The Seven Experiments: manifest destiny

What if… you could have it all? Wealth. Health. Youth. Power. A fancy house. A garage full of fast cars. The objects of your desire, immediately available. And what if it could start with something as simple as want? Wanting, and then getting. That’s the lure of this thoroughly entertaining morality tale – one which…

Dark As Angels: romping, stomping near-future noir

This dystopian thriller gets going with a high-tech FUBAR shoot-out that rattles your synapses, and hurtles through the subsequent story with frantic action that barely lets up. Blink not, or you’ll miss something special. Imagine something like Ken MacLeod’s political future-thrillers, mixed with the ultra-tech of Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon universe. In this reality, England…

Contraception: death by parenthood

This speculative thriller is set 50 years away, in a world of ‘what if?’, when the global population has reached catastrophic proportions. Out of endless war and revolutions arose a new universal policy, one which brings out the worst in people so they can create a better world. When Li Hu and his wife want…

The Cost of Living: what price new life?

This is a short excursion into a ‘what if?’ world, one where lifespans are massively extended and drastic action has been taken to curtail global population. In this near future, every new life must be balanced by a death. There’s a strict ‘one in, one out’ policy which is clinically enforced at all levels of…

What Lurks Below: science meets supernatural

This is the first episode in an ‘intelligent adventure’ series (‘Hell Holes’), which mixes the heft of heavyweight geology and climate science with the demons of the underworld unbound, in all their slavering ferocity. It’s a genre-bending bonanza of science, speculative fiction and supernatural action, a nifty idea which would make a perfect movie pitch.…

The Monster Underneath: dream weaving

In the Hannibal Lecter series, investigator Will Graham exerts his psychoanalytic expertise and his emotional empathy to ‘get inside’ the heads of murderers and monsters. In an entirely matter of fact way, author Matthew Franks takes that premise one step further and gives his protagonist, Max Crawford, the ability to read people’s thoughts in the…

Purple Kitty: far from cute n cuddly

Purple Kitty’s title sorta suggests cuddly, fluffy, giggle a minute, girl’s night in, pink pyjamas, comedy crime*. That couldn’t be further from the reality of this dystopian private eye investigation, set in an oppressive future a few decades down the line. Gumshoe Serena McKay isn’t your typical ‘strong female protagonist’, either. Normally, the average crime-solving…