Madness or Method

This morning, I woke up to find myself in that half-life, hazy world of here and now/there and then. I know I’m in my tiny crone cottage in Liverpool, but I’m also in a space ship thrumming its way across the galaxy to save two solar systems. My accustomed butterfly-flitting thought processes are streamlining themselves into a more scientific process of ‘if this – then that – or is it? Check it again!’.

I am existing in the afterlife of a damn good book, and I want it to last as long as possible. The deep immersion into the fictitious universe of Andy Weir’s latest book “Project Hail Mary” has been my state of being for the past 6 days and nights. It took me that long because I listened to it on Audible. If I’d been reading it, back in the day when both of my eyes worked at full steam ahead, I know I’d have skipped great chunks of the technical stuff. Fortunately, though, I had to listen, and I had to listen veeerrrryyy caaarrreefffuuuulllyyy. Because if you missed any steps of calculation and experimentation carried out by our reluctant protagonist, you wouldn’t understand why the story was going where it went. The whole incredibly unlikely space adventure is told through mathematical equations and biological calculations. And I am the most mathematically inept and ignorant person I know. Sounds mad, eh? But oh so methodically it reveals the chaos of the characters’ lives as they try to save the universe. I just loved it.

Also, I have to mention the narrator, actor Ray Porter. I’m a reluctant listener to audio books, largely because my experience of them has not been wonderful. ‘Reading Voice’ just annoys me. And sound engineers who remove the sound of every breath do the listeners a great disservice. Listeners/audiences breathe with the performers. That is part of the physiological process of engagement with each other. If the pace of the speaker doesn’t allow for breathing to happen, we become stressed and our brains switch off. We either walk out of the theatre in frustration, or we fall asleep, or we just get cross, without knowing why. Ray Porter is a consummate performer. He doesn’t just read, or even just narrate, he actually performs the book. Cover to cover. Phenomenal.

This week I had the great fortune to work with another consummate performer, Mark Porter. He’s come on board to portray Jack, Susie’s current boyfriend, which he does with grace and charm!

Mark Porter

Mark is an actor/writer based in Liverpool. He can be seen on Amazon Prime in 2020’s “While We Wait” and stars in Rusty Apper’s “Artefacts of Fear” (October 2021). His crime comedy novels are available through Amazon, more details at To be honest, the words ‘cult hero’ and ‘international mega star’ spring to mind—if not quite now, then very very soon!

If you’d like to treat Mark to a cup of coffee (or a beer), just click here.

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