Posts Tagged ‘Exit Pursued by a Bee’

By Geoff Nelder

I laughed the other day because I received a request from a baby naming site to link with my writing one. Initially, I thought this was a curious variation of a Nigerian bank scam, but once my stomach subsided I realized there was some sense here.


When I started writing fiction, characters’ names appeared from a mix of telephone directories, atlases and local newspapers. A snag with the directory method is repetition and so time consuming. As my fiction reached into more exotic parts I found a site with a name engine that gave me lists of real names from different continents.


Choosing the right name for a character is as important, if not more so, than choosing one for a newborn. You don’t want a tough gangster being called Cedric, or – I realize I may be upsetting real people here – an academic called Buster. It isn’t so simple. One of our aims is to have our main characters undergo change during the plot. The change is usually one gleaned from experience such as surviving a crisis, or it could be a coming of age. For such a character a name that can also ‘grow up’ is handy. That’s why many novels use Robert. Bobby as the kid, Rob as he matures, Robert as a gentleman then Bob as an ancient with dementia.


As my main genres are science fiction and fantasy I have great fun making up names. It was a voyage of discovery when I conjured up a name for a prehistoric man living in the Middle East. Twenty thousand years ago was before any established religion so Mohammed was out. However, I reasoned that since that region would likely have had a proto-language that led to early Arabic. I played around with Omar but although ancient was too new for my character. I felt I needed a Q in there since it is a feature of so many names in that region. Oqmar thus was born. If you google Oqmar 99% of the hits are for my ancient man in my recent book.


So what was the link I was asked to make from my website? It is Quick Baby Names. I gladly acceded because apart from having spent months trying to convince daughter that Ewan is a great name for her baby, the site gives the derivation and meanings. My daughter chose  Oliver, and he’s gorgeous.


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First the good news is that respected blog critiquer, Maggie Ball, all the way down there in Australia has written a powerful review of my science fiction novel, Exit, Pursued by a Bee, Full version here


“Nelder shakes our entire notion of what ‘present’ means, and in so doing, also what death and life mean. Characters die but sometimes they don’t really. If we aren’t moving forward, then maybe even the notion of change is an illusion. The most interesting thing about Exit, Pursued by a Bee , is not the myriad unanswered questions it raises about the spheres, or whether Kallandra was meant to be with Claude or Derek, or even whether Kallandra saves the world or not.

By undermining, in the most quantum of ways, the way we perceive the notion of time, it raises the whole question about what life is and who we are. In the end, the one thing we’re left with is a kind of constant throughout the novel: Kallandra’s tactile sensations. When time is no longer the backbone of our lives, and everything we perceive about ourselves disappears, those sensations remain.

Nelder has created a novel that will both satisfy readers at a deep level, and at the same time raise unsettling questions about the very fabric of who we are. ”

I’m blown away. If you are more information is at

However, I have a book signing coming up at the Cheshire Oaks Borders this Sunday, 16th November, 1 – 4pm. Please come and stop me being lonely. The however is that the shop decided it would be more profitable for them not to order the books from the wholesaler but via the publisher. Fine, except the order to the printers somehow became distorted and the wrong books arrived. Of course the printers say they will send the right ones but there’s only a few days left. I have a handful of Exits at home but if I run out will people mind buying NATO’s analysis of France’s angle on world affairs? I think not. The same Borders have copies of my Escaping Reality thriller, so at least there will be a wall of books I can hide behind!

See you there, in person or in spirit.


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Exit, Pursued by a Bee

Exit, Pursued by a Bee

An interesting set of questions has arisen with the release this weekend of a new review of my Exit, Pursued by a Bee. I’d noticed a reviewer’s name, Tony Williams, crop up many times in the scifi
forums and so I approached him. He, like me is a British author and reviewer. He said he’d review Exit if I reviewed his scifi book, Scales. His book, like mine, has an admittedly preposterous premise at the beginning but then procedes to follow with the logical consequences. I love this kind of scifi. It is the what if scenario. Example: what if gravity suddenly acted upwards for an hour each day? Ridiculous but once being made a given, the rest can be logical and very interesting! I wrote Exit in that kind of vein.
It wasn’t meant to be humour book even though the irony of some scenes had to be given their head. The problem is some readers only then see humour and then write a review along Mr Bean lines. It didn’t help that the blurb for Exit was written by a reader / editor who mainly saw humour in the book. Others see the advanced physics in the Quantum Mechanics of time decoherences and realize that the physicist in the book says nothing a real theoretical physicist wouldn’t. This should be the case anyway since I researched those aspects muchly. I have a Masters in Science, am a Fellow of a Royal Society and best of all, married a theoretical physicist! hah – the irony seeps in again…

For those of you who have been kind enough to buy and read Exit (still only the price of cheap fast meal for the ebook and not much more for paperback) then peep at the contentious review that is up at

Perhaps you would think that it is a good review and that I am being too sensitive. You can add comments if you freely register.

A warning to our newbie writers here, who have yet to launch a book. It is interesting because we spend maybe two years researching, writing, revising with the aid of crit groups, editing and polishing a book. Then we release it like a fledgling sparrow into the swiping paws of hungry cats. We hope spadge survives, find friends and reproduce, but one wrong gust of wind and it’s down and gone.
Hopefully I can create maelstrom of argument at that and other review sites to at least generate sales!
Geoff Nelder

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