Earth Alpha – and a Bookish Miracle

Huzzah! Let joy be unconfined! My Bookish Mystery has been solved.

Yesterday evening – as a direct result of my blog appeal for help in tracing a book I knew I’d read as a little girl, but whose author and title I’d long forgotten – I got a message which said: ‘Is this it?’

It was, dear readers. It was.

I think this was even the cover of the edition I read as a kid. Image: found0bjects.blogspot.com

I think this was even the cover of the edition I read as a kid.
Image: found0bjects.blogspot.com

The book is called Marianne Dreams, and the author – who sadly died in 2001 – was Catherine Storr. Embarrassingly, the book now has its own Wikipedia page and everything; if I’d just run another Google search, I probably could have found it myself. I hadn’t actually looked for it for a few years, since long before the age of Wikipedia and the excellent Google that we have now. But no matter.

The book that has haunted me for nearly thirty years has been tracked down.

I found a reissued edition from 2006 which is still in print, and I’ve already ordered it from my favourite bookshop, which also happens to be the place in which I used to work as a bookseller. They’re used to me and my oddnesses there. I cannot wait to have this story in my hands again, and I cannot wait to read it and see whether the terrifying power it had over my brain as a kid is still there.

I am so excited.

I remember this illustration, in particular – it was always the top right-hand window of the house in the drawing that made me quiver inside, and it was this image that convinced me the right book had been found.

Image: gaskella.wordpress.com

Image: gaskella.wordpress.com

That’s the window to the room where Mark – a little boy, not a little girl, as I’d remembered – is being held captive by the power of the standing stones all around. I wasn’t mixing it up with Penelope Lively, after all; there was a stone circle in this book, too. Perhaps there’s hope for my aged memory banks yet.

Anyway. Thank you to everyone who retweeted my appeal and offered suggestions, and I’ll let y’all know in a few weeks whether the book is as good as, or better than, I remembered.

Image: ololbhills.catholic.edu

Image: ololbhills.catholic.edu

It also, in all likelihood, hasn’t escaped your notice that today is Friday. That means – yesirree – it’s Flash! Friday again. This week, the required element to include was ‘Space Travel’, and the prompt image was this fine photograph here:

Bicycle tunnel, double exposure. CC photo by r. nial bradshaw. Image: flashfriday.wordpress.com

Bicycle tunnel, double exposure. CC photo by r. nial bradshaw.
Image: flashfriday.wordpress.com

So, this is what I made of it:

Earth Alpha

Dan didn’t bother hailing; his words just boomed right through my skull, out of nowhere. I adjusted the volume on my CochliCall as he spoke.

‘Nico!’ he said. ‘Where are you?’

‘Oh, hey, Dan. Thanks for yelling.’

‘Shut up, and get over here. It’s happening!’

‘But – this early?’

Dan just tssked, and disconnected.

I had to think fast. Dad – working. Mom, offworld. Dan and me had sworn, as kids, that we’d watch the landing together, and I was going to keep my promise.

But that didn’t solve my immediate problem – transport.

Then, I remembered. Great-great-gramp’s bike!

I skidded to the garage. Dad kept it in good nick, for nostalgia’s sake, but I’d never learned how to operate it. I did my best.

As I rode, I watched the sky. Earth Omega was beautiful, and all, but I couldn’t wait to see Earth Alpha. Our origin planet, long abandoned.

I smiled, pedalling faster. Maybe now, we could finally start going home.

***

So, that’s where I’m at this Friday morning – dreaming of worlds unknown, some of them made from words. I hope a wonderful day awaits you all.

2 thoughts on “Earth Alpha – and a Bookish Miracle

  1. Kate Wally

    Lovely! I hope it is as good as you remember because it isn’t always the case. Especially after so much time has elasped – fingers crossed!

    Once again, I haven’t yet read your flash fiction in case I manage to write my own! We shall see. Great prompt this week. Have a great weekend. 🙂

    Reply
    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      I hope you do manage to write your own. Last week’s was marvellous.

      Even if the book isn’t as good as I remember, I’m just so thrilled to have remembered it. I’m a bit like Inigo Montoya after he’s slain the six-fingered man now, though. ‘What am I going to do with the rest of my life?’ 😉

      Reply

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