Chapter Five – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

The Odds Game

Conor and his new friend Samuel Milton took in the view as they sat comfortably in the warmth of the Eagle & Child. They watched as the rain lightly tapped against the windows, as the puddles slowly formed on the street corners. Passers-by were pulling out their umbrellas and frantically running to shelter. The tables and chairs inside quickly filled up with shivering punters shaking off the rain.

‘Have you ever heard of the human regression theory?’ Samuel asked, handing Conor a shot of tequila. He glanced to the new arrivals coming in from the cold. Conor shrugged.

‘It’s the belief that the human race will eventually peak in its ascension. Achieve all that we are capable of, and then over time, slowly regress, forgetting all that has been learned.’ He picked up his tequila and gestured to the room. ‘It can make you wonder, when will we know that we’ve peaked?’

Conor had met Samuel during his first week at University. He was staying in the opposite room at Tennyson House and had given an almost immediate impression of wealth and boyish charm. He spoke with a rich, distinctly royal English accent and projected the self-worth and confidence you would expect followed a childhood spent wanting for nothing.

‘So, what are you taking?’ Conor had asked him.

‘Strictly class A’s, often with whisky. And you?’

Samuel’s dry sense of humour had taken a while to get used to. He had a cold exterior that would deflect questions and repel interest, a demeanour that required perseverance and patience. Instantly Conor had considered him the first test of his new mindset, an opportunity to meet someone he would have otherwise never met; and after several exhausting evenings attempting to keep up with his provocative intellect and rapid switches in conversation, an acceptance between them grew. Some would call it a friendship, but it was early days.

Conor had spent the past hour sharing memories and drinking stories from back home. Samuel listened intently in parts whilst on occasion drifting his focus, distracted by the mock Tudor character of the pub, the visible wooden beams, the lamps and roaring fire place. It offered an ambience which appeared to remind him of home.

Conor would have happily listened but depending on his mood Samuel would often be guarded when talking about where he came from and, in particular, his family.

He was also proving a strong drinker; three rounds with an accompanying shot and there was no sign of effect. Conor started to imagine that he had a silver flask of whisky tucked away in his jacket pocket at all times.

‘So, how’s your course going?’ Conor asked, the taste of tequila still warm on his breath.

‘Tiresome,’ Samuel sighed.

Conor wasn’t thrown by the response.

‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but I didn’t think it was for you.’ He was still confused by Samuel’s choice on studying Finance Math at Pembroke.

‘No offense taken, chap. To be fair it’s more my attendance at University that’s the driving factor here, rather than any purpose.’

‘So why are you here?’

Samuel looked away, appearing to choose his words before returning his attention.

‘I am here, dear boy, because I find the thought of contributing to society troublesome at best.’ His tone became less playful. ‘I’m here because parents like mine offer to pay the tuition fees of their children just to remove you from their sight. I’m here at the courtesy of my beloved ex girlfriend Michelle, who took my virginity and my heart and then replaced me with a pretty boy named Craig. Turns out she’s engaged now, which makes you wonder why stupid decisions aren’t rewarded more often!’

He took in a mouthful of his pint and swallowed it down.

‘I’m here for the stories, Conor, the experience. Something to tell my grandchildren when I have them, God forbid. I want proof that I lived… Why are you here?’

‘I told you. A degree in Computer Science.’

‘Oh yes, that’s right. Fascinating.’ Samuel rolled his eyes. ‘Why are you here?’ he asked, pointing down at the table. It was clear he meant Oxford.

Conor paused to think on his answer. No one had asked him it before. Oxford was deemed an achievement in anyone’s eyes, the instinctive reaction was to congratulate him, ask what he was studying and wish him the best of luck. But Samuel didn’t seem to carry the same enchantment to his new digs.

‘I was jaded. No, jaded is the wrong word; frustrated would be better,’ Conor admitted. ‘Back home I rotated my evenings around the same bars and clubs, regurgitating a copy of a night over and over… All my life, I’ve just wanted to do something worth remembering. I guess I’m looking for something.’

As he spoke Conor noticed a red-head by the bar ordering drinks.

‘A chance to meet people,’ he said softly. She had a lean athletic body and was wearing skinny jeans and a tight pink top.

Samuel frowned, noticing Conor’s sudden daze and followed his eye line to the bar.

‘Remember, dear boy,’ he smiled. ‘Women are an odds game that’s never in your favour.’

Undeterred, Conor rose from the table, wobbling slightly as he stood to his feet. Unlike Samuel the pace in which they had got through the first few rounds was not without effect.

‘Just give me a minute,’ he said.

Samuel watched jeeringly as Conor carefully walked towards the bar, heading straight for the girl. Weaving in and amongst the crowds and tables, he moved as quickly as he could, reaching the bar in time to see that she was being served her drinks. He casually positioned himself next to her. Aim high, aim far.

‘Hello,’ he said, trying his best to sound charming.

His greeting prompted her to glance at him for a brief second before turning back to her drinks.

‘Hi Fresher.’

Conor reeled. ‘Jesus, that obvious?’

‘Oh, I wouldn’t say that,’ she said, turning her head slightly, a touch of sarcasm in her tone.

‘Well, ten points in any case.’

She gave no response. Conor made every effort to keep his eye line above her neck.

‘Nice place, Oxford,’ he tried again. ‘You live here?’

‘Of course.’

‘You come here often?’ Quickly he regretted his choice of words.

‘And why would you ask that?’ she moved to face Conor, giving him her complete attention for the first time. She had dark hazel eyes.

‘You don’t do this very often, do you?’ she asked, smiling. ‘Not that I’m suggesting you’re inexperienced or amateur. No, you’ve had some experience with girls or you wouldn’t have approached at all. It’s just that you’ve got insecurities. I’m guessing it’s because this is your first time away from home. Are you studying IT?’

Conor couldn’t hide his surprise.

‘Computer Science. How did you know?’

‘You’ve got a look about you.’

‘I’ll take that as a compliment.’

‘Take whatever helps,’ she said, looking away to shield a smile.

Conor caught it but played along.

‘Thank you. What makes you think this is my first time away from home?’

‘Well, for one thing it explains this newfound courage of yours.’ She took a sip of her drink. ‘You can’t quite believe your luck, can you?’

He looked away before returning with a smirk.

‘OK, maybe.’

The barman served the last of her drinks onto a tray and took the twenty pound note she had held out folded between her fingers.

‘So, what’s your name?’ Conor asked, feeling a sudden need to act fast.

‘Oooh, direct. I’m impressed.’

‘But not enough?’

‘Not today,’ she took the change from the barman, giving him a wink, and turned back to Conor. ‘So why Oxford? What’s wrong with the University in Leicester?’

‘What makes you say Leicester?’

‘Well judging by your accent I’m guessing it’s Leicester, but I suppose it could be Coventry or outer Nottingham even.’ Conor did his best not to give her anything. She studied his face and smiled. ‘But it’s Leicester, definitely Leicester.’

‘I have my reasons for Oxford,’ Conor said enjoying her interest. ‘But we don’t know each other well enough and perhaps we should. Can I give you my number? You can’t learn everything from a glance and I think…’

‘No, not by a glance,’ she interrupted. ‘But by watching the way that they talk, dress, compose themselves in conversation.’ Conor noticed that he was leaning against the bar and stood up straight. ‘You can get enough… And after looking at you and a minute’s conversation I’m guessing you were born and raised in Leicester. Perhaps a little excessively mothered from a young age, middle class of course, kept your head down in school and did well but not as well as you hoped.’

She squinted in thought. ‘From there you went on to further education definitely, no doubt fuelled by binge drinking and nights out with equally testosterone driven primates. But that of course led to boredom and boredom to escapism. I’m sure Oxford felt like a logical choice.’ She took another sip of her drink.

‘How many points do I get?’

Conor leaned back up against the bar, wondering whether there was any point in speaking at all.

‘Have you ever heard of the human regression theory?’ he thought to say.

She smiled and picked up her drinks.

‘Have fun, Fresher, but not too much fun. OK?’

‘Don’t you want to know my name?’ Conor called out as she walked away.

‘I don’t need it,’ she replied, disappearing into the crowd.

He stood at the bar, dazed by the elegance in which she had palmed him away. If the odds weren’t in his favour back home, they weren’t worth calculating in Oxford. He glanced back to Samuel to find him grinning ridiculously and saluting with his pint. He’d enjoyed the show.

Conor thought for a second, trying to imagine how the exchange could have played out better for him. Was it the way he was dressed? His hair? He sighed, eventually settling on a reason that his pride painfully allowed him to accept.



Have you read A Game For The Young?
Share your comments #agamefortheyoung

ORDER ON PAPERBACK | EBOOK
AMAZON (UK) | AMAZON (US) | WATERSTONES | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SCRIBD | ROWANVALE BOOKS

 

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.

dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

Advertisements

Book Review: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Published: March 1969

“Very good… This is a worthy read to tackle the subject matter.”

fourstars

What Is ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ About?

Prisoner of war, optometrist, time-traveller – these are the life roles of Billy Pilgrim, hero of this miraculously moving, bitter and funny story of innocence faced with apocalypse. Slaughterhouse 5 is one of the world’s great anti-war books. Centring on the infamous fire-bombing of Dresden in the Second World War, Billy Pilgrim’s odyssey through time reflects the journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we are afraid to know.

Why Did I Read ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’?

Slaughterhouse Five was mentioned in a recent book I read which prompted my interest. This was followed by me watching two interesting ‘Crash Course’ videos dedicated to the analysis of the novel and it’s numerous metaphors and hidden messages:

The more I read about this novel, the more it became apparent that this was an important piece of anti-war literature.

What I Liked About ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’

The first chapter feels autobiographical, the author introduces himself and sets the stage. It feels like it’s going to be a first person account of a horrific incident in the second world war with thought provoking anti-war messages along the way. The author even talks about the process of writing the book and the difficulties he had reciting everything. Things then suddenly switch into fiction and the perspective changes to that of the story’s protaganist Billy Pilgrim.
Initially this was disorientating, but as I read on I warmed to the narration and began to understand that everything had been intentional.

There is a wonderful section within the novel where Billy Pilgrim is watching an old war movie backwards (or he sees it that way) and he describes, with a certain poetic irony, a bombing run against Germany in reverse. The flames are sucked out of the city and the debris is collected back together and transformed into buildings, the shattered metal casing of the bomb is pulled together and flies into the sky back into the bellies of the planes. I loved this.

The introduction of aliens and flying saucers were a surprise but I viewed these as metaphors to make the reader look inward on the human race from a third person.

Kurt has a one liner that he calls on throughout the novel whenever someone dies: ‘And so it goes”. When it’s used its often in the wake of something tragic but it also carries an awkward humour.

Due to the fleeting timeline that the author has created with Billy Pilgrim’s time travel, it means that he’s able to have multiple stories running at the same time based in different time periods but using similar themes of abduction / arrest and therapy / alien observation.

There’s some powerful social commentary to be found in this book. The quest for a happy existence and the class system are poignant subjects.

The destruction and the aftermath of Dresden is suitably haunting. The landscape is compared to the surface of the moon, the hills of debris are jagged on closer look and fragile to touch. Overwhelmingly it was destruction that told you clearly that no one was supposed to live. No one was expected to survive.

The sentiment of this story seems to be summed up perfectly by the exchange between Billy and an old war veteran. When referring to the bombing of Dresden, he says: “It had to be done”, Billy replies: “I know”, the Veteran says: “Pity the men that had to do it”, Billy replies: “I do”, and then “It must of been hell” to which Billy replies “It was”.

What I Didn’t Like About ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’

Because of the jumping timelines, the reference of aliens and the mixture of world war tragedy – its all very displacing and uncomfortable in parts. There were sections of the story and I did’t enjoy frankly.

Good Or Bad

Was this book any good? Yes, very good. I’m embarrassed to admit my ignorance to the Dresden bombing prior to reading this novel, so I’m glad to have learnt an important piece of history in such a unique way. This is a worthy read to tackle the subject matter.
Would I recommend it? Not for everyone, so very much dependent on the reader. I would emphasise it’s an important moment in history which deserves to be read about.
Would I read it again? Possibly. This would be an interest read second time around.

 

Here are some other reviews:

Paper Towns by John Green
Parable Of The Sower by Octavia E. Butler
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

What’s on the list?
The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Perks Of Being A Wallfower by Stephen Chbosky

 

Any suggestions?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.

dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

Book Review: Tom Clancy – Support and Defend by Mark Greaney

Published: July 22, 2014

“A decent page turner, but not for me.”

threestars

What Is ‘Support and Defend’ About?

Support and Defend is a political thriller novel in the Tom Clancy universe.
After a terrorist attack on a former Israeli commando, Dominic Caruso, the nephew of President Jack Ryan is on a mission to find the man who is responsible for the death of his friend. The trail leads him to White House Staffer, Ethan Ross. Ross has enough information to destroy the U.S.’s intelligence effort. Declared FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ he flees with operatives to Venezuela’s General Counterintelligence Office. Caruso is on the trail, but Iranian Quds Force assassins, Hezbollah terrorists and the Russians are not far behind. This hunt takes him from the Georgetown neighbourhood to an island in Panama to the snowy Alps in Europe.

Why Did I Read ‘Support and Defend’?

I was interested in reading a political thriller. The novel I’m writing treads on the toes of a few genres, a political thriller being one of them, so a Tom Clancy novel felt like the optimal choice for a mixture of politics and action. But I’ll admit that I initially didn’t realise that this wasn’t written by Tom Clancy. Though he died back in 2013, I assumed this was an old novel being re-published. I soon realised that this is a campus novel which exists within the ‘Tom Clancy Universe’.

What I Liked About ‘Support and Defend’

You have to acknowledge the amount of research that has gone into building a realistic environment in which a plot such as this can be played out.
Going through the various departments in government office and their responsibilities was particularly interesting, although how much was fact and how much was fiction was difficult to gauge – which is credit to the author.
Mark Greaney was also clearly well informed or has a practical understanding of cryptology, and devised a believable method in which a whistleblower would go about leaking information – again this points to good research.
True to the genre, when the action kicks in (especially during the third act of the story) it flows very well. I got the impression that this was where the author was in his element. The final chapters in particular felt like short sharp bursts which would quickly switch from character to character giving you brief versions of their perspective. The speed it does this adds to the sense of action and everything builds to a satisfying conclusion.

What I Didn’t Like About ‘Support and Defend’

I thought I wanted to read a Tom Clancy novel and a part of me has enjoyed it. It’s a political thriller, it’s a spy novel, so you get all the ingredients which are intriguing to read. But this story ticks just about every cliche there is, and in some respect you switch off at the familiarity of the setups and the scenes that are described.
The writing in this novel isn’t particularly stylistic or memorable – it’s a very practical writing style. You get a simple overview in terms of the atmosphere, it’s not very poetic in it’s description. The characters get their own snippet of detail although again it’s all very cliche.
The dialogue also grated on me at times, people would say the longest drawn out version of what needed to be said, it was apparent that the author was guiding you through the thoughts of the characters rather than have him talk normally.
Several times in the story you are told information or taken through the events of a situation and then, a few chapters on, a character will recite what happened to another character. So you have to deal with characters figuring out things that you already know which isn’t particularly interesting. I suppose it’s a consequence of the writing style – but I would of liked a few of the chapters to be handled differently.
At times the detail was overkill, maybe I’m missing the point, but you’re given the names of computers including the specs and brand names as well as the full names of guns including the manufacturer and the year they were released. It felt like showcasing research rather description for the benefit of the story. I’ve since learnt that this is Tom Clancy’s writing style, suitably adopted by the author to fit into his universe – but it’s not a style I enjoy.

Good Or Bad?

Was this book any good? To be clear, I don’t think this is a bad novel. It’s actually a very good version of what it is, considering all the complexities and the plot evolving into something bigger and bigger with each chapter. It just wasn’t for me, it felt too familiar.
Would I recommend it? Maybe, if you want to read a political thriller revolving around a whistleblower, FBI agents and terrorists then this is worth a go.
Would I read it again? Nope.

Here are some other reviews:
Misery by Stephen King
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

What’s on the list?
The Lafayette Campaign by Andrew Updegrove
The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Paper Towns by John Green
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

 

Any suggestions?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.

dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

A GAME FOR THE YOUNG

THE STORY

For the past two years Ellie Swanson and a team of scientists have devoted their lives to a project. An experiment destined to change the course of history.

When their funding is pulled on the eve of their biggest discovery, the team are left with a choice; abandon everything they have worked towards or continue on in secret.

Conor Martin is a young man, full of hope, beginning his journey at St John’s College, Oxford. With a curious nature and a point to prove, he becomes caught up in an interviewing process like no other.

As paths collide and the true potential of the project is revealed, the impact of their creation is suddenly shaken, concluding in a chilling discovery that will change their lives forever.

agftyheader

Have you read A Game For The Young?
Share your comments #agamefortheyoung

ORDER ON PAPERBACK | EBOOK
AMAZON (UK) | AMAZON (US) | WATERSTONES | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SCRIBD | ROWANVALE BOOKS

 

 

 

Click here for Blog Posts on ‘A Game For The Young’

Click here for Images related to ‘A Game For The Young’

Click here for Videos related to ‘A Game For The Young’

* * *

Available Now On Paperback

amazon-logospacerrowanvale-smallspacerwaterstones-small

 

Available Now On EBook

amazon-logospacerrowanvale-smallspacerBarnes-and-Noblespacerkobo-smallspacerscribd-small

 

fourandahalfstars
“Curious insight into a topical mind. A little chilling in places. Fascinating!”

fivestars
“I love this book! It’s thought provoking and packed full of twists and turns. A great read.”

fourstars
“Packed full of thought-provoking ideas, daring night-time information raids and enough secrets to fill a dozen spy novels, A Game for the Young is deep, insightful and incredibly clever. Science enthusiasts will enjoy its focus on research and experimentation, but there is something for all readers in this novel. The twists and turns are sharp, unexpected and thrilling and will draw the reader in until the final, gripping line.”

fourandahalfstars
“A brilliantly written book that grips you right from the start. The fascinating and ethically challenging plot makes it very hard to put down. A fabulous first novel and looking forward to the next one.”

fivestars
“One of those books you look forward to picking up all the time… Looking forward to book number two as the first book was brilliant!”

fivestars
“I could not put this book down. The author has clearly done a considerable amount of research and made a compelling, worrying and fascinating read.”

fivestars
“Excellent first book from this author. Tempo builds to a real page turner, with twists and turns right up to the last chapter. It will give you a detailed insight into the lives of Oxford students trying to cope with the pressures and moral dilemmas brought on by a truly life changing discovery. I strongly recommend this as a must read and look forward to the next book.”

fourstars
“A well paced and engaging read. Characters have unique and individual voices. Some interesting themes are explored here and questions asked regarding the ethics and morality of enhancing the human being’s natural capacity through scientific means. 4* as I would have liked it to be longer (because I was enjoying it thoroughly)… maybe I am just being greedy.”

fivestars
“A gripping read taking you through the lives, past and present of a group of students on a mission to change the future and the world we live in, with underlying secrets that bring the book to life! The mysterious build up to how the inquisitive main character becomes involved in this project reflects how i felt as a reader and why this book could not be put down. It has a perfect balance of information to make it compelling read but holds enough back for the impact of the final twist. I look forward to the next novel!”

fivestars
“Definite worth a read! I had a hard time putting it down! Can’t wait to read the next novel! Always love a fiction I can actually learn something from, research and detail brilliant.”

fivestars
“Couldn’t put this down – best book I’ve read for years.. intriguing from the start, gripping, very well written – whens the next one out?!”

fivestars
“Absolutely brilliant story. A book which one cannot put down for a moment once into it. I have passed it on to be read by others. Beautifully written and deserves to be a film or a TV thriller. Well done David and look forward to the next one. This is 5*”

fivestars
“This is a good read. An interesting storyline with plenty of plot twists. I agree with an earlier reviewer, this would make a great movie script!”

 

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

Chapter Three – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

Leap Of Faith

‘Inconclusive.’

The professor repeated what he’d told Ellie earlier that day.
It was nearing midnight and a young team of scientists had assembled on the ground floor of a Computing Laboratory – one of their agreed meeting points in the Department of Engineering Science.

They kept the room dark. Desk lamps glowed around them offering a soft light.
There were four shadows in the room: Ellie, James, another student named Sara and the professor, who was standing perched against a desk while the others sat in front of him.

‘Inconclusive? What the hell does that mean?’ Sara asked, rising to her feet.

Sara Morgan, a charismatic biologist studying Chemistry at Keble, was prone to speaking her mind. She was often considered fiery by the professors who taught her (or ‘worked with her’ as she would put it).

James was more composed. ‘Are they questioning the validity of the research?’

‘Not exactly,’ the professor said softly. ‘The Board have… concerns. Look, guys, this happens more often than you might think.’ The professor tried to reassure them. ‘The funding required to take this project to the next level is extensive. The Board need to ensure that all areas are covered, that the very best in their chosen fields are assembled and consulted… That the right approach is taken and that the correct equipment, support and… expertise is in place.’

‘Bullshit!’ Sara erupted. ‘They can’t do this! This is ours!’

Her face was red with fury, the vein on her neck throbbing and defined. Her fists clenched.

The professor spoke calmly.

‘They can, they did and it’s done. I’m sorry.’ He knew what this meant to them.

‘Motherfuckers!’ Sara shouted at the floor, pacing up and down. The professor let it go. Sara’s temper was always going to struggle when dealing with this.

‘So what’s the next step?’ James asked, ignoring the sound of Sara kicking her chair in the background.

‘There isn’t a next step, not for a while. The funding is pulled. But I can assure you that all your names will be credited as key contributors to the research when it’s published.’

‘And when will that be?’ Sara asked, barely holding back the aggression from her voice.

‘Most likely in the next few years. It depends on the Muscular Dystrophy research. I hear significant progress is being made. Perhaps in a couple of years they’ll…’

‘Oh, come on,’ James interrupted. ‘It’ll go private. They’ll never get the funding to take this all the way. Some corporate American pharmaceutical will take this on and reap the rewards.’

The professor paused before speaking. He had to choose his words carefully.
‘Perhaps… not exactly like that, but in a way… yes, that’s possible.’

Sara slumped into her chair, the stages of acceptance were passing quickly and giving way to the sadness now showing in her eyes.

Whilst they had been waiting for the decision their minds had run riot. They had convinced themselves that only the very best outcome was possible.

Ellie sat waiting for her turn. Unlike the others she had been given the time to process what had happened. But it didn’t make it any easier; she had watched as they arrived beaming with hope and eager to hear the news. The disappointment was unbearable.

Ellie looked around the room, deciding it was time to speak.

‘Look, I don’t know about the rest of you but this isn’t over for me. I can’t just walk away.’ Everyone looked at her confused. ‘Look, we’ve started something, and it’s more than… this…’ Ellie rose to her feet. ‘This would be a cure to the human weakness. It would change life as we know it. How can we be expected to step back? Is it vain that I want to be part of this? I’ve given two years of my life… We’ve all given… We owe it to ourselves!’

James slouched in his wheelchair, his spirit broken.

‘What are you suggesting? It’s over.’

Ellie hesitated before continuing. She’d been thinking long and hard on the best way to broach this.

‘Well, what did they say? ‘Inconclusive’, right? Fine, then we take that on board. We take it to the next level ourselves.’

‘Animal testing?’ James frowned.

Sara glanced at him pitifully, muttering something inaudible under her breath.

Ellie tried to sound as confident as she could.

‘This isn’t about the money… Screw the funding! We have nearly everything we need already. We take it to human trials.’

The room fell silent. Ellie was uncertain even as she said it, but she had done it. She had put it out there. If anything she was convinced everyone else was thinking it too.

‘Who would be the test subjects?’ James asked, knowing the answer.

Ellie gestured to the team, palms open.

‘I can’t just walk away… and I’m surprised you can?’ She turned to the professor.

He had kept quiet, choosing to observe. Often a closed book, he was difficult to judge at times.

‘I understand that you’re angry,’ he said, speaking with a tone that was more forceful than usual. ‘I can’t deny that I’m disappointed too, but we need the funding and this needs to be research accredited to the University. We can’t go rogue. We need the support. This is too significant to act alone. The risks are…’

‘I’m in,’ Sara asserted, biting her nails as she spoke.

The professor recoiled. Shocked by the simplicity the team seemed to view this decision with. Considering the time they’d spent together over the past two years it was easy to forget they were so young and their immaturity at times took him off guard.

‘Me too,’ James said, turning to the professor for a reaction. He had begun putting on his coat.

‘I’m sorry, I cannot be part of this. What you’re suggesting… It isn’t safe. I’d lose my job, my career.’

‘You could oversee the project,’ Sara offered. ‘Make sure that everything was being done correctly. We’ll do whatever it takes.’

‘No,’ the professor replied, putting a scarf around his neck and checking the time on his watch.

‘But this is our chance!’ Ellie tried not to sound desperate. ‘You said yourself the amount of faith you put behind your science will reflect what you get out of it. This is our leap of faith. This is our moment. How can you say these things and then…’

‘Do not use my words against me, Ellie!’ the professor snapped. ‘I wouldn’t have got any of you involved in this if I thought it was dangerous.’ He seemed angered by the idea that the team were doing this under his guidance.

‘Let it go,’ he pleaded, lowering his head with almost a whisper.

‘We won’t,’ Sara spoke defiantly. ‘We can’t and you know that.’

The professor could see the determination in their eyes, the devotion. He’d seen it before.

‘You don’t know what you’re asking,’ he warned.

‘All we’re asking is that you trust us, Professor,’ Ellie pleaded.

They knew the truth just as he did. The history of pharmaceutical publications were rife with law suits and damage claims from scientists protesting that their research had been stolen or misused in some way. This would be no different.

The professor offered each of them a glance, acknowledging the sincerity in their eyes. He knew they wouldn’t let this go. How could they? Why should they? Of course they are right.

They were a young team and couldn’t help but be ambitious, but unlike them he knew what they were asking; the risks, the danger.

The project now verged at the pinnacle of two years in extensive planning; an Everest of research had been overcome. Their opportunity was now.

He needed time. Time to think, time to assess, time to weigh everything up, but there was none. If he didn’t agree tonight he may never see them again.

Was it too late to turn back? He had started this. He had put them in this situation. The responsibility bore down on him like a curse. They needed him. He couldn’t risk a side project led by a team of students spinning off out of control. No, he would have to see it through. And the risks? The risks would be the ante to a reward beyond comprehension.

The professor stood, rooted to the spot, muttering under his breath and privately debating. Eventually he nodded as if in agreement with himself.
Walking to the exit, he left the group awaiting his response. He opened the door and glanced down the corridor to check it was clear.

The professor looked back at the team he’d assembled, leaving an uncertain pause before he spoke.

‘Follow me. There’s something I need to show you.’
 
 

Have you read A Game For The Young?
Share your comments #agamefortheyoung

ORDER ON PAPERBACK | EBOOK
AMAZON (UK) | AMAZON (US) | WATERSTONES | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SCRIBD | ROWANVALE BOOKS



If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.


dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

Book Review: Misery by Stephen King

Published: June 8, 1987.

“A dark & disturbing story. Great read.”

fourstars

What Is ‘Misery’ About?

Misery Chastain was dead. Paul Sheldon had just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery had made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wanted to get on to some real writing.
That’s when the car accident happened, and he woke up in pain in a strange bed. But it wasn’t the hospital. Annie Wilkes had pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.
The good news was that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news was that she was Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she found out what Paul had done to Misery, she didn’t like it. She didn’t like it at all. And now he had to bring Misery back to life. Or else . . .

Why Did I Read ‘Misery’?

A little while ago I read On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King and really enjoyed the experience. It taught me a lot about King’s recommended writing process and reminded me just how long it had been since I’d read one of his novels. So, out of respect to his book I made a note to read one of King’s novels the next opportunity I got.
‘Misery’ always interested me. It seemed like such a great character study and the perfect blueprint to a suspenseful page turner.

What I Liked About ‘Misery’

King starts the novel with a terrific metaphor; describing a rotten pylon submerged under the tide to represent Paul Sheldon’s legs and the suffering he would go through when the pylon was exposed (and the painkillers wore off). It’s a clever way of describing agony, whilst not having to come up with new ways of explaining pain time and time again.
Something tells me that if ‘Misery’ was written this year by another author rather than King, they would have almost certainly written it in the first person, rather than third person. That just seems to be the trend these days, but I think something would have been lost switching to a sole perspective. King manages to balance the inner monologue of Paul, whilst also giving you more about Annie and building a haunting atmosphere.
There’s a brilliant section in ‘Misery’ where Paul escapes from his room for the first time. Really suspenseful, very well written.
There’s also a fantastic section in ‘Misery’ where it talks briefly about the Jews in Germany leading up to the holocaust and how the question had been asked ‘Why didn’t the Jews leave when they saw what was happening?’ The response was very powerful: a lot of the Jews had pianos, and you don’t think about leaving when you’re playing a piano. That was their solitude, that was their resting place. It was a brilliant metaphor for writing, the typewriter was Paul Sheldon’s piano, the book he was writing was his music. He was focusing on his book and not on what was coming.

What I Didn’t Like About ‘Misery’

When thinking of the length of ‘Misery’ I can’t help but feel that there are large chunks which could have been removed without it effecting the story. I maybe missing the point, perhaps it’s commendable that he dug so deep with such as simple concept, but for me it felt unnecessarily long in parts.
Spoiler warning… There’s a section in the story where Paul, whilst sneaking around the house, stumbles across a book containing a back story of newspaper cuttings involving the people that have died suspiciously under the care of Annie whilst she was a nurse. For me, this changed everything. I preferred to think of Annie as being an unstable, crazy woman who had come across Paul and was struggling to deal with him in her life, instead she was now a serial killer who had experience killing people and getting away with it?!

Good Or Bad?

Was it any good? Yes. A little dated perhaps, but a great read – and a good example of two characters who are at wills against one another.
Would I recommend it? Maybe. This book is a little disturbing in parts, it would depend on the reader and what they’re into.
Would I read it again? I can’t lie, I was relieved to finish ‘Misery’. It took longer to read than I had anticipated and was a dark & disturbing story. Nice one to tick off, but I won’t be reading it again.



Here are some other reviews:
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

What’s on the list?
The Lafayette Campaign by Andrew Updegrove
Ask The Dust by John Fante
The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan


Any suggestions?


If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.

dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

Chapter Six – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

Page 36-37.

“It started as a myth, a whisper around campus. Conor first heard the rumours over a pint with Samuel and then again during a Digital Systems workshop a week later. Some were saying that it began in Cambridge, but no one truly knew. It was never first hand, always a friend of a friend or the roommate of a stranger.

There was no explanation given, nor did there appear to be any pattern or connection, but students at the University were being chosen, singled out. Those who were selected spoke little of it, only to say that they had been sent a mysterious message, an encrypted invitation that they found in their mailbox or slipped under their door.

The message would contain a code that was unique to each student; a series of numbers and letters which would appear at random, encrypted by an elusive cipher.

Quickly, gossip had speculated on its purpose, the prize of breaking the code ranging from University acknowledgement to the absurd, but from there the stories would differ. Some would attempt to break it and fail whilst others instantly discarded the code refusing to participate in whatever this was.

Even now he couldn’t believe it. It had been four days since Conor had found a mysterious code in his mailbox, sandwiched between a pile of takeaway menus and college leaflets.

Everyone was talking about it, but not once did he imagine being chosen. To him this represented one thing alone: a test. An opportunity to stand out among the elite. To rise above the cream of Oxford.”



If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.


dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Published: January 10, 2012.

“Very original and memorable. A must read.”

fourandahalfstars

What Is ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ About?

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Why Did I Read ‘The Fault In Our Stars’?

A little while ago I stumbled across a YouTube channel called vlogbrothers, I think it was after I watched a video on the best books of 2014 or something like that. The channel looked well run and full of interesting topics so it got a subscribe from me.
A few months later I read a review on ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ from a blogger and realised that the author, John Green, was one of the brothers from the vlogbrothers channel.
There’s a lot of positivity about this book on the internet as well as some endearing interviews from John Green talking about his experience writing the novel.

What Did I Like About ‘The Fault In Our Stars’

I really enjoyed the honesty of this book and the way it ridicules the cliché of how people with cancer have to be ‘brave’ and ‘fight to the end’.
The characters are interesting and clever, and the sentimental elements are handled well. Also it doesn’t follow an obvious formula for a young adult ‘boy meets girl’ type story. Very original and memorable.
I loved that when I googled “Is Imperial Affliction a real book?” I got as far as “Is Imperial A…” and google guessed the rest for me. Nice to know I’m not alone.
As luck had it I spent a weekend in Amsterdam whilst I was reading this book, not that I read much of it whilst I was out there, but it was a funny coincidence that Hazel and Augustus travel to Amsterdam in the story.

amsterdam

What I Didn’t Like About ‘The Fault In Our Stars’

The dialogue between the younger characters is witty, however at times it feels like they are speaking beyond their years. Maybe that’s the point, I’m sure cancer has the ability to make a teenager grow up fast, but occasionally it tripped me up – especially knowing how the author talks (from his videos). At times I could literally hear his voice instead of the characters.
The twist in this story can be seen from a mile away if you’re paying attention, though it feels cruel to even refer to it as a twist.

Good Or Bad?

Was it any good? Yes, a great novel – and enough to make me want to check out John Green’s other books.
Would I recommend it? Definitely, you’d need to have a heart of stone to pass on this.
Would I read it again? Yes, I get the impression I’ll get even more from a second reading.

I also watched the film after finishing the book, and that’s well worth watching. Here’s the trailer:

It was also fun to catch the cameo of John Green in this film.



Here are some other book reviews:

Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
On Writing (A Memoir Of The Craft) by Stephen King
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
The Big Short by Michael Lewis

What’s on the list?
The Lafayette Campaign by Andrew Updegrove
Ask The Dust by John Fante
The Hidden Legacy by GJ Minett
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan



Any suggestions?


If you’ve enjoyed this post, please follow my blog.

dp_signed

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

DAVID P. PHILIP

David lives with his wife and daughter in a village on the south coast of England.

Fascinated by stories that explore the brain and challenge human behaviour; David’s first novel ‘A Game For The Young’ was written following months of research in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

His story contains themes of obsession, addiction and abuse of power, but at its heart it toys with the idea of knowledge being a drug. A theme David is keen to explore.

Currently working on his next project, David is hoping ‘A Game For The Young’ will be his first of many novels.

* * *

Five Interesting Videos To Watch
Five Interesting Videos To Watch

 

My Favourite Author Interviews (Part 1)
My Favourite Author Interviews (Part 1)

 

Thank you Etc Magazine!
Thank you Etc Magazine!

 

Ambient Sounds: Stellardrone
Ambient Sounds: Stellardrone

 

My Favourite Motivational Videos
My Favourite Motivational Videos

 

Writing Tips (Part 1)
Writing Tips (Part 1)

 

My Top Ten Favourite Movie Scenes
My Top Ten Favourite Movie Scenes

 

Five Proven Techniques To Achieving Focus
Five Proven Techniques To Achieving Focus

 

Davidpphilip.com – Website Launched!
Davidpphilip.com – Website Launched!

 

17 Interesting Facts About The Brain
17 Interesting Facts About The Brain

 

My Top Five (Six) Favourite Books
My Top Five (Six) Favourite Books

 

How To Write A Book Review
How To Write A Book Review

 

The Top Five Writers That Have Inspired Me
The Top Five Writers That Have Inspired Me

 

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip

A GAME FOR THE YOUNG

DISCOVER THE EXPERIMENT DESTINED TO CHANGE THE COURSE OF HISTORY

Exploring obsession, addiction and the abuse of power, David P. Philip’s debut novel, A Game for the Young, expertly toys with the idea of knowledge being a drug. After being accepted into Oxford University, Conor Martin finds himself thrust into an interviewing process like no other—with a chance to join an enigmatic team. This group of individuals have sacrificed the last two years of their lives to a project so important, it has the potential to change every life on the planet… read more

Have you read A Game For The Young?
Share your comments #agamefortheyoung

ORDER ON PAPERBACK | EBOOK
AMAZON (UK) | AMAZON (US) | WATERSTONES | BARNES & NOBLE | KOBO | SCRIBD | ROWANVALE BOOKS

 

Click here for Images related to ‘A Game For The Young’

Click here for Videos related to ‘A Game For The Young’

* * *

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Four – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Four (Opening) – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Three – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Six – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Two – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
A Game For The Young – Afterword

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Five – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Eight – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter One – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

image-02-full - Copy
Images From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Nineteen – Excerpt from ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Prologue – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Book Launch Photos – A Game For The Young

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Frequently Asked Questions – A Game For The Young

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Publication Day – Thank you!

 

gamefortheyoung-square
The ‘Unofficial’ Soundtrack to A Game For The Young

 

gamefortheyoung-square
A Game For The Young – Press Release

 

gamefortheyoung-square
A Game For The Young Ebook Retailers

 

gamefortheyoung-square
The Locations In Oxford Used In ‘A Game For The Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
First Review of ‘A Game for the Young’

 

gamefortheyoung-square
Chapter Thirty – Excerpt From ‘A Game For The Young’

 

David P. Philip


Website: http://www.davidpphilip.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dppauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dpp.author
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dpp.author
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+DavidPPhilip
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dppauthor
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DavidPPhilip