My Deserted Island Feature

My Deserted Island Feature by Gary Locke

Today it’s all down to Gary and the help of fictional characters to survive the island I’ve thrown him on.

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So I am stranded on a deserted island and can choose five fictional characters to help me survive? It’s not the kind of thing that happens to me often, but let’s have a think about what to do.

Maybe to start with I need to address the reason as to why I am stranded on a deserted island. With this being a Victoria Loves Books™ feature, it’s more than possible that I mistakenly touched some random object that turned out to be a Portkey, resulting in a weird hook-somewhere-behind-the-navel type feeling that whisked me speedily off to the island! But I actually prefer to think that things were a bit more traditional though. Yep, I’m imagining a good, old-fashioned plane or boat crash that wiped out everyone on board except me. With that being the case I presume that I have lost some close friends and/or family on my doomed choice of travel.
Because of this, my first choice of fictional companionship will be someone who can contact those who have passed on. I would want someone who could communicate with my wife for me. Tell her how much I love her, how much I will miss her and how I will never forget her…….or, at least, could ask her where she had put the insurance policies!
I remember, several years ago, reading a pretty cool fantasy book by Garth Nix called Sabriel. The main character, conveniently named Sabriel, could enter the realm of death and interact with all beings and creatures who had passed through – ideal for conveying those “wish I had had said it more often” messages, and finding out the hiding place of those all important documents!

Next to consider is the island itself. If the world of literature and (especially) movies has taught us one thing (well, along with the fact that it takes exactly 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to time travel!) it’s that “deserted islands” never turn out to be quite as deserted as you first thought! Whether this turns out to be a primal tribe unaffected by modern life or “other” survivors who have washed up at the opposite side of the island or just an ecosystem of dinosaurs trapped in a lost world, there will inevitably be a threat to your safety. Therefore someone who can look after themselves and (in particular) me – is a must-have companion. And the prime candidate who instantly springs to mind is Lee Childs Jack Reacher. He’s ex-military, highly skilled in all kinds of combat and built like a shithouse made of brick. I would take him from the novel 61 Hours in his most aggressive of moods. “I’m not afraid of death – death’s afraid of me!”

While I’m on the subject of island threats, it may be best to try and cover myself in another way. If bad things do happen (and it is inevitable) then it’s best to have someone there that bad things always happen to, which will surely reduce the chances of such things happening to me. At this point I could shamelessly plug my own series of books – the hilarious Paul Day Chronicles – because Paul Day is someone who attracts bad things better than a Death Star tractor beam. (Albeit in a humorous, laugh-out-loud-at-him kind of way!) But to even mention that would be embarrassingly shameless of me and……..oops! Moving on…..
Actually while I’m on the subject of humour, it would be good to have someone on the island out of a recent laugh-along classic. Who better than Jamie Newman and/or Laura McIntyre from Nick Spalding’s Love…From Both Sides (and sequels). It would be entertaining to see the consequences of Jamie attempting to make fajitas on the camp fire!

Is it worth trying to reflect on why I’m actually stranded on this island? What happened? Why did it happen? If you end up in a desperate situation – is it better to know the ins and outs of why you are there? The truth? If so, then a detective along side me is essential – especially when some of the six of us start to get bumped off by the unknown-at-first threat to our safety. There are obvious candidates – Poirot, Marple, Rebus (the list is endless) – but why not go for the original and best of all detectives. The Godfather. The best of the best. Yes, Mr Sherlock Holmes himself! Just one testament to his brilliance is how many different times, and different ways, he has been portrayed over the eras. He has been re-invented nearly as many times as Madonna! I think his persona from The Hound of the Baskervilles would be ideal for island life. He is perhaps more low-key than in other books – preferring to allow others to take the limelight before solving the mystery in typical, brilliant style. (Best he lurks in the shadows – because a man from literature over 100 years old probably won’t offer much in conversations about X-Factor!)

I think a must for island life is someone who can take a good look around and report back what is out there. (Good and bad!) I suppose you need to know where the food and water sources are and so having someone who is used to exploration would be a big help. Obviously if Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg can go Around the World in Eighty Days he should make light work of a poxy little island. But I’m going to go for Bill Bryson. I know, technically, he is an author and not a fictional character, but he does write in the first person, so he is the character in the book, and I’m pretty sure that one or two of his anecdotes are, at least, a little far-fetched, and therefore fictional. And the main point is – who better reporting back his island findings than someone who will have you laughing at the same time? (I’m talking about any of his books, but I personally love Notes from a Small Island) Who could possibly be better at spinning a yarn about the moonlit, midnight rituals of the newly discovered race of cannibalistic, albino pygmies?

I suppose I should also be looking at having someone with me who could help me get off the island. And probably someone who can make life as bearable / easy as possible until that happens. The obvious answer is to elect someone as part of the lucky five who is well versed in the art of……..magic! It would be wrong to take part in Victoria’s feature without looking into the world of Potter. I suppose the obvious choice would be to go with one of J.K. Rowling’s main trio. Maybe Harry – for his uncanny knack of somehow landing on his feet although he often seems to be falling head first. Or Ron – for the laughter that his perfectly timed humorous asides bring. Or Hermione – the most gifted witch of her age. But I would go for Mrs Weasley. She could comfortably perform all the magical life comforts that you could think of, is kick-ass enough to dispose of Bellatrix Lestrange, but could also offer a motherly cuddle for those low moments, when the reality of the situation hits you hard. But I think I may have to rule magic out – it is one big literary cheat! I’ve mentioned this to Victoria before and, even though I love the Harry Potter books, how can you justify going back in time to get to a school lesson on time – but you can’t do the same thing to stop the most evil dark wizard in history murdering countless innocent people? (Sorry, rant over!) The alternative to magic is to take along an ace inventor – someone who can make walkie talkies from fallen coconuts – who will make island life as comfortable and luxurious as possible. Or someone who can make marvellous medicinal concoctions that can possibly make you tall enough to just step off the island! I’m obviously thinking about George Kranky from Roald Dahl’s Georges Marvellous Medicine. But then again, if I was going for someone from the magical world of Roald Dahl, how could I not pick Willy Wonka – just for the sheer fun of it?

Ok, I’ve probably gone over this enough now and should make a final choice. (You must be bored of reading it because sure as hell I am of writing it!)

The five I am going for are-

Jack Reacher
Sherlock Holmes
Bill Bryson
Willy Wonka

Hmm, there seems to be too many men in that selection!

I think maybe what I should have done was to just accept my predicament – alone on a picture-postcard deserted island – and enjoyed myself by having five Bond girls straight from the genius pages of Ian Fleming. So forget everything above, I’m actually going for –

Pussy Galore
Honey Rider
Vesper Lynd
Kissy Suzuki

Let the good times begin……

Thank you so much Gary for taking part. Or should I call you Bond?

Tomorrow Elle Field will face the same fate.


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