Musings on film, tv, books, games, music, writing, food, drink and life in general.

The Music

The Music is available in paperback or for 99p in Kindle format from Amazon.


Tomi works for an engineering company and leads an uneventful life on Mars. Uneventful until one day she attends an illegal gig and ends up in possession of the one thing everyone on the planet is after.

Oksana works for the police, but also for her father, who happens to be one of the leaders of an outlawed terrorist organisation called the Mars Liberation Front.

Pi works as an electrician for the MarsGov facilities department. In his spare time he likes to hack into their systems.

Tonks likes to fix things and create his own pottery in his workshop, but hides a mysterious past.

Andel died a long time ago, but would quite like some space to think…

My influences

The Music was my attempt at something like 1984, Brave New World and films like V for Vendetta and Equilibrium. The main influences for the book were William Gibson’s crazy-ass ideas about AI, and Philip K Dick’s quick stripped back style which lends itself to film adaptation and explains why a lot of sci-fi films are based on his work (and obviously because he’s got amazingly original ideas too!).

Original Author’s Note

Subsequently stripped back for the 2010 revision and moved to the end of the book, as I thought it came a cross as a bit ‘gushy’.

‘I would like to thank a number of people for helping me write this book. In no particular order I would like to thank Barry, Steve and Olric for their feedback on draft versions of the story – most importantly in relation to the arrangement and content of the story and how it was told. I would also like to express my gratitude to my family and the Block family for their encouragement and expressing to me their hopes that this process would come to some fruitful conclusion. I would like to thank the most important person in my life – Emma – for bearing with me, giving me time to do this and being supportive especially when I didn’t deserve it. This story was influenced by my interest in a specific sub genre of science fiction novels and films and by the music I have listened to over the course of my life. Without the inspiration of those authors, film-makers and musicians, my life would be almost unbearable if it wasn’t for the love of my family and friends. I hold great value in having been born into a loving family at a time and into a society where I can listen to whatever music I want to, watch whatever I want to and believe in whatever god I may want to. Imagine a place where this is not the case. If you look at the planet Earth today it is not so difficult. There are cases throughout the history of humanity where, to one extreme or another, this sort of censorship has occurred. Moreover in the world today there are countries with regimes not too far removed from those of my fictional MarsGov. Looking around me, it didn’t take a great deal of imagination to create this make-believe world and so my final dedication is to those people who have died or are living under the same kinds of oppression in reality.

Any theological or technical mistakes that are made in this story are entirely my fault and I will have to play the ‘artistic license’ card.’

Rewriting The Music

I revised the book in 2010 because I thought I had rushed its publication. I was so excited at the prospect of self-publishing my first book that I let it out there with an embarrassing collection of typos and mistakes. I wanted to correct these. I also wanted to correct a problem with the epilogue which confused a lot of my small band of readers.

The epilogue now forms the prologue where it sits quite nicely thank you very much, given that the actions within it predate anything else mentioned in the book! The original position was meant to answer a question that the reader was supposed to have over the course of the book – how did the case that held the AI end up fixed to the underside of Tomi’s dune buggy?

On reflection I thought I was trying to be too clever and it’s not that interesting a question anyway. Also it meant I could change the corny first line from – ‘It all started with a sudden flash of light in the rusty clouds of a distant dust storm,’ to – ‘‘Open the fucking case,’ said the guy who had the gun pointing into Grieg’s face.’ – which the sweary part of me loves.

The story began with writing Tomi’s story in the first person with the unnamed scientist also in the first person (although in a different font). Barry read a first draft in this form and provided good feedback. Tomi’s story got changed into the third person. This opened up possibilities for other characters and retelling elements from Pi’s angle. An important added character was Oksana which added another angle. The addition of scenes of Andrea Corrigan’s ‘reanimation’ were very late additions as a result of Olric’s feedback. he also pointed out an horrendous gaff I had made in terms of the time differences on Mars versus Earth. Which was nice.

The original version has an ISBN number, the revision does not. I realised that setting things in stone that early on was a bad idea and that having an ISBN number didn’t really mean a lot – although at the time I was mightily chuffed. I experienced positive ego-swell for at least two days and decided to crack open the dusty vault containing The Magpie Diaries. Perhaps I should have left it closed, but it had to get finished at some point and in fact The Music was just an exercise in writing for me to prepare for the hard work of getting the Magpie Diaries in shape.


Pi is loosely based on someone at work, so too is Tomi; this was not wholly obvious to me at the time but on reflection I seem to have been channelling the souls of two ex-colleagues of mine into their characters (not that they’re dead or anything!). Tonks was a kind of Ron Perlman / Bruce Willis character typical of Gibson. The scientist was influenced by my having read Perdido Street Station by China Mieville and gay because I had been brain washed by too much gayness in Dr Who. Oksana is not based on anyone as such, but I really wanted another strong (possibly stronger) female lead character – think Eva Mendes if you like.

Cover design

The cover was designed by me and created by Richard Adams a graphics designer and all round top bloke from Loughborough. It represents the visual output of a graphical equaliser on a sound system where the dots are coloured green, white and red to represent the Earth, the moon and Mars.

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