The Eleventh Film Part VI
The Eleventh Film – Part III
There once was a looped fragment.
The image of a word.
Now there is only nothing.
And any thoughts that still remain are those she had about the end of all things.
I thought I would give you all an update on the VIRO series. What started as a few scratchy notes while I was on holiday two years in Portugal has now become a fascinating experiment in independent publishing.
Book One was launched in March 2018 and has been at Number One in the Amazon chart since May. It is currently free for download for Kindle and this has been an enormous help in getting the book some attention. Book One has currently been downloaded from Amazon 766 times. This is very encouraging. Book One is also currently available for download at Smashwords as well and 84 copies have been dowloaded to date.
Book Two was launched in May 2018 and has been very well received. The following review was left on my Goodreads page:
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.
Book Two is currently available for 99 cents and the challenge is to convert the free downloads of Book One into purchases of the rest of the series. This is taking some time but I am encouraged with progress to date.
Book Three was released in October 2018 and is slowly climbing up the Amazon charts. I have found that sales of Books Two and Three tend to go together with people buying a copy of each at the same time. Again, the challenge is to convert free downloads of Book One into paid purchases of the other books in the series but there is forward movement here and I am confident that this will keep moving as the franchise continues to spread.
SPOILER ALERT: Book Three also marks the first major character death. I knew that one of the main characters needed to die in order for the series to develop and Book Three is where this tragedy occurs.
Work on Book Four began this week and I am confident that this will be ready for publishing by early 2019. There is still a very long way to go for Jake and the rest of the characters in the series. Also, with each book in the series, the world of VIRO is becoming richer and richer. The writing style is deliberately sparse for this series and it was always the intention for effect to develop over time. Our understanding of the characters deepens in the same way.
ACTIONS GOING FORWARD
- Finish VIRO Book Four.
- Develop a professional relationship that will lead to representation and/or marketing support.
- Explore the possibilities of turning VIRO into a screenplay.
Barrow Girl, Chapter 3
Inteachán lives alone in a small flat that overlooks Front Square in Trinity College, Dublin. Fourth window. Fifth floor. Sixth door. A secret gate on Pearse Street. The flat has been in Inteachán’s family since 1804. A drunken game of Faro. A lost bet honoured the next morning. Sealed deeds and ornate key.
Inteachán’s flat does not feature as part of the official tour of Trinity. No gown-wearing students halt crowds of tourists in front of the building and tell them that ‘the world’s one and only hope for salvation lives here.’ A plaque does not sit on the wall. The gift shop does not sell tea towels with her face on them. No key rings. No bookmarks. No feedback on TripAdvisor.
When the rest of her family were lost to the NotBeSpeak it was the obvious place for Inteachán to hide. The only place. There was nowhere else. That was two years ago. Inteachán has been living there ever since. You grow up quickly when you lose everyone you know. You become self-dependent straightaway. You rely upon yourself before you rely upon others. You become quite quite fearless. Inteachán is quite quite fearless.
Barnaby Taylor 2018 – All rights Reserved
This is the story of a twelve year-old girl called Inteachán and the things she does. Inteachán does these things because she is very good at doing them. You might say that she was born to do them. You might also say that she has no choice. Either way you would be right. Inteachán does what she does because she has to. Or else the world will end. Simple as.
Inteachán does not always see things this way. Sometimes she likes to pretend that she is simply ordinary. Uneventful. Unnoticed, even, but someone this discreet can never really exist in a book that bears their name. Perhaps this is something to ask her if you ever get the chance?
The things that Inteachán does are also secret. Hidden. Obscure. Out of view. Unknown to most of the rest of the world. Occult, as in not apparent, but also just occult. They have to be. Do you really think that the world would knowingly let an twelve year-old girl save it from complete and utter annihilation?
© Barnaby Taylor 2018 – All Rights Reserved
The Professor Dunne Mysteries,
Book One, ‘The Simple Matter of the Elusive Illusionist’
Sandra woke up.
‘I don’t know about anyone else,’ she said, ‘but I could really eat something.’
Chuck looked in his rear-view mirror.
‘Absolutely, Sweetheart,’ he said. ‘I was just thinking the same.’
He turned to the Professor.
‘What about you, Prof?’ he said.
Professor Dunne stiffened slightly before relaxing. It would be extremely rude to take an elderly American to task for being over-familiar while he was driving down a motorway at 120 kilometres per hour. Despite her annoyance even the Professor felt that this would be going a step too far.
‘I could eat,’ she said instead. ‘I could probably eat something.’
‘Well, good,’ smiled Chuck. ‘That’s settled then, three probable somethings coming right up.
The Horse and Jockey Hotel in Kilnoe, Co. Tipperary was completely full. Well, almost. Our three travellers followed a young girl who led them through the busy dining room. She stopped at a small table covered in piles of napkins, bottles of ketchup and pots of mustard, placed everything on the table along a shelf just above it and arranged four odd chairs around the table.
‘But there’s only three of us,’ said the dismayed Professor.
‘There is for now,’ the girl replied, ‘but you never know.’
‘I think we do,’ replied the Professor, her hackles rising.
The girl smiled and didn’t reply. She was well used to feisty pensioners getting crabby over the poor conditions in the dining room. Chuck and Sandra sat down. Chuck smiled at the girl.
‘Could we have a look at the menu, please,’ he said kindly. ‘We’re starving hungry and looking forward to something traditional.’
‘No need,’ replied the girl, putting her pad and pen back in her pocket. ‘Everything’s gone, we only have coddle left. We’ve got two coaches on their way to meet a cruise ship at Cobh and they cleared us right out of frozen fish and chicken wings.’
‘What a frightful combination,’ said the Professor.
‘Oh,’ said the girl. ‘Not together, Miss, you can’t order them together. You can only have one or the other.’
‘Or neither,’ said the Professor, ‘as we’ve been beaten to them by hordes of hungry holiday makers, haven’t we?’
The girl looked around the crowded dining room.
‘Pilgrims, Miss, not holiday makers. They’re pilgrims.’
‘Pilgrims?’ said the Professor. ‘What on earth would pilgrims want with frozen fish?’
‘It’s Friday, Miss,’ said the girl, wishing her shift would miraculously end here and now.
‘Of course it is,’ said the Professor. She looked at Chuck and Sandra. ‘I guess we’ll have to make do with three plates of coddle, please.’
Sandra looked slightly perplexed. She smiled at the girl.
‘What’s in a coddle, please.’
The girl smiled back, probably pleased that she was speaking to someone else. The Professor had really put the wind up her.
‘Coddle,’ she said as kindly as she could. ‘Not a coddle.’
‘Oh,’ said Sandra sheepishly. ‘What’s in coddle.’
The girl smiled, pleased with the small victory she managed to win.
‘Bangers and rashers and spuds and oinons and herbs.’
‘Bangers?’ said Sandra. ‘What on earth’s a banger?’
‘I believe it is another name for a pork sausage,’ replied the Professor, herself uncertain about the appropriateness of such a word on a menu. ‘It doesn’t sound very appetising, does it?’
‘That’s all we have, Miss,’ said the girl. ‘It’s that or nothing pie.’
Chuck went to say something but Sandra stopped him.
‘Three bowls of coddle, please, she said.
The girl smiled.
‘Cutlery is on the shelf above your head. You have to order drinks at the bar over there.’
Over there seemed far too far to have to travel.
The coddle quickly arrived and before anyone had time to ask for anything else three bowls of thin-looking stew with small pink lumps of sausage bobbing in a broth alongside waxy potatoes were expertly plonked down in front of them.
‘It’s a local delicacy to add ketchup to the coddle,’ said the girl as she sidled away to serve another table. ‘Enjoy!’
‘That looks tasty,’ said a voice to the Professor’s right. She looked up to see an orange-hued man with a huge silver quiff sit down opposite her. ‘I’m fond of a bit of coddle,’ said the man.
‘I’m sure you are,’ replied the Professor, her senses quickly recovered. ‘Perhaps you might take your aforementioned fondness for coddle to another table? I’m sure the coaches are leaving very shortly.’
‘They probably are,’ replied the orange man, ‘but I’m not with them. I’m on my own.’
‘I’m not surprised,’ replied the Professor. ‘You can’t just sit down next to people and start a conversation as they’re about to eat their coddle without so much as a please or thank you.’
The man pointed at the girl.
‘She said this was the only seat left in the entire dining room and because you were such a lovely old lady you really wouldn’t mind if I ate my lunch with you.’
‘Well she was wrong,’ said the Professor. ‘In fact that poor, misguided girl could not have been wronger if she had tried.’
‘Wronger,’ smiled the man. ‘Is that a real word?’
‘It is now,’ snapped the Professor.
‘Joxer Flanagan,’ said Joxer Flanagan as he shook Chuck and Sandra’s hands. ‘Lead singer of the Joxer Flanagan Star Times Showband, formed in 1967 and still going strong today.’
‘A showband?’ said Chuck politely. ‘You must have some interesting stories about life on the road?’
Joxer’s eyes lit up. The Professor’s dimmed somewhat darker.
‘Well funny you should say that,’ smiled Joxer. ‘Did I ever tell you about the time that I …’
‘I’m sure you already have,’ said the Professor. There was an edge to her voice that even seasoned members of the Professor’s inner circle would not have recognised.
‘I’m not quite sure what you mean, Mum,’ said Joxer. ‘We have never met before, have we?’
The Professor stiffened.
‘Oh, you would know if we had ever met before, you self-inflated, pompous old fool.’
‘Professor …’ protested Sandra.
Joxer waved Sandra’s protests away.
‘I’m fine here,’ he smiled. ‘Let the lady have her say.’
The lady. The lady! Professor Dunne considered tipping her bowl of coddle over the conceited singer’s head. The trouble was if she missed she might spatter her travelling companions and that would never do. She took stock of the oaf sat before her.
He was tall and even though his skin was orange-hued he was handsome. This made it even worse. Being the lead singer of a showband, he was more than used to being adored. His hair was beautifully coiffed in the sort of well-oiled quiff that would make most men jealous, not least those in their later years. Even though she would never dare to admit it to anyone, this pompous prig looked a lot like an Irish Rock Hudson. You’ll never those words issue forth from my lips, she said to him in her head.
Fortunately, the girl returned and saved everyone sitting at the table, especially the Professor, from ‘the lady’ having her ‘say.’
‘What can I get you?’ she asked Joxer.
As the Professor watched, Joxer turned slightly to one side and spoke quietly out of the side of his mouth. The Professor thought he looked perfectly ridiculous. The girl blushed slightly and almost curtsied.
‘Well, my dear,’ drawled Joxer, ‘I guess I’ll have a bowl of whatever these good folks are having.’
Joxer’s accent was somewhere clearly in the midpoint between Mullingar and Michigan. Even Chuck was taken aback by the jarring oddness of Joxer’s accent.
‘Are you one of us?’ he asked.
Joxer turned to Chuck and smiled.
‘Why most certainly, my fine fellow, whatever one of us is.’
‘I meant American,’ Chuck continued.
‘So did I,’ continued Joxer without missing a beat. ‘I have always been American in everything I do and have done, the difference being that I was born here instead of there.’
‘And where is here exactly?’ asked the Professor.
‘Dublin by way of Roscommon.’
‘So why pretend to be American?’
‘I’m not pretending, I’m simply demonstrating the full range of my stagecraft.’
All Rights Reserved Barnaby Taylor 2018