Thinking about Martians

October 2, 2015

Today I went to see The Martian at the cinema with my eldest daughter, Milly. I have to say that I was impressed. There was always a chance that the film would be swamped by the vast Martian Landscape but it never happened. The focus was almost entirely on Matt Damon’s character, stranded, but resourceful Astronaut, Mark Watney. When we weren’t with Matt Damon’s pieces to camera then we moved carefully between the different characters back on Earth in NASA and the JPL, who are working hard to get their man home. Often the scenes reminded me of Apollo 13, focused, determined panic…

I’m telling you this not because I’m reviewing the film, because I’m not, but because I was impressed that the characters were the focus and the drivers behind the story. I was pleased to note that Andrew Weir, the author of the book on which this film is based is co-writer for the film. I think it shows. What of course is particularly interesting is that Weir originally self-published this novel (in 2011), it wasn’t picked up by Crown Publishing until 2014 (when, I guess, the film option was in the offing). Weir has a background in physics and computer science (just like me!) so there’s hope for me yet.

I’ve not read, The Martian, but I will, it’s on my wish list now.


On the way home from the cinema I remembered that a few years ago I wrote a piece of Flash Fiction based on the idea of colonisation of Mars (I’ve written several, but the one shared below is the one I remembered writing that carried, for me, a small sliver of the feeling that I got from watching the film.)

Thoughts and comments on the story are welcome and much appreciated.

The shutter winds noisily upwards, filling the room with a pale, red light. The Martian sun is already quite high in the sky, but it’s still early morning for the base as we grow accustomed to the length of a Martian Day. It used to be strange, thinking that I would die here, but I look to my side, where Rachel still sleeps, and I realise I will live here, and eventually, I will die.

As ever, I thank-you for your time.



John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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Another picture inspired story

October 1, 2015

Good Night

Regular readers of my blog will be aware that I write a lot of short stories – specifically in the ’75-word’ Flash Fiction format (as found on the Paragraph Planet website). I often visit the website Deviant Art trawling it for inspiration when my own brain has failed to internally produce something worthy of conversion into prose.

At the end of August I came across a wonderful picture entitled ‘Good Night’ by the artist Leffsha and twenty minutes later I’d written a story based upon it.

What I particularly liked was the role reversal between the ‘monster’ (under the bed) and the little girl. The expressions on both the creature and the girl had so much emotional content, so vividly displayed, that it was easy to find the words to turn the image into a story.

I asked Leffsha if I could use the image here, in this blog, after she’d read the story and she agreed.

So here is the image and the short story it inspired.

Good Night by Leffsha

Good Night by Leffsha

It woke with a start, the presence of the creature above pressing down on the little space it occupied in the world. It crept further into the darkness, pushed back into the shadows as light poured in. It let out an involuntary squeak, its eyes flickering in fear as the weight shifted above it and then two shining, inquisitive brown orbs, framed by fearful and fiery red hair appeared. Then it saw the terrible smile…

You can find the original image here: Good Night

As ever, thank-you for your time.


John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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