The Welcome Stranger [Barnaby Taylor, 2018]
Two pints, says Mepham as he walks in the door. Billy is already there. And Stu. Make it three, Mepham says as he spots the boys playing pool. How’s it going, lads, he says as he walks over. Billy is lining up a shot. Red ball, centre pocket, he says though he doesn’t need to. Just hit it, says Stu. And hurry up. Stu is always in a bad mood. It doesn’t matter what you do, he always see the bad in things. Billy isn’t so bad. A couple of pints and he likes a laugh. But Stu can be wearing if you are not careful. Mepham stands next to Billy. He puts the pints on the ledge by the mirror. Mepham goes to light a cigarette. His phone lights up. The text message arrives.
God aint glad. w’v foes of d faith n d kngdm.
Mepham looked up from his phone. Stop playing, lads, he says to the boys. You both need to choose, he said. What you gonna be? Alguacil? Alcaide? Billy looked up. What about you, he said. You need to choose as well. I already have, said Mepham. Malleus Haereticorum, that’s me. Typical, said Billy. You would be, wouldn’t you. I suppose you need me to choose as well, says Stu. You know you do, replies Mepham. You know you do. We have been through this a thousand times. We knew this was coming, didn’t we. The phone goes again.
God nos who’s rong n hs sinned. sn a calamity wl occur 2 doze hu av condemd us 2 deth.
Here we are, says Mepham. It’s kicking off nicely.
Not you too, Paul Hewson, I said to myself. The images were grainy. The glasses gave him away. It was snowing in the footage. The garage forecourt was empty.
Bono was talking on what looked like a Mobira Cityman 900. 183 x 43 x 79 mm. Those things have a total weight of 760g. They were nicknamed ‘Gorba’ in Finland because Mikhail Gorbachev used one during a press conference in 1987.
Who would be on the other end of a phone like that? And what would be said? I could only imagine.
I am thrilled to announce that Book Three in the VIRo series has recently been launched and is available for purchase online and in all good bookshops. The series is going from strength to strength and as of this morning the Kindle version of Book One is still Number One in the Amazon chart. If you want to see what all the fuss is about then why not get your FREE copy of Book One here.
What does the silver screen screen? It screens me from the world it holds – that is, makes me invisible. And it screens that world from me – that is, screens its existence from me.
Stanley Cavell, The World Viewed
The Eleventh Film
The first public film screening organised by Auguste and Louis Lumière took place on December 28th 1895 at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. Eleven short films were on the bill that night. Each film was 17 meters long, which, when hand cranked through a projector, ran approximately 50 seconds. Only ten films are listed for posterity.
- La Sortie de L’Usine Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory ) (46 seconds)
- Le Jardinier (L’Arroseur Arrosé) (The Gardener, or The Sprinkler Sprinkled) (49 seconds)
- Le Débarquement du Congrès de Photographie à Lyon (The Disembarkment of the Congress of Photographers in Lyon) (48 seconds)
- La Voltige (Horse Trick Riders) (46 seconds)
- La Pêche aux poissons rouges (Fishing for Goldfish) (42 seconds)
- Les Forgerons (Blacksmiths) (49 seconds)
- Repas de bébé (Baby’s Breakfast) (41 seconds)
- Le Saut à la couverture (Jumping onto the Blanket) (41 seconds)
- La Places des Cordeliers à Lyon (Cordeliers Square in Lyon) (44 seconds)
- La Mer (Baignade en mer) (The Sea/Bathing in the Sea) (38 seconds)
The eleventh film was called The View of Pazuzu returning to the World – a desert scene, with a half-buried broken statue and the wind blowing. It ran for only one second and was not noticed by the audience.
At the very moment that cinema was born the world’s fate was sealed and so the birth of one thing brought about the death of another.
With a new portal open, the passage from Beyond becomes possible once more.
VIRO – The Trilogy now available
A virus has destroyed the world.
Families are torn apart.
Will Jake find his missing mum?
Or will he just become another VIRO?
REVIEWS FOR THE VIRO SERIES
‘Powerful and poignant, VIRO packs a punch.’
‘Sad and haunting, VIRO is a new take on the zombie genre.’
‘Absolutely thrilling. I loved every page more than the previous, to the point that I couldn’t stop reading.’
‘Highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys zombie stories.’
‘I was left on the edge of my seat when I finished the book with a thirst for more adventure!’
‘Having Read Falcon Boy and VIRO, it was with eager anticipation that I started to read VIRO II. Barnaby Taylor has a daring and rich imagination that transports you to new adventures in a re-imagined world, that are vividly written with a fresh and vibrant use of language. The heroes of Barnaby’s books are children on the cusp of their teenage years. I would like to think that this isn’t a coincidence. There appears to be a deliberate opting out in relation to the current generation with Barnaby instead looking to a new, untainted generation to right the world’s wrongs in the guise of the courageous and idealistic young children that inhabit VIRO I and II. Barnaby literally and metaphorically backs the right horse. The purity of the children in VIRO II is evident throughout the book. Jake says ‘I hated violence. I hated violent people.’
In VIRO II, we pick up with the viros (zombies) who are overrunning the world and the small band of children who are trying to survive in this world. The children’s separation from their parents also serves (as it did in VIRO I) as a powerful dramatic device, providing the next generation with the stage and platform to figure out a way forward. Barnaby really understands the mind set of young children and evocatively and beautifully captures their innocence but also their determination and guts to persevere against the odds and you as the reader wants to be with them every step of the way, willing them forward. Barnaby also excels at capturing the petty jealousies and competitiveness that can pervade the group dynamic of young children but equally the intensity and tenderness of their relationships.
To say that this book is a page turner is an understatement. Barnaby can really write an action packed scene with fear inspiring characters such as the Tall Man. Baxter the dog who accompanies the children gives the story the delightful twist of feeling like an apocalyptic Famous Five. Genius. The story is essentially an allegory set in a far more perilous and shaky world and is therefore not only for children but also for adults. Potent messages are present throughout the book. Jake incisively says ‘The world was wrong now. It was bad and broken. I didn’t understand.’ That a new value system is required to fix today’s broken world is also indicated with even the Reverend stating that ‘in order to believe in the Bible, you have to stop asking so many questions and just accept what you are told. And I have always found that hard to do. The world created in seven days? Immaculate conception?’ By the end of the book it’s apparent that the new value systems lies with the children and their unselfish spirit of caring and cooperation, the perfect building blocks of a new world order which the author may reveal in further detail in future iterations of the book as possibly hinted at by the cliff hanger of the book’s ending.
The book is a must read. Barnaby is an exciting and passionate writer. There’s real depth of meaning behind his books. You emotionally engage with and care about the book’s characters. Barnaby’s books also have a strong visual sensibility. His stories particularly VIRO I and II would translate superbly to television and cinema.
I am a huge fan of all things zombie orientated and to see the zombie genre reinterpreted from the perspective of children is thrilling. I look forward to more books from Barnaby. He’s one to watch out for. Children, adults and I suspect the film and TV industry people will love this book. I highly recommend it.’
Amazon links are here
Cursor (Barnaby Taylor, 2018)
In this age of fear, famine and fundamentalism who could ever have known that the world would end because too many people were not careful enough when typing into search engines.