Hello, my name is Brian Sexton and I’m a writer based in Coolaney, Co.Sligo. I’ve just published the narration of a novel called ‘The Third Prophecy of Hybobolus Clune’, which I’m inviting you to enjoy (linked here). It’s a science fiction adventure set in the Irish rave scene of the 1990’s (between County Sligo, and outer space).
The novel is a mix of comedy, sci-fi and philosophy. A few readers have described it as a West of Ireland style ‘Hitchikers Guide’, which might be a usefull point of reference for the action. If you’re not a fan of science fiction, don’t look away -I’ve kept the jokes coming thick and fast, and they will carry you into space!
You can view some examples of the general comedy here (4*1 min sketches, with help from the always funny John Colleary and Jay Ryan), and some examples of the science fiction comedy here (3*1 min pieces to camera). I’m a big fan of science fiction, and the story introduces plenty of concepts that should be familiar to fans of the genre (extraterrestrial civilizations and societies, interstellar conflict, futuristic technologies, and mysterious interdimensional forces). The story also contains plenty of references to 90s pop culture, which might bring on a bit of nostalgia for some more seasoned listeners.
The plot itself has a group of friends return from an outdoor party to watch the president’s address scene from the alien invasion film ‘Independence Day’. They manage to confuse the scene with reality, and set out to help save humanity -only to find themselves in the middle of a separate, and real, extraterrestrial invasion. I don’t want to expand too much on what happens as it’d spoil the action, but they have their work cut out!
On the face of it the story is a straightforward comedy action adventure, but I’ve also tried to explore some of what it means to be human. For example, the protagonists are in a dramatic existential situation and it’s never certain whether it is petty rivalries or heroism that motivates them. I’ll leave that one to you though -my job is just to tell the story.
The narration takes place over 19 chapters of roughly 10 minutes, so ideal for a drive time commute. The story is not complex, and each of the chapters should work well enough on their own. Hopefully it is the kind of thing you can dip in and out of, and leave you in a good mood. If you are not sure if the story is for you, you can check out a narration of a short story containing one of the protagonists here …I’m confident though that if you give it twenty minutes you’ll be hooked, even if science fiction is like Kryponite to you;)
When I first attempted to write this introduction I made light of putting the story together. I think that was because writing (at least the amateur variety) is a sort of luxury, and it seems silly to bang on about how difficult it is. It was difficult though. There is a character in the novel called Sandra who obsesses about conspiracy theories, she spends every waking moment thinking about them. One of my friends asked where I was channeling that madness from. In hindsight her distraction from reality was a bit like getting the story together; even though the writing time was limited, it was a bit of an obsession. And one that is set to continue (next up a futuristic rock band and a dog called Bongo end up stuck on a rocket with the enigmatic Salamon Bonjourney …but is he to be trusted?).
I started writing about two years ago. The writing was the result of a gift from my wife of a place on the Gerard Beirne writing course. I was very lucky in that I really enjoyed his style of teaching, and signed up for four more terms. This was the most important thing I did to develop a writing practice.
I’ve found the Irish writing scene very welcoming. I suppose this is true for most groups with a shared interest, and it means people are always willing to help and give advice. The idea for the novel itself came from some friendly advice from the writer Ivan Sullivan. I had written a short story called ‘The Strange last Mission of the Spaceship Phobos’ (you can read it here). The plot followed three crew members of a spacecraft who lose track of reality during an interplanetary journey. Ivan said to me ‘I don’t know about the way you have it, I see it working as an Irvine Welsh style 90’s adventure’, which is what it sort of became.
I’m in my late forties, with a full time job as a mapmaker. From what I understand, my age makes me a latecomer to the discipline, but with luck I should have a few decades to write so I don’t see it as much of a disadvantage. My wife works full time too, and we have two children, which means my writing practice has evolved to fit in with that. I find it okay to work in short bursts with noise and distraction, at least I’m happy with the results so far. I’m a big fan of cycling and mostly put my stories together biking through the Ox Mountains, I then do the actual writing in ten minute slots through the week. Ignoring all forms of social media helped with finding the time to get a writing practice going, but I’m starting to realize the platforms are a bit of a necessity in getting the stories out. I have a pile of short stories you can check out on my website. The site is called ‘An Roinn Ultra‘ -it started out life as an Ultra Running Club, but has now morphed into an archive of Irish rural sci-fi tales!
(c) Brian Sexton