The Beginning is only the End.

So, I’ve been watching the new Picard series (thanks Amazon Prime) and more or less enjoying it – good FX, a decent if slow-burn story, and, of course, lashings of Jean-Luc.

My main complaint is that to re-spin the show for modern sensibilities, they’ve jettisoned a few of the core concepts from the original series. The main change is that the Federation is now intellectually in retreat. No more high-minded Roddenberry values. It’s more of a self-doubting, broken institution in full reverse ferret while being assailed on all sides by hostile forces.

Now, if you take the view that the original show was always more about how Americans saw themselves in the mirror (albeit an idealized version), then perhaps in an age of ISIS, climate change, pandemics, and a rising swell in hostile Orwellian one-party states, this is how some of America views itself?

I miss the Federation’s idealism. I miss ours, too.

Talking about new things, I now have the first chapter of a new science fiction novel I’m writing up on my recently launched Patreon over at Just to keep things fresh, this is my first comedy sci-fi novel – shades of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. It’s tentatively titled, Chance Zapman and the Planet of Deadly Doom … but that, and much else about the book will undoubtedly change between here and the final publication finishing line.

Lastly, I’m presently in full possession of a seventeen-year-old student currently seeking the quest of an unpaid 2-week work shadowing in London (starting 23rd March this year) as part of their BTEC-level Computing and IT course. Ideally, something computer and IT-related would be fab. They’ve been working their way through the first year of such esoteric teachings as network security, PC repairs and upgrades, C# programming using Visual Studio, Bootstrap website design, SQL databases, game programming with Unity, and other stuff which makes my head hurt just by dwelling on it. Seriously, whatever happened to HTML and a bit of PHP in Notepad? This new world of computers is far too complicated for me!

If you and your organisation has room for an extra office chair filled with someone to peer over your shoulder and occasionally ask pointed, youthful questions, while receiving a prophetic gaze through the window into gainful 9-to-5 employment for ten working days, then do please drop me a line.

Chance Zapman and the Planet of Deadly Doom
Chance Zapman and the Planet of Deadly Doom


I am an author of various fantasy, science fiction, crime and other genre books from Gollancz, Hachette and HarperCollins. Some day I hope to grow up and be an astronaut. Exploring Mars would be nice.

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