The Other Things

By Jonathan Dransfield

An extraordinary story of how six children became the first astronauts to go to Mars.

Fiction | Sci-fi & Fantasy
118% funded
117 supporters
Published

Publication date: February 2019

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Are we alone in the Universe? If life was found on Mars would that change our perspectives? If we were nearly wiped out by an asteroid, like the dinosaurs, would that make us think differently?

This story starts with the extraordinary discovery of what looks like a fossil on Mars and the existential threat of Asteroid ‘Wilson’ bearing down on Earth.

Luther Garvey, The President of the United States certainly had a wake up call and decides to do something big for humanity and his own legacy. Calling off various military adventures he sets his sights on a mission to Mars, within his presidency.

The book tells the exciting story of how this happens. Surmounting almost impossible hurdles the maverick scientist Ford Harris, the only man the President knows who’s crazy enough to pull it off, finds the way to make it happen.

The three biggest problems are; the lack of a rocket big enough to get the crew to Mars; the severe restrictions on the weight of the crew to get them back off the surface and time; Luther is sure that his likely successor will abandon the mission if it not already on its way.

By creating engaging characters and the use of beautiful illustrations, Dransfield gives the book a depth and vitality as the plot twists and turns as each problem is resolved.

As the book unfolds, the true central characters emerge. They are the six children who battle it out against two other adult teams in a series of tests and expeditions.

The children come from all over the world and are chosen because of their close work with their talented parents. Like little avatars they will be expected to follow the instructions sent from earth by their mentors. Their existence is kept secret until the last minute.

Dransfield has not only written a book peppered with well developed characters and a great story line, but researched the science and technology throughly, giving the book an authenticity and a sense of wonder in what is still possible for mankind and a greater appreciation of our own planet.

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  • Jonathan Dransfield avatar

    Jonathan Dransfield

    Jonathan Dransfield was a child when man first stood on the moon. There was an expectation that the next place to visit would be Mars. It never happened, but the awe and wonder of the solar system and the universe has lived with him since.  

    When the current interest in visiting the red planet resurfaced he felt that the crazy schemes like send people on a one way trip was not the way to go. As an architect he was used to designing things and solving problems.  

    The key problem is weight. To date we have only dropped robots onto the surface, the problem of a manned mission is getting the crew back off  the planet. Solving this is the key.  

    Perhaps it was the fact that Dransfield and his partner have nine kids between them compelled him the write this book. He also knows that kids at times can be smarter than adults, especially with modern technology.

    Dransfield is a visual person and used his drawing talents to develop the plot. He has created an illustrated book ‘The Other Things’ a study on how to go to Mars and get some peace and quiet.

  • Jonathan Dransfield has written 1 private update. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    15th July 2019 50th Anniversary of Moon landing - News Letter - July

    18th June 2019 Read This! First News Letter!!!!

    15th March 2019 Have you ever been to Iceland?

    If you have, you will know that it is an extraordinary part of our planet.

    The landscape has a transcendent beauty that uplifts the spirit and expediates the coldness of it's climate.

    It is also a place where the nature of this earth is on show. We easily forget that we live on a thin skin of rock ontop of a vast molten ball of magma, here that heat literally seeps out of the ground and…

    27th February 2019 READERS AND REVIEWS!

     

    The Montgenevre Book Club!

    Early readers are posting reviews on Amazon. Here's one:-

    This is a brilliant (political?) sci-fi story that takes you in head-first in the first chapter. From what's certain to be an apocalypse leading to a decision to recreate the space race of the last century, this story has a perfect balance of tension and humour at the right moments. Some of the…

    16th February 2019 Zulu's Dream - Please read!

    My friend Zulu died this week.

    He was a safari guide and a man with a dream.

    We met him ten years ago in the Matopos Hills and he told us about his ambition to open an orphanage. We were staying in a beautiful hotel called Amalinda in southern Zimbabwe and of the various excursions, amongst the beauty therapies and wildlife tracking, there was an option to visit an orphanage and traditional…

    8th February 2019 Great night last night!

    Here's a few photos of last night's book launch, it was great fun.

    It was also the first time we had an event in our new unit off Bermondsey Street and it was great!

    1a Morocco Street London SE1 3HB

    Lovely to see so many friends and if you missed it, please call in or come tonight (Friday 8th) when we are having an open evening for our neighbours.

     

    Jonathan …

    7th February 2019 Book Launch Today!!!

    All Welcome!!!

    Private view today at our new gorgeous studio space MSTUDIO 1a Morocco Street, London SE1 3HB

    There will be an exhibition of all the illustrations featured in the novel.

    Lookinf froward to seeing you!

     

    Jonathan

     

    30th January 2019 Big Day today - First Sale from our new bookshop!

    Big Day today!!

    The printed copies arrived today from the publishers. Even before our joiner has completed the shelves lucky Edward became the first customer!

    Copies are on their way to all our supporters.

    I sincerely hope you enjoy reading it.

    Jonathan 

    24th January 2019 Illustrations - 'Each is worth a 1000 words'

    The Other Things has over 90 illustrations 

     

    It’s two weeks to the launch and you will soon be receiving your versions of the book.

     

    Many of the pledges signed up for an original illustration or signed print - How to choose?

    Our website has twenty on show :-

    https://theotherthings.squarespace.com/purchase-direct-1

    Note well!!

    You can still purchase…

    21st January 2019 It's truly amazing what you can see from your own doorstep!

    Two years ago we crossed the Atlantic Ocean to witness the spectacular Great American Eclipse.

    Last night I got up at 2:30am and stayed up to watch the unfolding 'Super Wolf Moon' lunar eclipse.

    Ok! the eclipse of the moon by the earth's shadow is a subtle and less exhilarating affair than the transcendent beauty of a full solar job, but it was certainly worth getting up for. The top illustration…

    17th January 2019 Birthday Sunshine!

     

    It's my birthday today and I'm really looking forward to this year.

    We've moved to a new cool office,

    I've got some really nice clients

    and my novel is being launched in three weeks!

    The sun has come out and we're hanging out in our newly built garden hut. 

    This is a lovely place of refuge and hopefully an inspiring place for more writing and artwork!

    10th January 2019 The Website is Live!!!! Read this and try it out!!

     

    In anticipation of the launch date of 7th February 2019, we have got our website (theotherthings.squarespace.com) up and running.

    It features a wealth of information including a sample of the illusrtations, more about me - the author - and how to buy the book in both paper back and digital versions.

    Please try it out and give any contructive feed back.

    theotherthings.squarespace…

    3rd January 2019 Yes it's happening! & Last chance to support!

    Here it is ....... The full cover ..... It's fantastic!!!

     

    117 people have shown their generosity in backing this novel and their help and support has enabled it to get to this stage.

    Today my publishers confirm that 7th February 2019 will be the publication date. They also sent over the final book cover which looks fanastic. 

    Important dates - 

    6th January - This is when…

    11th December 2018 Extremely Important News!!!

    Publication Date    -  Thursday 7th February 2019

    'The Other Things' will be published on 7th February 2019

    The launch party will be at Studio MC Squared - 1a Morocco Street London SE1 3HB

    (There will also be a private view on 8th February for those who can't make it on the 7th)

    Invites will be sent out before Christmas with times and full information.

    The party will be a celebration…

    24th October 2018 Creating Counties - Terraforming Planets

                           

     

    We've just been cycling along the windswept Dykes of the Netherlands. It’s a place where you become increasingly aware of the extraordinary change that humans can make to our planet. 

    Centuries ago with development of the windmill, the Dutch created a new country from a reluctant sea. Dipping down the winding cycle paths below the level of the lakes and canals, you…

    11th October 2018 President Trump does not exist! He is fake news!

    At least in 'The Other things' he doesn't. Its president is called Luther Garvey and is a kinder, more diverse person altogether and an old fasioned liberal.

    In this heroic story you can escape the uncertainies of Brexit; ageing, white, male biggots and swap them, if you dare, for the existential threat of an asteriod strike and a return to the spirit of the sixties with a belief in progress…

    3rd October 2018 News from Mars and Earth

    You may have seen a bright red planet in the night sky this summer. That's Mars, it's been as close to Earth as it has been for many years and it would be perfect time to go there. When it was at it's very closest we got the telescope out and we saw a big red disk with a little lighter area towards to pole, but couldn't make much other detail out otherwise, probably because there's been a massive…

    15th June 2018 "This is a very good book"

    I would like to give thanks to Kate the editor of 'The Other Things' for her help and encouragement on the manucript. She been very encouraging and diligent in her work. I've worked on her comments and it's back with her and the team now. Thankfully she really enjoyed reading it!!!

    On the illustrations here's one of the latest showing the chapter when they take the rocket from the museum.

    Looking…

    29th April 2018 Manuscript Delivered and Drawing Rockets

    Manuscript

    Since reaching our pledge target the next step has been to prepare the manuscript for the editorial team.

    No small matter, as the script needed reducing by 30,000 words to 115,000. I shall no doubt be re-cycling them in book two! 

    Broken computer aside, The final version was presented last Monday and I'm looking forward to working with my editor.

    Illustrations

    9th April 2018 Ready for Take Off Thanks to You!

    Thank you!

    Thanks to all your pledges we have reached our target! The last three months have been very busy accumulating the funding  to publish the novel, now the next stage will begin. However it's not been all just fundraising, I have also been editing the script to 115,000 words and working on the final illustrations. 

    The Illustations

    The early illustrations are drawn with…

    30th March 2018 A Proton and The Universe

    IT WAS MY DAD THAT DID IT!

    My Dad was an eighteen year old country boy when he went to war and within the year he was docking in Nagasaki Harbour amidst the destruction of the second atomic bomb.

    He never saw the world the same again. 

    He brought back a small refracting telescope and years later would show me the stars from our back garden. It wasn't very powerful so when I was…

    27th March 2018 Is it a good read?

    One may write a novel for many reasons, but at the centre of it all, it must be a good read!

    I've asked a select group of early readers for their help and comments. Here are some of them.

    EARLY READERS REACTIONS

    'Yours is a fresh original voice and I’m always wanting to know what’s coming next."

    "Thanks for the book. It looks excellent and I like the science descriptions along…

    18th March 2018 Meet Mo - one of the six children in 'The Other Things'

    I spent 6 months developing the characters. To give them an authentic voice they need to have their own history and personality.  Much of this might not enter the script, but it's in your mind when writing it.

    Each of the children has a significant family member who has taught them the skills needed on an expedition to Mars.

    Mo has always been fascinated by his Father's palaentology. Both…

    15th March 2018 Bulawayo Orphanage - Thanks for your pledges to The Other Things!

    A couple of weeks ago I made a commitment to send the new orphanage £5 for every future pledge.

    Thanks to your support today the first  $100 was wired to Thando and Zulu.

    They are spending it on food.

    Well done and Thanks!

    Jonathan

    14th March 2018 History is Written in the Stars - Time is Relative

    The night sky is a time machine.

    When we gaze at the heavens we look back in time. There is no such thing as the present, even the sun is nine minutes older than we see it and the closest star four years.

    Nothing can go faster than the speed of light, yet at mind boggling rate of 671million miles an hour it still appears to crawl through the vast cosmos. 

    Every pinprick of light is…

    9th March 2018 Iceland and Mars

    "Iceland a unique analogue of Mars" says NASA scientist

    NASA has chosen Iceland to train its astronauts for years. 

    Trekking in the interior is exhilarating. Crossing the barren grandeur of the volcanic terrain, with hot steam emanating from the ground and sliding across the permanent ice fields rewards you with the sense of travelling through an alien landscape.

    Two of the main characters…

    4th March 2018 Sunsets and a Spinning Planet

    While I was writing the novel, I delibrately included descriptions of sunsets to remind us that we live on a spinning planet. For the past few weeks I have been editing the draft down to 115,000 words.

    This allowed me the oportunity to tweak the text. I had set a scene in Victoria falls, but when I thought of one of the most sublime moments I've witnessed, I relocated it to Lake Kariba. I particularly…

    1st March 2018 Is it really that cold?

    Spare a thought for our future visitors to Mars where the average temperature is - 60C. It can reach highs of 20C in the summer.

    Freezing Peckham would feel like a balmy day on the planet.

    It's been as low as - 55C in Yellowstone Park where we were this summer. Still life survives and flourishes. 

    Why not somewhere on The Red Planet? Underground perhaps.

     

    24th February 2018 The Main Characters

    The main characters of the novel are children. It's a challenge to develop them and and imagine their worlds. When I was looking for examples of talented children, Kirsty told me about an amazing African kid who made things from scrap. We've visited an orphanage near Bulawayo with Zulu and been touched by the children there. In honour of Zulu and his nephew Bheki I created two brothers from Zimbabwe…

    18th February 2018 Eclipse 2017 and Earnest Shackleton - Work in progress

    I'm working on the last few images. I needed an eclipse illustration and this from our summer road trip. The diamond ring effect is just starting, as is the drawing!!.

    I had an web image of Shakleton's advert for his Antarctic Expedition in the manuscript. I've have now finshed the full illustration.

    We've reached 49% of the pledges after one month - Brilliant!. Special thanks to Jen, Will…

    12th February 2018 The Great American Eclipse

    This was the beautiful sight we saw last summer. The Great American Eclipse. We wouldn't have chosen to go to Wyoming normally, but was so glad we did! It was brilliant, the 'Big Country' and especially Yellowstone.

    Yellowstone is one big shield volcano like the big ones on Mars! It was also great to see more of America first hand. 

    So much of the novel is set there and I've had to imagine it…

    1st February 2018 Super Blue Moon

    Two weeks since the launch and 16 very kind subscribers. THANK YOU !!!

    The kids pointed out the blue moon rising over Peckham Rye last night and then i caught the serious moonlight flooding the kitchen before dawn. Just beautiful and reminds me why I love to write about the planets and space. 

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