It appears that the Fates (whose heads I'm going to smash in with a lump hammer next time I see them) are hell-bent on preventing me from offering my stunning collection of short stories - God, Aliens, Death & Teapots - to the great reading public, free of charge.
Not only is Amazon insisting on charging £1.99 for it (even though it's available from my uber-cool publishers at £0.00), an unexplained glitch on Autharium's own website meant that even though it was available from them for free, it wasn't actually possible to download it!
That would explain why 'sales' of what has to be (even though I say so myself) an incredibly imaginative, witty and thought-provoking septet of mini-literary masterpieces, have been so disappointingly low :(
But not anymore, folks - the problem's fixed!
Download it FREE from here!
And if that wasn't enough, there's a big virtual hug, sloppy kiss, or hearty shake of the hand from me to anyone who clicks the download button - all you need to do is indicate your preference as a comment at the end of this post :)
Why Do Pandas Look So Sad?
I never really thought much about pandas before it happened. To me, they were just large, cuddly, bear-like creatures that spent most of their time sitting around, chewing on bamboo shoots and struggling to get laid. I only ever once saw one in real life, and that was when I took my children to the zoo one holiday whilst my wife was working away. As my eldest daughter, Alice, read aloud the words on the colourful information board:
‘...only 1,600 left in the wild...’
‘...confined to the mountains of western China...’
I hoisted my youngest up onto my shoulders so she could get a better view of the animal. Together, we watched as, true to form, it was sitting in the centre of its enclosure on a small mound of earth, munching on a pile of bamboo shoots. That was virtually all it did. Occasionally, it did seem to pause for a moment, as if it had thought of something; but then it would commence its munching again, looking vacantly ahead. Just once, it did stop eating completely, putting aside the bamboo and casting its gaze around its enclosure. It stared for a while in our general direction. Then, it gathered up more bamboo shoots, looked away and began eating again. Not once, in the seven or eight minutes that we were standing there watching it, did it make any effort to move from where it was sitting.
To me, the thing just looked bored.
But, Louisa; well, she saw something else.
‘Why do pandas look so sad?’
At the time, the question hardly registered because Alice had finished reading the information board and had announced that she now wanted to move on and look at the giraffes and then the lions and then the hippos. As a result of this distraction, I’m not sure I ever answered Lou’s question; if I did, I can’t remember what it was I said.
But if my darling little daughter were able to ask me that very same question now (and how I wish to God that she could), the answer I could give her would, I’m sure, bring tears to those bright blue eyes of hers, just as the mere thought of it now brings tears to my own.
Looking back, I guess we would really like to call it an invasion. That would at least suggest there was an intention to occupy, to subjugate, perhaps eventually to exterminate; and that would in turn suggest that we, the human race, had been a consideration. But the truth of the matter is that we were probably worthy of no more than a passing thought; that to them, we were, all seven billion of us, creatures of...
It took me quite some time (and Christ knows I’ve had plenty of that) to figure out the word that best describes how I think mankind was regarded:
That word is INCONSEQUENTIAL.
To them, we were creatures of inconsequence, no more a part of their thinking as earthworms and woodlice and beetles are to a man in an excavator loading giant mounds of earth into trucks.
No, this was never an invasion.
Nothing more, nothing less.