VALVEPUNKS! - THE LONG ROAD TO QUIXOTICA
When an old inventor and radio star of yesteryear is visited by a journalist - keen to learn more about his past - he takes them both on an incredible journey to find the facts, and in the process, is reunited with the woman he loves.
A quirky, dark comedy, mad science, time-slip, love story.
Extracts from Valvepunks! are now available as an exclusive audio-book read by the author J. Bramwell Slater, with music from the house band.
WHAT IS IT?
Valvepunks! is a novel that is written as a series of documents. Typically stories like this have the narrative flowing through letters but in this case there are diary entries, newspaper cuttings and other personal documents which are threaded throughout the adventure along with extensive photographs, illustrations and diagrams.
Exclusive Extracts from the beginning of the novel
- The scene is set
- It's Friday
- Going to the dogs
- And So?
- The real Reginald
- Vintage freak out
- One lump or two?
- Lord Gatenby
- How time works
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
The novel follows the experiences of Bradley Gardner - a budding young journalist - as he embarks on the assignment of a lifetime, investigating and researching the life of one of the twentieth century’s most alluring innovators. He meets the enigmatic, 98 year old Reginald Merryweather at his home in Hertfordshire and realises that there is much more to this faded radio star than the thin references on the internet would suggest.
REGGIE GOES OFF ON ONE
Bradley is invited to spend the weekend with the ageing broadcaster and the forty eight hours are revealed to be weird right from the very start. But, because Bradley is suspicious of Reggie’s claims to have built a time traveling radio, Reggie feels the need to demonstrate its capability. However, in the process he accidentally takes his housekeeper, Florence Jiggery along for the ride.
It is whilst listening to the past that Reggie gets a message about events in the future and the impending peril faced by his one true love - a girl he met during the war. Spurred on by this emotional cry for help, Reggie takes Bradley and Florence back to wartime Paris to try to alert his younger self of the dangers awaiting him and his lover in the future.
They arrive too late to change history (as it emerges that his younger self has already perfected time and space traveling and scarpered rather swiftly to escape not only the British authorities but also the Nazis,) so the three of them must then transport themselves into the twenty second century in hot pursuit of himself and Vera Cruz - the woman he loves more than anything else in life.
Unknown to Bradley, Florence and Reggie, Vera is being brutally tortured and questioned by the antagonists who we learn are the Ludwigian Order - a universally wide organisation of illuminati, cruelly intent on the absorption of all known intelligence. Created from dark energy, and manifest as a super intelligent human form, the ‘Order’ are all powerful and hope to learn Reggie’s specific secret of time travel.
Unfortunately, (like most things he does) Reggie’s radio is not particularly well built and before long starts to fail. They arrive, unexpectedly, on a futuristic pleasure cruise liner and are detained as stowaways. Luckily, Reggie is able to use their power source to recharge the batteries of the failing contraption but his failing health poses a larger threat. They escape just as the doomed liner is sucked into a black hole on its maiden voyage.
Reggie makes Bradley set the radio’s controls to a period in the past when he was younger and fitter so that he may gain strength from his younger self as well as gain from the fresh memory that he now so sadly lacks. Their survival at this stage depends on the success of finding and enlisting a younger version of the elderly eccentric.
Arriving back in England of the 1930’s, the three intrepid (and largely bewildered) playmates discover an even more confused, younger Reginald as he is being pursued by angry Yorkshiremen during the recording of one of his very early radio programmes. They take him, kicking and screaming, to the planet Galena in a solar system not too far from Earth and into a scrape, the like of which he has never encountered.
CAVE OF IMPOSSIBLE REASONING
Hiking across barren landscapes and desert terrain they eventually arrive in a mining outpost which is revealed as a place that Reggie himself helped to establish. The geologists living there were taken by a version of his younger self in search of a mysterious element that he first discovered when he was a young man. This substance is the main catalyst of his time traveling radio and has the power to enhance the human race beyond all recognition. Vera was taken there by the young Reggie to oversee the mining of Radionium 7 (or Seedstone, as it becomes known) but is being held captive with threats to her life if she does not reveal what the material is capable of.
Their enquiries and search takes them into the ‘great underground’ of the planet into a place called the ‘Cave of impossible reasoning’ where the indigenous people have lived for eons which is now occupied by a mixture of new settlers but more recently by the militia forces of the Order whilst they undertake their savage investigation of all mining operations.
One of the overwhelming features of Seedstone is that it is composed of each single element of the periodic table in a state of impossible equilibrium. However, a side effect of its presence in large quantities is that it affects the mind in unpredictable ways. Once inside the mines, Florence, Bradley and the two Reggies are overwhelmed by baffling experiences but ferociously battle on, led by the elder Reggie and his drive to save Vera.
Eventually arriving at the ‘inner sanctum’ of the great city of Quixotica under the hostile surface of the otherwise insignificant planet, the four conquistadors face the military strength of the Order face on, as they discover the true extents of the grand plan that they have begun to execute.
Will they succeed in rescuing Vera? Does she have a subplot up her sleeve? Do the Order have greater plans that they are looking to execute? Will Bradley get back in time to catch his train home? To find these answers, you’ll have to read on. It’s a puzzle, hidden in a conundrum wrapped in a mystery. The internal logic is convoluted and multiple layers of referencing explode at every turn.
Contemporary and vintage media icons are mirrored in every event and there are as many genuine facts as there are red herrings but can you find them all?
CONTACT THE AUTHOR
Good luck and pop back soon for updates.