Jonathon Dean

Writer. Human. Nerd.

Author: Jonny Dean (page 1 of 4)

Odd Weeks for Odd Folk

So I’m having something of a strange week.

I’ve always been a weirdness magnet. Strange things just keep happening to me wherever I am, and I don’t really get much of a say in the matter.

Still, this week’s been one of those weeks. Continue reading

Generational Divides

Since I’ve already written about political unions in the past, the inescapable news that the UK has narrowly voted for “Brexit”, the UK’s exit from the European Union, would seem to have me stuck retreading ground and discussing the same thing all over again, only with a slightly gloomier outlook.

However, one of the interesting things to emerge post-referendum is the demographics of those who voted; broadly speaking, the young were most likely to vote remain, and the old were most likely to vote to leave. This shows a huge divide between the generations in our society – might your fictional society have a similar divide? Continue reading

Hellfest, the EU, and Common Bloody Humanity

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling dead on my feet right now.

Alright, you’re probably not as dead as me, but then you probably haven’t spent the last few days in France, getting equal parts sunburnt and merry at Hellfest metal festival (ok, so not exactly equal parts – apparently at one point I passed out mid-sentence).

Aside from being pretty damn spectacular as festivals go (including the utterly incredible firework tribute to Lemmy Kilmister), it’s the perfect reminder that wherever we’re from, we are all absolutely, amazingly human. Continue reading

The Joy of Research: “Don’t Fire on my Wardrobe!”

It’s probably something about me that I genuinely enjoy doing the research aspects of writing. Not so much as the actual writing parts, naturally, though much of it is easier. The strange and wonderful things that you can find when just reading around a topic just serve to reaffirm the idea that the past is another country.

Doing some research for my current WIP, Airborne Empire, I found one such wonderful piece of information. Continue reading

Privacy

Over in the US, the Supreme Court has just approved a law change that will allow the US Government greater powers to hack and access computers and phones both in the US and abroad, something which could have huge implications for privacy. Simultaneously, new rules are being proposed which may give citizens greater control over what information is collected by service providers.

This is part of a wider discussion about privacy which has continued for decades, from the USSR’s use of informants to the UK’s “snoopers charter“. Where does a right to privacy end, and other concerns – such as security or stability – become more important? Continue reading

Death

With 2016 continuing to be the year of death, losing David Bowie, Prince, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood, Ronnie Corbett, Terry Wogan, Admiral Ackbar, and what seems to be the majority of the western hemisphere, death is the one thing that all societies have to deal with (unless your society is one of omnipotent immortals, à la Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, naturally).

How they view death in a philosophical sense, and how they deal with the practical side, can vary wildly, and can also tell us a great deal about the kind of society we are dealing with. Is death something to be feared, or something to embrace? Is a funeral a solemn ceremony, a cheerful celebration of a life, or a clinical procedure? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Education

With the UK government thrashing around a hugely unpopular forced privatisation of the country’s entire school system, removing oversight and accountability from parents and local government in favour of opaque academy chains, it’s a good time to look at education. Continue reading

Electing the Elected

Over in the US, the presidential primaries are still making news as millions of ordinary citizens vote on who may become their party’s next presidential candidate. Meanwhile in the UK, the fallout of Prime Minister David Cameron’s involvement in the Panama Papers tax scandal as well as the upcoming EU referendum is prompting some commentators to suggest that he may soon be forced to resign. Should he do so, it will be his party, not the public, who will decide on his replacement.

This highlights two different ways of electing a leader; directly and indirectly – and knowing how a leader is elected can add a new level of political intrigue to your fictional setting. Does your leader need to convince the people, or just his party? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Time Flies when Standing Still

Isn’t it strange that time just disappears? Since I’ve stopped teaching, I’m noticing more and more that entire days and weeks can just zip by without leaving so much as a distinct memory, let alone a sense of accomplishment.

Who says time flies when having fun? Maybe the normal speed for time is stuck on the fast setting, but nobody’s really noticed because they hate their jobs so it’s all slowed down as a consequence. Perhaps celebrities have a reputation for not being the brightest pencils in the shed because they’ve spent so little time doing the boring things, and as a consequence have had much less time to learn things. Unlikely, I know, but why should the physicists be the only ones who get to speculate about the nature of time? Continue reading

Foxdog Studios @ XS Malarkey 29/03/2016

Foxdog Studios manage the impossible. They take musical comedy, IT consultancy and PAT testing, and somehow slam them together into something astonishingly entertaining. From the ludicrously complex set-up (involving multiple computers, wireless networks and miles of trailing cables) to the impressively bizarre set-pieces, Foxdog Studios are an absolutely unique act. Continue reading

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