#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen #RoryHobble #Haligogen – Maximilian Hawker @MaxHawker @unbounders

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Today I’m on the ‘Rory Hobble and the Voyage to Haligogen’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Maximilian Hawker works in frontline children’s social care in Croydon, where he lives with his wife and two children; he also studies for an MA in Social Work at the University of Greenwich and does work in partnership with the charity OCD Action. He has been a sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) since he was a child.
In April 2018, his debut novel, Breaking The Foals, was published by Unbound.
He has had poetry and short stories – occasionally nominated for awards – appear in publications run by Dog Horn Publishing, Kingston University Press, Arachne Press and Rebel Poetry, among others. He holds an MA by Research in English Literature from Kingston University, where he also studied at undergraduate level, and has previously worked in editing and education.


Synopsis :

Eleven-year-old Rory Hobble has it tough: he gets upsetting thoughts all the time and they won’t go away – ‘Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)’, the head doctors call it. His mum hasn’t been very well for a long while either. Perhaps it’s his fault… Maybe that’s why she doesn’t always feed him; maybe that’s why she screams at him. At least Rory has his telescope – gazing at the unchanging stars keeps him calm. But, one night, Rory sees something impossible in the sky: mysterious lights – artificial and definitely not of earthly origin.
When his mum is abducted by the shadowy Whiffetsnatcher, Rory – accompanied by his space-faring, care-experienced social worker, Limmy – travels beyond the Earth, chasing those mysterious lights to the frozen ends of the Solar System. Along the way he must outwit a breakaway human civilisation living on a Martian moon; survive the threat of otherworldly monsters; and learn to speak to alien whales.
But his greatest challenge left Earth with him and it will take all the courage he has not only to overcome his OCD, but to decide whether he wants to rescue an abusive mother if he gets his chance…


Excerpt :

It is a sharp November night when Rory Hobble spots something impossible in the night sky.
He drops his binoculars, glancing at the bedside digital clock, which projects an eerie, red 23:38. The only sound is the occasional yell of his mum from the other side of the bedroom, struggling through yet another bad dream. Shuffling over the bed, he leans his arms into the chill windowsill. Far, far below is what seems such a little world, barbed in shadow. Unfastening the latch, Rory pushes the window open, the bedroom warmth depressurised into the night and replaced with the wind’s bitter breath. Goosebumps assemble over his skin like inverted meteor craters. This always wakes him, when the cold snaps at his cheeks, clawing the sleep from sore eyes. But more than anything, he adores craning his neck towards the clouds, hungering for all the wonders that await beyond the sky.
Rory glances at his mum, whose face is twisted and sweaty. She doesn’t wake.
Then it comes…that voice, that doubt which sickens his mind:
Rooory, Rooory. Mum might get cold. Then she might get ill. Then she might–
No, Rory. Deep breath, he tells himself. The thought will go.
But an image flickers into his mind: his mum, pale and lifeless in an Arctic bedroom. He closes his eyes, shakes his head.
After several controlled breaths, the thought – the voice – fades into the background of his mind.
Nonetheless, he hops off his bed and steps over to his mum. But her chest still lifts and drops. She’s fine. He knew that, deep down. In sleep, she looks vulnerable – a far cry from the daytime carnivore he knows her to be.
He creeps back across the floor, careful not to stand on the creaky bits he’s memorised, and avoiding the wire of the tatty, oil-heated radiator.
From under his bed, he drags out the Thought Diary. It’s where he jots down all those peculiar thoughts that fill his head. All those thoughts that he gets and ‘normal’ people – or so he sees them – don’t. He was advised by his last head doctor to write out every fear and every doubt that fills his mind, assured that it would help him to see them for what they really are: farce. It’s a nice diary too, leather.
So, he opens the pages. Moonlight helps him guide a biro through the dark:
I was scared Mum would die of hyperthermia cos I opened the window at night.
Okay, it’s only a four out of ten on the anxiety scale – the thoughts are always weaker when he’s tired – and Rory is able to offer at least three rational responses to counter the discomfort. It helps, a little.
Before long, he’s back at the window. But the voice will not be quiet.
Rooory, Rooory. Mum might get cold. Then she might get ill. Then she might–
Nope, I’m keeping it open, Rory argues.
Rooory, Roo–
And as the voice finally fades, Rory once more turns his attention to astronomical matters.
Above the ruffing dogs and mechanical shoreline of distant cars, there is the sky – his sky. It’s the same sky that covers all the world and all its people, whether they’re of sound mind or not.
Of course, living in South London, lights-beyond-count throw up an obstructive pink glow, which makes it hard to see the stars. But if he stares long enough his eyes adapt and he can still find them. And name the constellations.
He lifts a finger, tracing the little salt-granule lights.
Right, right, right, his finger moves. Orion’s Belt.
Right, down, down, right, down, left, up, this time. The Plough.
Sometimes, Rory takes a piece of black card, pops out his medication from those little foil blisters, and lines the pills up in the shape of Cetus or Ursa Major or some such other arrangement of stars. But the Plough he makes tonight looks more like a saucepan. For one absurd moment, Rory wonders if supernovas and black holes boil and bubble inside the real Plough all those light years away.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds