* take nothing for granted    
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2021

Who is Online

We have 29 guests and no members online

There are no articles in this category. If subcategories display on this page, they may have articles.

    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item








When we talked of going to Hawaii for a couple of weeks in February 2018 several of our friends enthusiastically recommended it. To many of them it's a nice place to go on holidays - a little further to go than Bali but with a nicer climate, better beaches and better shopping - with bargains to be had at the designer outlets.




To nearly one and a half million racially diverse Hawaiians it's home.



Downtown Hilo


To other Americans it's the newest State, the only one thousands of miles from the North American Continent, and the one that's more exotic than Florida.

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News

Preface - The Craft






The Craft is an e-novel about Witchcraft in a future setting.  It's a prequel to my dystopian novella: The Cloud: set in the the last half of the 21st century - after The Great Famine.

 As I was writing The Cloud, I imagined that in fifty years the great bulk of the population will rely on their Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA), hosted in The Cloud, evolved from the primitive Siri and Cortana assistants available today. Owners will name their VPA and give him or her a personalised appearance, when viewed on a screen or in virtual-reality.

VPAs have obviated the need for most people to be able to read or write or to be numerate. If a text or sum is within view of a Cloud-connected camera, one can simply ask your VPA who will tell you what it says or means in your own language, explaining any difficult concepts by reference to the Central Encyclopaedia.

The potential to give the assistant multi-dimensional appearance and a virtual, interactive, body suggested the evolution of the: 'Sexy Business Assistant'. Employing all the resources of the Cloud, these would be super-smart and enhance the owner's business careers. Yet they are insidiously malicious, bankrupting their owners and causing their deaths before evaporating in a sea of bits.  But who or what could be responsible?  Witches?

We were travelling through Rothenberg, in Germany, as I was putting my thoughts together.  Serendipitously, to mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his '95 theses' to a church door in Wittenberg, setting in motion the Protestant Reformation, the Museum of Medieval Crime had an exhibition around Martin Luther's preoccupation with witches.

In the Early Modern Period witches became feared by Catholics and Protestants alike, as agents of Satan. 



Jews and Christians and Muslims have long been warned against witches: 

  • A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood [shall be] upon them. Leviticus 20:27
  • Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Exodus 22:18

Yet early Christians downplayed witchcraft as pagan superstition.  But the Renaissance brought changes in theology. If God was benign, how could one explain the presence of evil and suffering?

Christians now feared that Satan, the Devil, was secretly at work through subversive human agents: witches (hexen).  

Satan was believed to exploit original sin: mankind's base desires and weaknesses, in particular sex.  There was also increasing alarm caused by new scientific discoveries and witches were thought to possess secret knowledge about nature and the universe.

Regular outbreaks of the plague reinforced this belief. Surely each pandemic was the work of Satanic worshipers on broomsticks or riding a pale horse; it could not be the work of a loving God?



From their pulpits the clergy sounded the warning and across Europe somewhere between 40 and 60 thousand suspect women were dragged from their homes by terrified fellow citizens and sent to mock-trials; before being hanged or burnt alive. 

Witches could be bewitchingly seductive: exploiting the basest desires in others. Others lurked alone or in covens, with other wicked women, and used 'dark arts' to cause illness and death in those that they chose as victims. 

Thus, the depictions of witches, in the new medium of printing, were frequently highly sexualised: not as pornography but to illustrate their potential to bewitch and seduce, as a warning. 



As the Enlightenment took hold, rationality and the scientific perception pushed back.  Witchcraft became just another religion, no longer feared, and for most of us became the stuff of fairy-tales or Roald Dahl tales for our children:


A Note about Witches

In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks.
But this is not a fairy-tale.  This is about real WITCHES
REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women.
They live in ordinary houses and they work in ORDINARY JOBS.
That is why they are so hard to catch.

Roald Dahl - The Witches



In my dystopian world of The Cloud, religion has gained new importance to offer some meaning in a benign welfare-society: without countries; or war; or shortage; or serious pain; where life is about consumption until one commits voluntary euthanasia. But power over others remains a human desire and some have turned to a new: Scientific Witchcraft to satisfy that need. Others, capriciously and amorally exploit The Cloud itself for casual amusement.


Warning: Like a Martin Luther sermon: The Craft has some strong adult content.  



As with all fiction on this Website stories evolve from time-to-time.  
Unlike printed books that have distinct editions, these stories morph and twist, so that returning to them after a period, may provide a new experience.






Opinions and Philosophy

A new political dawn



The State election on 26th March saw a crushing political defeat for the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales. Both sides of politics are still coming to terms with the magnitude of this change.  On the Labor side internal recriminations seem to have spread beyond NSW.  The Coalition now seem to have an assured eight and probably twelve years, or more, to carry out their agenda.

On April 3, following the advice of the Executive Council, the Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales, gave effect to an Order to restructure the NSW Public Service. Read more...

It remains to be seen how the restructured agencies will go about the business of rebuilding the State.


Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright