Category Archives: News

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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Forthcoming

Cover art by Ben Baldwin, for Iterations

Murder by Numbers, the seventh novel in the Langham and Dupré series, was due out in May but has wisely been pushed back to August – though it’s listed as a November release on Amazon. Later this year the fourth novella in the Kon-Tiki Quartet, Iterations, written with Keith Brooke, will come out form PS Publishing.

A new imprint, Stone Owl Books, based in Edinburgh, will publish my homage to SF and Ace Doubles, the thirty thousand word novella, Ace Doubles. It’s about a curmudgeonly fifty-something SF writer, and strange goings-on in Yorkshire.

On the short story front, the latest edition of the Irish SF magazine, Albedo One, includes my short tale “Panspermia High”. Due out in Lightspeed SF magazine later this year is my collaboration with Keith, “Me Two”. My crime tale “Gorilla Tactics” will appear in 2020 in Impossible Crimes and Puzzling Deaths, an anthology edited by Maxim Jakubowski.

And finally, many thanks to Lee Pfahler for alerting me to something called ‘Search for Sol’; though it’s listed on Amazon under my name, I didn’t write it.

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Stories of Hope

Out now is Stories of Hope, edited by Ian Whates, from NewCon Press – the proceeds from which will be donated to the NHS and healthcare workers. The anthology contains stories by Stephen Baxter, Peter Hamilton, Christopher Priest and many more. Also included is my “The Kings of Eternity”, from which grew my novel of the same title. To buy it, click here

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Sherlock Holmes and the Martian Menace

Just out from Titan Books is my latest novel: The Martian Menace, a Sherlock Holmes tale set in H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds milieu.

For the second time in human history, Martian invaders occupy planet Earth. After a common terrestrial virus thwarted the first deadly invasion, another Martian armada arrived six years later to make peace. Now, mankind enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the aliens’ scientific wonders and technology, and an entente exists between the two races. But when Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are called upon to investigate the death of an eminent Martian philosopher, they unravel an intricate web of betrayal and murder that leaves no one – human or Martian – beyond suspicion…

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Murder by Numbers

Here’s the cover and blurb for the seventh Langham and Dupré novel, due out from Severn House in May.

December, 1956. Donald Langham’s wife Maria receives a chilling invitation to attend a death at the country house of Maxwell Falwell Fenton in Essex. The once-prominent artist has a number of enemies, and has faded into obscurity since the war. Is the invitation to his own death or someone else’s?

Arriving at Winterfield on a cold winter evening, Donald and Maria meet five strangers who have also received numbered invitations. Everyone present has a reason to hate or fear Maxwell – including Maria, who reveals a secret from her own past. But is she telling the whole truth?

The soiree produces a gruesome and dramatic twist, but it’s about to get much worse when someone starts picking off the six, one by one. Can Donald untangle lies, betrayal, and incredible revelations to identify the killer before Maria becomes the next victim?

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NewCon Press book sale

My good friend and indefatigable colleague Ian Whates is offering great reductions on some of his NewCon Press titles at the moment, including a couple of my titles.

More details here:

http://www.newconpress.co.uk/info/books.asp?offers=yes

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The Martian Menace

Here’s the cover and blurb for my next one, out in February from Titan.

For the second time in human history, Martian invaders occupy planet Earth.

After a common terrestrial virus thwarted the first deadly invasion, another Martian armada arrived six years later to make peace. Now, mankind enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the aliens’ scientific wonders and technology, and an entente exists between the two races. But when Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson are called upon to investigate the death of an eminent Martian philosopher, they unravel an intricate web of betrayal and murder that leaves no one – human or Martian – beyond suspicion…

~

 

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The Ice Garden

The Ice Garden and Other Stories is out now from PS Publishing.

My latest collection gathers eight stories as varied in space and time as they are in theme, and features such tropes as alien visitors, space opera, near future satire, cloning, and even murder-mystery. “Conway and the Aliens” is set in my popular Starship Seasons future, while “Dimensions of Deceit” is the latest tale in the Salvageman Ed series. “The Trees of Terpsichore Three” is a collaboration with Michael Coney. Three stories are original to the volume.

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The Telemass Quartet

The Telemass Quartet, a fix-up novel featuring the four Telemass novellas plus the coda, is out now from PS Publishing.

The novel follows Matt Hendrick on his long, long journey across the Expansion to the planets…

Fomalhaut IV… Hendrick Telemasses to planet of Avoeli to track down and rescue his kidnapped daughter. What he finds on the easy going backwater colony is a bizarre religious cult and a race of aliens whose rituals promise to bring the dead back to life. Accompanied by the enigmatic Tiana Tandra, herself attempting to locate a missing loved one, they discover the terrible secret buried deep in the heart of the Avoelian jungle.

Spica III… The planet of Kallithea is starting its punishing five year winter. The planet is slowly closing down, its inhabitants retreating far underground to await the arrival of summer. To this inhospitable ice-bound world comes Matt Hendrick, searching for his ex-wife and his daughter, along with his old friend Ed Miller seeking to arrest the installation artist Katerina Nordstrom on a charge of murder. What they find on Spica III is a cult whose charismatic leader demands nothing less from his adherents than the ultimate sacrifice: suicide.

Alpha Reticuli II… Hendrick comes to the world of Tourmaline, the luxury resort planet to which millions of tourists from across the Expansion Telemass every month. There he meets a telepath who offers to help him trace his ex-wife and daughter, but all is not as it seems… Soon it will be Starship Day – when an ancient starship will arrive in orbit at the end of a voyage lasting five hundred years, bringing much more than Matt expects. And when an alien Effectuator claims he can bring Matt’s dead daughter back to life, Matt finds himself caught on the horns of a dilemma.

Bellatrix I… Hendrick is approaching the end game. His lover, telepath Mercury Velasquez, has traced Matt’s ex-wife and his daughter to the planet of Beltran, Bellatrix I, home of the advanced but reclusive alien race known as the Vhey… But why have his ex-wife and her lover Dr Hovarth taken Matt’s daughter to Beltran? Are they in search of an alien cure for the girl’s illness?

Hendrick and Mercury Telemass to Beltran and find a secretive artists’ colony ruled by the renowned crystal artist Edward Lincoln – and discover the secret of Lincoln’s fascination with the Vhey.

In a moving and horrific dénouement, Hendrick at last finds his daughter – but she is in mortal danger from a source other than than the natives of Beltran…

Coda: When Matt Hendrick’s wife Mercury is lost while talking a Telemass trip from Mars to Earth, existing in a state neither dead nor alive – but in an ‘indeterminate state’ – he finds himself in an indeterminate state himself, torn between grief and hope. Hendrick had planned to take Mercury and his daughter Samantha on a trip to distant stars, retracing the journey he had made years earlier while attempting to rescue Samantha.

Coda is the moving finale to the The Telemass Quartet.

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