Terra Firma


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165 in stock


A Sci-Fi Novel
By Roland Moore

ISBN: 978-1-84747-290-8
Published: 2007
Pages: 78
Key Themes: science-fiction, fantasy, break down, recovery, hope



Derix Rall is an amnesiac who finds himself held with a group of fellow amnesiacs in a mysterious facility on a small moon at the edge of the galaxy. His escape and subsequent adventures along with the shifting kaleidoscope of perspectives he is subject to, lead him to doubt everything, including himself and the very ground of his reality.

The ultimate nature of reality is a question that has puzzled philosophers for two and a half thousand years. It’s an area that Philip K Dick and many other sci-fi authors have explored to great effect. It’s also an area in which, I think, the best stories are set – do you remember The Prisoner series back in the sixties? Come with our hero on a journey that will expand your mind and have you questioning everything, even your own undeniable self.

About the Author

A breakdown at the age of twenty one while working for the GPO – no connection – has sent him into a spin that he has never truly recovered from. In the process of putting his ramshackle personality back together – with the aid of self-help books and the most outlandish bunch of beliefs this side of the andromeda galaxy, and counting – he has generated this book. The truth is no longer out there. It’s snuck up behind you and is biting you on the ass. Are you ready to turn around and face it?

Book Extract

`The Jezzarans are renowned in the Thousand Galaxy Alliance for their fun rides. The Kaleido-Cosmos at The Ultimate Fair on Jezzara C, is rightfully thought to be one of the most challenging rides a sentient being can… hrrrrrmph!’ He cleared his throat here, ‘enjoy. Gentlemen I am happy to inform you that you are currently uh, engaged with one of the finest virtual reality modulators in the known universe, the Kaleido-Cosmos. While your every sense tells you, you are seated here, quietly assessing my presentation, the real you is lying suited and helmeted in fully equipped booth on Jezzara C. And, if I can presume to state the obvious, it is quite a ride isn’t it?’

We all stared blankly at him. No argument there. I looked down at my paper, and in the box labelled Initial Thoughts wrote, ‘good pitch.’ He switched off the holopix, showing a dayside view of Jezzara C with a hand remote – quite the busy little moon with its twinkling city constellations – then shuffled his notes together.
‘We’ll have a break here for lunch, with your usual half hour free discussion in the common room, meeting back here for questions and answers.’ With that he stepped down from the lectern and went out.

We all made the usual big thing of getting up, stretching, joking and slowly filing out. It had been quite a long and reasonably interesting presentation, and true to form, hadn’t really brought home the goods till the very end. Phi tapped me on my shoulder as we queued for the meal.
‘Another day, another peek behind the proverbial curtain of mystery, any thoughts…?’ He caught the look of resignation as I turned around. ‘I know you’re saving it for the common room.’ He turned back to the menu. ‘Aw, roast emoza! It must be my birthday!’

For all I knew and he knew, it was, but neither of us would have known one way or the other. That was the one thing that we all had in common here at the Institute – apart from our gender. We had no past. None of us could remember a thing about our life before we came to the complex – even our origins here seemed lost. As far as any of us were concerned we had been listening to presentations like the last one and making notes and grades on the assessment forms they gave us almost indefinitely. None of us had a clue as to when it started. Not one of us could isolate a single memory that said ‘Ah, this is when it all began for me,’ and, curiously, none of us felt unduly disturbed by this. Our absence of memory was an accepted part of the project on which we knew we were all engaged. We got excited, irritated, fascinated, elated even, but never really bored. Not really. Perhaps because no matter how long we had been here, it never felt that long.

We went through the motions of turning over the scenario in the common room, but it was fairly clear it hadn’t made a big impression on anybody – except for Swale who said he got a definite tweak on this one. We all knew what he meant. Getting a tweak was when you somehow sensed beyond any doubt the essential truth of something – and it could be anything – but you had no idea how or why you were so sure. (There were things we all knew in a general sense without knowing how we knew them: stuff like, names for things, rules for games, how to operate things – tweaks were similar in that you knew, but didn’t know how you knew.) Anyway, nobody felt like commenting or contributing to the discussion one way or another, so in the end we drifted into aimless talk and tossing screwed up pieces of paper around while we waited to wander back for Q&A.

A few more details were fleshed out at Q&A but nothing really tweaked, so I gave it an overall grade of 72 and in Final Comments put ‘If this is a ride it could do with more variety. Pass on suggestion please…’ and went off with some of the others for some Z-ball at the gym.

You might have thought aimless pretty much described the life at the Institute but you would be wrong. We did all have a common goal. We were told that when we had served enough time making our daily assessments of the presentations – which always sought to offer some explanation for our presence and our condition here – we would be released on an individual basis. We weren’t allowed to know how long that was, as giving up our sense of time was a crucial part of the project. So, one morning you would be looking around queuing for breakfast, and you’d have the niggling thought someone was missing, and then, over there in the corner would be yet another face you didn’t have a name for. But if you thought about it all for too long, your mind kind of fuzzed over, so you left it alone.

Now it had crossed my mind a few times at this point that I must be a pretty high if not first on the list of those scheduled to leave. For one thing I just felt it was true. It was a big, though not especially imposing tweak and I accepted it. For another, although I have no real memory of ever coming here, I do have very strong memories of many previous presentations and how they affected me. So it followed I must have been here a long time.


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