Auntie Doris’s Book Club #9: “The Power of Six” by Nicholas C Rossis

Power of 6

My Raymond’s brother Cyril always liked the Science Fiction stuff. He always had his ruddy head buried in an Isaac Asminov or Arthur C Clarke. He liked that Ray Bradbury as Well. Robots, rockets, Computers, It all fascinated him. Probably because he worked with radios, valves and transistors, so he felt close to technology and that. Radios were pretty futuristic things in those days.

The thing is, he lives in a care home now, and has lost the ability to follow a good story. It will return to him. And I would imagine that he would enjoy “The Power of Six” once he got into it. I will give him a copy when he gets to the other side. I can imagine him having a bit of a grumble at first. Like he used to grumble about Star Trek after they got rid of Captain Kirk and got that bald Yorkshireman. “They are always messing about on that hollow deck,” he would say, “its about time that they got down on a few planets and had one or two proper adventures,” But then, after a while, the imagination got to him, and he started to enjoy it. I dare say he became a little bit obsessed. What is it about men and ruddy “Star Trek?”

Any Road, the stories in “The Power of Six” are more about computerised simulations of reality than about adventures. But they are imaginative, entertaining, and thought provoking. Like me really. Well, they made me think anyway. How do we know what is real and and what isn’t? Thats a ruddy good question when you think about it. I’m not sure that I know the answer. I’m not even sure if I’m real. I used to be sure when I was alive. Now that I am dead, I can see that I wasn’t as ruddy clever as I thought I was. Nobody knows anything really. I suppose that reality depends on your perspective.

In some of the stories in the Power of Six, the characters believe that what is happening to them is real, but then they find out that it isn’t. Or they don’t realise that it isn’t, but you do whilst you are reading the story. Which is ruddy double funny, because you knew that it was a story when you started it, but you accepted the reality of the story world only to have old Nick Rossis turn it all inside out. It makes my ruddy head spin.

Even the poor old war veteran, who tells the people in the pub that he has actually fired a few ray guns in a real interplanetary war… is he telling a story, having a story told about him, having a story told about him telling a story or what? In the end there is a right old twist and you don’t know what on earth to believe. My Raymond’s brother Cyril would have like that. It would have made his ruddy head spin an’all.

Then there’s the one about having a personality totally different to your own taking over your body and giving you a totally different perspective on everything. My nephew Michael could tell you a thing or two about that. Its interesting though. Look around you, the next time that you are in a crowd. How many people are actually in control of themselves, and how many are being operated by dead relatives or glowing orbs? Or are they really there at all? Could it all be a computer stimulation?

If you like thinking thoughts like that, then you should definitely get your hands on a copy of “The power of six. Whilst you are reading it you can think them sort of thoughts to your hearts delight. There is a paperback, and the kindles edition is on sale up the Amazon quite cheap at the moment. And there are a couple of bonus bits in it too. There’s a story about a universe creation game by one of Nicholas’s friends and a bit out of his Perseus trilogy. I would definitely recommend spending 99 cents or 69 pence or whatever it is on a copy.

Nicholoas C Rossis has a wordpress Blog at www.nicholasrossis.me

Auntie Doris’s Mysteries of the Unexplained #8: Mr Potato Head.

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We all know that potatoes have eyes. And we all know that some people have heads and faces that look a bit like potatoes. But the phenomenon known as Cephalus Maris Piperus has baffled scientists and paranormalists alike since time immemorial (whenever that was, when it was all at home)
Cephalus Maris Piperus occurs when a person, or in some cases a group of people witness a pay to with a human face which speaks to them, imparting words of wisdom, warnings, or suggestions such as “go forth and cleanse the streets of sin.
Sometimes these phenomena can be religious in nature. The Salvation Army used to always have a few wise words from Sam Spudkins on the back page. Sometimes the potato has a resemblance to a great religious leader of history, as in the 1938 case of the Moses King Edward, which caused an outbreak of religious rapture in the Lancashire Mill Town of Accrington, or the spectacular case of the faces of Jesus and all his disciples found in a bag of cheese and onion crisps in Haverfordwest in 1976.
At other times the potato is strictly secular in nature. In John Locke’s 1689 “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” he relates the story of the swearing potato of Turin, which “knew and recited curses strong enough to make even those with a stout constitution blush at their crudity and courseness” and pondered whether or not a speaking potato with a face was more human than a silent man without one. Ruddy philosophers!
Any road, my nephew Michael swears blind that he experienced Cephalus Maris Piperus last Christmas, when he was given the task of peeling vegetables to serve about a dozen people for Christmas dinner. He was on some strong tablets at the time, because of his bad foot, and whilst he was doing the carrots he noticed a half full bottle of sherry on the shelf above the kitchen table. I’m not saying that that had any bearing on what happened next, as with all matters of the paranormal that I relate to you, you must weigh up the evidence and make your own ruddy mind up. But the story he tells is more suited to the gullible reader than anyone with a ha’pence worth of common sense.
He claims that the potato he was peeling suddenly looked him in the eye, a calm look of disgust upon its face, and spoke to him. It’s voice full of hatred, was only rendered slightly less threatening by the fact that it sounded like Pinky and Perky, or someone who had just breathed in a lungful of helium out of one of them party balloons.
“A curse upon thee!” it said, “Thou hast slain my brothers and thou art about to slay me, and tomorrow thou and thy kin shall feast upon my flesh” strangely enough the words were not delivered in a Barnsley accent, but sounded more like Robin Hood used to talk in black and white films. Our Michael was startled and dropped the tatie knife, but he still had the presence of mind to pick up his pocket camera telephone thing and take a picture to show off with to all his mates on ruddy Facebook.
Apparently he spared that potato’s life, and hurled it out of the kitchen window to rest in a floral border outside. He peeled no more that day. In the spring, he found the remains of it, all gone mushy and rotten. I reckon that he might as well have cooked the ruddy thing and ate it, in that way it would have merged with the chemistry of his body and prolonged his existence. It might have somehow given him a bit of sense an’all, like Sam Spudkins would have. But somehow, I doubt it.