Dunsel

      William Haloupek
Dunsel

This is a dystopian short story about a future in which machines do all the work.Four passports are found of girls who vanished in Australia. The girl who found them has disappeared too. Who are these girls? Where have they gone?A diary and search in Australia and across the world give tiny glimpses and fragments, but their stories remain elusive. The police search, friends and families search and grieve in alternate measure, but five girls remain gone, their fate unknown.Anne is wracked by guilt at her failure to save her friend, Susan, who vanished one night soon after her release from jail. The evidence suggests she has returned to the place where she and her lover parted, she chose him and the crocodiles over life. She was in advanced pregnancy with twins and so three people are gone.Anne has her friend's story, her voice on a tape is the last fragment left to her of a vanished existence. She must tell this story so that the world can know of this lovely brave girl who seems forever lost. And the families of the other four girls want their stories told too. She has the man's diary, which tells parts, but there is much that makes no sense. It reveals another shadowy girl who may have gone too. She travels to the places from where they have come and were last seen in search of answers. She faithfully records each story, five or even six lost girls, each girl gone, nobody knows where. As she searches patterns emerge which help to explain the why and some of the how, but not where they are now. Almost certainly some are dead, but could some still survive..She is determined not to surrender all hope that at least one or two may yet be found alive. After a year nothing has been found. She must put it behind her and try to get on with her own life, but guilt and hope keep driving her on, searching still.

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    Bounded in a Nutshell

      William Haloupek
Bounded in a Nutshell

This is a short story, in the science fiction/horror genre. It is told in the first person. The narrator is in a kind of prison for the criminally insane. He is highly intelligent, but an extreme sociopath.The story opens in Melbourne in the mid 21st Century, as the world is on the brink of a calamitous nuclear conflict. Our hero, Simon Redhead, is a young university student who is unaware that his genetic make-up has conspired to make him a manifestation of the 'Everlasting Hero'. Simon is saved from the forces of evil that are also looking for him and taken to FirstWorld, where he learns about its history and the eternal battle between Law and Chaos into which he is to be thrust. FirstWorld is at the centre of the multiverse – perhaps an infinite number of dimensions that reflect the various probabilities of existence. Originally, there was a single universe and time was linear. We discover that Simon and another manifestation of the Everlasting Hero were responsible for the Sundering, which caused the formation of the multiverse. We are confronted with the possibility that Fate controls everything we do in life and that we have no control over our own actions.Simon finds a group of friends and colleagues to help him in his great quest. There’s a wizard (one of the last of the wise, created by the Great Old Ones to maintain the Balance), an elf, a dwarf, a human warrior, a being of currently uncertain parentage who is the Hero’s companion, and a strange fellow who is perhaps a bard and could be either a friend or a foe. There are possible friends and potential enemies around every turn. There’s a wizard turned evil, who is the main protagonist in Volume One, and there’s the big evil bad guy who won’t be vanquished (or will he?) until Volume Four.We follow two groups of this fellowship as they travel within FirstWorld and through the dimensions and have to overcome many challenges, as well as Simon’s individual journeys through time. Simon’s first quest is to find his Sword, a very powerful talisman, and learn how to control and use it. Others seek it too. When he finds it, there’s an internal moral struggle as to whether he should use its great power. After great soul searching and hiding away in the past, Simon realises that he must accept and face his destiny as the Everlasting Hero and he must use the Sword to save his friends and attempt to defeat the evil wizard, just when all seems lost.

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    Scientists and Intellectuals in Entertainment

      William Haloupek
Scientists and Intellectuals in Entertainment

Scientists and intellectuals are often poorly portrayed by the entertainment industry. An easy choice for an evil antagonist is a mad scientist. An equally easy choice for a ridiculous fool is a scientist without common sense. These stereotypes are reinforced again and again in movies, television and literature. It’s amazing when any child grows up wanting to be a scientist, in our culture.If the general public has misconceptions about scientists, it is not hard to see why. Scientists and other intellectuals are often poorly portrayed by the entertainment industry. An easy choice for an evil antagonist is a mad scientist. An equally easy choice for a ridiculous fool is a scientist without common sense. These stereotypes are reinforced again and again in movies, television and literature. It’s amazing when any child grows up wanting to be a scientist, in our culture.The undermining of scientists’ public image is especially acute in science fiction. The genre appeals to people who are interested in science, and they are badly served by writers who misrepresent scientists as bumbling idiots or evil megalomaniacs. The early history of science fiction has some of the best examples.

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