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Someday My Prints Will Come

I don't know about you (well, obviously I don't, I'm not even sure who you are) but Amazon and their associates have the happy ...

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Introducing Jim Webster - from one Slightly Odd world to another

Today I'm venturing into the unknown!  Never before has this blog hosted a fellow writer...but here goes.
Please welcome to my Slightly Odd World, Mr. Jim Webster:

When as guest on somebody else's blog there's always the feeling that you've
got to be on your best behaviour. Obviously on your own blog you can slouch
about in your vest, unshaven and with your hair uncombed, but here, where
the bright light of the world shines in (if only because Philip keeps the
windows nicely cleaned) I feel I have to be that little bit on my best

You see, what I'm doing is luring you into buying a book. Not one of Philip's
books, I assume that you've already bought them, but my book.
(This is for the paperback, there's an e-book as well)

Justice 4.1 (The Tsarina Sector), it's a Science Fiction story, a detective
story and something of an adventure story as well. Given that there is a
blurb it would be silly not to let you read it.

"When a journalist is shot down in a backward area of Tsarina, Haldar Drom
of the Governor's Investigation Office is sent to investigate. He uncovers a
hidden medical facility dedicated to the production of Abate, a drug used
for population control, as well as evidence of the implantation of
pre-created embryos in women brought to Tsarina for the purpose. He also
discovers a deeper plot with far reaching political ramifications. A senior
member of the Governors family, Doran Stilan is running a personal feud with
the major pirate/Starmancer Wayland Strang. Indeed he begins to suspect that
Stilan may even be angling to take Strang's place. The medical facility is
destroyed after it is attacked by mercenaries hired by Strang, and Drom has
to travel off world to untangle the treads of the conspiracy. Arriving back
on Tsarina, he has to deal with a failed Starmancer attack, punish the
guilty and arrange for Doran Stilan to get what's coming without undermining
the position of the Governor. To do this, he'll need skill, know-how and a
whole lot of luck to ensure that the guilty face justice."

Now one thing I like about Philip's writing is he is so good at observed
humour. He spots the amusing in the way we interact with other people as
part of our normal life. For me I love the dry banter you often get between

"George opened another box. "Self-heating ration cartons."

Haldar leaned over his shoulder to look. "Military surplus? I always liked
the ones which included chicken; even if the 'chicken' was really

George shook his head. "Local manufacture; they use a carton rather than a
can. You can use the cartons as kindling to light your fire." He looked at
the labels. "No chicken, just a hundred different ways to cook elderly yak.
You might find them a bit heavy on the sauce, and a bit light on the meat,
but between ourselves, once you've eaten the meat for as long as I have, you'll
prefer it that way round."

Haldar took a carton and read the nutrition information: "May contain trace
quantities of hallucinogenic lichen?"

"There was an unfortunate incident some years ago. Elderly yaks of the sort
which tend to grace ration cartons will survive the winter by eating the
lichen off a rock-face. Some of the lichens have strange properties, but
yaks have a high level of tolerance."

So there you have it, welcome to Tsarina

I've been told that people like to know a bit about authors as well. Don't
know why, pretentious and self regarding bunch if you ask me but still it's
not my blog and I've got to be on my best behaviour.

My, I'm fifty something; live just outside Barrow-in-Furness, between the
sea and the English Lake District. I farm, have done since I was old enough
to walk, I've been a freelance journalist since the 1970s (the hourly rate
isn't wonderful but the return on capital is great). I started writing
novels because there's only so much EU regulation and animal health stuff
you can write about. I've written five well regarded fantasy books (e-books)
which you can find on my Amazon page, and when Safkhet said they were
looking for someone to write Science Fiction, I jumped at the chance.

So there you are, if you want to find me on the web try looking at

The book can be found on Amazon

But also from Waterstones,

There's also

Facebook page:
Goodreads author page:

Safkhet publishing



And for those who can't wait, here's the start of the book:

The flitter was hardly luxurious. It was a spacious workhorse with just enough concessions to comfort to deter personal injury claims from those who hired it. At the moment, it loitered over the northern highlands of the Border Kingdoms at a safe altitude. To their north, the highlands rose steadily until they became snow-capped and were lost in the clouds. Below them was a jumbled badlands of gorges and ridges, twisted rock, frost-shattered and crumbling. Wheeling below them was a pair of great four-winged aradons, keen-eyed carrion feeders. In the distance, perhaps five miles away, Kilonwin Kardoverin could just make out what might be another pair. As far as he could tell, they were the only signs of life in sight. He looked down; even with vision enhancers, the ridges showed virtually no sign of life. He counted three stunted bushes with occasional blades of grass poking through the loose scree.
Kardoverin strapped himself into the co-pilot seat and fiddled with the camera array, determined to get as much footage as possible. Kardoverin had a reputation in the industry as one of the best documentary makers in the sector. This reputation was based on arrogance, a casual disregard for personal safety, and painstaking camera work. He was reputed to get five times as much material as was needed, even for top quality holo work. He turned to the pilot. "Can we get lower? I'd like to film into those gorges."
"Well, there's damn all up here."
"Why not zoom?" The pilot sounded nervous.
"They're in heavy shadow."
"Look, this is the Border Kingdoms, it isn't safe."
Kardoverin adjusted the central rig and raked the peripheral arrays so that they covered both flanks.
"Take us down fast; we'll be through and out."
"They're barbarians! They shoot at people."
"With black powder weapons." Kardoverin's tone was dismissive as he checked the satellite relay. It seemed to be working perfectly. "Look, just go in, one quick fly-through. It isn't as if I'm asking you to land, or even hover."
The pilot muttered something blasphemous under his breath and brought the flitter round. "I'll take us up that gorge on the left, it's narrower. Being so overcast, it's less likely to be inhabited."
He opened the throttle and brought the bow of the flitter sharply down. The clumsy craft accelerated rather faster than Kardoverin had expected, and he hastily checked the camera focus. This model of vehicle was effectively a rectangular box which flew and had little consideration of style. But for his purposes, the open top meant it had been comparatively easy to fit the cameras. The pilot brought them down sharply, heading south, gaining speed as he lost altitude. Then suddenly, he spun the controls and the flitter turned and banked so sharply Kardoverin felt himself hanging in the harness. Then the pilot pointed the nose of his craft straight into the mouth of the gorge, still dropping and gaining speed. As they entered between the towering rock walls, they were barely twenty feet above the ground and moving faster than Kardoverin would have believed possible. Kardoverin kept his eyes on the monitors, running his fingers over the controls in front of him, altering the zoom, the angle, the filters. They were deep in the gorge now and the boxy craft was travelling at breakneck speed. Kardoverin constantly re-adjusted the controls. "Isn't this a bit fast?"
The pilot's answer came through clenched teeth. "If I could go faster, I would. I want us out of here and—" He paused. "Oh hell, we are in deep—"
There was a staccato rattle of automatic weapons fire from one side. The burst struck the pilot, jerking his body against the seat harness. Kardoverin tore his gaze from the monitors and looked towards where the noise had come from. The second burst hit the front of the flitter, and the engine began to whine. Kardoverin frantically unbuckled his harness and stood up to reach over the pilot's body for the controls. The third burst struck him in the chest, spun him round and left him draped over the side of the flitter. Thirty seconds later, with no one at the controls, the flitter struck the rock wall of the gorge and exploded.