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BAREFOOT TIMES 

A million years ago the last of the Barefooters, keepers of the peace in a far-away galaxy, crash-landed on a planet near what is now the Pleiades cluster while fleeing their Enemy. Over time they began planting the seeds of civilisation throughout the Milky Way, but a nearby stellar eruption rendered their adopted world uninhabitable and the few remaining survivors fled and disappeared.
On fourteen-year-old Peter Thorpe's first day at his new school in the country town of Narrabri, he is befriended by a lonely Aboriginal boy named Billy Collins. Before long they discover that they share not only a love for astronomy and barefooting, but a destiny that changes the course of history. For they carry within them spirits of that lost race and a time is fast approaching when ancient prophesies are to be tested and perhaps fulfilled.

In Store Price: $AU33.95
Online Price:   $AU32.95

ISBN: 1-9208-8474-2
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 503
Genre: Science Fiction



 Buy as a pdf  Ebook version - $AUD9.00
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Cover: Kaye Forster
See also:
The Mind of the Dolphins
Call of the Delphinidae

 


Author: Jeff Pages 
Imprint: Zeus
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2004
Language: English

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Author Biography 

  Jeff Pages was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1954 and from a very early age was fascinated by science and technology. After finishing high school he attended the University of Sydney from where he ultimately obtained a doctorate in Electrical Engineering. In 1989 his work took him to Tamworth in north-western New South Wales. There he joined the Tamworth Bushwalking and Canoe Club and spent many weekends bushwalking in the nearby parks and forests, including the Mt Kaputar National Park which features prominently in Barefoot Times. In 1995 he moved back to the Sydney region and now lives at Umina Beach on the northern shore of Broken Bay.

He has always enjoyed going barefoot as much as possible and has been a member of the Society for Barefoot Living, an Internet-based discussion group, since 1996. In his writing he brings together this unlikely combination of science and barefooting.

 

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Foreword

  

While holidaying in Cairns in 1998 I purchased a painting of an Aboriginal boy Nalili by artist Diane Sharp. With his endearing grin and deep intelligent eyes, this boy became my principal character Billy Collins and around him I wove a tale that explores some of my ponderings about the nature of space and time. 

In its original form this story consisted only of the part which is now called The Course of History, and was intended as a contribution to the Society for Barefoot Living (www.barefooters.org). In response to the positive feedback I received from a number of members of that society I began to write further instalments until it finally grew into the complete work thatís presented here. 

I particularly want to thank Raymond Foret Jr, a blind SBL member from the United States of America, for his ongoing enthusiasm for this project and for suggesting the storyline behind Part 8. Ray in fact wrote the first draft of Michael Thorpeís Diary, for which Iím most grateful. 

I also wish to thank my mother, Florence Pages, for patiently reading my early drafts and for finding many of my spelling and grammatical errors. 

This work contains Aboriginal characters and makes reference to the fictitious Emu people and their Dreaming. I am a strong supporter of Aboriginal culture and reconciliation and no disrespect is intended. 

I dedicate this work to the memory of my father Louis Pages and my good friends Bruce Miller and Timothy Walker, who are sadly no longer with us. 

Jeff Pages 

For more background information visit the Barefoot Times website at www.barefoottimes.net.

  

Part One


The Course of History

Husks   

From time to time there are momentous events that change the course of history. But what would have happened if some of those events had gone the other way? Are there alternate time lines that are, perhaps, just as valid as the one we live in? Or is there something (or someone?) that makes one time line more valid, more real, than the others?

Iíve just been reading in the newspaper of a house fire in Brisbane last night. It was tragic enough in its own right, with two adults and a small boy burnt to death and another man, a relative, killed in a freak accident as he ran across the road to help. But Iíd known one of the victims, the man killed crossing the road. Back when I was doing my doctorate in physics at the university, Todd Myers had been a research assistant on a special project for a few months. I remember him because he was always barefoot, as I too had been back then. Those were happy times for me when the world seemed solid and wholesome. Not like now.

But itís not Todd Iím mourning, nor his sister Julia who died in the fire. Itís Juliaís husband, an Aboriginal man whom Iíve never met, but should have, would have if some earlier key event in history had gone the other way. This sounds crazy, and maybe itís just me, but I know it to be true. This world, or this time line, feels wrong in some deep and fundamental way, as if its very core has been hollowed out and weíre all just husks now.

I need some fresh air. I put the newspaper aside and walk out the door. The warm sunny day has suddenly become cold and overcast, and the sound of my shoes against the pavement is dull and lifeless. When did I stop being a barefooter and start wearing shoes all the time? I canít remember, and that scares me.  

Thereís no traffic in the street and no-one else about. The whole world seems deserted and the silence is boring into me. A chilling wind blows against my face, yet in spite of the cold Iím sweating profusely. About fifty metres down the road I stop as a wave of memories washes over me, of a time that never was but should have been. I stagger and fall against an iron fencepost, lost in those memories. 

      

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