Book Jacket

 

rank 5908
word count 23065
date submitted 29.07.2009
date updated 24.02.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction,...
classification: universal
incomplete

Last Man Standing

David Embleton

What happens if you catch the worst virus ever known?

Simple.......................You die!

What do you do if you're the last man standing?

You survive.........somehow.

 

A tourist freakily contracts an untreatable strain of the Avian Flu Virus.
He is the carrier.
Unknowingly he spreads the virus, hospitals are quarantined and beseiged by the panic stricken population.
Governments and health servces collapse they are unprepared and overwhelmed.
The infection spreads unchecked throughout the world.
Epidemic turns to Pandemic.........................there is no cure.

Isolated on a solid lump of granite off the Scottish coast. Lighthouse keeper
Steve Nolan is infected by crew members of his supply boat.

He survives. How he doesn't know. But he does.

So begins his search.
For survivors.
He survived so others must have...................................surely?

 
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tags

apocalypse, armageddon, avian flu, bird flu, disaster, doomsday, epidemic, h5n5 flu, inluenza, pandemic, plague, thriller

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Ailsa Craig

 

        The island of Ailsa Craig, is a plug of solid granite, jutting out of the sea, sitting just off the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. A bleak and inhospitable home to a hundred thousand sea gulls, the odd seal and a solitary lighthouse keeper.

         According to measurements, The Craig as it is known to the locals, is a little over three quarters  of a mile long, just over half a mile wide and eleven hundred feet at it’s highest point. It covers an area of 220 acres. There is a thirty acre spit of level ground on the east side of the island facing the mainland. Here the lighthouse complex and few derelict buildings stand.  The spit is mainly shingle and small boulders. There are numerous little tufts of moss here and there, the only vegetation on the shoreline. Except for the jutting outcrops of solid rock, the rest of the island was covered with a thick layer of course grass and dense purple clumps of heather.

        If it were it not for the bank of shingle, which over time, the tides had washed up on the eastern side, The Craig would have been inaccessible.  The steep sides of the island facing the north channel of the Irish Sea, and the sloping side with the level ground the land.

        The nearest inhabited point on the mainland of Scotland was the town of Girvan, nine and a half miles roughly south east. With Ireland thirty six miles to the west, The Craig was also known as "Paddy's Mile Stone" as it supposedly lay halfway between the cities of Glasgow and Belfast. A well known shipping hazard, the island housed one of the only manned lighthouse’s in the UK.

        The island was formed through ancient volcanic activity and was made up mainly of granite, which from the 1880’s to the early 1970’s housed a quarry. The granite was mined and shipped back to the mainland where it was shaped and polished into curling stones. A small wooden jetty, a few abandoned buildings, shacks, rails and rusting bogies all that remained of the mining operation.

        The first lighthouse was built on the island in 1886. Using an oil burning light to warn off shipping.  Oil was in use until 1911, then replaced with incandescent light, a massive glorified light bulb . A radio telephone link was established in 1935, now there was an underwater telephone line linked to the mainland. In the early years the original light keepers and employees of Ailsa Craig Granites Ltd.,  used to depend on carrier  pigeons for passing messages between the island and mainland.

        The lighthouse was modernised in 1990, and in 2001 as part of a major refurbishment programme the Ailsa Craig Lighthouse was converted to solar-electric power and the light automated. The lone lighthouse keeper worked in shifts of 3 months. They were traditionally staffed by single, ex Royal or merchant navy personnel Provisioned every two weeks by boat from Girvan. If the notoriously bad weather permitted.

 

        Steve Nolan a 42 year old geordie from South Shields the present keeper of the lighthouse, had just entered the third week of his three month shift. He had left the dwindling merchant navy three years before and had regretted it ever since. In common with many that had gone before him, he had found it difficult to adapt to a home based life.

        The constant arguing and bickering when he was on extended shore leave had eventually lead to the breakdown of his marriage. Sonia had been and still was, the love of his life. He just couldn’t live with the bitch anymore. She without doubt thought the same way. Now recently divorced. The ink barely dry on the degree absolute. They were again the very best of friends. Prior to the divorce, it had taken 19 years, of a sort of happy go rocky marriage to Sonia, his first and only girlfriend, for them to decide that they couldn’t live together anymore. It had been a mutual decision, if they had carried on any longer under the same roof, one or the other would have at some stage, have had to do time for murder. 

        Luckily he had found a job that was between sea and shore which suited him until something better came along. He had spent the last couple of years working for a road construction company. Which as things went, was about as far as you could get from being a ships engineering officer. But at least it was out in the open, better than being stuck inside a factory.

        Killing time one Saturday afternoon, browsing through the shipping magazines in Waterstones. Nolan had seen an advert from The Northern Lighthouse Board. They were looking for ex ships engineering officers to train as lighthouse keepers. Intrigued he had bought the magazine and applied for a  position. After two interviews and a month between letters, another landed on the doormat and much to his surprise found he had been accepted. There were only two manned lighthouses left in operation around the British Isles, Ailsa Craig was  one of them.

        Nolan had adjusted to the solitary lighthouse keepers role like a hand to a sweaty glove. Not being a particularly social person he actually liked his own company. Another source of irritation to his ex wife. He often preferred a long walk in the countryside to a night out wining and dancing. They had simply just grown apart. They still enjoyed each others company when he was home on leave, including passionate no strings sex sessions. All very civilised, unorthodox maybe, but civilised. So all in all the split had been relatively amicable when push came to shove, with no complications, no children, just a shared mortgage and two cats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Wednesday September 30th

 

        A mug of steaming coffee in his hand, Nolan was looking out of the window of lighthouse living quarters. Scanning the horizon, binoculars in his other hand. The Bonar brothers were due at The Craig to re-supply today. They had had to cry off on Monday and Tuesday because of a heavy storm. The gale force winds had made it impossible to dock at the islands small wooden jetty.

            Earlier that morning they had told him over the radio phone, that they would catch the high tide and dock at the island around 8am. It was now seven thirty. Through the high rolling waves, Steve caught sight of the scruffy looking dark blue fishing boat. Ploughing manfully through the swells towards the island.

        Finishing his coffee, he dressed himself in his yellow fluorescent waterproofs and long over the knee waders. Finishing off by shoving his collar length thick blond hair into an even thicker woolly hat. He grabbed his gloves and went out the meet the ‘Dolly Peel.’

        Making fast the bow and stern ropes that were thrown to him by Matty Bonar, the younger of the two brothers. Nolan jumped on board the boat. He clasped Matty’s offered gloved hand and shook it

‘Hi Matty, still a bit rough out there.’

‘Aye, but nowt the Bonar boys can’t handle, not like you deep water types.’ he smiled broadly as they turned to go  into the cramped cabin space.

‘Hey, Steve.’ welcomed Jock Bonar, as they clambered noisily down the short ladder from the wheel house to join him.

‘How are you doing?’ he greeted, offering Nolan a massive paddle of a hand.

‘Fine, fine, just been hanging around waiting for you two lazy bastards to get rid of the weekend hangovers and deliver my stores.’ he said clapping Matty heavily on the back.

‘Aye, we won’t be hanging about. That’s for sure. According to the latest forecast this is just a lull. So we better get unloaded before the weather turns again. Last thing we want, is to get fuckin stranded on here with the likes of you.’ said Matty.

‘Aye, you’re not far wrong there lad. Anyway, we still got about four hours before the tide changes to unload, and catch up on your seal shagging stories.’ said Jock, laughing at his own joke, adding between breaths ‘I hope your’s…has got a pretty friend…for our Matty here.’ he winked at Steve.

‘Give over.’ said Matty blushing bright red.

‘Well, as a matter of fact…………’ Steve said and they all burst out laughing.

        It took them just under an hour to ferry the stores the two hundred yards from the boat up to the lighthouse buildings. There were  rough wooden planks over the shingle, which made it a lot easier pushing or pulling the old tin wheelbarrow up the slight incline from the jetty.

        Finished they were all sitting around the old oak table in the kitchen. Hands wrapped around enormous enamel mugs filled with whiskey laced scalding hot tea. The steam rising from them as well as their cups as they slowly thawed out, recovering from the biting arctic weather.

‘So…you okay here then lad?’ queried Jock, blowing his nose into an old oil stained rag that passed for a handkerchief, ‘you not going stir crazy yet?’

Smiling at him, blowing into his cup before taking a sip of the scalding hot brew Nolan said, ‘No, got plenty to keep me busy, plenty of maintenance to be getting on with around here. Place is falling to bits. You can tell it was built by Scotsmen.’ he carried on, trying to keep a straight face, ‘found a load of paint in the back of the old store room as well. So I think I’ll give the place a once over, in my spare time.’

‘You got all the time in the world here laddie.’ said Jock between sneezes.

‘Don’t know how you stick it out myself,’ added Matty, ‘no one to talk to ’cept fuckin sea gulls…and your seal of course.’ he added with a sly grin, looking  at his brother trying to get him to join in baiting Steve.

‘Don’t worry about me son, I’ll call you for a ride out of here when I start talking to myself.’ said Nolan not rising to the bait.

            Laughing and sneezing at the same time, Jock spluttered ‘It’s when you get an answer though Steve lad…that’s when you start worrying.’

Nolan nodded smiling, enjoying the company, ‘Aye well it hasn‘t happened yet, anyway don’t you worry about me, worry about yourself. Nasty cold you’ve got there. Thought you big tough Scots fishermen didn’t get them?’

‘That bloody Ralphie.’ said Jock, referring to his brother in law.

            Nolan had done a months training course in Girvan before taking up his duties at the lighthouse. The time split between the island and the shore. Learning communication procedures, local shipping patterns and of course how to operate and maintain the light. Ted Brooker the outgoing keeper had shown him the ropes and introduced him to the Bonar brothers.

        He got on well with the brothers from the first pint of John Smiths. After that they sort of took him under their wing and introduced him to all of the local drinking spots. During one particularly uproarious night in the Admiral Collingwood on Girvan harbour he had met Ralph Collins, the Bonar’s brother in law. He was married to their sister Jeanie and lived in the nearby town of Ayr.                    

            Ralphie was a truck delivery driver and worked for a distribution company who delivered the morning newspapers to the shops, garages and stores throughout the region.

‘He goes on holiday…to bloody Thailand with our Jeanie, they both come back with colds, and as a present they give the bloody thing to me. I mean, a tee shirt would have done. Wait till I get my hands on him.’ he chuckled and sneezed again.

‘You better get yourself off to the doctors then,’ said Nolan ‘before you give it to us as well.’

‘Hey, come to think of it, there was something in the paper about some bloke in Edinburgh died of that Avian Bird Flu yesterday.’ Matty told them, pointing at his brother ‘maybe you’ve got it Jocky, it’ll be a shame of course. I’ll have to cry at the funeral and wear a suit. But the boat’ll be mine.’

Jock Bonar looked balefully at his brother ‘You couldn’t manage without me, you long streak of piss. You’d sink it on the first trip. Anyway, the lad with the flu was miles away, in Edinburgh. Never get down here, that Edinburgh lot’ll never part with there own shite if they didn’t have to.’ braying at his own joke. Then he stood up and got his coat from the wooden peg on the back of the kitchen door.

‘Come on you,’ he said to his brother, ‘lets get home before the tide turns and the sun disappears, ’cos we’ll not get a decent drink around here.’ indicating the empty enamel mugs ‘Now’t but bloody tea on offer round here. Which is all you’d expect from a bloody heathen Englishman.’

            Left to his own devices after the fishing boat had left. Nolan packed away the stores they had brought. Carefully stacking the thirty, five gallon jerry cans of diesel in the generator shed. The larder was fully stacked with canned food accumulated by the previous keepers, but they each had there own peculiar favourites. With Steve it was Branston baked beans and Heinz Tomato soup.                    

            There was a huge chest freezer which was also packed solid up to the lid. So in reality the lighthouse keeper could last for months without re-supply. But the company of the fishermen every couple of weeks with letters, newspapers and magazines was a pleasant diversion to the daily routine.

            Electricity came from the solar panels on the roof, and if the sunlight was insufficient to charge up the solar cells, there was a diesel driven generator to maintain supply. This was mainly to keep the light working, but also to provide power to run any appliances needed by the keeper. To keep himself entertained Nolan had brought his own compact Hi Fi system and his trusty iPod, loaded up with his favourite music.

            Maintaining the light and associated machinery took up most of his working day. The light was automated to a large extent, but the lighthouse keeper was on hand to keep things in working order. The main shipping in the area were the ferries. Which sailed from Scotland to Northern Ireland and Eire. In years past the shipping lane past Ailsa Craig had been quite busy. Now the lighthouse keeper was lucky to see three or four merchant ships or ferries in a day. The light itself was visible from more than 17 miles away and lit up the Girvan shore as it swept over the Scottish coastline.

 

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grumpydaysleeper wrote 1264 days ago

OMG this is such a spellbinder! Will there be more? I can't wait to see what happens next!!

Barry Wenlock wrote 1301 days ago

Hi David, I've read two chapters and enjoyed them thoroughly. You write well.
One suggestion is to merge your opening descriptions of Ailsa Craig and its lonely lighthouse -- a sort of rather detail-filled preface -- with the first chapter and start with your main characcter. It's hard to instantly relate to an island or a lighthouse, but easy to relate to Nolan, who's a strong character from the moment we meet him with Matty. I also liked Jock.
In chapter two we meet Rob and Fred returning from visiting Geoff and young Holly in Thailand. This reads true and the last line is a killer (literally).
A pleasure to back this and I shall return to read more.
Best wishes,
Barry
LITTLE RISNA AND THE BIHAR BOYS

superwal wrote 1302 days ago

Andrew,
Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.
I was struggling to place the darn thing in a genre.
You have placed it in Sci-fi. So Sci fi it is Thanks again.

Walter Embleton



You have written a very interesting and unique storyline, which I do like, and created a most memorable main character in Steve. The dialogue is realistic and well written and the pace of your story flows well. All of this along with your descriptive writing makes your science fiction thriller a pleasure to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Andrew Burans wrote 1304 days ago

You have written a very interesting and unique storyline, which I do like, and created a most memorable main character in Steve. The dialogue is realistic and well written and the pace of your story flows well. All of this along with your descriptive writing makes your science fiction thriller a pleasure to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

Burgio wrote 1455 days ago

This is a good story. You do a great job of explaining how germs from a single infected person could infect the whole world. Making Steve a lighthouse keeper is good plotting; keeps him out of the mainstream of things so he's not so heavily exposed. A strong point of the story is your writing style; it's clear and engaging and kept me turning pages to see if this could possibly have a happy ending. I'm adding this to my shelf. Burgio (Grain of Salt).

plip wrote 1501 days ago

You change tense while describing Ailsa Craig and the lighthouse. This should all be in present tense eg 'is covered' not 'was covered' also some punctuation faults.
But quite apart from that, you don't need so much preamble, describing the island and its history. Begin with the keeper, waiting for the supply boat, and drop essential info into the narrative thereafter.
All my personal opinion, mind.
phil 'Eland Dances'

Jared wrote 1514 days ago

A very strong title and cover combination plus excellent pitches are a real enticement for a prospective read and that's exactly what we get here. The premise is chilling - not original by any means, but armageddon, by whatever means, will always have fascination and intrigue. 'What if?' is such a wonderful basis for a novel, particularly in the SF genre.
Opening with a description of Ailsa Craig, and the extreme isolation of the lighthouse is well conceived and we also get to meet the man who will become the survivor. His role as the MC will have to wait as you then take the story back three days and the unfortunate Rob boarding a plane. 'If he'd known that he would be dead by Tuesday...' - a well-judged hook, although I'd suggest you remove 'that' from the line.
These portents of doom continue: in chapter five with Tim Tak - 'In a couple of days he'd be dead' and again in chapter eight, back with Rob, 'He doesn't look very well.'
That's the scale of the deadly virus established, we're moving on to the effects of the deaths now and the 'survivor.' A very well paced story, sound editing throughout, and fine writing that doesn't attempt to overwhelm the reader with real or imagined science. Backing a book that will have great appeal on this site.
Jared.
Mummy's Boy.

K.Z. Freeman wrote 1514 days ago

I think you need to get this further up the ranks. Its awesome no-bullshit story. your discriptions are the kind I wish I could write someday, the pacing of your story doesn't start of as fast, but picks up after the second page, but I really got into it from the start thanks to your nice descriptions hehe. doesn't need much editing as far as I can tell either.

nice title.

bonalibro wrote 1526 days ago


Hi,

I backed your book several days ago, and would be happy to leave you a detailed comment if you would have a look at mine and give me your honest opinion of it.
Good luck.

Tim Chambers
Moonbeam Highway: With Apologies to Miguel de Cervantes.

superwal wrote 1608 days ago

Hey JC,

Thanks for the backing. Much appreciated.
Will check out your book asap.

Thanks again,

David Embleton,
Last Man Standing

talk about being spot on currently - SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

soutexmex wrote 1608 days ago

talk about being spot on currently - SHELVED!

I can use your comments on my book when you get the chance. Cheers!

JC
The Obergemau Key

Simon Swift wrote 1609 days ago

Love the premise! Really taps into the current hysteria!

Fred Le Grand wrote 1624 days ago

Hi,
Bit like Red Dwarf 'Then everyone died'.
Very nice concept and story.
The writing is excellent and the characterisations intrigueing.
Backed for a good read!

superwal wrote 1626 days ago

Steve,
What did you think of the return from the dead scene in chapter 7?

David Embleton,
Last man Standing

David,
As requested I took a look at Chapt. 5 at the introduction of Steve Nolan. It is very well written. There is something alluring about Light Houses and Nolan looks to be a solid character. The dialogue is crisp and natural and you have done a very good job of painting the unusual setting. The lone survivor premise is compelling, but I wonder if your story should start here instead, then flash back to some of the prior scenes. If Nolan is the protagonist it is unrealistic to hold readers off four chapters before they meet him. The writing is great, well done. Good luck with it.
Steve Ward
Test Pilot's Daughter: Revenge

superwal wrote 1626 days ago

Steve,
What did you think of the return from the dead scene in chapter 7?

David Embleton,
Last man Standing

David,
As requested I took a look at Chapt. 5 at the introduction of Steve Nolan. It is very well written. There is something alluring about Light Houses and Nolan looks to be a solid character. The dialogue is crisp and natural and you have done a very good job of painting the unusual setting. The lone survivor premise is compelling, but I wonder if your story should start here instead, then flash back to some of the prior scenes. If Nolan is the protagonist it is unrealistic to hold readers off four chapters before they meet him. The writing is great, well done. Good luck with it.
Steve Ward
Test Pilot's Daughter: Revenge

Steve Ward wrote 1627 days ago

David,
As requested I took a look at Chapt. 5 at the introduction of Steve Nolan. It is very well written. There is something alluring about Light Houses and Nolan looks to be a solid character. The dialogue is crisp and natural and you have done a very good job of painting the unusual setting. The lone survivor premise is compelling, but I wonder if your story should start here instead, then flash back to some of the prior scenes. If Nolan is the protagonist it is unrealistic to hold readers off four chapters before they meet him. The writing is great, well done. Good luck with it.
Steve Ward
Test Pilot's Daughter: Revenge

TriciaBenet wrote 1627 days ago

What a story. I just read the last five chapters. You are doing a great job of telling the day to day affects of a pandemic and how it unfolds. I still want to read more and will watch for it.

I notice you still have several extra words here and there, but a little editing and you will have a fantastic book. I don't know whether to consider Nolan lucky or not.

Great story

Trish
'Miranda'

superwal wrote 1627 days ago

Sangay,

thanks, sounds like you liked what you read.
What did you think of the back from the dead scene?

Young Davey......poor little lad.
Got to get the readers sympathy though.

His mother with the weird hair do's is a mirror of mine.
daft as a bat.

thanks again,

David

Hey David,

I came to look at chapter Seven and beyond. Poor Davey! Great as I remember from the first go round. Just a few typos to deal with, one I remembered from the spaceman's first phone call, but I was too engrossed to nick pick. I will see if my backing works again, not sure if this is a new upload or not so it can't hurt, aye?

A pleasure:)

Sangay Glass
Kate, Blue Jeans, and a Single Shot
Genni's Box

Sangay Glass wrote 1627 days ago

Hey David,

I came to look at chapter Seven and beyond. Poor Davey! Great as I remember from the first go round. Just a few typos to deal with, one I remembered from the spaceman's first phone call, but I was too engrossed to nick pick. I will see if my backing works again, not sure if this is a new upload or not so it can't hurt, aye?

A pleasure:)

Sangay Glass
Kate, Blue Jeans, and a Single Shot
Genni's Box

J. Hamler wrote 1633 days ago

Chapter 1

A new twist on Stephen King's The Stand formula. Rapidly spreading and fast to kill virus... Probably the world's worst nightmare as we try to stay calm in the face of swine flu and bird flu and whatever else Mother Nature throws at us. (Duck flu apparently!) I think I'd prefer less foreshadowing, David. You know, TELLING us their fates. Because as you introduce the characters and their backstories --interesting as they are-- I'm sitting here wondering: Why should I care about these people? They'll all be dead in 48 hours! Maybe keep the focus solely on Rob for now? I dunno. I'd have to read on to see what direction the story is headed. Apart from that the writing is solid.

Cheers

John

Freddie Omm wrote 1633 days ago

good to see a character called fred. not nearly enough of those for my taste.

despite the numbers of characters, this reads easily and well.

it is a style well suited to building up a big and complex picture, one brush-stroke at a time, and it mirrors the spread of the virus. it is a style i especially enjoy, it mirrors important strains in modern society, and you pull it off really well.

last man standing (good title) is an ambitious and imaginative exploration of a terrible ending, an ending which seems uncomfortably close, as close as the next breath we take.

shelved for ambition and skilfully different writing which should appeal to many readers.

freddie
("honour")

superwal wrote 1634 days ago

Trish,
Thanks, for your comments glad you enjoyed it so far.
A lot more going up this weekend. This will get us right iinto the heart of the story.
Hope you stay with it,

Thanks again,

david Embleton,
Laast Man Standing

Just finished the next three chapters, and this is really fascinating. I hope you'll be putting more up. Can't wait to read more.

Trish

superwal wrote 1634 days ago

Helena,
Thank you,
Thank you, you are the first person to realise what I was doing with all of the characters.
It is important to realise just how easy it is to spread a virus. As the story progresses it becomes more apparent.
The main character 'hero' if you like can only come into the fray once the die has been cast.

How he copes with it all is a different matter.

I am editing like crazy and will be uploading quite a bit before the weekend.

I hope you enjoy the rest of it.

David Embleton,
Last Man Standing


Hi Davis, I've just read the first three chapters and at the beginning I was split on the tellin of this story. I'll try to explain what I mean, there are quite a few characters which we are constantly being introduced to and then they lave us again. I wasn't sure that this worked but as I read on I began to realise that this method was working, I thought of all these minute characters and the snippets you gave us of their lives, then I thought of all the people they met and the places they were going and suddenly the enormity of the spread of the virus became apparent. Its nicely done! I take on board the point below made by Ariom, I do think it may be a good idea to tell each chapter from a different characters viewpoint this would keep the same idea of the spread while not confusing the reader. I think this is nicely written and obviously since I read 3 chapters it stayed with me and I found it intriguing. Its on the shelf! Helena (A Load of Rubbish)

TriciaBenet wrote 1638 days ago

Just finished the next three chapters, and this is really fascinating. I hope you'll be putting more up. Can't wait to read more.

Trish

TriciaBenet wrote 1638 days ago

Great opening and such logical explanations of how quickly the flu can be spread. He was really unlucky to be bitten by a chicken and duck at the same time.

I agree with some of the comments below. It does need a bit of editing, but it doesn't distract that much from the flow of the story. You do have me hooked and I can't wait to read more.

This is the type of book that fascinates me, and it is going on my shelve and I will continue to read with much interest.

Trish

deltawriter wrote 1640 days ago

Personally, I like the style you've taken here. With some cleaning up, it will shut up critics.

For example, when you say "breaking out into a sweat" you don't need to tell us he's uncomfortable. Look throughout for examples of this--where your writing leads us to the conclusion, then re-states the conclusion (I've had to edit like heck for that, too).

The only other issue is the use of adverbs almost exclusively. Instead of "Rob feeling bad" it would flow more easily as "Rob felt bad about .. ."

Also, commas are going to be needed around most clauses where you do use the adverbs. One I can see as I write is "Pressing her back against the door, she shuddered . . . "

Even with those nits, it's an enjoyable read.
Stuart Phillips
High Cotton

Helena wrote 1642 days ago

Hi Davis, I've just read the first three chapters and at the beginning I was split on the tellin of this story. I'll try to explain what I mean, there are quite a few characters which we are constantly being introduced to and then they lave us again. I wasn't sure that this worked but as I read on I began to realise that this method was working, I thought of all these minute characters and the snippets you gave us of their lives, then I thought of all the people they met and the places they were going and suddenly the enormity of the spread of the virus became apparent. Its nicely done! I take on board the point below made by Ariom, I do think it may be a good idea to tell each chapter from a different characters viewpoint this would keep the same idea of the spread while not confusing the reader. I think this is nicely written and obviously since I read 3 chapters it stayed with me and I found it intriguing. Its on the shelf! Helena (A Load of Rubbish)

Ariom Dahl wrote 1648 days ago

Please understand all of this is just my opinion, but it is offered in order to assist you. If you find it offensive or annoying otherwise and want the comment deleted, just message me and I’ll remove it, okay.
First of all, to improve the presentation, check your punctuation. At the end of direct speech and before the quote marks, you need a comma, full stop, question mark, or something.
Go through this and put in the necessary apostrophes for ownership, but remember it’s always means it is or it has, while its is the possessive – but has no apostrophe. You don’t need an apostrophe for a common plural, either. e.g. painkillers, packs … no apostrophe needed.
Watch out for those sentences you have that start with an ‘ –ing ‘ word; make sure they are complete sentences and they say what you want them to say. ( e.g. Knowing that Kim Tak the communications officer on the plane would be there. This is not a sentence. Try it like this: She knew that the plane’s communication officer, Kim Tak, would be there. )
Also check your other sentences; in some cases you should use an ‘ –ed’ word. E.g. The stall owner …. admonished (not admonishing) Rob … ‘
It is conventional to use words for numbers – twenty not 20, fifteen not 15. But we write years in numerals. Go figure!
Is it a virus? If so, I don’t think you need ‘microbes’ as well. I’m not well informed on this, but I think it can be either a virus OR a microbe, but not both. I’d suggest virus alone.
Several times you say Rob (and others) will be dead within a number of hours or days. Do you think it could be more effective to state this fact once only, early or late in the chapter?
Have you considered breaking this very long first chapter up into several shorter ones?
My last recommendation is that you decide who the main character in each scene is, and tell it from his/her POV. I’m part way into the first chapter and you are going backwards and forwards between Rob and Fred, both of whom are going to die soon anyway. Better for this if you stay in Rob’s head. The overall story however, is about Steve, isn’t it? Consider whether you NEED all of this information and detail in the first part of the first chapter. Now I am the last person who should be preaching about maintaining a consistent viewpoint as I am notoriously bad at it myself (but not as bad as I used to be!); however it does improve the quality and focus of a story if you can do this.
Apocalyptic fiction, as it seems to be called, has great potential, so work at this one. And feel free to tell me where to shove my comments, as they are only my opinion, okay. But I hope they will help.
I wrote all this without checking out other comments, so please forgive me if I’ve repeated something you’ve already been told.
Regards and best wishes,
Ariom

superwal wrote 1652 days ago

Hi Shoshana,
thanks for the comments gratefully accept as always.
You know I have seen the I am Legend with Will Smith. It actually annoyed me having the 'zombies' in it. I mean with my premise, the end of the world is maybe the end of the world.
You read about this stuff and the papers are full of scare stories for days after.

A lot of people are commenting and are saying that it is taking to long to get to the main story. But to mind mind it's half of the story knowing how you got there. The build up. My sister is a nurse,no I haven't let her read the book, but i'm trying to make it authentic.

Almost to the end of the first section editing now so the next part our hero comes into it.
I don't like description, so I try to keep it to the minimum. You can say that someone is tall with salt and pepper hair. I find when I read that I form a picture in my mind as to what the person looks like.

As a matter of interest could you tell me what you think Rob Dryden looks like?

Anyway thanks again.
Got yours printed off ready to enthrall the grandaughter. She's really into the princess and fairy scene.

Superwal, David walter Embleton

Your premise reminds me of the Will Smith movie "I Am Legend" but without the 'zombie people'--which makes yours a good deal more appealing, to my mind.
Obviously, it's so topical, possible, and some say, even probable that it's terrifying. And extremely compelling. Good choice.
Now about the writing itself, I am no editor, but over-all, I'd say it's quite good. I found nothing to slow me down, and that's saying something! You're dealing with a ton of information here, as well as a sophisticated plot, and I think you handle it deftly. The only thing that springs to mind is that you might want to split your chapter one up into 2 chapters--but this is a very small thing.
Over-all, my general 'gut reaction' to this is very good. If I was in library or shop right now, I'd be sauntering up to the counter. Well done!
Shelved with my compliments.
Shoshanna Einfeld
A True Faerie Story

Ayrich wrote 1653 days ago

YOu will probably catch flak about your use of............well, you know. Its totally up to you of course, but the pitch is what draws readers and changing them will lose you none. Keeping them might lose you a few. As forthe story itslef its great and On my shelf.

Valdary wrote 1656 days ago

I like the style of your writing and will watch this for a while.
Two points, related to each other.

1) With the onset of the swine flu pandemic the threat of birdflu, although just as real and important to epidemiologists and WHO, is maybe a touch out of date to the public mind, you might want to go a touch more exotic, there are plenty of nasty bugs you could dig up with a little research.

2) Having read your pitch, when you get into the story, the actual virus might be just a McGuffin and the post apocalyptic search much more important to the novel. In that case many readers might not get to important bit because of being put off by what they consider to be stale concept of point 1. You might consider starting off with your lighthouse keeper starting out on his search and then cutting to your beginning chapters as flash back

You are doing the spread of infection quite well and I would usually advise keeping flashback to a minimum but I think for this to work well you may need to start farther into the story

I'm putting you on my watch list as I think this could work, you have a good tone of voice. I may put you on the shelf depending on how fast the reader can get to apocalypse

Kolro wrote 1665 days ago

Even though I mangle through the genre with jokes, I do love apocalyptic fiction and you grabbed me right from the off with this. There is a perfectly evoked sense of dread leaning on the story arc which you handle well; being told a plane's passengers will be dead in seventy-two hours is enough to drag anybody into a plot.
All the best with this.

Dave

Betty K wrote 1673 days ago

Hi David:
Since I've worked in travel I was immediately caught up in chapter 1. There is a good sense of foreshadowing or foreboding here with the sneezing and the dirty kleenexs being left behind. It makes a good start to a Michael Crighton type thriller and I can see it as a real page-turning read.

I did feel you need to break chapter 1 up. It's too long--definitely for on-line reading--but my understanding is that thrillers should be written in short chapters ending in what they call "cliff-hanging" moments. You have plenty of them, For example you could start a new chapter with the paragraph that begins "Rob apologized to Fred and crammed...." There's a good "cliff-hanging" moment at the end of that paragraph. And it definitely should be cut by the time you go into the new heading "Monday September 28th".

I think this has got real good potential. Just needs a good edit for now.

Betty K "The Huguenot's Destiny"

JohnnySix wrote 1674 days ago

David -- this is such a good read. A sci-fi thriller -- who would have thought? The only complaint I have is that you might want to watch your adverb usage (start from the pitch and work down -- I have the same problem), but other than that, I found nothing not to like here. A well-written page turner, which does exactly what a thriller is supposed to do (get the reader interested and keep them reading to find out what happens next). Great work, and worth a backing.

Awash wrote 1677 days ago

Interesting concept. Well worth a spin on my shelf. The only real nit-picky edits I found are punctuation.
Ch 1: …his friends wife… should be friend’s wife.
…Geoff and Hollys relationship. Should be Hollly’s
...Hollys silken bodied… should be Holly’s.
‘What happened to your hand?. It looks nasty that ‘ Messed up punctuation.

Good luck,
Amanda

JohnRL1029 wrote 1680 days ago

Well, I guess this is what would have happened if the bird flu was actually a threat. haha. Very well-written. Fast-paced thriller. Awesome characters. WL

petrifiedtank wrote 1681 days ago

Hi,

I like the idea of this. I love it when the world ends. There's not enough of it here to see how it pans out, but from the pitch it sounds promising.

On the negatives; others have pointed out (in your comments) that this needs a fair edit for punctuation, in particular.

Other point that struck me - if this is epic, which I don't know, the detail in the first chapter is fine. If you're going for page turning blockbuster territory, I'd suggest (as have others) that the first chapter be cut down, get to the real story quicker.

As with all the comments I give, I'm full of crap. Feel free to ignore me.

Good luck with this - promising, definitely.

superwal wrote 1682 days ago

Elaina, thanks very much for your input. If you liked what you have read so far you are going to love the rest.
The main story takes off when we meet Steve Nolan the lighthouse keeper.
I will get into the editing. But grammar isn't my strong point as you have seen.

thanks again.

David Embleton

PS.................I am in the north east of England now but lived for 17 years in Boksburg.

Elaina wrote 1682 days ago

Great premise- it certainly caught my attention. This title is better than the other, but you must know it isn't unique (a re-think?). To the tale itself. I've said this of two books recently- I see this as a movie. I can see it unfold as I read! Well done. Nitpicks- punctuation. Robs - Rob's, commas/stops before closing dialogue, and at one point you have a question mark and a stop together. Now, I know how these errors slip through, so this is merely a head's up and an edit will fix most. Your writing and plot, I feel, carries weight and thus I'm giving it a whirl on my shelf.

All the best
Elaina

Steve Ward wrote 1683 days ago

David,
You have a great story working here and it draws the reader along. Now you need to infect the readers with a reading virus. I think it just needs a little editing. In the opener you have some very long paragraphs that need breaking apart and a lot of indirect dialogue that needs to be converted to direct dialogue with quotes. That will pick up the pace. Keep up the good work, this is a fun read. Good luck with it.
Steve Ward
Test Pilot's Daughter: Revenge

Sangay Glass wrote 1703 days ago

I like the theme of this story. You have some fantastic touches and dialog. Really liked Fiona's concern when found Rob. It was very touching. Still, you do have a bit of work to do.

The plot is laid out beautifully, but I have to wonder how much of what's going on will drive the story. If it is the story of Steve searching for others...and none of the people mentioned here show up. I'd feel cheated. I like the idea if following the viral spread, but it's all to technical. Do we need to know every medical procedure? Will it matter. Same with the folks on the plane. A little intro to each, is fine, unless they are major players. Doing a little trimming will get us to the action faster.

You will hear about POV shifts. I don't mind them, but you'll need to create some sort of barrier like>><< or *** or ~~~ so we can see them coming.

Then we have the extra words all writer's are plagued by: "That" "had" ...If he had known he that he would be dead by Tuesday.... If he knew he'd be dead by Tuesday... This is also a POV shift from robs thoughts to narrator. I'm sure you'll find in Genni's Box that I'm trying something new with narrator /character shifts as the character talks to the narration in his head. lol..I hope it works.

Anyway, I really think with some work you'll have an awesome story. I'll stick it on my shelf for a little exposure. I'm sure you'll have more detailed crits.

Sangay Glass
Kate, Blue Jeans, and a Single Shot
Genni's Box

superwal wrote 1704 days ago

eerily familiar....did you get my message?


Yes I did. Did you not get my reply?

H5N5 was the original title of my book as this was the name of the virus.
But I thought that this title was a little more.............with it?

thanks again.

karen07814 wrote 1704 days ago

eerily familiar....did you get my message?

karen07814 wrote 1704 days ago

love the title!

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