2017 · Guest Post

Guest Post by Robert Rees @RobertRees_ #guestpost #aseasoninthesun

Today I’m delighted to hand you over to author Robert Rees with a special gust post. Robert is the author of A Season in the Sun: A charming tale of a Seychelles legacy, village cricket and foul play.

Here’s the description:

Henry Fanshawe, the last family member of Fanshawes Commodities in the City of London, leads a quiet life trading spices in a large dealing room. His day consists of ignoring requests to tidy his desk, making money and spending it on his three great loves: French landscape paintings, fine wine, and cricket. But the new City does not agree with him, and he finds himself falsely accused of financial chicanery, and summarily dismissed.

In a stroke of extremely good fortune, a legacy from an elderly aunt allows Henry to move to the Seychelles – though there are strings attached. He must manage her Village Cricket Club, and propel it through the formative years of the Seychelles Cricket league to the position of greatness it deserves.

For his colourful and talented team of amateurs, who include a depressive ex-county opener, a drug-taking fast bowler, and the local Chief of Police, this would be difficult enough a task. But in addition there are darker forces within Seychelles cricket, forces from the murky world of gambling who wish to twist the beautiful game to their illicit ends.

Henry’s first season in the sun becomes a high stakes contest of amateur talent against organised crime, leading to a thrilling climax…

A Season in the Sun combines cricket, crime and comedy in the beautiful surroundings of a tropical island. Similar in style to PG Wodehouse and William Boyd, it will appeal to fans of suspense and sporting pursuits alike.

You can purchase A season in the Sun from Amazon.co.uk

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Now I’ll hand you over to Robert Rees with his very interesting guest post.

Hello everyone, and thanks to Dee-Cee for allowing me to foist my opinions on the poor unsuspecting readers. I know these pages represent an excellent opportunity to get the name of my new novel in as many times as is possible without causing anyone to become physically sick, but rather than do this I thought I would sidestep writing and put the case for science – fact and fiction.

Why is it that folk seem quite happy to acknowledge and sometimes even celebrate their ignorance of science, whereas they would be mortified if anyone were to consider them uncultured in the arts? Below I will suggest some great books on science which are every bit as absorbing and well written as good novels.  And maybe some good science fiction on the way.

CP Snow wrote a famous book on the subject which contains the following lines:

“A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?”

I am sure that there is a social cause to this – a slight snobbery about the “sciences” as opposed to the “arts”, particularly in the UK, and there is also the fact that science is difficult to teach. We still have not got the balance right. And there are those (maybe nostalgic for a mythical golden age of innocence) who question the undoubted benefits of science, blaming it for the atom bomb, global warming, genetic crops etc. The use of scientific knowledge may be sometimes questionable, but without that knowledge many are missing out on a world which is just as fascinating as a novel. Here are some to get you all started!

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If you like reading about the utter rubbish that is quoted as pseudo-science you will love this. Ben has locked horns with a number of claims and writes very wittily and with some pith whilst debunking them.

2

I have just finished this and it is a terrifically good summary of where we are in the major fields of science and maths, and whether there are limits to our knowledge in any of them. De Sautoy is  both an eminent mathematician and also a very good writer (thus proving my point that one can do both). Though I defy anyone to read through his account of Godel’s theorem and understand it first time!

3

 

 

As a compendium of knowledge, written in the immensely attractive style of Bill Bryson, this is every bit as good as his travelogues, and has the added advantage that you will after reading it be able to amaze and astound your friends on subjects as diverse as big bang, evolutionary theory, and quantum mechanics.

4

 

I was at Cambridge when the science of biochemistry was hailing a new discovery practically every day, much of it happening in laboratories only yards away from the lecture theatre where I was listening (or occasionally sleeping) . This book is brilliant at describing the seamier sides of scientific endeavour as various teams vie for the lead on the major problems of the day. It is a refreshing alternative to the rather dry history of science which has been scrubbed clean of all the grubby human aspects.

5

 

To paraphrase, the idea that a flap of a butterfly’s wings in America can cause a hurricane in Europe is so counterintuitive that it still seems odd. But the advent of Chaos theory is one of the biggest revolutions of the last fifty years, and its genesis and applications are thought provoking and very well explained in this James Gleick book – his others are also fantastic.

 

From science fact to science fiction. I have always liked this genre since I first picked up an Isaac Asimov novel as a youth. Whether dystopian or optimistic, the imagination of new life, distant new worlds, and how to get there has always fascinated me. There are far too many good books to list, but here a few favourites.

6

One of the joys that science fiction shares with fantasy is the ability to imagine new worlds with very different conditions, and then to pursue the effects that this might have. In Helliconia, the seasons each last for aeons, and the local population adapt to deal with this. The sheer scale of the work both in time and space is meticulously logical and totally believable.

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Isaac Asimov wrote about science and science fiction at length and created some of the best known SF series. This novel, a standalone, deals neatly with the paradoxical problems of time travel. It carries an interesting and very humanist message, and was one of the first SF novels that really enthralled me.

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There is something very enigmatic about this masterpiece. Not everything is explained, the truth is never really found. But the excitement of discovery is palpable.

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I have only read this recently and was very impressed by its imaginative use of time travel in a very realistic way. It was written originally in the 60s/70s but has not dated. In fact some of the predictions seem eerily familiar to us now, almost 50 years later.

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For breadth of vision, a fabulous story and an extraordinary creation of a universe, this is blissful. Escapist and epic in its proportions, your imagination will run riot. I think this is probably my favourite SF book – it bears comparison with Lord of the Rings in the way the back story and culture are so minutely detailed and woven into the script.

About the author

Robert was born in Berkshire and attended Eton College and Trinity Cambridge before pursuing a career in the City of London. After retiring from the City in 2007, Robert divides his time between his house in Kent and Provence writing music, novels, and plays.

You can connect with Robert Rees on the following links: Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/A-Season-in-the-Sun-656487217856000/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/RobertRees_

 

 

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