2021: a space oddity

All is well, or mostly so. My website is missing, although this blog clearly persists (although the navigation buttons above won't work for a while)... 

The disappearance is all my fault, due to ignoring important hosting-service admin for an entire month. The whole thing should reappear soon.

There's a fully functional copy here. Feel free to visit!

I'd point the usual domain name at that site, but changes take time to propagate and I'm expecting the normal version to come back in any case.

Meanwhile, look what appeared in our yard:

Here in the UK, depending on your leading-zero editing option, today's date may be palindromic. Maybe that's why the monolith has started to hum...



From award-winning author John Meaney comes a thrilling tale of Tristopolis, a Gotham-like city beneath perpetually dark skies, where the bones of the dead fuel the reactor piles, indentured wraiths power the elevators, and daylight never shines.

There’s no such thing as ghosts, not even in Tristopolis, and zombie detective Donal Riordan knows it. So when his dead lover appears in his boxing gym, he knows that something dangerous has arisen. But the threat facing him and his new partner Mel, and perhaps the entire world, is of eldritch origin and far more powerful – and stranger – than anything he’s faced before.

Without his former colleagues to help him, can he even survive the day? Or is Tristopolis doomed?

...And for Tristopolis Requiem, a bit of re-branding to match:

Do you dare to read them after dark?


Call yourself a physicist?

Back when I was a physics undergraduate, I missed an evening lecture that formed part of a series given by various visiting academics. (I was probably in the weights room or the dojo.) I'm pretty sure the lecturer was Professor John Taylor of London University, the year was 1975 or '76, maybe '77, and the subject was black holes.

(I used to own a copy of Professor Taylor's 1973 book on the subject. It might be around here somewhere.)

So I wasn't there, but I heard the next morning what happened. In the Q&A at the end, one of the final-year undergraduates stood up and asked the question: "Call yourself a physicist?"

Because, of course, the idea that black holes might actually exist was... bonkers.

And today, Professor Roger Penrose, whose theoretical work nailed the entire concept, has won the Nobel Prize for Physics, along with the two researchers who, in the 1990s, found that a humongous massive black hole sits at the centre of our galaxy.

I've read some of his stuff, certainly made use of Penrose tiles in a scene in Paradox, as I recall, which I wrote two decades ago. Gulp. Time, entropy, all that.

Congratulations to Professor Roger Penrose, Professor Andrea Ghez and Professor Reinard Genzel.


The Bones Are Calling

Well my bones are 63 years old, thanks for asking, and "age is just a number" was never coined by a senior citizen, but I'm working out every day nevertheless. Just like every other year. Today was stationary bike and wrestling calisthenics in the main: Hindu squats and pushups in the sunshine, wrestler's bridge on the judo mat in my dojo. Yesterday was stationary bike and chest/back/shoulders with the weights.

I've primarily been using full-body weights workouts for the past few years, but my favourite split when I'm focusing on different muscle groups on different days is a simple two-way split: chest/back/shoulders, then legs/arms. (Yes, you use your arms for chest, back and shoulder exercises; but if you train, you know what I mean.) And I stretch and do at least some kind of martial arts drill every day.

Not the bones I meant to talk about, though.

Back in March I was working on another contemporary cyber thriller, when suddenly contemporary reality wasn't as entertaining as it might otherwise be, so I did what Silicon Valley types call a pivot.

(Honestly, it's not rude.)

So what called me? Yes, that city where the sky is perpetually dark purple, and the bones of the dead are fuel for the reactor piles, where necroflux builds up in the resonance cavities that bring light and warmth to the living. And Donal Riordan is back.

Along with a weirder and far more powerful threat than he's ever faced before. Him, and a talking obsidian skull called Drad. And some of his old acquaintances have made a real mess of things. The kind of mess that can destroy an entire city, or worse.

Or rather Donal and the others will be back, next month, in a book I'm calling Tristopolis Howling. Nicely in time for Halloween, too.





The year is 1962, in a different world. The setting is New Jerusalem: the free Jewish state, founded in 1948, that occupies 15 percent of pre-war Germany. Cold war is a growing threat, made more likely by a neo-Nazi resurgence in Outer Germany.

David Wolf is a scientist and a spy, tragically in love with a woman who can never be his.

When treachery, betrayal and weapons-grade uranium mix together, can one lone Wolf possibly save lives and a fragile peace from total annihilation?