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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Telemass Coda

The ten thousand word novella, Telemass Coda, is out now from PS Publishing.

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…

In a bid to distract her father, Samantha persuades him to make the journey anyway, and they embark on a fateful recapitulation of the original sojourn. But unbeknownst to Hendrick, Samantha has an agenda of her own – which just might bring about Mercury’s salvation.

Telemass Codas is the moving finale to the Telemass Quartet.

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Murder Served Cold

Murder Served Cold, the sixth and most recent of my Langham and Dupré mysteries, has been getting some lovely reviews of late. I’m delighted, of course, as I think this one is the best of the series – I’m especially happy with the twist-in-the-tale dénouement.

Here are links to the reviews:

Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, SJ Higbee.

At the moment I’m in the very early stages of planning the seventh Langham and Dupré, tentatively entitled Murder By Invitation. It’s set in early December, 1956, and features multiple murders…

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Short Stories

On the short story front, I have the following tales appearing over the course of the next few months: “The First Locked Room” in Maxim Jakubowski’s Historical Mystery Stories; “The Mystery of the Missing Vermeer” in Maxim’s Amateur Sleuths and Private Eyes; and “Panspermia High” in Albedo One 49 (or 50).

The following stories, “Dimensions of Deceit”, “Going”, “Conway and the Almarans,” will be appearing in my collection, The Ice Garden and other stories, PS Publishing. “Zarla’s World” will appear in The Disciples of Apollo: the Best of Eric Brown, PS Publishing.

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The Vanishing of the Atkinsons e-book

My Sherlock Holmes short story “The Vanishing of the Atkinsons” is now available as a standalone e-book, here.

Victor Trevor, an old friend of Holmes’s, calls him to Trincomalee, Ceylon, to investigate the vanishing of the Atkinson brothers, whose disappearance was as sudden as it was mysterious. For six months the people of Trincomalee have remained baffled by their departure, particularly as the brothers didn’t have an enemy in the world. Holmes travels to the island to help Trevor work out just how the two men vanished.

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Michael G. Coney’s Short Stories 12

The Sharks of Pentreath” (Galaxy, February, 1971.)

Narrator John Green and his wife Sylvia run the Treasure Trove Gifte Shoppe and Tea Rooms in the cosy Devon village of Pentreath – a tourist trap where nothing is as it seems. Everything about the place is fake, from the buildings themselves to the clotted cream Green sells. The sharks of the title are the businessmen who run the village, out to fleece the tourists for all they can get. The SF element in the story is an idea that Coney will adapt for his 1973 fix-up novel Friends Come In Boxes: to overcome the world’s overpopulation problem, citizens spend two years in three as cyborgs, downloaded into mobile robots (small boxes with arms and legs), while their bodies spend ‘Shelflife’ in storage facilities and can access the experiences of their ‘remoters’ robots as the latter travel the world. Every third year, citizens return to their flesh and blood bodies for a year of ‘Fulltime’.

John Green is as avaricious and small-minded as the rest of the Fulltimers in Pentreath, and his relationship with his wife is suffering. The story takes place in less than a single day, in which Green becomes envious of a fellow trader, angry with his wife, and commits an act of violence in order to destroy his fellow trader’s property.

Then he has a startling conversation with a pair of ‘remoter’ robots, a man and wife who first came to Pentreath on their honeymoon forty years earlier. What he learns from them, as they are about to leave the village, will make him reassess his relationship with his wife.

It’s a wonderfully understated, small-scale story – quiet SF about people, greed, and how easy it is to take for granted those we love.

The story was selected for Donald A. Wollheim’s The Annual World’s Best SF 1972 (DAW Books).

Rating 7/10

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Murder Served Cold

My latest crime novel, Murder Served Cold, is out now from Severn House.

November, 1956. Lord Elsmere, an old friend of Donald Langham’s literary agent, Charles Elder, is in a pickle – his favourite painting, a Gainsborough, has been stolen from under his nose. What’s more, there’s no evidence of a break-in. The family heirloom was recently re-insured for a hefty price, and Lord Elsmere is struggling financially. Could he have staged the theft, or was it taken by one of the guests?

Old Major Rutherford, evasive beauty Rebecca Miles, Dutch war hero Patrick Verlinden, Elsmere’s son Dudley Mariner and his statuesque fiancée, Esmeralda Bellamy, are all guests at the manor. But who would steal the painting, and why?

Private investigators Langham and Ralph Ryland take on the case and uncover seething animosities, jealousy, secrets and deception, before events take a shocking turn…

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I’ve just been interviewed by Gareth Stevens at his excellent website. To read it, click here.

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The Spacetime Pit Plus Two collects three collaborative stories by Stephen Baxter and myself, never before published in one volume.

In “The Spacetime Pit” spacer Katerina Wake crash-lands on primitive alien world and faces certain death unless she can harness her ingenuity, and technical know-how, to bend the destiny of an entire race to her will…

“Green-Eyed Monster” follows Richard as he wakes up after a night on the tiles to find himself inhabiting the body of a toad – and that’s just the start of his troubles…

In “Sunfly”, Onara and her people live on a world very different from our own – a vast ribbon encircling a sun. But a change is coming to the land, a mysterious narrowing that threatens not only the stability of her world, but the very order of everything she has taken for granted.

The Spacetime Pit Plus Two is available at these outlets:

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