News from Gardenia is Go!

For those of you who missed the moment last night, I Tweeted and Google plussed about my book, News from Gardenia, which was slowly heading towards launch on the Unbound website.

I’m very happy to announce it got there, it is now guaranteed to come out. For those of you not familiar with the crowd sourcing ethos (I certainly wasn’t) until the project reached 100% it was always in the balance. If after the allotted number of days it didn’t make it, all the money raised would be sent back to the donors. End of story, end of book and great sadness would have consumed the shaven headed one.

Thankfully, due to the generosity and foresight of quite a few hundred people it made it, New from Gardenia will be published, all the people who supported the book will get it in February.

There will be a launch party, there will be a special day on a racing circuit with some truly phenomenal electric cars, driven by proper racing drivers, I can’t say more yet but that is turning out to be fairly momentous.

Once we have supplied all the books to the supporters, I will then be trolling around book festivals, bookshops and booky events attended by people who did their homework and went to school regularly, unlike myself, promoting the book to the wider world.

It will be available in regular bookshops in paperback form, it’ll be on Amazon globally, it’ll be a kindle book, an e-book and an audiobook. The audiobook probably won’t be on or just yet although talks have taken place, but it will be on iTunes and available through Audioboo in DRM free Mp3 form.

So that’s it, this is the first book I have published without going through a publishing company with a big office in central London with massive overheads, this is the first book I have published where I feel I can have a direct relationship with readers.

So to all of you who have supported the book at this stage, massive thanks, without doubt it would not have happened without you.

It’s certainly not too late to order News from Gardenia now if you are interested, you’ll still be among the exclusive know-all elite to get the book first.



Facebook Flummox

I can’t do it. I’ve tried and failed. I’ve watched my wife, daughter and son sail about in it as if it’s the most natural thing in the world but if I go anywhere near it, I’m baffled, flummoxed and an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and failure engulfs me.

Facebook is shit isn’t it? I know some people think that, some people have hugely complex reasons for hating FB based on their terms of service and how they’re making a fortune out of all the information people post on it. I don’t mind about that, I just don’t get it.

So, to rub salt into my open Facebook failure wound, a ‘fan page’ devoted to the new series of Red Dwarf was put up last week and within a few minutes close to half a million people had ‘liked it’ and close to fifty thousand were ‘talking about it.’

As if that wasn’t enough, they put a link to my blog post about Red Dwarf and within half an hour I had 37,000 hits.

Now, on a good day, for instance when I wrote about Professor Brian Cox’s wonderful lecture recently, I’d get maybe 8,000 hits, loads of comments, lots of interaction, re-tweeting etc. All lovely and filled with hope and joy.

But 37,000 hits just showed me what a complete and utter numpty I was for not ‘engaging with the Facebook community.’

I do have a Facebook page, I’ve had it for years, I’ve joined just about every service there is when they started but I never use Facebook. I only ‘friend’ people who I actually know, people I’ve worked with, people I actually like, but I still don’t use it.

I use Twitter all the time, far too much, I use Google+ all the time, I love it. I understood how to use both those services pretty much instantly. I’ve had Facebook for years and I’m like a 90 year old granddad who’s never used the internet before and doesn’t know what a mouse is.

So I’m setting myself a challenge. I’m going to try and use the wretched Facebook. I’m dreading it.



The Man in the Rubber Mask Audiobook. £4.99 ($7.80 US)

So, the idea is simple, the implementation maybe less so.

Sell an audio version of The Man in the Rubber Mask through Audioboo, as an experiment in non-corporate media distribution.

But more than just the book as it stands, because once you effectively subscribe to the book, you automatically get access to the updates I post on there which will include interviews with the cast and crew of Red Dwarf X, and the new chapters I am yet to write, the Man in the Rubber Mask extended directors cut.

So far the original book only goes up to the end of 1992. The new part (I’ve written one chapter so far) will follow the remainder of the series up to 1998, the shenanigans that the cast got up to during that time.

Then the attempts to make the ill-fated Red Dwarf movie, the sudden and unexpected return in 2009 with ‘Back to Earth’ and now, the fantastic new series, Red Dwarf X we are currently working on.

I’ve been in in cahoots with Audioboo for a while and this is also their first venture into pay to own audio downloads

To download and keep the audiobook you just go to

 And on the upper right hand side of the page is a download button. If you click that, you can join Audioboo, (that’s free) put in your payment details into the super secure online banking dooberry, Visa, Mastercard, everything except PayPal at the moment although I think that’s coming, then you can either stream the chapters or download the whole book in one chunk of audio-goodness.

Then, early next year I will upload all the new chapters and you’ll get them as part of the deal.

I mean, a whole 8-9 hour audiobook plus many extras for £4.99. It’s not bad.



News From Gardenia

I have just launched a book on Unbound

News From Gardenia is a utopian science fiction story, set 200 years into the future in a world where nothing is burned to make anything else, where you can travel to the far side of the globe in a matter of minutes without burning anything and where most people spend their time growing food in highly productive gardens.

A man from 2011 arrives in this possible future, he's an engineer with a slightly nerdy attitude to relationships, he's good with machines but a little inept with people.

When he's told the date, he thinks someone is telling him the time, twenty two eleven. It is only as he starts to see that things are truly different that he accepts he's an 'anomalee,' a visitor from before.

Through the story he not only learns how this new world operates, he also learns something about himself. The whole world has changed, many of the fears of the past have been resolved but the changes that have taken place are far reaching and challenging.

However, the important theme in News From Gardenia is that everything in the book is entirely possible. There is no technology that hasn't already seen the light of day, but there is a gentler, more inclusive society the like of which we can still barely imagine. 



The Whole Book Thing

I wrote my first book when I was about 9 years old. It was a murder mystery, it was at least 30 pages long and it took forever to write.

I've always loved books, reading them, trying for years to write them, trying for even more years to get them published. It was what I always wanted to do but due to a mixture of fate, circumstance and ability it took me a long time.

I wrote plays instead, and sketches, and stand up comedy gags, oh, and a couple of love poems that will thankfully remain out of the public domain for ever.

I have published 10 books so far

The Reconstructed Heart   (1990)

The Man in the Rubber Mask (1993)

Thin He Was and Filthy Haired   (1994)

Therapy and How To Avoid It  (co-written with Nigel Planer) (1994)

The Man on Platform 5   (1997)

Punchbag     (1998)

Sudden Wealth (1999)

Brother Nature   (2000)

Behind the Scenes onScrapheap Challenge  (2001)

Sold Out   (2008)

For the last few years I have been taken up with other things, however in between proper work I have been busy tap tapping away. I can now confidently say there is another book in the pipeline. I am still waiting to confirm one or two things but I will announce it in the next few weeks. I can say it will be a science fiction novel and it will be available in all the forms a 21st century book can exist in.

One of the changes in the last few years is the multiple ways you can now publish a book. I listen to a lot of audiobooks myself and I've found this a great way to catch up on the reading I don't have time to do elsewhere. I am very keen to record my books and have this as one form they will be available as. Hence my recent experiment with the first chapter of The Man in the Rubber Mask. I have released the first chapter with the help of Audioboo and it's an experiment for both myself and the lovely folks there. I have every intention of releasing the entire book in chapter form over the next few months. I want to update the book, (it stops in 1992 at the moment) and bring it right up to date, to include what ever happens during the recording of Red Dwarf X later this year.

I have also read a couple of e-books, the technology worked far better than I expected. I used a Kindle, I don't own one yet, I borrowed one but it's on my Christmas present list for myself. So I will also be releasing everything I write in the future, and some books from the past as e-books.

And now there are so many ways to produce and distribute printed paper books, I'm really excited about some new departures in publishing, there are a few signs that book publishing is limping into the 21st century and the numbers of people reading books is constantly growing. Maybe the old models of distributing them are a bit frail at the moment, all I see are closed bookshops and this makes me sad but it's an inevitable consequence of a radically changing system. 

As long as new ideas and imagination are finding a way to 'get out there' I'm not bothered what form they take.

More news very soon.

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