I’ve been reworking a book called ‘Alternative 3′ my father, who is now 85, first published forty years ago. Not an easy project. For a start there was no digital manuscript. He wrote it on a manual typewriter. Rather than retyping the whole 95,000 words I used the free optical character recognition app. within Microsoft Word – never knew it existed before – to produce a first draft. It was littered with errors. ‘H’s became ‘d’s and where it didn’t recognise a word it either guessed, wrote nonsense or just missed it out. Reminds me of the man who invented predictive text who died last week. His funday is next monkey.
However, I digress. The original book was the basis for a one hour television documentary shown in 1977. The documentary also called Alternative 3 was shown by ITV and explained, in some detail, how the moon landing were a front for a far more ambitious project: Building a colony on Mars, a refuge for world leaders and their chums to escape to because they knew global warming would eventually destroy the planet. The documentary is a bit dated, by today’s standards, but still a professional production. At the time, global warming was almost unheard of. Now, its significance is recognised by most people and dad’s book is very pertinent to today’s problems as the earth’s climate changes. Are the world’s leader planning to escape and leave the rest of us to stew? Who can say!
Alternative 3 had considerable success and was translated into a number of different languages including Japanese. The Japanese, it seems, are particularly fond of conspiracy theories.
I published the reworked book last December and then a strange thing happened. A Facebook friend sent me a link to a film released the previous month called ‘Packing for Mars‘ and, to my surprise, the entire plot was based on Dad’s original book. It even named his book as the original idea.
I contacted Frank Jacob, the film’s producer and explained my father was very much alive and kicking adding that he owned the copyright to his material and we had a most constructive conversation. The two hour feature film is a super production and dad is over the moon (excuse the pun) with it.