My new batch of “les business cards” have arrived, and dashed splendid they look too eh? Sort of grungy grotty and yet with a soupcon of designer chic – difficult to classify, but they’re flying off the front desk like hot-cakes. The Vicar took three, and I gave some chap collecting for the Poppy Appeal half a dozen, since I had nothing smaller than a fifty on me.Difficult to classify is also a term wot might be applied to the latest release from the The Diesel-Electric Elephant Company (that’s us, btw). The Cat Wore Electric Goggles. There’s only one damned cat in it, and at that it’s a brief appearance.
Yes, it has rocket ships, but they’re old-fashioned rocket ships crewed by chaps who smoke pipes and do courageous things. Yes, it’s a bit of a giggle but then it also serves up lashing of serious points too (“lashings” is used here in the Enid Blyton sense of the word and in no way relates to being tied to things). Is it science fiction? Well yes and no, the science in it is improbable. Is it historical? Not in any way, since, although it is mostly set in some steam-powered electro-mechanical Victorian-esque nineteen-fifties-ish past, the history is wholly inaccurate.Is it steampunk? No, not really, although there are some groovy orang-utans in there who made it into space only because of the efforts of some aliens who were rather fond of brass and of coal-fired technology. Is it “Empire”? No, although I do tend to set everything in some deliciously mythical England that never really was, and I do so as a defence mechanism against the behemoth that is commerical globalism and the glowering, dull omnipresence in our everyday lives of the more crass elements of parochial Hollywoodism. If you too are sick to the tits of every film, television and book offering featuring nothing but LPG explosion-effects, the flailing limbs of the same half-dozen actors, guns, guns, guns and endless, mindless violence then the settings of Hutson’s brain will prove a comfortable place for you. Is it blathering? Indubitably so.
So what is in it, exactly?
- The Cat Wore Electric Goggles
- One Saturday, Almost 2,000 Years A.D.
- VTC = 1:1 +/- H times ATP
- The Improvement Engine
- One Small Step for Ma’am, One Giant Leap for Ma’amkind
- The Unfortunate Fatal Incident at 7 AU
- Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright
- Shall I be Mother?
- The Especial Relevance of Cowpats
- You fools! You fools! You insensible fools!
- The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth
- The Almost Omnipresent Omniscient Monks
The alien invasion of England; Margaret Rutherford as a cave-woman extraordinaire; some insane Cold War time-travel at terrifying temporal velocities; the real story of the creation of Victorian England and the Industrial Revolution; England’s very first Moon landing, televised by the BBC on a budget (250 quid); a tale of when Her Majesty when out to meet and greet some aliens freshly arrived in our solar system; alien evolution – a tad different to our own, with a stranded hunting party; ghosts on the Titanic, and an exploration of whether “Heaven” is a green and pleasant land; robots on strike at the Austin-Morris car factory; the accidental release of a terrifying virus – everyone catches Middle-Englanditis; an electric detective with a slight problem in re logic; a few medieval monks, zipping through the ages on their knees.
That’s what’s in it. This is where it may be found:
So who’s the author? Odd chap, goes by the name of Hutson.Born during tiffin in the sea-side town of Cleethorpes, England, at half-past nineteen-sixty. Whole family immediately moved to Hong Kong where Father worked for the Ministry of Defence, spying on Cold-War Red China by listening in to their radio transmissions. Hutson Minor spoke only Cantonese and some pidgin English and was a complete brat.
At the end of the sixties was to be found on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Still a brat. There finally learned to read and write under the strict disciplinarian regime of the Nicolson Institute and one Miss Crichton. Then spent a year living in Banham Zoo in Norfolk, swapping childhood imaginary friends for howler monkeys, penguins and wolves. Skipped school for the year, the entire year…
Followed, for want of something better to do and for want of a brain, in Daddy’s footsteps and found himself working for the British Civil Service in areas much too foul to be named. Was eventually asked to leave by the Home Secretary. A few years of corporate life earned some more kind invitations to leave. Ran a few businesses, several limited companies, then went down the plug-hole with the global economy and found himself in County Court, bankrupt, with home, car and valuables auctioned off by H.M. Official Receivers. Now lives by candlelight in a hedgerow in rural Lincolnshire as a peacenik vegan hippie drop-out, darning old socks and living on fresh air and a sense of the ridiculous.
Dog person not a cat person. Favourite colours include faded tangerine and cobalt blue. Fatally allergic to Penicillin and very nearly so to Jerusalem Artichokes (they caused, not to put too fine a point on it, near-terminal flatulence of a most distressing level). Loves coffee and loves curry and likes both hot and strong. Has tried his hardest all of his life to ride bicycles but simply looks like a deranged, overweight orang-utan on wheels. Favourite film Blade Runner. Uses the word “splendid” far too much. Blood-pressure is linked directly to the increasing use of desperately poor – and foreign – “English” grammar. Head is thus permanently on the verge of exploding. Explode good. Do grammatical. Write safe. Aaaaargghh!
Harrumph. Steps down off soap-box and wanders away, reloading blunderbuss.