Ace Doubles

My novella, Ace Doubles, is available now from Stone Owl Stories.

What happens when the immovable object meets the unstoppable force? What happens when my love of science fiction met the cynicism of the market place? Perhaps it resulted in my alter ego, the SF writer Ed Bentley, and what happened when he met the YouTuber Penny Cotton… Ace Doubles chronicles Ed’s involvement not only with Penny, but with pulp SF writer George Lattimer. But was the fantastic series of events that visited Lattimer in later life nothing more than a hallucination brought about by his illness?

Ace Doubles was inspired by my love of Ace Doubles, my infatuation with science fiction, and real life.

~

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Ace Doubles

Ace Doubles, my latest SF novella, will be out later this year from Stone Owl Stories. It’s a very loosely autobiographical story about a SF writer.

Read more about it here.

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Murder at Standing Stone Manor

The eighth Langham and Dupré mystery, Murder at Standing Stone Manor, is due out in June from Severn House.

January, 1957. Donald Langham and Maria Dupré have left London behind for the Suffolk countryside. They’re excited about starting a new life in the picturesque village of Ingoldby-over-Water – and about meeting their new neighbours.

They’ve barely settled into Yew Tree Cottage when their new neighbour at Standing Stone Manor, Professor Edwin Robertshaw, invites Donald over to discuss some ‘fishy business’. Then, a few days later, a body is found by the professor’s precious standing stone in the manor grounds.

As they settle into the community, Donald and Maria discover tensions, disputes and resentment raging below the surface of this idyllic village, but can they find out which of the villagers is a cold-blooded killer?

~

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“Me Two”

Lightspeed 129, February 2021, features my collaboration with Keith Brooke, “Me Two”. Click here for more details.

Here’s the opening of the story…

For as long as I can remember, I have always been two people.

My earliest recollection is of myself as a three year-old boy, Danny – and at the same time as a girl of the same age, Cristina.

Another early memory is of playing in the rubble of the bomb-ravaged streets of London, when I asked a little boy, “Who will you be tomorrow?” He looked at me as if I were mad.

I took it for granted that everyone I met, everyone in the world, was two people like me: one day I was Danny Madison of 10 Milton Street, Barnes, London; and the next I would be Cristina Velásquez of 122a Carrer del Santuari, El Carmel, Barcelona.

I went to bed as Danny and woke up in the morning as Cristina.

When as Cristina I asked my mother who she would be tomorrow, she said, “Why, myself. Why do you ask?”

I told her about Danny, and I think she assumed I was making him up – a kind of imaginary friend.

As Danny, I asked my mother and father at breakfast one morning, straight out, “Why am I two people?” By this time I knew that no one else of my acquaintance experienced life quite as I did.

They exchanged a worried look. “What do you mean, Danny?” my father asked.

I explained about Cristina, and that tomorrow I would be her, and my mother said, “I think you’re imagining things, Danny.”

I intuited their concern, and decided never to mention it again.

~

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E-book offer

My novels Buying Time and The Kings of Eternity are in the Solaris January ‘Time Travel’ eBook sale at 0.99, running until the end of Jan.

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Murder by Numbers

The seventh novel in the Langham and Dupré series, Murder by Numbers, is out now in the UK. Here’s a very complimentary review by David Pitt writing in the US magazine Booklist.

Murder by Numbers by Eric Brown, Feb. 2021. 208p. Severn House, $28.99, (9780727890771); e-book (9781448304332)

A dying artist invites several people to his stately home. Among them are book editor Maria Dupré and her husband, novelist and PI Donald Langham. The reason for the invitation is a bit foggy, but one thing soon becomes clear: one of the invited guests has a secret worth killing to protect. Can Donald identify the murderer before Maria becomes one of the victims? The Langham and Dupré novels (this is the seventh) feature fine writing and stories that are appropriately mysterious; but what really sells the books are the characters. Not just Donald and Maria, but the whole cast: villains, suspects, bit players, all fully drawn people. Brown, an award-winning sf writer, also has a real knack for historical mystery; his version of Britain in the 1950s, especially the social strata that existed at the time, is vividly re-created and striking in its verisimilitude.

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President-Elect Biden

I raised a glass in celebration of Joe Biden’s victory last night, along no doubt with the seventy-five million Democrats across America who voted for sanity after almost four years of divisive Trump presidency. The bewilderment on this side of the Atlantic is how seventy million Americans could vote for Trump. It will be a relief not to be subjected to his peculiar brand of narcissism and bigotry every time I switch on the news – though I dread to think how Trump might choose to promulgate his hate-filled bile when he leaves office in January.

Well done Mr Biden.

~

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Free E-book

My novel, The Devil’s Nebula, the first volume in the Weird Space series, is now available as a free e-book from Rebellion…

Ed Carew and his small ragtag crew are smugglers and ne’er-do- wells, thumbing their noses at the Expansion, the vast human hegemony extending across thousands of worlds… until the day they are caught, and offered a choice between working for the Expansion and an ignominious death. They must trespass across the domain of humanity’s neighbours, the Vetch – the inscrutable alien race with whom humanity has warred, at terrible cost of life, and only recently arrived at an uneasy peace – and into uncharted space beyond, among the strange worlds of the Devil’s Nebula, looking for long-lost settlers.

A new evil threatens not only the Expansion itself, but the Vetch as well. In the long run, the survival of both races may depend on their ability to lay aside their differences and co-operate.

Free eBook of the month – September

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Crime Story

My crime story “Gorilla Tactics” appears The Book of Extraordinary Impossible Crimes and Puzzling Deaths, edited by Maxim Jakubowski, which is out now from Mango Books in the US. The tale is a very lighthearted take on the subject.

Here are the opening few paragraphs…

 

FIFTY YEARS AGO my grandfather was killed in very peculiar circumstances.

I only discovered the details from my mother earlier this year. All I knew before then was that my grandfather had died at the age of sixty-five, long before I was born. My mother rarely mentioned her father, other than to say he was a kind, loving man who had worked as a solicitor in the local town, five miles from the village of Humble Barton where he’d lived for most of his life.

“I’ve never told you much about Arthur, have I, Edward?” She indicated the black and white photograph of a tall grey-haired man in tennis flannels, a briar pipe clenched in his smiling mouth.

It was the occasion of my weekly visit. I poured my mother a cup of Earl Grey and one for myself.

“No, you haven’t,” I said. “A solicitor, wasn’t he?”

She nodded absently, sucking on a bourbon biscuit. “He worked for forty years in the firm of Shackleton, Vine, and Brooke, right here in Sherborne. Nice man. Salt of the earth, people said. Anyway,” she went on, “he was murdered.”

I lowered my teacup. “Murdered?”

“By a gorilla.”

~

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Albedo One

The Irish SF magazine Albedo One 49 is out now and contains my tale “Panspermia High”. Here are the first few paragraphs…

You’ve heard about the theory of Panspermia, right? And no, it’s nothing to do with the ejaculate of an eternally youthful fictional character called Peter.

Panspermia: the idea that microscopic biological life-forms exist out there in the gulfs of space. Well, not an idea. A fact. And I should know. I came to Earth on the back of a meteorite; me, a short-chain molecule in the steroid lactone range, known locally as a bufotoxin. These days members of my family can be found in the parotid glands of certain toads.

*

The rock I was riding came down in Australia ten thousand years ago. The meteorite squashed a colony of cane toads taking it easy in the noonday sun – but not all of them. One little critter moseyed on over to take a look.

And I – call me Bufo – decided that the ugly, ambulatory little fellah would make a perfect host. I needed an organic life-form to cloak me from all the lethal pathogens teeming across the face of planet Earth. I needed a host on which I could lie low and take it easy.

I made the leap, said g’day to toady, and made myself at home.

And it’s been pretty much plain sailing for the last ten millennia.

So what happened to end all that, and why am I recounting my life story in the voice of an Aussie stoner?

~

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