your opinions before discarding them.
Ooh, excellent. I see that they have Lucy on Netflix. Highly recommended. I think I’ll watch it again.
Oct 11th
Oh bloody hell the gym work is catching up with me. Feels like I’ve been beaten with a stick in places, and like there is elastic under my arms preventing me from easily lifting them. Again today? I dunno. . .
Ολο αυτο το βραδυ εγραψα τα ελληνικα. Μονο λιγο τηλεοραση. Προτιμησα να μαθαινω.
All this evening I wrote Greek. Only little television. I preferred to learn. . . . Or at least that is what I hope that says. I’m sure someone will be along to correct me. Yeah, often I find supposed entertainment boring but, making an effort to learn something, interesting. But then we all know I’m as weird as fuck.
Fuck my body hurts. DOMS. You know you’ve hit the gym hard when getting out of an armchair is a negotiation, and taking something down from the top shelf of a cupboard is a risky exercise.
Oct 12th
And again no gym. I was going to go, but when I struggled to take off my T-shirt I decided it wasn’t a great idea. Food, rest, studying Greek and watching Netflix only today.
Hahahaha! The Boys.
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Saving the last two episodes of The Boys for tomorrow. And yeah, the superheroes would probably end up like that. We see the arrogance of power all around us in politicians and media stars. What kind of arrogance would be engendered by being practically unkillable, able to spatter ‘normals’ and simply ignore human justice?
Somebody said that in the Brass Man cover picture (the Sullivan) Mr Crane has a little rubber dog in his pocket. I am undecided about this. Maybe I should take a look in better light.
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Right. That’s enough. I’ve been a layabout for two days. I’m hitting that gym tomorrow even if I still have DOMS. It has faded a bit now – I just realised I got out of my chair without struggling like a turtle turned on its shell.
Oct 13th
Ooh, look what just appeared on Amazon:
Gym visit extended by a five extra minutes on the hour. And I don’t stand around talking to people – generally a maximum of thirty seconds rest between sets, though sometimes more for the hard bastards. I’m aiming to go every day and, hopefully, take my time there up to an hour and a half or above. Supposing I don’t get crippled by DOMS again.
Ενταξει, θελω ανθρωποι, που μπορεις, να χρησιμοποιεις ελληνικα εδω. Και να με διαρθωσεις οταν ειμαι λαθος. Θελω να μαθενω τι γλωσσα.
Lol!
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Nice sunset this evening. All that London pollution has its uses.
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*snort!*
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Righto. I’ve just eaten a couple of cheese and onion sandwiches, and that’s the last food I plan to eat until after midday on Wednesday. Time to get back into the fasting routine. I won’t even have milk in tea or coffee. Nothing. Zip. Zero calories. I will also continue with the gym visits and maybe get a long walk in too if it’s not pissing down. I will damned well go into ketosis and autophagy!
Seen all of The Boys now. Highly recommended!
A lot here to read for those who are interested in fasting and the science behind it, rather than what the bloke down the gym said, or what some site trying to sell you an expensive diet says, or what the latest crap about it in the media is, or what stupidities your GP or the NHS are still hanging onto.
Oct 14th
Apparently something I posted didn’t meet FB community standards. Buggered if I know what it was. Aren’t they supposed to tell you what they removed?
First full day of fasting begun. I started with an hour and 6 minutes in the gym to burn off some glycogen. Now I’m drinking only black coffee and green tea, and have a salt mixture for those difficult moments later on. Now I need to do stuff, because one thing I’ve found with fasting is just how much time you have to spare when you’re not preparing, eating and digesting food!
Well well well. I questioned FB about that post and now they’ve said they got it wrong and put it back.
21 hours into the fast now, no real problems – hunger comes in occasional waves and that’s all. Though, admittedly, you could have surfed on the one I got smelling fish and chips in Maldon high Street. I’ve done my hour plus in the gym, my 2,000 words, my hour of Greek and now must occupy my time till bedtime. I think I’ll clean the bathroom and maybe get the vacuum out. Meanwhile, tell me what you’re enjoying on Netflix and Prime!
Three episodes into Mindhunter and enjoying it very much. Thanks to all those who recommended it!
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Oct 15th
Past 36 hours into my fast now and all that is going fine. No hunger this morning. I am, however, not moving around very fast. This is due to the gym. A year or so ago they changed their equipment and the new abduction machines were crap – too much slack in them, thighs hitting handles either side of the seat, the necessity to put them up to the top weight to actually feel anything. I used them again the day before yesterday and yesterday – easy exercises that felt like a rest from the other stuff. Yesterday I found a way to take up the slack in one of them (the one where you push your knees inward against the weight). Apparently those machines are now having an effect. The DOMS woke me up in the night and now I’m walking around as if recovering from a kick in the balls.
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The new book is now at 127,000 words. Some creatures in it I named by putting together Greek suffixes and prefixes, my choices being ‘kako’ for bad and ‘phage’ for eat. Oh dear. This it turns out was not a good choice at all. Look up cacophage.
The creatures are nasty predators that eat people, given half a chance. My other choice of name was ‘multidapt’ because they are capable of rapidly changing their body form – they can adapt fast to challenges or threats. I’m now going to have to use multidapt or come up with something else.
New name for the creatures made . . . provisionally.
Ooh I do like eBay. Seeds for next year now winging their way to me. My garden will be the Papagiannades hotspot!
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Um, spent most of today walking round like I’d just stuck a number of decades on my age. Now, do I ease up on the gym stuff, or do I just keep blasting through it? Silly question really since it will always be the second option. No pain no gain, and I’m thinking my gains should be fucking substantial now.
A change is as good as a rest, eh. Kinda surprised me I’ve only been in the UK for eight days. It’s gonna be a long winter.
Okay, I didn’t last as long as I hoped. I blame the characters from Mindhunters always eating and drinking onscreen. But I did manage a 48 hour fast, which is not a bad start. I’ll see if I can do better next week.
Meh, insomnia, it’s 3.00AM here. But then I did collapse into bed at 9.00PM. I don’t suppose staring at an Ipad is helping.
Oct 16th
Still getting annoyed by jerks who talk nonsense about muscle loss from fasting. The myth arose, I suspect, in gyms where people saw their muscles apparently shrinking from loss of glycogen and fat. As I have said before: look at a joint of pork and how much fat is in it, then consider that pigs are less well fed than us. It can also stem from the fact that often, when people fast, they stop exercising – a case of use it or lose it. Autophagy also kicks in to digest crappy cells, which include muscle cells. In this respect and others the body conserves and any muscle loss will be that which is unused or broken. But in the end the basic reality is this: a starving creature that loses muscle it is using in preference to fat, which is there precisely for those times when there is no food around, would have been taken out by natural selection before anything crawled out of the seas. It is like burning pieces of your wooden house to keep warm, rather than using the woodpile out back.
Okay, time to make another attempt at sleep. Annoyingly I took magnesium and melatonin last night. It has not had the desired effect. Probably my insomnia is due to lack of exercise – mooching around all day whining about the pain in my legs.
Nope, I give up. Sleep keeps on evading me. I’ll go to the gym, which is open early thankfully. Doubtless sleep will creep up on me later in the day with a brick in a sock.
Ooh, nice.
Scifi Concept Art: 'Interstellar Cannon' by Chenxi Kang
Good day today. I woke early and went to gym early for a hard hour plus. After that the last of the DOMS started fading away. Next time I’ll push through it rather than sit around feeling sorry for myself. I then got some shopping in before sitting down to write. 2,000 words done. Later an hour of Greek, and now time to relax. The glamorous life of the writer continues. Oh, and re fasting. I haven’t felt particularly hungry today.
And again with the sky. A couple of minutes either way and you miss this.
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Oct 17th
Interesting. After my fast from Sunday night to Tuesday night my appetite hasn’t returned yet. Yesterday I ate a large salad divided into two – one half at 12 the other at about 7 – but not with any relish. More a case of I have to do this, it’s necessary. Today I felt some passing hunger in the morning, but since I’ve introduced an eating window between 12 and 8 I waited till midday. The vegetable omelette I made still sits on a plate only a quarter eaten. I’ll just run with this. No point shoving food in my gob if my body is saying no thanks.
And now I have figure out how I’m going to attach this to my kayak!
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Another productive day today with an hour plus of gym, 2,000 words written and on hour of Greek completed. With the Greek I’m reading past lessons out loud to try and bury the words and phrases in my skull. But an odd lack of relaxation at the end of this day. I’ve sat here trying to watch stuff on TV but just can’t get into it. I also only just stopped myself going out to get a bottle of bourbon, and made a cup of tea instead. I think I need a chair to repair!
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Oct 18th
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Back on making my own kefir now. Taking advice (thanks Chris Haringa) I just used a bottle of plain kefir from the supermarket rather than buying grains from the internet. It works just as well – I poured some of the bottle into a pint of milk and 24 hours later had a pint of kefir. I’ve refrigerated most of that to drink and am making more from the remainder. And so it will continue.
Heh.
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Oh absolutely on the nail.
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Oct 19th
One hour plus in the gym, an hour of speaking Greek but, sadly, only 1,000 words written. After eating I felt somewhat dopy, then woke up in my armchair three hours later. Something quite annoying occurred today too. The circumstance, which I can’t talk about, for me coming back from Crete, has been cancelled. Bollocks, bugger, shit and fuck. I could have stayed there for another month.
Anyway, the new book has slid past 130,000 words and I’ve managed a bit more work on the odd timeline. In this I’m running the present story in the first section or two of each chapter, while delving into the past with the rest of each – deeper and deeper as the book goes on. A lot of polishing will have to ensue, as I shift stuff around to link past events to those in the present, or write such links in. It occurs to me that I’m seeking out complication to make the process more interesting for me, but of course with the corollary that it will be more interesting for you!
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Oh for goodness sake. The trans woman, or man, or whatever in sports arguments still rage. Some say there should be another category for them but, with the way things are going that’ll lead eventually to a hundred categories. Perhaps one for those who self identify as a penguin like Piers Morgan. Bottom line: men have bigger bones and muscles and in general 10% greater lung capacity than women. Cutting off their nadgers, taking hormones or growing their hair longer and dying it pink ain’t gonna change that.
I’ve been putting together my posts on here into blog posts – one for each month – for Facebook haters. A few have protested the necessity of coming here to read them. I’m up to August thus far and need to take a break. Oddly, while doing this, I’ve been plagued all morning with this feeling that there is something I must do – almost a late for work sensation. Each time I rise out of it and realise that well no, there isn’t anything and I can sit on my arse all day if I want. One of the penalties I suspect of constantly pushing myself.

Oct 20th
Creatine powers T cells’ fight against cancer

Tactile Devices.

Aug fibres and, effectively, body-monitoring nanites.

Fascinating creatures, eels.

How our memories stabilize while we sleep

Still some time left on this. . .

The Macmillan sales team have secured an October Kindle Monthly Deal for The Line of Polity in the UK. The deal runs from 1st – 31st October. Find it here: The Line of Polity (Agent Cormac Book 2)

Here’s a review of The Warship by Russell Letson in Locus Magazine.
LOCUSMAG.COM
The Warship, Neal Asher (Night Shade 978-1-59780-990-0, $26.99, 369pp, hc) May 2019. Cover by Adam Burn. Okay, now it’s getting complicated. I called…
 
Two plus days of fasting begun – last thing I ate was at 7.30 last night. I’m aiming again to go through till Wednesday. Right now I’m sipping coffee and shortly about to go to the gym to burn off some glycogen. Black coffee of course.

Oct 21st
Heh.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
21 October 2015 ·
The reason I first walked into Revans Bar 7 years ago. A certain guy called Stan told me it was there so I had to go check it out. Now glued together again and ready to be returned.

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Yup. Make people scared to speak and your ‘truth’ predominates.
About This Website

CFACT.ORG
Global warming campaigners have done an effective job at convincing the media and much of the world that polar bears are dying out. It’s not true. In fact, thanks to a hunting ban, polar bears are a major conservation success story. Their population ballooned from around 5,000 in the 1960s to (depen…


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Tiny, biocompatible nanolaser could function inside living tissues

Discovery leads to ultrasensistive way to measure light

They’re slowly learning to handle graphene

Material That Could Someday Power Quantum Computer

Nanoscale Manipulation of Light Leads to Exciting New Nanophotonics Advancement

Meh. Despite all my best intentions I haven’t done very well with the fasting. I did do twenty-two hours a day for two days. That’s okay for weight loss but doesn’t put me into autophagy. Ah well. You never fail till you stop trying. Otherwise it’s been a good couple of days. I did my 2,000 words, hour of Greek and an hour at the gym on both of them.

Oct 23rd
Heh. Not what I thought it was.

Magnetic supercrystals can assemble themselves

“We also found that over expression of c-Answer causes advanced brain growth and larger eyes, which surprised us, since it means c-Answer modulates for regeneration and brain development,” says Korotkova.

Wake-up call: Cellular sleep isn’t as harmless as once thought

Novel agent flips on garbage disposal in neurons, eliminating toxic brain proteins in mice

The copy editing has now arrived for The Human. Being a good boy I did my 2,000 words and then went through half of that. No gym today because I’ve overstrained my back. Damned body. Hour of Greek done and now It should be time to completely relax. I cannot, however. Even though I did do two lots of twenty-two hours fasting, I still want to do two consecutive days and get properly into ketosis and autophagy. If I relax, my mind will probably stray to the cheddar and preserved sausage in the fridge.

Yay! I made it past the watershed. It was about 6.30 the last two days when fasting collapsed into scoffing what I could find in the fridge.

Just caught up with season 5. Bloody excellent.
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Not so taken with Good Omens. Same over-the-top “acting” by Tennant that finally switched me off Dr Who many years ago. And generally the whole thing seems silly and amateurish.

Oct 24th

Gawd I find going through editing a chore. I shouldn’t complain really since, having done all sorts of jobs, I’m aware of what a real ‘chore’ is. To alleviate the tedium I’m taking breaks to waffle out a blog post. Even this is a bit ho-hum because I’m repeating stuff I’ve already written here and copied into the blog in catch-up posts. But I guess a state-of-play all in one place is . . . okay.

A Concatenation review of The Soldier.
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Writing Update.

Interesting. Hmm 72 hours. . .

47 hours fasting thus far at 6.30. I’m definitely going for 48 but thereafter all is negotiable. After learning that immune system breaks down old immune cells and generates new ones at about 72 hours, I’ll definitely go for that at some point. But perhaps it would be better to get reacquainted with two-day fasts first.

In other news I’ve gone through the copyedits of The Human and dispatched them back to Macmillan. There may be further queries, but that’s about it for that book now. I wonder how long before publication they start printing. I must ask.

I don’t know whether it’s due to the fasting, but I’m being plagued by optical migraine lights tonight. Thankfully they never develop into a headache with me.

Okay, 48 hours of fasting achieved, broken with two cheese and onion sandwiches, salad and some preserved sausage. I’ll do the ‘refeed’ over the next three days, then get back on it from Sunday night. Regarding ‘refeeding’, this is very important and I only have to read some of what people post on fasting FB pages to see that many don’t get it. The reason diets fail is that if you constantly reduce your food intake your Base Metabolic Rate adjusts to that, and it can do so by dropping by as much as a thousand calories. The whole point of fasting (for weight loss) is you circumvent that. If you fast for a couple of days then go back to normal eating your body doesn’t have time to adjust, but you’ve still majorly reduced your overall intake. So no, don’t diet between fasts else you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Oct 25th
Excellent. I’ve made a good step forward learning the Greek. I’ve got a stack of notes full of sentences, phrases and words (like the verbs with their eighteen different versions). Until now all I’ve been doing is reading them out loud to imbed them in my mind. Boring and repetitive, but necessary. Now with every word or phrase I’m making up sentences that include them, as fast as I can, and saying them. Sometimes replying to myself too. Just winging it. This is making me realise how much I have actually learned, but also highlighting words I just haven’t learned. ‘Question’ was the last of those tonight. It’s also good that I’ve been enjoying doing so, rather than seeing it as a bit of a chore.

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Um, the book I’m writing has just topped 140,000 words (another 2,000 today) and the ending keeps shifting out of reach. I also need to add some sections throughout and I’ve only written two or three of those chapter start thingies. This is going to be a long and complicated one I reckon. But I’m enjoying knotting it all up. Oh, and incidentally, this one and the one before it (Jack Four) are both different in another respect. They are both told from the point of view of one character only.

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Oct 26th
Heh. Seems I do a post like this at about the same time every year.
2 years ago
Neal Asher
26 October 2017 ·
Meh. I do not like editing. But one has to retain perspective. I won’t, for example, be doing what (hopefully soon) the guys from Anglia Water will be doing. Editing is better than unblocking sewers. It is also better than many jobs people have to do all their lives, so quit whingeing Neal.
Oh that’s better. My back’s been a bit buggered but it was better enough today for an hour plus at the gym. ‘Love handles’ and that stubborn slug of fat at the front have melted away a bit too after fasting. More will go next week when I attempt a 72 hour fast (I hope).
Yup.
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Oct 27th
 
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Well that was a crappy night’s sleep. 11.30 till 1.00 despite melatonin, St John’s Wort and Benadryl. Then a half sleeping pill at 4.00 knocks me out till 11.30 and I wake up feeling like shit with a gummy eye. Oh well, at least I gain an hour today. I’m now trying to get functional with excessive amounts of coffee. Need some kind of a reset.
Oct 28th
Well, it seems I got my reset. I drank rather more red wine than should be good for me, fell asleep for three hours in an armchair then for eight hours in bed. Alcohol does that sometimes – floods through knocking the system out of kilter and then it reintegrates with functions changed. It’s almost like a format or taking it back to factory settings. Oddly I don’t have a hangover and just feel like I’ve had a good, needed sleep. But I’m off to the gym shortly, so let’s see if they need to send for an ambulance.
The Blood of Roses
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Heh. Quite.
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Oct 29th
Microscale rockets can travel through cellular landscapes

Ooh, have they only just noticed?

Pre-Cooler for Hypersonic Spaceplane Cools From 1,000°C in Less Than 0.05 Seconds

Well, since no hangover was interfering, I did start another fast on Sunday night. I’m not being hugely strict with myself i.e. occasionally I’m putting milk in tea and coffee. I’m not too concerned about that since I’ve done a couple of heavy gym sessions to burn stuff up and am aiming for 72 hours without food.

On other fronts: the book is heading towards 150,000 words but now the end, sort of, is in sight. This one is going to need lots of work after this first draft. I suspect I’ll be on it in that respect for many weeks while chewing the edge of my desk. As for learning Greek . . . I’m just reading through my notes and speaking out loud made-up conversations. This has made me realise I know more than I thought I knew as words just rise into place from my back brain. I really need to look up (or invent) Greek words for gabbleduck and hooder to make those conversations more interesting!

Watching The Magic Pill on Netflix. I know about most of this stuff but, damn it, seed oil and many food companies, along with tossers with their hands in corporate pockets, including politicians and members of the American Heart Association, and many so-called health experts, should be in jail. Shame it’s too late for someone to kick Ancel Keys’ arse too.

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Interesting to compare and contrast the above documentary with this one on Netflix. But the final upshot in either case is eat fewer crappy foods, and I think we all know what they are.

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Oct 30th
I failed to do 72 hours fasting this time (it was 46) but fuck it I’m going again. I watched a couple of documentaries last night (last post below and one in the comments). I didn’t agree with everything in them but they were inspirational. I then watched the snake diet guy on You Tube for a bit and told myself to stop being a pussy. I then threw out every piece of bread in the house, every last remaining sweet item. Lot’s of veg meat and fat from now on, after another fast. My body will obey.

I wonder how many people tell their friends and family, ‘I go to the gym for an hour long session three times a week!’ or similar, when the reality is somewhat different. You have Mrs Water Bottle who first fills her bottle on arriving then seems to spend an awful long time sipping from it while contemplating her next exercise. Then there’s Mr Fitness App who sits on a machine for five minutes after exercising while checking his fitness stats, and probably messaging and pissing about on social media. Then there are the ‘gym as social activity’ people, who, when they find a victim, will ramble on into lengthy detail about, well, anything really. Annoying ones are those who do this while hanging onto a machine you want to use. Today three gym goers got together to discuss their activities – how this exercise works and how you really should do this, or that. I did four different exercises, four sets of ten repetitions in each, before they actually got back to doing something. The gym is definitely a place full of displacement activities.

No, not really. It can work if both partners are filling their boots, but usually one partner is getting the shitty end of the stick. It causes damage in a relationship and besides that can damage the partners they choose outside of the relationship.

Study identifies role of specific gene in hardening of blood vessel walls

Oh do fuck off.

This Strange Rule Is What Makes the Human Brain So Powerful

Promising.

You is lunch, mate.

Oct 31st
Uhuh.
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Multicolour Turkish agate.

Hmm, not so long ago.
1 Year Ago
Neal Asher
31 October 2018 ·
Jack Four just passed 125,00 words, which is about the length of Cowl. I am having fun. I suspect this is one you’ll read out of breath all the time. I certainly get that way writing it.

*yawn*
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Shortly we’ll have: our use of fossil fuels is upsetting the climate, ice melt has cooled the ocean resulting in sea ice, and this will cause an Ice Age. We need to build more wind turbines, pay more taxes and introduce international authoritarian socialism (though that’s tautology). Power to the people!

Oh right, it’s Halloween. Must remember to not bother answering my door.

Good

Oh well, that wasn’t a highly productive day. I went to the gym early, wrote a few hundred words, failed a fast at midday with a large omelette, then slept away most of the afternoon. I did do my hour of Greek, so there’s that. Now I have the prospect of being awake until the early hours. Bugger. And I will damned well write this weekend to get my weekly count up to 10,000.

Green and Purple Dendritic Opal From Madagascar.
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Wonderful specimen of polished Rainbow Obsidian from Mexico.
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Writing Update

As ever I’ve been pretty lax in posting stuff here. Mostly I’ve been posting on Facebook or Twitter. I could justify this by saying I get more reaction and interaction there, and that more people spend their time on those social media rather than on blogs. Do I need to justify it? Not really. But the real reason I post there is because it’s easier to bang off a short paragraph about what I’m doing and feed it into the modern version of ‘today’s newspaper tomorrow’s chip paper’. I also spend a lot of my internet time using an Ipad, and typing out some long post on that touchscreen, with just a little window in which to see it, I find annoying. Anyway, I hope the recent FB catch-up posts here have served a purpose. But now I’ll have a ramble through the recent past and present, and probably repeat a lot of what you’ve already read in the catch-ups and elsewhere.
The main reason I’m writing here now is to take breaks from going through the copy editing of The Human – third book in the ‘Rise of the Jain’ trilogy (published on April 16th 2019). It’s a boring chore of mostly going through with a mouse to click ‘accept’ or ‘reject’. By this time I’m about sick of a book I’ve written and gone through ad nauseum and only with gritted teeth can manage two or three chapters without trying to think of other ‘essential’ task to do, like make a coffee, or put bee’s wax on a door. The Human brings me up-to-date on my present contract with Macmillan. At some point I’ll have a chat with Bella Pagan at Macmillan about a new contract (and suggest it’s time for a pay rise) but, despite this contract coming to an end, that does not mean I’ve stopped writing.
Since I was again ahead of my contract I turned my attention to writing short stories. One I started using something I’d excised from a previous book, but it grew in the telling and became a book itself titled Jack Four. This is the tale of a clone taken to the King’s Ship to be experimented upon, steadily ramping up into a border incident between the Polity and the prador kingdom. That done to first draft I put it aside and went back to short stories again. I did a few. Skin will appear in an Ian Whates anthology, An Alien on Crete will appear in Asimov’s and a novella called Moral Biology is destined to appear in Analog. I have others besides I’ve either yet to send or have been rejected. The Bosch is a novella that concerns a biotech world in the far future (after the Polity) where the ruler of that world raises the creatures of Hieronymus Bosch in a quest for vengeance. The Host is linked to Moral Biology. While Longevity Averaging is a near future (novella) based on my reading of present day life-extension research – the ‘longevity averaging’ of the title concerns how government works out when you get your pension.
Again, however, while in short story mode, I started something that had legs and kept on running. I have a working title for it of Cacoraptors but suspect I’ll be changing that in due course. This concerns the colonisation of a world just at about the time when the prador/human war starts up. All the lovable elements are there: prador, Jain tech, grotesque and vicious alien creatures (besides the prador, that is), human transformation, Polity double-dealing and lots of smoking wreckage. However, I’m writing this one in a different way. As I wrote what was initially a short story I started putting in ‘retroacts’ to fill in background. This became, to me, as interesting as the ongoing story and I did more and more. Now the book runs with the story in the present at the start of each chapter followed by the background that has led to present events. Generally, as the book goes on, I’m delving further and further into the past with the latter, but I am mixing it up a bit by putting in past events where they are relevant to the present ones. The timeline is all over the place. It’s interesting and tangled, and I hope you find it interesting too. I was a bit unsure about doing this and considered straightening out the timeline, but remembering that one of my top ten favourite books is Use of Weapons by Iain M Banks, I’ll stick with it.
So there you have it – you’re up to date with stuff about my work . . . or rather, you’re not. Something I did three years ago will be seeing the light of day soon. I also have other stuff I have to keep my mouth shut about. And no, before you get excited, no one is making films of any of my books.

September 2019 Facebook Posts

Sept 2nd
The Soldier is on a kindle monthly deal for September (in the UK) so you can buy it for 99p. Get in there!

The Soldier (Rise of the Jain Book 1)
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Took a day yesterday to clean house from top to bottom, and finally clean all the glue, paint and wood stain spots off my front terrace. It was also a day of peeling onions for pickling. The chilli sauce will be next.

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I was going to bring my laptop down to book my flight home, just couldn’t bear the thought of it today. I’ve now got to try and think of positive aspects of the UK in winter. . . Nope, struggling here.

Nope. I have to bear in mind that winter here isn’t exactly a beach party. Positive aspects of the UK: gas central heating, big fuck-off TV with surround sound and The Expanse to watch, carpets. . . nah, still struggling.

I guess I’ll have to see the winter as a time of health focus with fasting, long walks, hitting the gym and a severe reduction in booze consumption, and nose to the grindstone on the word processor.

Blimey. I’ve just realised it’s not even 4PM yet. Quick kayak run that – shows what a day of rest can do. And just in case you think I’m spending my time enjoying myself rather than working. I did my 2,000 words this morning . . . though I enjoyed that too.

Full of piethachia meh skortho (lamb chops with garlic) as opposed to pethachia meh skortho (which would be children with garlic) and now enjoying a warm evening at Revans. It’s weird. I’m here for another month yet, know I know when I have to go, still feel like I’m leaving shortly. The drop in temperature contributes. In the village I contemplate wearing jeans and don’t want to sit outside anymore. This translates as high summer in the UK.

Sept 3rd
I’m sure the tourists here are loving the yip yipping on the beach. Bloody people with dogs who think it’s okay to let them just keep on barking, yipping, yapping whining and howling. It’s not okay. It’s selfish disregard for others. Fuck right off.

Sept 4th
I passed 100,000 words today but didn’t do my 2,000. With the timeline of the book all over the place, making alterations gets a bit more complicated. For example: I decided that the prador destroyed the satellite here, but did the colonists have it for surveillance when they retrieved the fusion reactor? Or when the mobile strangler fig tried to eat Nursum? Or when the multidapt aliens grew wings?

Heh.

The rat-dog from Hell is back. Whatever. I’ll be out on my kayak on the peace of the ocean soon.

Sept 5th
Well that was depressing: I’ve just booked my flight home. But then I should step back and get a bit of perspective. It’s over a month away and most people don’t even get to stay here that long.

Okay, after last night’s excesses I did a big kayak run to burn the shit out of my system. My turn-around point was a beach called Stousa, a round trip I estimate at 15K – 3.25 hours. I even came back wanting a beer. This morning the mere thought of beer turned my stomach. Kala na patho (I got what I deserved).

Sept 6th
12K walking in the mountains this morning, 10K on the kayak this afternoon, and no beer. Sometimes you just need to straighten yourself out.

Sept 8th
And another 12K in the mountains in the morning and 10K on the kayak this afternoon. Only this time I have beer, because I’m entitled, because it’s Sunday, and because a couple of days of abstinence in this place is worthy of a medal.

I can attest that the pickled onions turned out very nice, since I ate a whole jar of them last night. I’m now looking into ways of preserving black figs since I’m getting loads of them. Tried oven drying. Next I’ll try sticking them in syrup.

Sept 9th
I’m now at that point in the book I will call the ‘how do I sort this mess out’ stage. This entails lots of deleting, moving stuff around and figuring out how to tie off plot threads. It unfortunately means that the word counts of 2,000 become much more intermittent. This is no good for my OCD, but I expect I’ll compensate by counting steps in the mountains or paddle strokes while out on the kayak.

And here’s a rarity for the annals: me actually making notes. Of course the picture is sufficiently blurred so you can’t read them. . .

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I can understand how natural forces end up personified as gods, demons, angels or whatever. Out on the sea today I developed a strong case of Tourette’s while talking to them. I set out against the wind, ended up in waves that weren’t exactly malevolent but did seem to be toying with me. If I hadn’t been alert I suspect I’d have been flipped a couple of times. Then as I came back, the wind changed direction while I was out from the coast. The big waves that had at last been working with me, acquired small waves on top of them heading in the opposite direction, and on the last third of the trip back I was paddling against the wind again. So naiads, nymphs, zephyrs or Poseidon bored and rattling his trident to see how big the waves need to be to have the Englishman off his kayak? Not unusual here: Greeks bored and playing with the xenos for entertainment.

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Sept 11th
Okay, latest bit of food preservation. The syrup consists of a cup of red wine vinegar, two of sugar and juice of a lemon plus zest. I microwaved the figs to sterilise them and stuck them in hot jars, syrup poured in and then on with the lids. I have absolutely no idea how these will taste. Pretty good I think. . .

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Um. As I commented to someone on here: I have a doorway in my house with a stone arch. It’s okay if you’re a little Greek granny but not so good if you’re a hungover Englishman. The sore lump on the top of my head attests to this.

The book, now past 100,000 words, has two possible courses. I can finish it with the characters, plot threads, alarums and excursions I have thus far. Or I can do the Raymond Chandler ‘time to walk a man in the room with a gun’. The gun in this case would be a fully armed and equipped prador dreadnought arriving just when it seems problems have been resolved. What do you think?

Time to return to the village. Do I sensibly stay in and cook for myself, or go out for food and quite possibly too much to drink. I think I know the answer already. . .

Thanks to Adam Fairchild we now have a new ‘meme’. Having read Dawkins I’m not sure I like the usage of that word, but. . .

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Okay, now I’m full of lamb chops with garlic, chips and salad. Suddenly the tight T-shirt is not looking like such a good idea. Oh for those days of a six-pack stomach that didn’t change after four pints of beer, a donna kebab and large chips. Long gone I fear.

Sept 12th
Phlegm, sore throat and a dry cough have been screwing with me for about five days. Yesterday I felt well so ate out, and drank ouzo. I woke in the middle of the night coughing my lungs out and feel pretty shitty today. But still I’m reluctant to forgo my kayak 10K. Sitting here trying to come to a decision on that. . .

Sept 16th
Uhuh, going out on the kayak while a cold is coming on was not such a great idea. For three days I’ve been out of it. My body’s thermostat went haywire and all my muscles feel leaden and beaten. The cough progressed to nicely ‘productive’ and moved through the phlegm spectrum to an interesting pale jade colour. The blobs of sputum have been seemingly immiscible with water and at times resembled grapes. Still buggered – sitting here in Revans in jeans – amoxycillin washed down with orange juice. The sea looks lovely for kayaking, but I have to go home.

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Sept 17th
The sea is flat and calm, it’s sunny and lovely and warm. Antibiotics and nighttime coughing episodes aside, I’m going out on that fucking kayak later.

Okay, I was warned that fruit juices interact with many drugs. *sigh* oh well. I washed down the antibiotic with beer. Anyway, after the 10K kayak I feel much better. Sometimes there comes a stage when you’re feeling shite when you have to get off your arse and push yourself. I will of course be remembering these words when I’m coughing my lungs up tonight.

Sept 18th
Excellent. I slept without coughing last night. The cold is gone, the lungs are clearing, I wrote with enthusiasm this morning, and shortly I’ll be heading out here:

A cold can last interminably. I wonder, however, how long it can spend incubating in the body before its effects really make themselves known? I felt crappy and worn out for some time before my throat felt a bit icky. Then again, just being worn out makes you vulnerable to the bastard virus.

Okay, feeling healthy again, the sea was calm, so I had to do the 15K kayak. Not feeling particularly weary either. I’ll probably bugger this all up later with a meal out and too much to drink. That’s life.

Sept 19th
Cover reveal time. Here then is The Human, the concluding (and of course action packed) book of The Rise of the Jain trilogy. Enjoy!

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So I was a good boy and didn’t go out and drink away my health gains last night. In fact I was knackered and didn’t want to do much more than lie on my sofa. But gains were made as it seemed my subconscious had been chewing things over. I ended up in that state between waking and dreaming afterwards and sat down to scribble a few lines which, when expanded, will be the last quarter of the book. This morning I made some alterations to suit this then went straight into my 2,000 words. Very satisfying. And yes:

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Well that was a very laid back kayak trip. No wind, no waves, just sitting back in the thing and paddling along slowly. Actually needed after yesterday’s adventure.

Emptying out now. It is September and getting late now. Quite sad to think this is the last year the Stratos is open under Dolores and Van. No more ‘spot Neal Asher’ and no more spicy food as an antidote to the generally bland Cretan fare.

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After a karavachi of ouzo in the Stratos to wash down hot wings followed by roast lamb, time to stagger over the hill to Revans. I will probably regret this in the morning.

A few people in Revans but it’s early yet for the after dinner crowd. Steadily reviving now as my digestive system deals with its recent assault. But I mustn’t stay out too late. Besides the danger of turning into a pumpkin, I have work to do! See, even in this setting I continue to do my job. . .

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Sept 20th
1,500 words done despite the ouzo hangover. Completely still and no wind when I headed down here from the house. From the moment I arrived the wind started blowing. It’s those bloody zephyrs again. They’re out to get me.

Well that was cool. The wind kicked up some big waves on the way to Koutsouras, then it died on the way back and the waves eased off. Ahead of me I caught sight of something large and grey-brown and a glimpse of something that looked like a fin. After a moment of buttock-clenching I went to investigate. It wasn’t a fin but a flipper. I spent a happy few minutes watching a turtle sculling through the waves. It then turned away and dived. Excellent. First time I’ve seen one of them while out on the kayak.

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Right, back up to the house to write the 500 words to complete today’s 2,000. The excitement never ends.

Sept 21st
I was looking at the clouds in the mountains last night and thinking WTF, this is early. I then saw this FB memory from four years ago. Perception of the present based on a certain selectivity about the past can be deceiving. This probably explains a lot about the ‘Oh my God the climate’ crowd.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
21 September 2015 ·
Ah the crappy weather has arrived. Just been watching a thunderstorm and apparently we’re due for rain all night. Καλο βραδυ!

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As somebody (Ricardo Graves) once described it, it’s blowing a hooligan out there. Dismissing the immediate grotesque mental image that summons up, I’m looking out to sea and wondering. Probably better if I just went home and did stuff around the house and garden. But then again, I like a challenge, and in this wind I might be able to get the kayak airborne. . .

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Okay, I easily ran with the wind to get out to the point. I turned the kayak into it once just to be sure I could paddle back against it. Sheltered going round the point then straight into it beyond there. White water, spray whipping up, then a strong gust picked the nose of the kayak about a foot out of the water and skidded it sideways. I suddenly lost my spirit of adventure at that juncture and turned around.

Eating out again tonight (because I haven’t bothered filling the fridge) but definitely avoiding the ouzo. The Gabbiano is packed with Scandinavians once more. You can tell by the tables all together in a line – some throwback to Viking drinking halls or something. Mede and toasts to Odin. But they don’t seem to be violent and I haven’t glimpsed any concealed axes.

Sept 22nd
Ah, I did that then. And now I’ll take this opportunity: all those who know me on Crete, please keep a lookout for dumped wooden furniture (no veneered crap) for me. Cupboards, chairs, tables . . . I’ll be needing some projects next year.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
22 September 2015 ·
Okay, one scary chair renovation complete. Before and after pictures…

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After a recent discussion with someone, about agendas and motivations, I have to wonder if I’ve become a bit too cynical. My story-telling faculty (as it did when I was suffering from anxiety) tends to tell the bad stories and those are the ones I believe. Perhaps I should cut people more slack?

Okay, that’s enough self examination. Where’s my kayak?

Windy again today, but not quite so bad as yesterday. I think it might be dying off. I’ll see if I can get a bit further with the kayak. Only two weeks of this left now before my return the grey of the UK, alcohol abstinence, fasting, sweating in the gym and plenty of writing of course.

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Thanks to Martin Lambert for this and, via a roundabout route, seeds of the top one here the Carolina Reaper. I may not get chillies this year from the four plants I’m growing, but hope to have someone picking and freezing them for me. Should make for some interesting chilli sauce next year.

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Oh dear. I had to go and get a top from the car and still feel a bit chilly. The end is nigh for the acclimatised. If I was staying to the end of October I could see myself down here in jeans and jumper, while others would be walking around in shorts and looking like broiled lobsters.

Sept 23rd
Ah fuck nuggets. Guess which company I found a cheap flight with a few weeks back: Thomas Bleeding Cook. I now have to find out what the hell is going on with that, probably book another flight, and probably find the prices have skyrocketed.

Oh right. I just got an email from Directline Flights concerning the Thomas Cook clusterfuck. My money will be refunded but I have to book another flight. Prices are already going up what with others looking for flights. Annoyingly I really do have to get back to the UK before a certain date, so I’m probably going to get shafted on price.

Hmm, I think I better return with the laptop later and start checking out flight options. An awful lot of people have been stranded by this. Maybe I will have to do an Athens transfer – not too much of a problem since I have no hold luggage.

Right. I managed to book an Easyjet flight back on the 7th. The cheaper flights were all gone and they weren’t putting up prices on those remaining, so the cost was €80 – 90 more. It wasn’t a cheap flight, but it wasn’t silly money either. Glad that’s sorted!

I suspect that quite a shit storm is going to be hitting Crete next year. Here in Makrigialos the very large Sunwing Hotel was 100% Thomas Cook. The knock-on effects of that closing down are not going to be pleasant. Meanwhile it seems that 80% of hotels on Crete have contracts with TC. We can only hope that an efficient company moves in to fill the void.

Sept 24th
Right. Checked in and ticket ready to print so that’s as certain as it can be. Now preparations for departure. The only one at the house is a neighbour watering plants and picking and freezing my chillies. Nothing else needs doing really. Next a UK shopping list: tape for the handle of my kayak paddle – important stuff like that.

I imagine that teenagers in Maoist ‘study sessions’ thought they were speaking truth to power too. Nice to have unfollow or 30 day snooze for idiots who think otherwise.

I have a headache this has made me irritable. I think I’ve snoozed about ten people on here. Perhaps I should stop looking at stuff. My irritation levels rise every time I see that bloody Greta or more about politicians trying to shaft democracy.

Ah fuck this I’m off. Social media seems more like Bedlam to me today.

Sept 25th
Nope nope nope. Still Bedlam on the social media. I’m going to have to limit myself to reading replies to my posts and ignore everything else for a while.

Waves are eating the beach here and cloud is looming heavy over the mountains. 100% humidity yesterday, which was noticeable this morning when my car struggled to start. Not entirely sure that’s down to the damp – a mouse might have nibbled a wire somewhere. I’ll head out on the kayak and upon my return try to avoid the beer. I have cover briefs to do for the Owner trilogy and need to get them to Bella soon. Meanwhile the present book advances apace: railgun strikes from above and a WTF is that! And during the mayhem it turns out someone is not quite as human as they should be. I like it when a plan comes together.

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Okay, I’m being a good boy today. Here’s the evidence:

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Okay, cover briefs sent off to Macmillan and a contract elsewhere agreed (no, I can’t tell you because I would have to send a Jain mycelium to eat out your cortex). This involved coming down to Revans with my laptop. Of course, now I’m here. . .

Sept 26th
Gag. A quick scroll through FB and Twitter and its repetition of Greta/Brexit/Boris. I beat a hasty retreat. Anyway, 2,000 words written this morning as I join up the dots of a nasty AI weapons development conspiracy and line up the players for final mayhem. I then had a nice dinner of vlita and tsipoura and, when my stomach feels less like a barrage balloon, I’ll head out on the kayak. See, that was better than all the 1st world problems virtue signalling SJW political wank out there.

Sept 27th
I felt a bit bloated and crappy recently, probably as a result of antibiotics and some evenings of being a tad dissolute. So 12K in the mountains this morning and shortly 10K out on the kayak. No bloody beer either! The walk did infringe on my writing time so only 1,500 words done. I will do the rest later.

Um. I think I’ll head towards Koutsouras today. The sea is nice and calm(ish) and the other route towards Kalo Nero would be good. However, I know that once on it I would be tempted to do 15K and, after this morning’s walk, I’d end up completely knackered.

Then again. . .

And my next resolution will be not to make resolutions. . .

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Sept 29th
Um, no writing done this morning. Yesterday I did 12K walking in the mountains then 15K on the kayak, then I had some drinks with old friends (Chris and Anna), went home, ate something and crashed on the sofa at 8.30 and didn’t wake till 1.30. The ensuing disrupted night’s sleep left me be a bit crappy this morning. Instead of writing I spent my time digging out a load of rotted grape matter from the kazani next to my house. As they still raki from fermented grapes they dump the debris into a nearby ruin. And I spread this lot across my garden. So something achieved, anyway. Kayak time now.

Meh. Eight days to go and I’m back in the UK. But I must try to be positive about that (he said, while wondering about what might be involved in relocating here permanently). Of course I have to remember that winter here is not exactly a pushover. The convenience of central heating is not to be denied. Meh.

So anyway, what’s the writing SOP? I have The Human ready to come out next year in March-April-May (I don’t know the release date). I have Jack Four written to first draft and the one I’m working on is up to 115,000 words and I should have that done to first draft by Christmas. I have stories coming out in Ian Whates collections (perhaps you can say something about those Ian?). I’ve got a story called An Alien on Crete coming out in Azimov’s and a novella called Moral Biology coming out in Analog. I have other stories ready to submit to a few markets. Other things are also happening but are either under an NDA or I’ve agreed to keep my gob shut about them. I have to talk to Bella Pagan about a new contract with Macmillan. Plans? I’ll get this latest book to first draft and again make an attempt to kick out some more short stories. So, all in all, this writing lark is going quite well.

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Sept 30th
Okay, Bella Pagan tells me the publication date for The Human is the 16th April.

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Anna Haringa
30 September at 13:22 ·
It’s great to be back in our favourite village and to meet up with our old friend Neal.

August 2019 Facebook Posts

August 1st
There’s that standing joke about the writer sitting staring out the window ‘working’. Trying to figure out how I’m going to work the ‘all over the place’ timeline of the present book I did a lot of something similar this morning. Mainly it involved staring at a long list of single sentence descriptions of scenes, then lying on the sofa with my eyes closed trying to see the shape they must form. I had the whole lot whirling round in my head till they seemed to gain weight, then turned into a headache. I did a lot of brainwork this morning, and wrote only about 20 words.

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August 2nd
Par for the course. I go out for a kayak run and it seems I’m paddling against the wind on the way out and the way back. A quarter hour after I get back and the wind just stops. Hard not to think it’s personal sometimes.

2,000 words this morning and another ‘piece’ written. I’m coming to the conclusion that resolving the timeline issues is not going to happen quickly. My subconscious needs time to mull it all over.

August 3rd
Gawd I’m knackered. I walked to Voila this morning, wrote 2,000 words, then down here in Makri attempted a kayak to Koutsouras but turned back at two thirds the distance because the waves looked like they might splatter me. But it is a satisfying knackerdom.

I commented to a neighbour a couple of days ago that, had I got a gun, I don’t know who I would shoot first, the owner or the dog. Howling yapping dogs in the village. Idiots with a dog they never disciplined because it is ‘their baby’ and when it was a puppy and started barking they went, ‘ooh, isn’t that cute’. Wankers. Of course it is no different in the UK, just that there we tend to have our windows closed for a larger part of the year.

Ah, the kind tourists feeding the cats. Two months later one cat is four cats. Yet strangely this place is not overrun with them for they disappear each Winter. I guess they’re transported off to the cat planet of scratching posts and endless tuna.

August 5th
Bugger. I didn’t know direct debits at my bank get cancelled if they’re not used for 13 months. Lots of messing about on the internet and over the phone required to re-establish currency transfer. I’m sure Yorgos and Kostis at Revans won’t mind if I run up a tab.

August 6th
Blustery day today. After being beaten about on a massage table I decided to swim rather than kayak. I didn’t like it yesterday, when it wasn’t so windy, getting skidded sideways across the ocean then having to beach the kayak because it was going backwards. Such trials I face.

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August 7th
Perfect. 12K walk in the mountains, 2,000 words written and some major positive rearranging of the book, a 10K kayak on a lovely sea (with less wind than expected) and now a nice cool beer. Why would I want to add anything more? (he said, while eyeing some of the bikini-clad items on the beach).

And actual research done today. Well, I looked up ‘strangler fig’ on the internet to see if the things looked like I remembered. Yes they do and, of course, my version is mobile and hostile.

August 8th
The erstwhile (yes, I know I like that word) short story has now cleared 60,000 words. Interesting way to write something – not straight-line development of the plot but putting together pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Though I have to carve the pieces, and the holes they fit, and there are no edges, and no box picture, and. . .

Annoying. I can’t find red beans for chilli here (admittedly I haven’t looked very hard), so I’m trying gigantes. These are the big beans used in a dish here that goes very well with feta. They also have a marked effect on the colon – often a quite loud effect.

August 9th
A quote for my Polity Separatists.

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And another 2,000 words done today. I’ll probably be two books in hand by the time it comes to discuss a further contract with Macmillan. Meanwhile I just received a contract from Analog for ‘Moral Biology’. Only drawback here is I’m not producing all those short stories I intended to write.

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Okay. I’m a bit pooped today. I kayaked to a beach called Stousa. This is the furthest I’ve been. Upwards of 15K round trip. I must check it on Google Earth.

August 10th
2,000 words done on a Saturday morning, which makes up for a day missed in the week. I’ll may do another 2,000 tomorrow since I might avoid Makrigialos and its crowds. That being said, there are surprisingly few down here today. Perhaps an initial holiday rush is dying off?

The view has changed since four years ago. I think a TV aerial fell over.

4 years ago

Neal Asher
10 August 2015 ·
Yesterday it was cloudy and dull, and I’d also thought I’d returned to a more sordid area of Essex (y’know, where it’s necessary to keep a baseball bat handy). But this morning I look out and Crete is still there. Kalimera!

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Like the name ‘Q-carbon’ and its properties. Definite grist for the writing mill.

Good grief Messenger collects a lot of crap over the years. I really wish it wouldn’t send that ‘Say hi to your new Facebook friend’. If I had wanted to I would have done so!

August 11th
2,000 words on a Sunday. I had to close the terrace door to cut down on the sound of the yapping, whining and howling dog at the bottom of the village. I went down to knock on the owners’ door to complain but they were out. The dog of course was on a leash in their yard. While there I saw another dog on a leash over the other side. It’s yap wasn’t up to much because it had grown old, but I recognised it as the constant yapper from years ago. Some people should have a ‘No Dogs’ warning tattooed on their foreheads.

August 12th
It’s noticeable with some expats here that they become more of what they were back home. Accents broaden, national and local traits are emphasised. It almost seems like a defensive measure. Whatever. In the spirit of all that, and having run out of washing powder, I had to buy this:

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Interesting conversation this morning. A French couple with a smattering of Greek, a Greek woman who speaks English and me with my sub par Greek. Lots of hand waving. Amazing what can be conveyed with gestures.

I’m sorry. My humour is crude. But this still makes me laugh. A lot.

4 years ago

Neal Asher
12 August 2015 ·
This put in in comments by Richie Jarvis had me spit half chewed cheese sandwich on my Ipad. I could say sorry if it causes offence, but I would be lying.

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August 13th
First time I’ve seen these covers.

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Okay. Apparently today’s run was over 4 hours of kayaking. I went the furthest I’ve ever been to a beach called Stousa where I took a brief break. And I have to admit to not writing a damned thing today.

August 15th
The Gabbiano was busy last night with 50 or more people in it. It’s been busy for a while as I could tell the other day by Stelios’s yawns. I refuelled on piethachia meh scortho (garlic lamb chops) and Gabbiano salata then popped down to Revans. Full there too with people watching football. Not my thing so I buggered off home.

And another 2,000 words this morning. The book is zooming along nicely now and I’ve got most of the timeline issues sorted. Meanwhile in the village it seems the howling whining dog has been moved somewhere so it’s not so intrusive and has resorted to yapping, so no visit to the Sitia Police today as intended. Now I’m trying to decide whether or not another 4-hour kayak run this week will be too much.

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Bloody hell.
Bloody hell.
Neal‘s posts have been liked 250,000 times
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  • "I just received this cover image from Night Shade Books in the US. Very nice..."

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  • "Ah what the hell. I can always delete this later if I've been premature. Here's the US cover of book 3 of Rise of the Jain: The Human."

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Chilling in Revans. The moon and lights on the Libyan Sea in one direction. Football in the other. Life is full of contrasts.
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August 16th
It gets boring me writing ‘and another 2,000 words this morning,’ though I assure you the words are not. Humans adopt an alien form of communication while repelling lethal predators from a giant armoured car … okay that’s enough. Anyway, I kayaked for over three … zzzzzzz …
Oh, and I’m past 70,000 words on this book. That’s a halfway marker (kinda). I wonder now about my chances of getting three books ahead of the publisher again over the next year. Pretty good I reckon.
Just too warm and nice to stay in. Feeding myself up at the Stratos tonight since my total food consumption today has been a small bowl of peanuts and similar of crisps. Heat is a good diet aid. I could probably have gone to bed on that.
August 17th
Anyway. 2,000 words done this morning and now I’m off on my kayak. . .
Hmm, big bottle of water drunk because of ouzo-related dehydration. Twinge in my stomach muscles while kayaking. I think a zero alcohol evening of relaxation is called for, and maybe I should cool it on the 15K kayak runs.
I may change my mind.
August 19th
A day’s rest and the stomach muscle twinge has gone away. I ate pretty hugely too with three boiled eggs for breakfast with friganes, then pork steaks later in a kind of ratatouille (with chilli added of course) and with that, for the first time, I cooked vlita. Without the usual Greek load of lemon juice and olive oil it tastes like spinach – definitely something I’ll grow again. The saucepans that came off my stove contained enough for a meal each for three people. I ate the lot throughout the afternoon and evening. Kayak today of course, and on both days 2,000 words a day as usual.
Morose speculations about past and present decisions have led to a third beer. The auspices are not good for sobriety of any kind as this day progresses.
I think I need to walk in the mountains. I’m a total cynic about anything supernatural or edging into the realm of pseudoscience, so the expression of a neighbour of ‘taking power from the mountains’ I regard with tongue in cheek. However, it does feel like that. A good long stomp through them and, though I may come back knackered, my head feels like it’s back on straight.
Okay. That’s enough. Time to lie on the sofa and stare at my eyelids. All is negotiable after that.
August 20th
80,000 words cleared this morning. I’m rather enjoying this ‘start from the present and explore the past’. It’s really filling out the main character.
Quiet and peaceful down here this morning. The coffee and water crowds have yet to arrive. I’ve just had a nice fried breakfast at Revans and will shortly head off to have my bones thumped by a masseur. It’s such a struggle here.
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Bone thumping completed. I probably should rest now but, looking at the calm sea, 15K on the kayak is looking increasingly likely.
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August 21st
No words written this morning. I instead sliced off the lower rotten part of a friend’s door and replaced it with new. Very satisfying, though I looked like I walked through a working saw mill.
August 22nd
I put this up two years ago and am not really sure of the sentiment of the meme. The only kind of writing that would scare me a little would be attempting to write an aga saga or something for Mills and Boon.
2 years ago
Neal Asher
22 August 2017 ·
Righto, 2,000 words done and the story advances apace. I’m now hitting a stage when I need to up the stakes, skew the narrative and throw a big oily spanner in …
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Annoying. I will probably have to go back to the UK earlier than expected and thus miss the raki season here. I guess my body will thank me for not eating barbecued pork and drinking raki all day. Meh.
Okay. Long chat with someone and afterwards I can’t be bothered with food preparations even though they are only ‘throw it in the microwave’. So the Gabbiano it is. Lamb chops with garlic and their salad. Mmmmm. The busiest restaurant in Makrigialos Stelios tells me.
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A little bit of water in a small water bottle to wash down my food. And if you believe that. . .
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A shy and reserved waitress at the Gabbiano, aren’t you Eirini?
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The Gabbiano guys: Stelios, Yorgos and Marco.
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Further Gabbiano staff in Alexandra and Manos:
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August 23rd
Trying to figure out if ‘kala na patho’ is correct for ‘I get/got what I deserve’. I didn’t feel very well this morning and I don’t feel so great now. Wine followed by raki. . . Still, I did my 2,000 words and shortly will sweat out the hangover dregs on the kayak.
August 24th
Heh. Always worth sharing again.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
24 August 2015 ·
Right, I’ve spent quite enough time twiddling my thumbs, or wrapped up in some silliness that occurred in this village recently, or feeling tired and depressed….
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August 25th
Ah. Good morning. I collapsed on the sofa yesterday evening at 8, woke at 9 and went to bed shortly afterwards. I woke at about 4 with the book playing in my mind. I was in that half-conscious state where thoughts are ranging into the territory of dream, had some excellent ideas that push the book to further weirdness and made some good plot connections. These remained with me for the morning writing session during which I was still a bit spaced out mentally, even after a further snooze on the sofa. Obviously my subconscious had been mulling things over.
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Ti thalassa einai yali (the sea is glass). Like a millpond this evening. I hope it remains that way tomorrow.
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August 27th
Ah, a tranquil scene from four years ago when I was about as stable mentally as a fairground ride with all the nuts and bolts taken out.
4 years ago
Neal Asher
27 August 2015 ·
I was going to walk to Voila this morning, but since I didn’t crawl out of bed till gone 7 and still feel sleepy I’m giving that a miss. It’s going to be a hot one today.
Καλημερα!
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Past 90,000 words now on the book. It’s getting complicated in there and decidedly weird. Not quite sure what to do with one strange character and his obsession with the mobile strangler fig tree that tried to eat him. I’ll think of something. Be nice to have this to first draft before I return to the UK in October.
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Well that was good: 3.5 hours out on the kayak, ocean rolling like slow blued-iron-coloured beasts, sun diamond-glinting on the ripples. I saw quite a large fish jump out of the water and this year I’ve noticed more fish-eating birds. A couple of herons silhouetted against the ocean glare like forged iron sculptures. Yup, rising up out of the muscle pain and exhaustion and flooded with endorphins I had some of those ‘moments of beauty’ Ambassador Kosh mentioned.
August 28th
Okay, it must be the excessive exercise followed by soporific beers. Crashed again yesterday evening and then slept through the night. A total of 10 to 11 hours. This does occasionally have me scratching my head and thinking I must sort myself out. But, just so long as I write those words, everything else is negotiable. Also, I spent about four years of being grateful to have slept more than four hours a night, so the big sleeps are enjoyable!
Well, that 10+ hours of sleep was obviously needed. Energy reserves increased, kayaking without those ‘pauses to look at the view’, and no longer feeling like I’ve been run over by a steamroller.
August 29th
I knew I was in the region of my. 2,000 words this morning. Checked the word count: 95,000 precisely. That’ll do.
Amazing really. Sea the temperature of bathwater, temperature in the 30s and not a cloud in the blue in blue sky, lovely sandy beaches, freezing cold beer, restaurants serving excellent food at ‘it isn’t worth cooking’ prices and bugger-all people here. No, not amazing, just nuts.
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August 30th
I popped round my neighbour Jean-Pierre’s house yesterday where I met his friend . . . Jean-Pierre. Both Belgians. The second JP identified himself as an SF addict, immediately grabbing my attention by mentioning A E Van Vogt. Thereafter as wine and mezes were consumed, I kept throwing old names at him – Clifford D Simak, James Blish, A C Clarke, Poul Anderson – to which his response was frequently a wide smile and a, ‘Yes!’ Detente achieved and fuck the EU.
August 31st
I think the kayak run I usually do in 2 hours took about 2.5 today. I could blame it on fighting against the wind out there, but in reality it was an ouzo penalty. I blame your karavachis Dolores.

July 2019 Facebook Posts

July 1st
Here we go. I have photos now. This was the beach in front of Revans back in April.

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July 2nd
And the path home. . .

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July 4th
2,000 words this morning (the ‘short story’ is now at 26,000 words), 15k kayak this afternoon followed by two beers. I may snooze on the sofa. . .

July 5th
And another project to keep me from getting bollixed on my terrace in the evenings. Expats Tim and Helen had some work done on their house and took off some extremely rotten shutters. Coincidentally they had some hardwood shutters on their woodpile. I’m combining the two. . .
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July 6th
Just rescued a lilo from a trip to Libya. People don’t get sometimes how strong the wind is here, especially further out to sea. I’m waiting for someone to claim it, else it goes to Kostis and Niki for their daughter Maria.
July 8th
‎Lee Harrington‎ to Neal Asher
Thank you for the Facebook connection. I am in Australia. I am new to your books and this is my current read:
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July 9th
More work on shutters. I took the morning off writing to get this done and tidy the garden. I’ll have a pop at my 2,000 words this afternoon/evening if I’m not too knackered (as usual).
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Garden now. I’ve already munched through lettuces, onions and radishes and now the tomatoes are coming. Still some pots to fill.
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July 10th
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July 11th
And another shutter for inspection after, I assure you, I did my 2,000 words. How much rotten wood do I need to cut away to get to something viable?
Um. That much.
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Okay. Bugger that. The waves out at the point and beyond are a bit silly even for me. I turned round and came back surfing part of the way. Maybe a swim instead.
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July 13th
Okay, the ‘short story’ has now slid past 30,000 words. Accelerated evolution, nanosuites possibly AI, polity weapons development (maybe) . . . It’s all getting a bit to interesting to wrap up at magazine length. Yup. Looks like another book.
Not entirely relevant, but I love this quote:
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July 14th
Final two shutters done but for a bit of cleaning up. Glad to remove all the pieces of wood from my terrace, but now I must sort out the pile of tools in my spare room . . . until next time of course.
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And here, because it fascinates me, we have an orange tree in the process of being turned into a lemon tree.
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Sea a bit too rough for kayaking and probably not that pleasant for swimming. I think I may head back home for a snooze. Still mulling over the idea.
July 16th
Well this is bloody annoying: middle of July on Crete and it looks like it’s going to rain.
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Okay, time to bring the laptop down. It seems the edits for The Human have arrived. End of word counts for a while as I engage with them. That being said the ‘short story’ just slid past 40,000 words.
Sitting in the Stratos For the first time in a few years. Definitely the ‘hot’ chicken wings, followed by the roast lamb. Got to keep built up for the kayaking.
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Ah what the hell. I can always delete this later if I’ve been premature. Here’s the US cover of book 3 of Rise of the Jain: The Human.
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July 17th
I woke to rumbling thunder this morning. Really poured down with streams running down the village paths. All gone now and back in shorts.
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July 18th
Blimey. Actually cold enough up in the village yesterday to put on jeans. Down here in Makrigialos the waves would have flipped me in the kayak or done something untoward to a slightly dodgy back if I’d gone swimming. Constructive day anyway spending hours going through the editing of The Human.
July 19th
In glorious Technicolour here’s the cover of the UK rerelease of Cowl:
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And in further glorious colour here’s the cover of the UK rerelease of The Technician:
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July 20th
Uhuh. So 3+ hours kayaking is certainly a way to cure a hangover.
But the problem with 3+ hours kayaking as a hangover cure is I need a couple of beers to get over it. Mark this as the beginning of a steady cycle of self-destruction.
July 21st
Good grief. Four years ago. And I’m still using sunglasses I bought along with those here (which along with the hat are at the bottom of sea).
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July 22nd
Well nothing much there has changed, but for the state of mind of the writer.
3 years ago
Neal Asher
22 July 2016 · Sitía ·
Brain forced back into gear by self-disgust and other … elements. 2,000 words written of a short story which, after nameless things dropped into my mind in an afternoon, formed while I was trying to sleep, and required excursions from bed to make notes.
Καλο βραδυ!
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Edits for The Human dealt with and dispatched to Macmillan. Time to get back to writing the new thing again, though I think I’ll start out with a catch up blog post.
July 23rd
Okay, pretty good one today. 2,000 words written, chillies planted around the garden, 10K kayak and a 2K swim. I deserve this, so there!
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Just heard about Boris. ‘The End is Nigh’ placards will be out. Meanwhile I’m guffawing.
I do like it when life’s most critical decision of the moment is, have another beer or not.
July 25th
I did like that cover.
2 years ago
Neal Asher
25 July 2017 ·
Hey US readers. Do any of you have Gridlinked, The Skinner or Brass Man on kindle? – Trying to get to the bottom of something that’s going on with those books…
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Feeling rather chuffed here. As mentioned before I recently got a story taken by Azimovs. Now (contract yet to be signed) Analogue have taken a story. Quite a long one too – novella I think.
Some brain twisting work this morning. The short story I started, which has now grown to 40+ thousand words, consists of lots of segments concerning the colonisation of a world (and other prador war related stuff) whose chronology is all over the place. Trying to impose some order is not easy. I’m thinking the ‘all over the place’ won’t change much. Still, it’s been done before to good effect: Use of Weapons by Banks.
As Winnie the Pooh would say, ‘It’s a blustery day’. I’m in the Stratos to eat what I firmly intended to eat last time: beefstekia. This restaurant is, incidentally, where the proprietor Dolores runs her ‘spot Neal Asher’ competition from when I go past in my kayak.
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July 26th
Oh bloody hell. Not much achieved this morning. After that meal in Stratos last night I stopped off in Revans for a quick drink, and didn’t leave till 3.30 in the morning. I now intend a thoroughly punishing run on the kayak to burn the shit out of my body.
Okay, the hangover seems to have been banished. Fruit juice only today and back to read my ARC of the next Hamilton book. Sensible behaviour now . . . for at least a little while.
July 27th
Okay, my intention to be good lasted until I got back from my kayak run. On my second beer now. But then I have walked 12k written 2,000 words and kayaked 10k. Surely I’m allowed some leeway here?
July 28th
And another satisfying day: 12K walking in the mountains, 2,000 words written and kayaking . . . well, I don’t know how far though in the region of 15K – I was gone for over 3 hours. They didn’t notice this last in Revans, despite talk of sending out a rescue boat or getting me to pay my bill before I head out. But they were overrun with weekend Greeks.
The Revans Bar collection at present. I’ve found it’s better not to sign them or they disappear. For those who have taken my books here and not returned them, may swarms of cicadas fly up your nostrils.
July 29th
Ah bollocks. Short kayak today. A few waves here on the beach to start with but getting rougher the further I went. Turned round at the end of the next point along. Going directly into the waves was hard but doable, but going along sideways by the coast to them a good way to find myself upside down on the rocks.
Just heard that the Coastguard here had to go and retrieve someone in a kayak off Sitia. I have reassured Kostis that he can sell my Ipad to pay my bar bill at Revans if I get lost at sea.
Big waves, damp South wind. The first three crisps out of the bowl were crunchy. One minute later they were like wet cardboard.
July 30th
Hell. You know when you’ve had a proper massage – when you feel like you’ve been worked over with a baseball bat!

June 2019 Facebook Posts

June 1st
Morning views from my terrace. The first two to the left and forward, and then to the right where there used to be a nice old stone building. . . Funny, in a village a few miles down the road some people had all sorts of trouble with the ‘archaeology people’ because they had to renovate their house in keeping with the village. This obviously doesn’t apply in my village.

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June 5th

The garden has achieved gardenness and now it’s time for another sideline: renovating a chair. I blame Ian M Banks ‘Use of Weapons’ for this obsession.

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The start of my walk. I really should have taken pictures of the broom when it was fully in flower. Stunning.

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June 6th
Iced glass in Revans Bar.

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Another day of garden and then kayak – recent other work (writing) I dispatched yesterday. Time to get on with some short stories now everything is running smoothly. Meanwhile I’m drinking a beer and watching the pirate ship come in.

June 7th
Chair progress. It looks a bit crap at the moment but the final product will be good.

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Yay! New seat for the kayak I must road test today. Thanks for dealing with the order Revans Bar!

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June 11th
Been bollixed by what seems to be a bladder infection but, in retrospect, now seems likely to be lower back and groin pain as a result of exercising like I was in my 30s and not my 50s. So rather than kayak 10k or mountain walk 12k I stayed in my house to relax. This of course meant 20 to 30 hours of painting and cleaning inside. I think I have an off button, but I’m not sure where it is. I am now in Revans Bar for a pre prandial drink.

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Meanwhile, the chair has also advanced. No human bones or skin included yet but some local bamboo. It amuses me to see this stuff everywhere knowing how much one must pay for it in a UK garden centre.

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Busy in the Gabbiano, nice to see Stelios is busy.

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June 14th
Chair completed (though I may have to do something with the feet). Okay, I’m running out of jobs to keep me from the keyboard. I’ll start with a blog post and move onto a short story.

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It looks lovely but is a bad day for kayaking. The North wind is blowing, hopping over Makrigialos, hitting further out and either direction up the coast. Last time I went out in this I ended up hanging in the anchor rope of the moored ‘Pirate ship’ wondering how the hell to get to the beach. Tha kolimbiso simera, that is to say I will swim today.

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Amazing. I’m half hearing a couple talking nearby. The guy is fascinating the woman with football anecdotes and stuff about what Brian Clough said. All I can say is that the glue must be hormones.
It was probably not a sensible move after a nice meal with copious wine with friends to hit the gin and tonics at Revans Bar. Ah well, life continues its learning curve.
June 15th
Windy yesterday and I swam instead of kayaking, even then I was finding myself getting blown out to sea. Even windier today with chairs attempting to take flight from my terrace, so I stayed home, wrote 2,000 words of a blog post, then did one of those ten minute jobs that takes two hours and requires a barrowload of tools. Now in Revans Bar where Yorgos has been putting down the umbrellas while beer crates have been crashing over in the entrance corridor come wind tunnel.
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But all things considered. I’m sitting here in a T-shirt and not in the least cold. And the view isn’t bad from Revans.
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June 17th
Obviously a discussion about breakfast in Revans the night before last stuck in my mind. I all but inhaled this one.
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Just a light breeze at sea while I was having breakfast so off I rush to get ready for kayaking. And now I return and the North wind has kicked in again. I guess I’ll have to swim. Such problems so many wish they had.
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June 18th
Okay, back on track. I’ve just completed a 4,000+ word blog post which I’ll put up next time I’m down here with the laptop and made a start on a short story. Unsurprisingly it begins with a guy out on a kayak. No idea where it will go, but that’s part of the fun. I must hit this stuff every day now for the 2,000 words a day count. καλό απόγευμα!
June 20th
Yeah. Better than gin and tonic. . .
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And today the dragon on the mountain is as clear as ever.
June 24th
Objectives achieved. This morning it was to write 2,000 words of a short story, this afternoon to kayak, and during the last miles back the objective is as below.
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Kostis Platakis club sandwich in Revans. One has to recharge the batteries!
June 25th
Ah well, start with a few bits and pieces that might make an interesting short story, 10,000 words on and as ever the story is not looking so short. But good stuff: I’m doing my 2,000 words a day.
June 26th
Refuelling at the Gabbiano. Only at about 7 this evening did I note my total food intake was a small bowl of nuts and another of crisps. With beer. After a 10k kayak. But I’m a good boy: I wrote my 2,000 words this morning.
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June 28th
And once again what starts out as a short story idea has grown in the telling. Okay, dangerous predators on an alien world where evolution has been accelerated soon turns into predators with traits that cannot be evolved, on a world cut off by the beginning of the prador-human war, with a dodgy biophysicist who may want to do something radical with human evolution. And on past 14,000 words etc.
June 29th
Well that was a dirty trick. Too windy to kayak so I swam. Meanwhile the buoys I was aiming for were taken in because of the wind. This added maybe a quarter of a mile before I realised the buggers were gone.
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May 2019 Facebook Posts

Some have told me that they wish I would post more here than on Facebook. Apparently some people don’t like Facebook, who would have thought it? So I thought I’d post a selection of stuff here.

May 1st
Here are some photos from the signing I did in Forbidden Planet. I’m pretty sure there are others but right now I can’t find them:
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May 3rd
Not much achieved today. Work transferred to a laptop while I’m in a suitcase-half-packed hiatus. Even when I decided to go for a walk the skies opened.
May 4th
The sunny morning led me into a false sense of security. That wind out there is the breath of the Night King.
Damn, at 3AM I go to the airport, so why no need to snooze today as on others? Sitting here with suitcase packed, twiddling my thumbs.
May 5th
Early hours of the morning and another hour to go before my brother takes me to the airport. At least I achieved an evening snooze so don’t feel too crappy.
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That’s enough spamming tonight. I wanted these at the top of my posts because I might not be back on here for a while.
May 7th
Considering the disaster stories I’ve heard the house itself wasn’t bad. However, everything needed to be cleaned because of mould and because a family of rats moved in via the drain in the shower room.
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Here’s the front garden – in need of work.
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So, house and garden on Crete. I knew I had some work to do since it has been two years and nine months since I was here. This is a picture of my front gate – the black fig took over.
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Well, the Gabbiano is buzzing tonight. Pretty good for early May.
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May 8th
In the Gabbiano again. I really need to do some food shopping. Today’s lunch was a packet of 3 years’ old Cheetohs.
May 10th
 
 
Warding off the May chill in the mountains or, rather, burning up garden rubbish inside since you cannot light fires outside now.
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All clean inside now, though a bit chaotic still. Water came through the bedroom wall and stained it with mud, but just some repainting required there.
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May 18th
Damn. I came down to Revans in the hope of using the kayak today, but Yorgos has it stored in Irepetra. Next week then. I just tested the sea for swimming and demurred. Bugger.
Been doing plenty of work on the house. The skolichi have been at work (woodworm) so I’ve had to replace beams above two windows and let in a piece of wood at the bottom of one leg of the pergola. The garden is also now clear and I’ve started planting. Also an interesting if grotesque find in the garden…
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Seems The warship has hit number 9 on the Bookseller’s ebook rankings in its first week. This is for ALL fiction books. Nice.
May 21st
And so it begins. . .
May 22nd
Interesting development. No internet in the house here on Crete has given me my reading mojo back. Gladiator by Simon Scarrow, and Nexus by Ramez Naam. I’m now starting on some huge brick called Crusade. All books that have been sitting unread in the house for 5 to 6 years.
May 23rd
Over two days about 10k in the kayak each day – 2.5 to 3 hours out on the sea. Felt like I ‘d been run over by a herd of buffalo.
May 25th
Early in the year so not busy at all, but Revans is looking very nice. Also, meet Yorgos and Kostis.
Sipping a drink to the sound of the waves in Revans Bar.
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May 28th
Annoyance with the fat around my waist has led to an upscaling in exercise. 12k mountain walking followed by 10k out on the kayak every day. I may add some swimming later too.
May 29th
Today thus far: 12k mountain walking, 10k kayaking, while my calorific intake has been two frappes, a beer and a bowl of nuts. I guess it’s not an exercise and diet plan you’ll find in a magazine.
I’m perpetually gobsmacked about those here on Crete who firmly believe ecigs are worse than smoking. Congratulations anti-ecig brigade – you are actually killing people.
May 31st

Yes, good day for a kayak. The sea is warm too. Very few people on the beach here, however – result of transfer times.
And it’s early in the season.
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Legends 3: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell by [Whates, Ian, Asher, Neal, Barker, RJ, Martin, Gail Z., Smith Spark, Anna, Robson, Justina, Patrick, Den, Poore, Steven, Kinsella, Shona, Davies, K.T. ]
Very hot today. A brief shopping trip to Sitia, some gardening and now I’ll go out and get boiled on the kayak. Work later: some alterations to some stories then moving on to writing the synopsis of The Human.
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Book Signing

I will be signing copies of The Warship at Forbidden Planet London on Wednesday 1st May from 18.00 till 19.00. The link is here.

Their nemesis lies in wait . . .
Orlandine has destroyed the alien Jain super-soldier by deploying an actual black hole. And now that same weapon hoovers up clouds of lethal Jain technology, swarming within the deadly accretion disc’s event horizon. All seems just as she planned. Yet behind her back, forces incite rebellion on her home world, planning her assassination.
Neal Asher was born 1961 in Billericay, Essex, the son of a school teacher and a lecturer in applied mathematics who were also SF aficionados.
Prior to 2000 the Asher had stories accepted by British small press SF and fantasy magazines but post 2000 his writing career took flight. The majority of his novels are set within one future history, known as the Polity universe. The Polity encompasses many classic science fiction tropes including world-ruling artificial intelligences, androids, hive minds and aliens.

Senolytic Self-Experiments

I’ve written about this before but I think it worth going over again to clarify it in my own mind and for the interest of others.

Over the last few years I’ve read a lot about longevity and increasing healthspan. I’ll admit this is not for the usual reason I read science articles (grist for the writing mill) but for selfish reasons. Like anyone of my age (now 58) I am at the point where, for some years, I’ve noticed things are beginning to break down. Over five years ago I was a drinker and a smoker. In my thirties when I drank excessively and didn’t really suffer hangovers, but they came and steadily grew longer. At one time I smoked rollups without filters. Chest pains introduced filters, then nicotine gum in the mornings to delay the first cigarette, and an inhaler to open up my airways so I could sleep. Anxiety and depression kicked in after the death of my wife. This stopped the drinking because alcohol is a depressant with the aftereffect of anxiety, meanwhile a bigger focus on health along with the arrival of the electronic cigarette stopped me smoking.

My health improved markedly from stopping these and from years of exercise to counter the anxiety. My anxiety waned and this steadily revealed that even with the improvement in my health, aging was having its effects, of course. Throughout this time, for the anxiety and looking for health improvements, I investigated and took all sorts of vitamins, herbal remedies and nootropics. This led into reading about longevity and healthspan, whereupon I discovered stuff about senescent cells and the substances that target them, senolytics.

A senescent cell is a kind of zombie cell. It goes wrong and instead of entering apoptosis (cell death) it goes into senescence, which means it won’t die but it also won’t replicate. The theory is that it does not sufficiently broadcast its damage for the body to destroy it; that the partial shutdown is a response to prevent it becoming cancerous. However, in that state it produces inflammatory chemicals that disrupt healthy cells around it. More and more of these accumulate as we get older and scientists are steadily revealing them as a root cause of many of the diseases of aging. If only we could take something to kill them off. . .

A gobsmacking study on mice appeared. It had been discovered (somehow) that a combination of the cancer drug Dasatinib and the supplement quercetin were a senolytic. When given to aged mice their health improved markedly throughout their bodies and it extended their lifespan by 36%. Many people began experimenting with this combo and I too considered it. Unfortunately trying to get hold of Dasatinib is a risky business since it is prescription only. There are many places that sell it, especially in China, but will you actually be getting the real deal? I’ve also yet to see much on any positive effects from the self-experimenters. I put the idea aside, since I’m not dead yet, and continued reading.

After the success of the above combo (in mice) researchers began looking for other senolytics and testing them. Two were highlighted: fisetin, a flavonoid like quercetin but found in strawberries and piperlongumine a constituent of the long pepper. Fisetin it turned out was better than Dasatinib and quercetin, it also has no known ill effects when taken by humans and is a supplement you can buy. I read the mouse study and made the calculations – there is a formula to convert from a mouse to a human based on skin area. It turned out, that to do the equivalent of the mouse study in me, I would need to take (roughly) 640mg of fisetin per day, with some form of oil since it is lipophilic, for five days. I upped this to 1000mgs for maximum effect.

At this time I had also had further health improvements through fasting two days a week and dropping a lot of fat, getting some better sleep through using melatonin, and was still taking a variety of supplements on top of that. I also became a regular gym goer. So one must judge anything I write about this with caution. In no way have I conducted a carefully-moderated clinical trial. At the time I also found it difficult to recover from my work in the gym. I felt very tired all the time. I dressed up my response to this as ‘power napping’ but really it was an old bugger needing to take a snooze. I took a couple of courses of fisetin as detailed, over a few weeks, and felt particularly rough each time – like I was developing a cold – a had anxiety (maybe a nocebo effect since I aimed to kill certain cells in my body). Afterwards I just ate well when not fasting. Had it done anything? I thought not, and I thought that even if it had I might not notice effects. However, some weeks after this I noticed I no longer needed my power naps. This could have been an effect of fasting, or the melatonin or something else I was taking. It could all be placebo. But I found it encouraging enough not to dismiss it, and maybe try it again.

What percentage of my senescent cells did it destroy, if any at all? How quickly do senescent cells build up in the body? These are questions I simply cannot answer. I decided to try again on the basis that I probably still had plenty of senescent cells in me and the side-effects aren’t too nasty. Last Sunday night I took my first dose. On Monday I took another while fasting through till Tuesday (beginning with a dry fast of 16 hours) – 40 hours in total. I took doses through until Thursday. I felt particularly rough. I had symptoms of a developing cold again, a cold sore attempting to break out, feelings of extreme cold even when eating (so not an effect of fasting), a crappy mood and a lot of anxiety. I needed to have a sleep during the last day and that lasted two hours, followed by eight hours that night. I am now into my first day without a dose and am recovering quickly.

Again I must make the point that this is in no way scientific. However, I simply cannot put the nasty effects down to anything other than the fisetin. This is also confirmed by someone else who has done the same as me. Perhaps such large doses just fuck me up big time and kill no senescent cells at all. But worth a punt. I will see in the ensuing days and weeks if any positive effects are noticeable. Meanwhile I look to the increasing number of biotech companies developing their own senolytics and putting them through trials.

Interesting times.