Sunday 17 August 2014

Why is our language morphing into American?

No offence intended to all our American friends!

I have never had a major problem with the fact that Americans, or anyone else for that matter, use different words for things like pavement, trousers, biscuits and mobile phones. No problem at all, just the urge to go into a stationery shop and ask for a rubber just to see the shocked expression on the sales assisstant's face. As a writer and reader as long as the right people use the right words that's fine.
    I've also thought it a bit strange that the French are so opposed to foreign words slipping into their language. Some things simply don’t translate easily.
    But in the last few weeks I have been increasingly annoyed that perfectly good English phrases have been replaced by Americanisms.
    I've reluctantly got used to the fact that our police forces no longer have SOCO units (Scene of crime officers) they now have CSI (crime scene investigators ) but when I hear people talking about autopsies instead of post mortems I start to get annoyed. When will our coroners become medical examiners?
    Yesterday a really terrible case was reported on the news. A cargo container was discovered at a port with a large number of illegal immigrants trapped inside. My heart goes out to the people whose lives must be so terrible they will risk travelling in such a way to find a better life but that is another issue. What made my hackles rise was the fact that to start with it was reported that one man had died and a murder investigation was underway. Then later in the report a spokesman from the police said a 'homicide' investigation was underway.  Now I know the literal meaning of homicide is the killing of a human just as patricide is the killing of one's father, but since when have we had 'homicide investigations ' in the UK? I'm sure Morse and Jack Frost solved murders. And can you imagine Midsomer Homicides ever taking off?
    It has long been the fact that England and the USA are two countries separated by the same language but do we really need to change OURS so that WE can understand it. Are we watching so much US TV now that we have to adopt the American way of speaking to be understood? It may be that as writers we have to use American terms if we want to be read in America but is it really necessary to have a Justice Department and a Supreme Court instead of our much longer established institutions?
    I know language changes and have no problem with introducing new words, changing the way we use grammar. Most of what I read today, not only in books but in blogs and top notch newspapers, would never have got through the eleven plus I took. But I don’t see why we should adopt phrases when we have had perfectly good ones that everyone understands for a very, very long time.
What do you think?
Are there any Americanisms that drive you to distraction?
 We would love to know.

Thursday 14 August 2014

A Word From Our Winner

The winner of our recent competition was Robert James Bridge who sent us the following message.

I found the recent competition at Blue Hour Publishing enthralling and interesting since it was book related with great prizes up for grabs, not one book but three!!  The question was also book related and was one that had me thinking very hard. The three prizes of books with different issues were a joy to win and I was elated to hear I was the actual winner since I have never won anything in my seventy odd years.
I follow Blue Hour blogs and enjoy reading of others like myself on the rocky road to publication and enjoy reading how young folk are taking to writing and its pleasures.  I continue to write almost on a daily basis and still live the dream that one day I receive publication for all of my efforts. In the meantime, I would like to thank all of the staff at Blue Hour Publishing and thank those that take the time to read of my exploits. Remember “Believe in The Dream And You Are Halfway There”
Robert James Bridge, member of CWA UK and CRA UK

Robert James Bridge is an independent author who lives in the south of England. He has six books on Amazon for Kindle. Four are thrillers in the 'Hell Bent' series and two are historical novel in the series 'A Bolt From The Blue'

Tuesday 12 August 2014

New Releases in paperback

Two new paperbacks available from today on Lulu and coming soon to
Amazon and other stores.

Simon's Choice by Charlotte Castle, a moving story of a father coping with the impending loss of a daughter.



Postcards From Berlin by Ryan Spier. Following the footsteps of a young German boy who had been forced against his will to fight for the Nazi's in the war. Find out what happens to him as the war ends.


Saturday 9 August 2014

When did Sci-fi become Sci-Fact?

With the British Government announcing there are going to be trials of driverless cars on UK roads, gasps of horror were heard from various quarters and hands were raised in despair.  But what is so unusual about the idea of driverless cars? We have seen them in futuristic films.
    This made me think about all the things, or at least some of the things, that have turned from fiction to reality over the years.
    H G Wells and Jules Verne are surely the first writers of science fiction, certainly the first I know about. We now know more about science and the universe than they did. Men have actually walked on the moon and did not find anyone or anything living there. We now have deep sea vessels that can explore beneath the waves although much of the ocean remains a mystery. But what about other predictions, not only in science but in the human condition.
    1984, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 495 –  These books looked into a future to consider the politics and social change. All of which are important and worthy of comment – but not here.
Let’s look at the gadgets. 
  • Communicators in Star Trek; we now call them mobile phones, or cell phones. 
  • Tapping a badge on your chest to talk to someone; Bluetooth devices. 
  • Scanners; your mobile phone now has picture quality that could easily transmit a scan of the area you are in back to base. 
  • Replicators; 3D printers are now being developed to such an extent they may soon replace many manufacturing processes. 
  • We haven’t quite got stun guns yet, at least not that we know to, but we do have Tasers. Work out how to shoot a charge without the wires and I’m sure stun guns will soon be available.
  • Babylon 5 had little crystal devices that were plugged into computers and monitors and stored or retrieved data. Never, I thought when I first saw this. Anyone NOT got at least one USB memory stick in their office? 
  • Flatscreen TVs, once an idea of fiction, now is most homes in the UK I should think.
  • Cameras that can spy on what you are doing in your own home; CCTV, interactive television and computers. Who do you think is monitoring you when you use these devices?
  • Touchscreen devices, from mobile phones to computers. I won’t even look at a gadget I can’t poke and swipe.

    I doubt if there is one household in the western world that does not have at least one gadget that seemed like science fiction fifty years ago. The very first computer I operated had a massive 32 megabyte memory, took up a whole air-conditioned room and had to be fed with punched paper tape. Now I’m sitting with a machine on my lap which is phenomenally more powerful. If I could use the TARDIS to take it back to my old computer room the people there would not believe what I have is possible.
    The days of I, Robot are getting much closer than they used to be. Someone needs to come up with something for us humans to do before we are made totally redundant. 
    Bearing in mind most inventions are designed for the military before they reach the public, it might not come as a surprise that driverless cars, or at least jeeps, have already been used quite successfully. We already have cars that can park themselves; cars that will stop you getting too close to the one in front. So why not driverless cars on the roads. It will be interesting to see the test results and compare the safety record of those against cars driven by people. Lots of drivers won’t like having control taken away from them but they need not worry. By the time driverless cars are universal, those people will probably be long gone.
    What do you think?
    What will be the thing of the future?
    Is there anything left for sci-fi writers to come up with?
    Is it just technology that is changing, or is society changing too?
    And what will people do when machines do everything for us?

Please leave your thoughts below.

Monday 4 August 2014

Welcome New Author Charlotte Castle

A big welcome to author Charlotte Castle who has joined us at Blue Hour Publishing. Her amazing book Simon's Choice is available now at Amazon and is shortly coming to other platforms. Check out Charlotte's page for the links.

Competition Winners

It give me great pleasure to announce the winners of our competition are as follows:

First prize of THREE paperback copies of The Blue Hour, Shadowchase and Silent Love is
Robert James Bridge

Runners-up who can claim three ebooks of their choice are
Gev Sweeney
Sylv Jenkins
Tara Fairfield
Ron Sewel
Faith Mortimer

Congratulations to everyone.

emails have been sent to the winners but if you don't receive them feel free to shout at me!