Showing posts from 2012


The Next Big Thing is a series of networked blogs in which writers showcase and promote their latest works. I was very happy to be nominated by the wonderfully talented Carole Johnstone.

Here goes...

1) What is the working title of your next book?

For a long time, the working title for this book was The Silver Sea but I changed it last year to The Door in the Sky (for a number of reasons too numerous to go into here). I love both titles, but have decided to stick with the original one, The Silver Sea. I think as this is primarily a mystery novel it certainly lends the book an air of intrigue.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

My first published book, The Hotel Galileo, was a whodunit in the tradition of Agatha Christie - except that it was set in space. Around the same time I imagined a Victorian detective thriller where the main character finds himself trapped in an alternate reality. I saw it as a steampunk adventure but with a dark, supernatural bent. I also knew that i…

Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy: An Appreciation

Part 1: Batman Begins (2005)
Before I was a movie fan I was a comic fan.

There's a geek moment in my life I recall even to this day with utter clarity. It's a Wednesday morning, about 7.30 AM. I'm sitting on the steps outside my friendly neighbourhood newsagents. Said newsagent, Mr Chidlow, comes around the corner and on seeing me does a little double-take. "Blimey, you're up early, lad," he says. Yes, I am up early. And the reason I'm there at such an ungodly hour on his doorstep? It's Wednesday morning and that means the new issue of Spider-Man is out. I can't wait a minute longer. I have to know what happens next.

Looking back as a man of forty, it's hard to reconcile myself with that 10 year-old kid, an age when you could love something as simple as a comic book with the same passion you might reserve for a religion and no one thought you were strange in doing so. Okay, maybe they thought you were a little strange. In the intervening years…

Why I Loved John Carter

It's been well publicised that Disney's John Carter movie adaptation has not been the big success they had hoped for. It's still done impressive business nonetheless, bringing in so far about $179m worldwide against the reported (exaggerated?) budget of $250m. This doesn't take into account the future DVD sales and rental profits which are sure to match, if not exceed, the theatrical takings. I don't see John Carter as a flop by any standards. And, if I'm honest, I think it's fared better than I could ever have hoped. And I'm a huuuuge fan.

Let me explain.

Flash back twenty-four years. I'm sitting reading a paperback edition of George Lucas's original Star Wars scripts. Every so often the footnotes mention Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter books. These books, the footnotes tell me, were a huge influence on Lucas. Edgar Rice Burroughs? The chap who wrote Tarzan? Really? At that time I often frequented a local second-hand bookstore, so, intri…

George Lucas to Remake the Star Wars Saga From Scratch

From Press Association, London:

In an announcement that is sure to upset millions of Star Wars fans and baffle many others, George Lucas has put forward his plans to remake the entire Star Wars saga from scratch, retelling the story of the Skywalker family using the same digital animation technology developed on his hit Clone Wars TV show.

'This was always what George was working towards,' a Lucasfilm spokesperson told us. 'He never felt that live-action film, even with the huge amount of CGI employed in the prequel trilogy, was able to do justice to his vision. Now, though, there are no technical limits in presenting his universe.'

The other big news is that there will only be five movies in the proposed retelling, starting with events surrounding the start of the Clone Wars as depicted in Attack of the Clones. Why the ommission of The Phantom Menace? 'Let's face it,' the spokesman said, 'The Phantom Menace is very much unloved by a lot of fans. And Georg…

Guardian - A Short Story

(The following story first appeared in From the Asylum, July 2006)

Jim Hughes had just opened the front door to put out the trash when he saw the Ferrier kid. He was standing in a spot of moonlight at the bottom of the garden path, staring up at the house. The sight of him almost made Hughes drop the can. “Hey!” he called. “Who is that?”The boy didn’t reply, but Hughes quickly realised who it was. He recognised Ferrier from the descriptions he’d overheard from the local kids. Painfully thin and impossibly tall, his face a mass of acne scars. His clothes were also several sizes too small, which gave him a scarecrow-like appearance. But what confirmed it for Hughes were his eyes. They were huge. Great white cue balls they were, with the tiniest pupils you ever saw. It was those eyes which freaked people out the most. Girls mostly; it always seemed to be clusters of girls running away from him. The high school kids said the Ferrier boy—the weird kid from the special school in…

Two Kindle Novels and a Short Story Collection - Free for Monday

For today only (Monday 9th Jan) three of my Kindle ebooks will be free on Amazon:

Lazarus Island
The Vanished Race
The Midnight Men and Other Stories

(Please spread the word!)