The Year 2000. (as seen from 1894)

I was handed a printout of a newspaper article when I was in Liverpool the other night by a very kind fellow and sadly I have no idea who he was. The article appeared in the Derby Mercury on Wednesday, 11th April, 1894 and is a report on a talk given by a French Chemist called Marcellin Berthelot (1827-1907) titled “The World in the Year 2000.” The talk took place in Syndrical Chamber (WTF?) of the Chemical Product Manufacturers Association and it makes fascinating reading:

“…..this change will be greatly due to chemistry utilizing the heat of the sun and the central heat of the globe. The latter can be obtained by shafts 3,000 or 4,000 meters in depth (that) modern engineers are equal to the task of sinking.

The water down so deep would be hot and able to keep all machinery going. By natural distillation it would furnish fluid free from microbes and would be an unlimited source of chemical and electrical energy. This could be everywhere developed and thousands of years might pass without any noticeable diminution.

With such a source of heat, all chemical transformation will be easy……

…. When energy can be cheaply obtained, food can be made from carbon made from carbonic acid, hydrogen taken from water and nitrogen taken from the air. What work vegetables have so far done, science will soon be able to do better and with far greater profusion and independently of seasons or evil microbes or insects.

There will then be no passion to own land, beasts need not be bred for slaughter, man will be milder and more moral and barren regions may be preferable to fertile as habitable places because they will not be pestiferous from ages of manuring. The reign of chemistry will beautify the planet, there will, under it, be no need to disfigure it with the geometrical works of the agriculturalist or with the grime of factories or chimneys. It will recover its verdure and flora. The earth will be a vast pleasure garden and the human race will live in peace and harmony…..”

M. Barthelot ended by drinking to “work, justice and the happiness of humanity.”

“May we all see your dream realised” was the answer from the audience to which M. Berthelot replied, “The year 2000 is so near, and yet it is so far off since none of us can hope to see it dawn.”

Amazing stuff, this speech was given in the same era that William Morris penned ‘News from Nowhere’ which was the original inspiration for me to write ‘News from Gardenia’ and currently ‘News from the Squares.’

 If anyone knows how to find the original article, I tried but it was beyond my meagre abilities, it was in The Derby Mercury on Wednesday 11th April. Page 6, Column 2. 



Graham Mulreay @Mulreay sent me this link on Twitter, apparently you have to pay to see the paper in detail.



Humping Books

No, not attempting to have sexual congress with printed publications, or even books that are about sexual congress between consenting adults, but carrying large amounts of books to talks and events.
Today I head about this
I tend to do this quite a bit and it's fine, but I'm thinking about alternatives.
Okay, so if you wanted a book from an author and they only had a card (a reprint of the front cover) and on the back was a scratch card thingy, underneath was a redemption code for either the printed paper version, e-book kindle or audiobook. So you pay the author for the card at the event and then it gets sent to you ASAP in whatever form you choose.
Would that be 'a satisfying customer experience?'
Obviously the author can sign the card at the event... just trying to get a sense of how this kind of idea might be received. (I'm doing a lot of public events this year)

Later this year 'News from the Squares' will, fingers crossed be published and it's likely to be a fairly chunky tome.


Dystopia be Damned

There is without question a growing pandemic of dystopian fiction in which we are all but drowning. It’s certainly not new but it appears to me to be a constantly growing genre. From ‘Planet of the Apes’ where the monkeys take over, to the soon to be released ‘World War Z’ where zombies take over, we are seeing a familiar drum beat. Things are going to get much worse.

Over the last couple of years I’ve been think about the driving force behind such an obsession and I want to highlight a couple of half baked, work-in-progress concepts I’ve fiddled about with.

Dystopian fiction is an exclusively created by white men.

Is that correct? All the research I’ve done into the writers of the genre points in that direction. The stars are generally a single white male, the directors are generally white and male and the writers are always white and male.

Dystopian fiction only emerges from the most technologically advanced and materially wealthy cultures.

Am I correct? Are there any dystopian authors from say, Africa, India, Cambodia?

Dystopian fiction is in essence a very conservative (small c) genre, created by the most powerful people on earth (white males) who lie awake at night in fear of loosing that power. They may really fear women, homosexuals or people of other races and cultures and fictionalize that fear into aliens and zombies, computer virus’ and machines hell bent on destruction.

White males still hold pride of place in the media industry and the mass production of such stories is therefor reflective of this. Dystopian fiction rules, they are telling us with skill, brutality and gripping drama that the world is going to get worse, things are going to hell, that zombies/aliens/machines (or possibly women, homosexuals and people of other races) are going to take over and destroy them and their power base.

Or, it’s just a cheap and easy way of creating a gripping, 3 act drama which contains the regulation number of explosions, shocks and fabulous aerial balletics and slow-mo sequences of massive destruction.


I would appreciate your input; I am currently writing the second in a trilogy of utopian science fiction, starting with News from Gardenia (already available) and soon to be launched ‘News from the Squares.’




Latest News from Gardenia

I have now heard a few reactions from the first readers of News from Gardenia, I am more than thrilled to say they have, so far, been universally positive.

I am collecting Tweets from people who have read the book but I’ve made one fatal error. In my enthusiasm I have collected the Tweets, but failed to record the Tweeter.

If, by any chance you recognise the messages below please leave a comment and tell me your Twitter name and which message is yours and I will attempt to rectify the situation.

And if you are one of the billions of earth dwellers who hasn’t yet got a copy of News from Gardenia, you can still buy the hardback at Unbound. It will be available in July as a paperback just like any book. It’ll be in book shops and on Amazon etc, plus there will be Kindle/e-book versions and an audiobook.

Just as a taster the first 2 chapters of the audiobook are free, if you like it you can buy the entire audiobook for £5.99 ($9.60 or €7.30) from Audioboo

Twitter quotes

  1. Loving News From Gardenia, @bobbyllew ! So glad to help make a hardbound copy possible.
  2. Just finished @bobbyllew s News from Gardenia. Brilliant, really made me think + highly entertaining
  3. @bobbyllew The only problem with News from Gardenia was... it didn't last for ever! Amazing story! Thanks Mr Llewellyn!
  4. finished "News From Gardenia" by @bobbyllew last night. A fine piece of writing, and I'm guessing a real labour of love
  5. @bobbyllew great book, glad I got involved. Where do I sign up for the next instalment? #goodread
  6.  So proud I supported @bobbyllew News from Gardenia, it’s truly wonderful, optimistic and somehow feels entirely possible. Love it
  7. @bobbyllew News from Gardenia. Great book. Loving it
  8. @bobbyllew Have started reading News From Gardenia. Loving it so far.
  9. @bobbyllew Loved NFG. Man arriving in the future's almost first thought "is sleeping with this woman cheating on my now dead wife?" Classic!
  10. @Tomlynn88
  11. @bobbyllew 3/4 through News From Gardenia and I'm torn. I don't want it to end, but I can't wait to finish so I can read it again! 

The last one is the only one I’ve remembered to record the Tweeters name. hashtag myfail.


News from Gardenia FAQ's

It’s been a joy seeing the Tweets from all the supporters of the book as they have received their copies, my tweet-stream runneth over.

I’ve also had many queries from people who have only just found out about it so I will endeavor to explain.

News from Gardenia was a crowd sourced publishing venture I did with Unbound which really is a little revolution in publishing. Authors pitch their book direct to readers, if you like the idea, you can pre-order or support the book before it’s completed.

When I started writing this book I really wanted to try a different approach to publishing, I’ve previously published 11 books through traditional methods with varying degrees of success, I wanted New from Gardenia to be very different.

I use a Kindle, so I wanted it to work on that (coming very soon) I also wanted it to be an audiobook (I listen to a lot of them) so I recorded it.

So, News from Gardenia is a proper, old school hardback, copies are available now through Unbound.

It is also an e-book, (yes, including Kindle) and an audiobook and both these formats will be released in the coming few days, but at present only through Unbound.

In mid July it will also be an old school paperback too.

All these various versions (paperback, e-book/Kindle) will be available through Amazon and similar online book distribution systems as well as in proper old school bookshops with shelves and assistants and tills and stuff in mid July.

The audiobook will be available very soon through Audioboo.

I will Tweet the links, I will post them here and on Google+

Once again I want to thank all the people who supported the book, without you, it truly would never have happened