short stories book Wessex Tales

Photo, Taffi Laing, Toronto

Robert Fripp, author

  • WESSEX TALES, Volumes 1 and 2:
  • IN FORTY SHORT STORIES Robert Fripp leads readers through “eight thousand years in the life of an English village”. Perfect for time travel, this short story collection brings us Stone Age hunters, a medieval troubadour lost in dark woods, and the tale of an ancient oak.

Bronze Age workers hoist the final lintel on Stonehenge; a young smuggler leads pack-ponies by night, evading Army patrols. In historical fiction—and in fact—King Alfred’s Wessex levies stop an advancing Viking army; and a young soldier advances in the second Battle of the Somme. As a practical taste of Wessex Tales, the following review describes “A Short Walk in France”, a story in Volume 1.

REVIEW:  “A harsh, sobering, and accurate description of combat that is reminiscent of All’s Quiet on the Western Front. Although set in 1916 France, it could very well have been anywhere from Stalingrad to Inchon, la Drang Valley, Baghdad, or anywhere in Afghanistan. … Five stars without hesitation and highly recommended reading for everyone.” ~ David H. Keith, former U.S. Army combat medic and paramedic.  [More]

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  • ‘SPIRIT IN HEALTH: SPIRITUAL ROOTS IN MODERN HEALING‘ explores healing techniques from pre-history, some of which find places in our modern healing arts. Healers and shamans in ancient societies invoked spiritual force, asking spirits for wisdom, for help in the hunt, for healing in its many forms, and for knowledge of plant and animal powers. Healers were also psychotherapists; their spiritual powers treating mental health, too.

Nor did shamans distinguish among medicine, religion, myth or philosophy. Among primal peoples these areas merged, i.e. lore intermingled with law. In pre-history, an act of healing often mingled reason with myth. Perhaps the modern world goes too far when science rides roughshod over older, other approaches to medicine and healing.

The 2nd edition of Spirit in Health will publish in February 2017. [More]

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  • ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE PREVAILED in an ‘iron, bearded world’, as she writes in her memoir, Power of a Woman. Memoirs of a turbulent life: Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor’s long life was a fight to build and sustain feminine power and influence in an era controlled by two male-dominated hierarchies, the Church and royal courts.

Power of a Woman… captures Eleanor’s thoughts in her voice, recalling exploits that carried her through peaks and troughs for eighty turbulent years. Her memoirs re-live her roles: from childhood to Duchess of Aquitaine at 15, Queen of France at 17, warring courtier, patron of troubadours, crusader, Queen and Regent of England, empire builder, femme fatale, and muse for romantic bards.

Separating from Heny II, Eleanor founded her Court of Ladies. Then, having given King Henry too many sons, she seems to have instigated and arbitrated family strife among the father and his sons. Scorned by Henry, he exiled her until his death when she again became Regent of England, ransom collector, peacemaker, matchmaker, and consummate negotiator. This magnificent lady ‘retires’ at 81 to dictate the royal progress of her life, here, in her memoirs. [More]

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  • DARK SOVEREIGN (2nd edition, full text)
  • ‘DARK SOVEREIGN’ TELLS the tale of Richard III’s life and reign. Its subtitle explains Dark Sovereign as ‘The play in Shakespeare’s English that Shakespeare should have written. Dark Sovereign counter-attacks the Bard’s farce, Richard III, a king whose memory remains dear in the North of England.

Dark Sovereign by Robert Fripp is the only play in nearly four centuries crafted precisely in the language of the ‘Golden Age’. That term describes the apex of the Renaissance in English literature. Dark Sovereign is now the longest play written in the language of the Renaissance, outrunning Hamlet.

Dark Sovereign serves as powerful drama and a potent teaching tool. Its sources reach back to borrow from excellent writers—i.e. Queen Elizabeth I, Francis Bacon, many of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, redactors of the King James Bible, Edmund Spenser, et al.,— all of whom wrote in the English of Tudor times. [More]

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RobertFripp: Design and Science: the Life and Work of Will Burtin

An iconic example of Burtin’s work.* See ‘Design and Science’

  • THIS RICHLY ILLUSTRATED, LARGE FORMAT BOOK traces the career of leading modern designer Will Burtin. A design innovator, Burtin pioneered “info-graphics”, and built solid models and graphics to explain scientific and biomedical functions. Burtin pioneered multimedia—which he called “Integration”—as well as visual display of complex processes. Considered the “father” of corporate branding, Will Burtin was an early proponent of Helvetica in North America. [More]
  • Will Burtin ‘conceived’ this ‘test tube baby’ magazine cover for the Upjohn Company in 1941. Another 37 years would pass before science caught up. Burtin’s visual forecast eventually became reality when the phrase ‘test tube baby’ came into the world along with the first successful in vitro birth, in 1978.

    Joint publishers: Lund Humphries, London; Ashgate, New York (2007)

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  • MODERN SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE long ago relegated Genesis’ creation story to what it once was, a Bronze Age myth. But science also stole more than archaic meaning: it robbed us of that sweep of majestic vision that the Genesis creation represents. Let There Be Life is science writer Robert Fripp’s attempt to bring the Genesis story up to date. Sixty-two verses written in the style of the King James Bible are accompanied by essays describing the science of change and evolution—in plain English—with a foreword by novelist John Fowles. [More]

FROM JOHN FOWLES’ INTRODUCTION and literary review ‘Robert Fripp’s ingenious idea, to resurrect Genesis in the light of our present knowledge of evolutionary process, must, I suppose, count as literary curiosity; but I have long been in favour of literary curiosities. They have a perverse habit of provoking more thought than the orthodox approach. By simplifying the complex and broadening the narrow, they spark the imagination … Our past remains our now; I pray the reader will not forget that, as he or she goes down the vast vistas of these pages.’ ~ John Fowles  [More]

READERS, thank you for coming this far. May words on these pages reward your interest, and may your Fates be kind!

Robert Fripp