Latest stories

The Final Empire

A thousand years ago evil came to the land and has ruled with an iron hand ever since. But now a troublemaker has arrived and there is a rumour of revolt. A revolt that depends on criminal that no-one can trust and a young girl who must master Allomancy - the magic that lies in all metals.

The Endurance of Dr Who & 007

Dr Who. A TV series that has endured more than 50 years (albeit with a hiatus for 16 years, notwithstanding the 1996 film introducing us to the Eighth Doctor). It began in 1963 and is now in its 35th series (season). There is no other series in history that has come close to this longevity, aside from the James Bond (007) films which first screened in 1962 and now enjoying his 24th outing in...

Excession

Two and a half millennia ago, the artefact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back. Review This was one of my earlier physical sci-fi reads, and I looked forward to revisiting this corner of space again through the audiobook as I worked through...

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

The story is set in 1790 in the countryside around the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (historical Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere that pervades the imaginations of its inhabitants and visitors. Some residents say this town was bewitched during the early days of the Dutch settlement. Other residents...

The State of the Art

Some of these works feel like ideas from a writer’s notebook that would go on to form the basis of a fully fledged novel or part of a greater story. Each is of interest to anybody following the Culture series as they provide an excellent background to the Culture and the early work of Iain M Banks, though none are essential to the understanding and reading of the main Culture novels in my view.

Feersum Endjinn

The book is set on a far-future Earth where the uploading of mindstates into a world-spanning computer network (known as “the data corpus”, “cryptosphere” or simply “crypt”) is commonplace, allowing the dead to be easily reincarnated (though by custom, only a limited number of reincarnations are allowed). Humanity has lost much of its technological background...

Andromeda McKee Trilogy

These three books by William C Dietz are a prequel series to the Legion of the Damned series. Here is the publisher's summary. I'll return to my thoughts after these messages ...

The First Watch

Further to A New Worldview where we provided some commentary and analysis of the 6EQUJ5 (cygnus) signals decrypted from SETI thus far, we have uncovered a communication which offers some insight into the 'elders' mentioned in the original memory fragments (assuming they are the same).

A New Worldview

The signal was first discovered in 1977 in the 1420MHz band and lasted for only 72 seconds. No further signals have been detected since, though advancing encryption techniques have shown that this signal was, in fact, a data packet with a subspace encryption envelope around a 4D energy envelope.

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About me

Many (many) years ago, I discovered role-playing and Dungeons and Dragons in one of the after school clubs. It revealed a universe that allowed me to flex my storytelling muscles and enjoy a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi and feed the escapist dreamer inside.

Over time, I played (and story-led - marked with *) many systems including Call of Cthulhu*, Shadowrun, Dungeons & Dragons*, Middle Earth, In Nomine*, Bushido, Chivalry & Sorcery, Chill, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Gammaworld, Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Immortals*, Marvel Super Heroes, Paranoia, RuneQuest, Vampire: The Masquerade*, and a couple of systems my own devising (Medieval* and Parody*).

I explored live-action role-playing – eventually running my own club and developing my own LARP systems (Fools Gold and Dream Conquest) – and usually found myself in script-writing or game-master duty, writing over 500 individual live adventures over the period (usually weekly), many linked into the world events of the fantasy land we created. I also volunteered for Curious Pastimes and Lorien Trust at their main LARP events (special effects at the Ritual Circle), and did a little script work, cameos and improv for Curious Pastimes. I was also the South East's Editor (UK) for the LARP magazine The Adventurer.

I was also the artistic director for English Heritage for their live Halloween Horrors events at Fort Amherst in Kent from 1998-1999.

The rest, as they say, is history.