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Showing posts from September, 2020

Railhead - Alien Stations

Continuing a short series about the Railhead trilogy, salvaged from the wreck of my downed website... When I was working on Railhead it felt so stuffed with stuff that there didn't really seem to be room for aliens as well. I already had lots of non-human characters and creatures to introduce - sentient trains, androids, AIs, and genetically engineered dinosaurs. But obviously you can't have a sprawling space opera universe without aliens, so it was always my intention that the trains of the Great Network would eventually make contact with the trains of other civilisations. That happened in the second volume, Black Light Express , and by the time  Station Zero begins, aliens from all these different species are starting to find their way to human worlds, and the society established in the first book is poised on the brink of huge changes. Initially, I was quite keen to make my aliens properly alien. But gosh, it's difficult! It's very hard to invent a li

Railhead - Interstellar Connections

A few years ago Lisa Owen-Jones asked me some interesting questions about my novel Railhead as part of her MA project. Here they are, along with my answers, salvaged from the wreck of my old website. The Railhead Trilogy. Cover illustrations by Ian Mcque L.O-J: Music and other art forms feature heavily within Railhead. Is this a conscious or an unconscious part of your writing process? You seem to love music. Your instruction ‘Listen…’ being the first word of your novel. Zen running down Harmony street, the Interstellar Express ‘thundering down the line from Golden Junction, and singing as it came’. Zen then gets on the Helden Hammerhead – a fusion of two David Bowie tracks that were inspired by Kraftwerk.  I pick up a lot of references to electronic music in Railhead most notably to Kraftwerk and their albums ‘Autobahn’, ‘Trans-Europe Express’, ‘The Man Machine’ and their trademark motorik beat. Would this be a valid interpretation of your novel and if so why? PR: I’

Railhead A-Z

In order to save my website it became necessary to destroy it. Before I pulled the plug I rescued the longest post on my old blog. Here it is, like the lone survivor of a shipwreck: my A-Z guide to the ideas behind my novel Railhead. At the time it was written, Railhead had just been published. I'll be putting up some posts about the sequels, Black Light Express and Station Zero , in the coming days. Railhead cover art by Ian McQue A  is for Alternative Forms of Transport ‘What I need,’ I thought, when I’d been struggling on and off for a few years with my space epic (working title, ‘Space Epic’) ‘is an alternative to spaceships…’ I’ve always enjoyed space stories. I first started reading science fiction back in 1977, when the original Star Wars film made me realise that outer space could be just as good a backdrop for fantasy as Tolkien-esque worlds of myth and legend. (Actually, I didn’t see Star Wars until 1978, but its bow-wave of publicity hit these shores the p