Watch the Numbers

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Arts arts and crafts concept 1314543

I don't know about you, but in my imagination for as long as I can remember numbers seem to have been possessed of qualities that exceed their mere quantity - including personality.

I noticed this phenomenon again recently when the Comeback campaign reached 70% - suddenly it felt more respectable, as if it was doing well at last. This sensation goes all the way back to school - getting seventy…

I Think I'm in Hove

Saturday, 29 September 2018


I realised the other day that it's now twenty years since I moved down to live by the sea in Brighton and Hove (even though I had spent a little time here as a student before that). The bulk of that time has been spent in Hove.

However, the first place I lived - a purpose built 1930s Art Deco block of studio flats that always reminded me of the places Laurel and Hardy lived in their short films…

Once Upon A.I.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

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Today I hope to entertain you with a very short story. 

Despite some success with having my short fiction published in the past, in the last couple of years I've had less acceptances, despite continuing to submit. Has the quality of my output dropped or is it just coincidence? Who can tell?

However, in the case of this story I suspect the problem was the subject matter.


Halfway House

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Screen shot 2018 08 05 at 12.51.00

There is a section of Comeback set somewhere called The Halfway House. I won't say any more (spoilers of course), but it has now been a year since I launched this crowdfunding campaign, and although it has taken longer than I initially hoped it would, I am very happy to say that we are now more than halfway there.

This is in part thanks to a recent sustained bout of offline fundraising, networking…

Turning Up For Work

Sunday, 8 July 2018

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It has been quite a while since I last wrote an update here, not so much due to a lack of inspiration, but more because I've suddenly and unexpectedly (are those synonyms?) become far busier than I have been in a long time due to various events in my life. All good, but it has meant that I have neglected the updates and the plugging of the book.

That has to be addressed now.

Without giving…

Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Alice par john tenniel 11

I've written about Alice In Wonderland on here before—it is one of Comeback's more obvious influences. Not only was the working title "Genie in Underland" but also there are many parallels within the story. Both protagonists undertake a journey that is notionally underground. Furthermore, Genie's long escalator journey at the beginning of the novel parallels Alice's slow fall down the rabbit hole…

Not Parallel, Not Universes

Saturday, 14 April 2018

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"The first thing to realize about parallel universes is that they are not parallel. It is also important to realize that they are not, strictly speaking, universes either."

—Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

I have been reading about The Mandela Effect. This is a name for collective false memory whereby a significant amount of people will swear blind that something in the past was one way whereas…

Don't Skip Ad

Sunday, 8 April 2018

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I have discovered over the past six months that one of the hardest parts of the crowdfunding process is raising the courage to advertise myself. I don't know if it was the atmosphere at school when I was growing up or some other factor in the psychological environment, but marketing myself and plugging my projects always strikes me—incorrectly—as a form of self-aggrandisement. As if someone is whispering…

Remembering the Daleks

Sunday, 4 March 2018


It's tricky trying to pinpoint when one's memory begins.

Sometimes an early memory can include within it the fact that you remembered something from earlier in time, even though the earlier memory no longer seems to exist.

For example, when I was a young child I was—perhaps in common with a lot of young children—obsessed with Daleks. And yet, even though I was too young to have remembered…

Continental Drift

Friday, 2 February 2018

Bbc continent

As a child I was obsessed with many things. Continental Drift was one of them.

I suppose it stemmed from my love of maps, especially maps of imaginary worlds such as those found in the front of fantasy novels like A Wizard of Earthsea, Lord of the Rings or some of the Narnia books. I always thought it was a shame that no map of the Great Eastern Ocean was included in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader…

Opinion Peace

Saturday, 27 January 2018

800px mocking bird argument

There is an increasing tendency these days to confuse subjectivity with objectivity. This confusion feeds on itself and can spawn two different kinds of behaviour, neither of which are helpful and both of which can potentially cause harm.

The first of these is mistaking fact for opinion. Sometimes in the macro universe some things are simply true while their opposites are not. This is just…

Unreliable Narrator

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Vasnetsov samolet

One of the more interesting types of character in fiction—most often written but occasionally visual—is the Unreliable Narrator.

Stories featuring Unreliable Narrators are very often written in the first person because the distance supplied by third person storytelling (even when it's limited) can't help but supply some objectivity about what is actually happening in the fictional world. In Comeback…

A Christmas B-Side

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Wendi bad habits

This is a slightly tweaked version of a story that I originally wrote and published on my blog at Christmas 2012. It features Wendi, one of the secondary characters in Comeback and takes place nearly fourteen years before the "present day" of the novel (which as I've mentioned before is late October 2007).

In this story it's still 1993 and Wendi's indie band
Beam have already had their first flush…

The Urge to Fail

Sunday, 17 December 2017


Sometimes the person that most wants me to fail is me.

It's at its most obvious at times like right now, when I'm writing. That could be writing anything, not just fiction; blog entries, long emails or even Unbound updates. I've not even got one hundred words into the process when I start to feel a familiar tug at my brain.

Wouldn't you rather be doing something else?

Most of the…

All A Dream?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Looking at things on the console

Despite some people finding them dull, I find dreams endlessly fascinating. 

I have written here before about how "and it was all a dream" is unacceptable as a denouement in all books aside from the two Alice novels. However, that set me thinking. What if it was all a dream? I'm reminded of something I thought when I was a very young child.

In the early seventies there was a BBC exhibition at…

Unfinished Biscuit

Saturday, 2 December 2017

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Some people may have been confused by the last words of the previous update. (That is the last official words, not the admin in italics after the fold.) I am talking about Unfinished Biscuit.

It was a reference to something I've thought about before and—quite apart from the fact that it sounds a little like it—is actually related to Unfinished Business

We’ve all been there. You're halfway…

Objects On The Horizon May Appear Larger Than They Are

Sunday, 26 November 2017

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I've particularly noticed this when reaching the top of the hill in central Brighton (Powis Road for anyone interested). The ground drops away alarmingly at this point, Montpelier Street plunging down towards Western Road, the buildings on the sea front beyond silhouetted against the sparkling wall of the sea. And on a clear day (like today) you can clearly see the massed ranks of the turbines of…

Flawed and Interesting

Saturday, 18 November 2017


I have been thinking recently about the kind of characters who engage my attention in fiction, who interest me. Not those who I like per se—not necessarily the kind of people I'd want to spend any time with—but the ones whose fate I care about.

The odd thing about this is that most of the time they are neither good characters nor bad characters. They're interesting characters. Flawed you might…

Just a Story

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Books bookstore book reading 159711

Odd as it may seem to those who enjoy it, some people just aren't really into reading fiction. There are probably many reasons for this—one being the desire to educate themselves about the world by reading non-fiction. Lessons learned therein can often have practical applications in their own lives. However, one of the most interesting reasons for me is that possibly they don't read fiction because…

What's in a Genre?

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Books yes we have books

Oddly, considering the subject of Comeback, I never thought I would end up writing Fantasy novels, Urban or otherwise. When I was younger and first expressed ambition in the direction of writing professionally, I was convinced I'd write Science Fiction. This was partly because that was what I'd mainly been reading in adulthood up until that point.

And yet the majority of the genre writing I enjoyed…

Editing Life

Saturday, 21 October 2017

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Editing a work of fiction can be a laborious process. I'm not just talking about correcting the spelling and grammar. There are many other bad habits that sneak in. These aren't technically incorrect but they dilute the overall quality of the work.

For a start there might be words and phrases you habitually overuse. I've noticed that far too often my characters glance at something, or get from…

Reality Goggles

Monday, 16 October 2017

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The world around us largely consists of what we expect to see in it.

When presented with something brand new, our brains first have to decode the signal that they get from the eyes.  The picture passes through the first level filters where edges, shapes and colours are detected and assigned. After that the filters applied rely on our knowledge, memories and experience. It's only after that processing…

Oh dear, what nonsense I'm talking!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alice par john tenniel 06

I've always had trouble coming up with the titles for stories, especially novels. I never thought of a satisfactory title for the first novel I wrote in around 1990 (near future science fiction, the dates of some of the events in which we've now passed) and for a long time Comeback was known only by the working title of Genie in Underland.

This is an obvious reference to Alice in Wonderland, a…


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Roundhouse   camden

Worldbuilding can be tricky if you're writing science fiction or fantasy. There's so much to do—the readers are unfamiliar with the background, social mores and customs of the novel's environment and as such are at a disadvantage when it comes to working out what's going on.

The characters themselves are no help. They know all this stuff anyway, so there's no way they are going to be able to remind…

Dark Chapters

Saturday, 23 September 2017


In my very limited experience, one of the inevitable parts of writing a novel is that you will end up throwing some of it away. Sometimes whole sequences or chapters disappear and the end product is always the better for it. There's a reason your editor or beta reader told you to ditch that bit.

You will always feel resistant to these suggestions at first. Writing is difficult enough as it is.…

Escalator Connection

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Victoria line london underground 1967 stock model nrm york

As I mentioned before in another blogging arena, as a child I was obsessed with the London Underground. I don't remember this obsession starting but it must have been very shortly after we moved to London when I was three. Some combination of the bright colours and simple lines of the famous map and the experience of travelling on the (then) futuristic Victoria Line must have chimed with me and laid…

Deals with the Devil

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Devil deal

"The lie as an adaptive mechanism," said Bach, "deserves more attention than it has received. Probably the original liars are those plants and animals that use protective mimicry—harmless snakes imitating poisonous ones, stingless flies that look like bees. Those are living lies."

— Stanley Weinbaum, The Adaptive Ultimate

One of the first things we're taught as children is not to lie. We…

Progress Report: Time, Insomnia and Mathematics

Saturday, 2 September 2017


I can't believe that it's already a month since the campaign for Comeback started.

Well I can believe it. The rate time passes is capricious and contradictory - it simultaneously seems like only yesterday that the campaign was launched and quite a while ago now. Looking at the big picture of time and what I have done with my life the month itself passed quite swiftly, but the individual days lasted…

Loophole (part 2)

Saturday, 26 August 2017


Previously: Daryl attempts to summon the devil and appears to succeed. And now the conclusion:

Daryl opened his mouth but nothing emerged.

The figure closed her eyes. “I'm a demon. A devil if you like. No definite article required; there are millions of us. My name is Jezebeth. And don't just lie there, I haven't got all day…”

She held out her immaculately manicured red hand. Without…

Loophole (part 1)

Saturday, 19 August 2017

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The fictional world in which Comeback takes place is clearly one very close to our own. It's a world so similar in fact that there's no appreciable difference as far as most of the inhabitants and their everyday lives are concerned. It's a world in which the more fantastical elements are only revealed to our protagonists, even if these elements affect everyone (eventually).

But that's not to…

We Might As Well Have Installed a Revolving Door...

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Kratzenstein orpheus

Many of you will be familiar with the story of Orpheus in the Underworld, a tale that has a lot of significance to Comeback.

However, in case the details have slipped your mind, here's a quick precis.

Orpheus was an Ancient Greek musician who, long before his descent into the underworld, had been making a name for himself as some kind of mythological superhero. His famous lyre was bequeathed…

The Memory Lies

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Browsers netscape nav

There's an expression infamous in Doctor Who fandom: "The Memory Cheats".

I'd go a little further and say that in fact the memory downright lies to each and every one of us. Not necessarily about the details of specific events (although I wouldn't be surprised) but about the details of life in general in the recent past.

This is something I have to be careful about as I go over the manuscript…


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Thanks very much to everyone who's visited the page and pledged already at this early stage. It gives me hope that we'll make it to the finish line in time!

This is just a short piece to say hello and set out the stall. However I'm intending to post longer updates here on a weekly basis - which I'm hoping will be more like blog-entries - to keep you all informed and entertained. There may also…

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