I’ve caught the Doomsday bug, all of a sudden. Well, it’s about time I wrote a shorter story anyway. This idea’s been burning a hole in me for ages.

I once went to a writing class at school in which I was given a simple formula for coming up with a story: (1) Pick something you love doing (2) Think of something that would stop you doing it (3) Imagine that thing happens. (4) Plug a character in and put pen to paper.

Alright, easy: my character is a guitarist who loses an arm. Chainsaw accident will do. His day job can be forestry. Maybe he’s even cutting up the wood because he wants to learn how to make guitars. So that world’s now gone for him. But In the world of sci-fi, how might he play again?

I’ve tried writing this story many times, not sure where it was going, until I put two and two together last week, without quite knowing how: it’s the end of the world. The guy managed to play guitar again with a synth arm, and he’s now so famous for the way it’s coloured his playing that he’s got his ticket off the planet: one of the selected few who will start a new life in a colony.

As long as someone else doesn’t steal that ticket.

I’ve got 6120 words of ‘The Apocalypse Blues’ now, and counting. Let’s share the blurb’s first draft….

 

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“The day I cut my brother’s arm off, I thought it was the end of the world. That didn’t happen for another fifteen years though. That didn’t happen until tonight.’

 

When a meteor strike on Earth blacks out the sun for months, everyone is surely finished, apart from the small portion of the population, selected for evacuation to space in the world’s first Colony experiment. Among them is a man with a unique talent for keeping colonists entertained.

Losing an arm in a forestry accident would destroy the soul of most guitarists, but not Henry Collingwood, who dedicated his twenties to becoming the first human being to play virtuoso solos with a synthetic replacement. Henry’s reputation as one of the world’s greatest living musicians has earned now him what most other people will kill for: a place in the first ever colony.

Henry’s brother Brandon never got over his guilt about being the one who caused the accident, and promises that his last act on Earth will be to get Henry to his flight alive. When he fails, Henry’s last words are: ‘Get me on that ship…play them the Apocalypse Blues.’

Brandon has three days to complete an impossible task: how can he bring Henry back? The only way he can think of will require more than just the ultimate sacrifice…

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