Design & editorial
Publication date: February 2019
116% funded
114 backers

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

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.

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.

President Trump does not exist! He is fake news!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

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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…

News from Mars and Earth

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

95 escape from planet 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…

"This is a very good book"

Friday, 15 June 2018

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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.


Manuscript Delivered and Drawing Rockets

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Take off v2


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.


Ready for Take Off Thanks to You!

Monday, 9 April 2018

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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…

A Proton and The Universe

Friday, 30 March 2018

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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…

Is it a good read?

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

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.


'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…

Meet Mo - one of the six children in 'The Other Things'

Sunday, 18 March 2018

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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…

Bulawayo Orphanage - Thanks for your pledges to The Other Things!

Thursday, 15 March 2018

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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!


History is Written in the Stars - Time is Relative

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

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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…

Iceland and Mars

Friday, 9 March 2018

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"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…

Sunsets and a Spinning Planet

Sunday, 4 March 2018

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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…

Is it really that cold?

Thursday, 1 March 2018

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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.


The Main Characters

Saturday, 24 February 2018

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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…

Eclipse 2017 and Earnest Shackleton - Work in progress

Sunday, 18 February 2018

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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…

The Great American Eclipse

Monday, 12 February 2018

Wyoming 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…

Super Blue Moon

Thursday, 1 February 2018

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. 

These people are helping to fund The Other Things.

Jonathan Reeves
Mark Vent
Louise Davies
EMEse Fulop
Elad Schwarz
Annette Kobak
Parma Sulh
Avatar Atkins
Chris Nicolson
Jim Reynolds
john newing
Kate Sissons
Dhiraj Madan
David Holmes
Angela Browne
neil Isaacson
William Hulse
Tim Gowler
Katharine Norbury
sylvie toutain
Carlo Navato
Naomi Beer
Andy Welsh
Maryja & Lee Kimberley
Sara Gappa / Greening
Chiara Sensi
Giles Underhill
Lin Clarke
Jan Clark
Joel Dela Cruz
Ana Silva
Ruky South
Sarah Huber
Andrew Wadsworth
Nigel Draude
Bo and Malcolm Davies and Vaughn
Nicky Neate
Julie Devine
Ian Yardley
Bo and Malcolm Davies and Vaughn
Eve Moralee
Nesher Asner
Deirdre Malone
Janet Chequer
lewis blomfield
sebastian kalmar
Alan Smith
Tim Murrills
Mark Pearson
Jeffery Woodward
Monica Creek
Jim Rice
Bernadette Sheehan
paul barritt
Marji Abela
Julia Adamson
Nat Low
Bruno and Lou Etienne
Philippa Dennison
Stefan Lipinski
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