The Ghost Camera

By Robert Llewellyn

A brilliant new Black Mirror-style sci-fi thriller by the star of Red Dwarf and Fully Charged.

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Sample Chapters - Audio and Text

A brief explanation.

The Ghost Camera follows two distinct observations of the experiments taking place at Chipperau Fusioneering.

The first is collection of 'cuttings' from publications around the globe. The news is initially picked up by tech blogs and magazines, and eventually mainstream media reporting on developments at the slightly secretive research laboratory.

The second series of observatiosn come from the diary of Morris, a very experienced laboratory janitor nearing retirment. 


Article first appeared on TechCrunch+

A Punch in the Eye from a Minute Magnet

Tim Duvall    Senior climate writer at TechCrunch, teaches at MIT


When someone knocks on your door waving a cheque for $70 million, you might consider letting them in for a chat. That is what happened late last year to an obscure startup called Chipperau Fusioneering out of Oxford, England.

The company was started around 10 years ago to focus on creating micro nuclear fusion engines, a system that worked brilliantly in theory, an idea where the math, the materials, the energy input all made perfect sense.

The only drawback, after many thousands of revisions, redesigns and materials experiments, it just didn’t work. What surprised Professor Chipperau and his small team of post grad engineers from all corners of the globe was what they did manage to achieve.

Instead of creating the huge amount of relatively clean, safe energy found in a star as all fusion research is trying to do, he created precisely the opposite, the incredible energy vacuum found in a black hole.

Within the child’s marble sized cluster of electro super magnets that make up the Chipperau Sphere is a minuscule space under unimaginable pressure.

When this device is powered up, and this system only operates for about one hundredth of a second, a pin prick sized black hole forms.

So far so pointless. What possible use could a pin prick sized black hole be, it’s a device that sucks energy in, creating nothing and giving nothing back.

And when Professor Chipperau is describing what exactly the device sucks in, he explains it in rather stark terms.

‘It destroys light and time.’ he tells me, repeating this statement for, I assume, extra dramatic impact as he stares at me intently. ‘It literally sucks in light and time. Any available light surrounding the device is sucked in through tiny open fissures that exist between the micro electro magnets. We had to have these minute gaps to enable the magnets to connect to the power source.'

I ask the obvious question ‘How do you know it sucks in light?

‘You can sense it with the human eye,’ comes the reply ‘The space around you goes a little bit darker. It’s noticeable.’

So this, as I’m sure you can understand dear reader, I had to see.

I had heard the story through a personal connection, an old college friend’s younger brother is one of the post grad students at Oxford who works at Chipperau Fusioneering. The story had come to me by word of mouth, not social media or a peer reviewed research document.

So far, no one outside the lab has seen this phenomenon, until the team wired up a row of Skeleton ultra capacitors on the lab bench before me.

‘The only thing I can suggest.’ said the Professor as he lowered a powerful anglepoise lamp directly over the small device, ‘Is to stand back a little, close your eyes during the countdown so you don’t blink and miss anything when we power up. It’s not dangerous, but if you stand back and observe the wider area around the bench you’ll get a better idea of what’s happening.’

From four meters back I closed my eyes as one of the student team performed a countdown.

When she reached two, I opened my eyes and what I saw really challenges my powers of description.

It wasn’t like the whole room went dark, or that the tiny device on the bench sucked in a swirling vortex of darkness like a not quite convincing CGI effect in a Marvel movie.

The only description I can come up with is, it felt like my eyes got punched in the guts, my eyes were winded.

Something very powerful and hitherto never experienced by the human eye took place before me. It was so short lived but it was as if I had been unconscious for a millisecond, like the momentary dimming of the light around the tiny creation actually sucked something out of my brain.

In fact, as I later learned, it not only sucked light and energy out of the room, (they’ve measured the power input supplying the place and have registered a pronounced drop) but it also sucks time out of the surrounding area.

I accept this sounds preposterous, and it is only a tiny fraction of a second, but it has an effect on the body that has never happened in human evolution.

After the demonstration I spent time with the Professor to try and find out what possible use there could be for this remarkable discovery, and without any decrease in his infectious enthusiasm, he gesticulated wildly saying that he had literally no idea.

We both laughed when he said this, he is clearly dizzy with delight that the millions already invested in this system have finally produced results, even if those results were the literal opposite of what the device was designed to do.

However he is convinced some possible use will emerge.

What that might be, I truly don’t think anyone has a clue.

And the fact that no one seems to know who is investing in Chipperau Fusioneering, or indeed, if anyone actually has. Everything around the company remains a mystery.



Chapter 4 

My brother Austin loved that article. He sent it to me as soon as it appeared.

His message said, ‘Hoping you have not been crushed through a space time vortex into another reality, but even if you did I bet you’d try and tidy it up you freak. Love you mate. A’

I’ll just say this about Austin, he’s got a man bun, he isn’t vaccinated and he’s old enough to be a grandfather, I’ll leave that there for you.

But, all that aside, after reading this TechCrunch+ article at the time, you can imagine that I was a bit baffled.

I had never noticed light and time being sucked out of the laboratory. It all looked very normal and familiar to me.

I spent each day sweeping the floor, checking the contents of the dustpan to see if any small electronic components were among the dust and debris.

That’s why I don’t use a vacuum cleaner in the lab, I know I have to be very careful in case a clumsy engineer has dropped something important.

But I don’t mind telling you I was a bit scared after reading that. I had always thought Chipperau was a bit of a nut case even though he’s always been very kind to me.

He was just a bit too mad professor for me. I wanted someone solid and sensible like Professor Mangan who worked in the physics department at the University. He never build anything that sucked in light and time.

After that article came out, I was a bit more careful, especially when I did my evening tidy up and put the waste materials in the compactor in the store at the back of the lab.

There was a time when I quite enjoyed the quiet moments in the lab when most of the folks had wandered home, but after this I couldn’t help wondering if the clusters of wires and small screens showing weird shapes and numbers might spring to life unexpectedly and suck me in through the vortex thing Austin wrote about in his message.

I can look back now and see how ridiculous I was being, but at the time, no one really knew, did they.


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Dave Compton
 Dave Compton says:

New audiobook option! I love that you can upgrade to it. Mr Llewellyn, you rock. Unbound, you also rock.

posted 30th August 2023

Mike Shaw
 Mike Shaw says:

Well Kryton... That was nice to hear your voice again, and it sounds like a great story in the making...

However we note that you are still pre-occupied with your favourite task of cleaning and putting the garbage into a compactor, just like on the Dwarf !!!
It must be due to PTSD from when the insane professor forced you into the Dwarf's compactor and pressed the red button !!! Hope you don't still have the headaches !!!
Happy Writing !!!

posted 31st August 2023

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