How long should we live?

With our National Health Service beginning to creak under the weight of increasing numbers of senior members of society as people live longer, Pearl S Buck’s words have never been truer:

Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them, for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members.

I recently received a letter from my Godmother, who at 102 years old, apologised for not penning a longer letter!  I felt humbled. My husband said, “I’ve never held a letter written by someone who has had a telegram from the Queen.” I could tell that he was impressed, too. Old age need not be a time of helplessness or infirmity … it shouldn’t be.

My parents, who passed on aged 73 and 77 respectively, could probably never have imaged living for a century.  That infamous time-traveler, Doctor Who, has lived (fictionally, of course) for billions of years – he went ‘the long way round’ on more than one occasion!  Yet he has (so far) lost none of his zest for life, as evidenced by his date with River Song in the recent Christmas Special.  For ‘Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness, longevity is a somewhat harder cross to bear… they are two characters at opposite ends of the spectrum, giving us some great story-telling along the way.

Old age (or finite life) is a theme beloved of science-fiction writers and film-makers since…. well, since the first piece of speculative fiction appeared (author Brain Aldiss cites Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ as the first example of science-fiction, and I can’t argue with that). In the society of William F Nolan’s classic novel, ‘Logan’s Run’,  ‘old age’ is deemed to be twenty-one. Neolithic men and women were lucky to reach forty.

C.S. Lewis had this to say:

How incessant and great are the ills with which a prolonged old age is replete.

While Aldous Huxley took a different view:

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.

Personally, I’m with Aldous.  Well, as someone starting my writing career in my fifties , I need all the positivity I can get!

With scientists declaring in the spring of last year that quite soon, we might all be able to live ‘five hundred years or more’, it seems eerily appropriate that my first novel asks the question:  “How long do you want to live?”

‘The Methuselah Paradox’ makes no judgments, however.  It’s a story, primarily about people who have been caught up in the consequences of a discovery…  and there are many ways the story could have gone, many different scenarios that could have played out (and I probably tried them all, before settling on one).  I think it may be a theme I will return to… because really, the answer could be as simple as “as long as I have good health, so that I can live, and not just exist.” … and that’s probably the answer I would give, if I were to be asked the question.  But of course, it’s never quite as simple as that…

So… how about you? How long do you want to live? How do you think living ‘five hundred score or more’ will affect us, and our society – and of course, planet Earth?  I can’t promise to answer all those questions in ‘The Methuselah Paradox’, but I hope it will give you food for thought.

Never one to miss an opportunity, before I go, I’m going to slip in a little plug for my crowdfunding campaign… if you’d like to help me create a trailer for ‘The Methuselah Paradox’, why not pop over to to see what cool, limited editions perks you can pick up in return for a little donation…

Thank you for reading!

EJ Jackson

Film industry: if you ain’t got the money, take your broke a** home.

As an Indie author producing and casting my first book trailer, Tom’s world is one I have just barely dipped my toe into – I’ve discovered a huge well of talent amongst people of a similar background to my own (Dad was a maintenance electrician, I’ve never been to college or university) – I think Tom’s campaign is a brilliant and very much needed project.

Grit Journalism

The film, media and arts industry is facing a financial crisis. Not in box office terms, no. It’s no secret that breaking into the creative  industries is one of the hardest and most cut throat businesses one can venture in, wether you’re a creative graduate or a long term freelancer, a new director or a struggling actor, simply put if you haven’t got the funds – you’re in trouble. Even if you’re a woman, cracking into the business is a tricky one and not for the faint hearted – read about it here

Very recently the issue of being ‘privileged’ in this world can be massively advantageous, as we saw from this years Academy Awards. The very issue was spotlighted after the prestigious nomination of ‘Best Actor’ included public school educated Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne. Again, whilst there was no dispute of the actors deserving their nomination for…

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You might recall this post I made almost two weeks ago, about an exciting new sci-fi drama project from ‘Third Contact’ creator Simon Horrocks – ‘KOSMOS’, a six-part web series. I’m very happy to say that with just a few days to go before the deadline, the target of £30,000 was met and ‘KOSMOS’ will go into production early in 2015, with delivery in June 2015. Terrific news and well done to Simon and his team – like all the other backers, I can’t wait to see the end result!

And here’s Simon’s unique response to the good news (WARNING – don’t be holding any spillable liquids as you read it – you might just end up drowning your keyboard!):

And here is Simon to tell us about KOSMOS:

Merry Christmas!

from Elaine Jackson


Just wanted to share this…


Last Train to Budapest (2010 dir. Lee Deaville) was a short film documenting the life of one Hungarian trying to escape the oppressive regime during the Hungarian revolution in 1956. When composing this score I tried to use traditional Hungarian folk music as inspiration, for example in the piece “Variation on a Weeping Willow”, I took the theme from “Weeping Willow” which is a well known traditional song composed by Bartok. Bartok is considered as one of Hungary’s greatest composers, so I immersed myself in his work whilst I was composing this soundtrack. The violin/fiddle parts he often used were supposed to represent the sound of birds singing sporadically and often atonally, which I tried to replicate on pieces such as “For Bem”. For the short piano pieces I used repetitive themes in 3/4 waltz timing which would lend themselves to archive footage, acting to add atmosphere rather than dominate or…

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Why we should never give up on our dreams… why crowdfunding works

from here to infinity and beyond

If someone had told my fifteen-year-old self that I would one day create an appreciation society for a favourite science-fiction show (a club which is still going strong thirty-four years later) or that I would be invited to visit the set, go to sci-fi conventions and meet authors, directors and actors, write a novel, and have the opportunity to help create a new science fiction web series, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. I probably didn’t even know that I wanted to do all those things then. But I’ve always loved science-fiction; looking to the future has always been my thing (although I’ve enjoyed looking back into my family’s past – the Family Tree has been an ongoing project for the past twelve years, and now my son has taken up the mantle).

I created an appreciation society for ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’  in 1980 because I wanted to join one…

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John Simm receives Royal Television Society North West award for his performance in Prey

Great news! And not before time – he’s one of the very best actors of his generation, nice to see him get some ‘official’ recognition.

John Simm Society Blog

Prolific North
17 Nov 2014
David Prior

Full list of winners from the Royal Television Society North West awards


Indies from across the region were recognised on Saturday at the Royal Television Society North West awards.

Red Production Company took home the Judges’ Award and also saw performers in two of its hit dramas of the year – John Simm in ITV’s Prey and Sarah Lancashire in BBC1’s Happy Valley – walk off with the main acting awards.

Blakeway North took home two categories, including the best current affairs programme for E.D.L Girls – Don’t Call Me Racist, while Citizen Khan claimed the comedy prize and Jimmy McGovern’s Common won the drama award.

The ceremony was held at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester on Saturday 15 November and hosted by Citizen Khan star Adil Ray and TV presenter Helen Skelton.

Alex Connock, Chair of the RTS North West Centre and…

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