Monday, March 28, 2016

Tales Of New Albion: Tobias Fitch

The second of the New Albion short stories, concerns the introduction (and perhaps curtain call) of the enigmatic Tobias Fitch.  Mercenary and trouble-shooter, perhaps he has finally met his match in this spooky and haunting tale.  Take a read of the first couple of paragraphs and then take a look here to see how you get get hold of a copy of this story and the others in the series.

The imposing bulk of Tobias Fitch filled the doorway of the very last coach of the TTCE as it puffed, wheezed and clanked to a halt at Fin Du Monde station.  He hesitated for just a heartbeat or two scanning the near deserted platform, allowing his senses to read any signs of danger before his body was even fully awake.  It had been a long and restless journey, but at least it hadn’t been the route that had caused him a sleepless night.  The TTCE (Tri Transcontinental Express) was a brutally simple idea; three parallel tracks with three state-of-the-art rocket assisted Sky Legend class locomotives harnessed together like a modernist’s team of horses.  Between them they pull a single line of armoured sleeper cars, the power to weight ratio ensuring fast acceleration and constant, seemingly effortless power.  The only drawback being that bends are not exactly on the cards for this particular three-headed iron dragon.  So the TTCE line (the only one there is) ploughs a relentlessly straight triple furrow from one side of the continent to the other, equally disdainful of border, personal property or natural obstacle.  Pretty much how Fitch himself liked to operate.  His only regret on this cold, grey, blustery morning was that the tri-tracked train couldn’t deliver him and his precious cargo squarely into the bustling heart of the old metropolis.

Gratified that platform 13 seemed to hold no immediate threats to his aching body, Fitch wrapped his floor length leather coat around him, and put a booted foot firmly onto the narrow brick strip.  In his left hand he held a somewhat battered, but extremely robust looking attaché case, his grip was firm and he held it close whilst still viewing the vicinity with caution.  The tight hold however, was somewhat superfluous as the case in question was in fact fastened to his wrist by means of a heavy chain and brass handcuff.  So precious, so vital to national security were its contents that he could not allow himself to be separated from it under any circumstances: casual, accidental or violent.  His right hand hovered constantly in the opening of his coat near his hips, where a brace of custom-made, silver-plated pistols hung in quick draw holsters.  The seven-chambered weapons had extricated him from trouble on numerous occasions when opponents had reckoned on only 6 bullets per loading.  The thick leather of his coat hid other secrets too, additional weapons; including assorted throwing knives, grenades, poisons and a smaller automatic pistol; and steel plating over vital organs and arteries.  All of this now conspired with his aching, sleep-deprived limbs, to make the walk from the back of the train to the front of the monster all the more laboured.  Nevertheless Fitch did not regret the slow progress; it gave him time to go meticulously over the final details of his four-day long journey.  Fitch had been tasked, at barely an hours notice, to retrieve the case from a numbered locker at a far flung empire postal depot, secure it to his person, and then make his way by airship, steam-powered paddle steamer and stage coach to the furthest terminus of the TCCE.  He had then carefully selected the very last sleeper cabin in the train for its two-day cross-continental rush.  The final leg of this clandestine adventure was to cross the channel and deliver his cargo to another anonymous safe locker at the King’s Station, where, he was assured, his six figure pay-off awaited him in return.  There were only three methods by which this crossing could be effected from here, a slow and cheap steamer, a more expensive but a little quicker, airship service or, and the selection of this means hinted again at the importance of his mission, an extremely expensive, but very fast, personal ornithopter flight.  According to terse instructions, the crossing was booked and the pilot was waiting at a nearby Aerodrome, Fitch need make no other arrangements bar finding a hansom cab to transport him there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Home By The Sea (2016 Update)

For those that have been following for a while and also those that are new to the Blog, now that I'm intending to post more regularly, I thought a quick update was in order.

These days I live in a rather lovely spot sandwiched between the English Channel and the South Downs in Hove, not far from Portslade station.  It's a place with great views, lovely walks and lots of inspiration to photograph and write.  I'm still doing music in the duo - Dare To Be Charlie, and occasionally more arty stuff with Daniel Lehan, Paul Wady or Frog Morris.  I'm also writing and performing short stories, usually Steampunk stories set in an alternative version of Britain I call New Albion, but occasional other Sci-Fi stuff too.

If you are interested then please add this Blog to your reading list and check out the various posts.  You can see some of my photography on Instagram and follow me on Twitter or, indeed, Snapchat (@vulcan2015) if such things float your boat.

Otherwise, do leave me a comment or two as we go and let me know anything I should be checking out.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tales of New Albion

Steampunk Reading - photo: Jeanette Macklin
Greetings! It's been a little while since I last posted a Blog, but rest-assured I've been busy in the meantime.  I've been working away on writing, and performing, a series of Steampunk short stories - entitled Tales of New Albion - which I'm looking to eventually turn into an illustrated book.

Topics covered in the stories so far include, time travel, a giant restaurant complex and strange and mysterious goings on.  All with a little bit of humour thrown in.  I've really enjoyed reading them at various Steampunk events and I'm always looking for more chances to share them, so if you are running a Steampunk themed soiree and would like me to come and read, them please do get in touch.

You can now own a signed copy of my stories for a mere £1 per story (including postage and packing) - there are five titles so far and more coming.  As a bonus each copy of a story bought will count towards a 5% discount off the printed book once it arrives.  In other words if you buy 20 copies of stories you will get the book for free!  A great offer I'm sure you will agree.  I'm hoping that the illustrations for the book will be provided by the wonderful Frog Morris, so it should be most splendid.  You can pay for these stories by either cheque or PayPal - please drop me a line or leave a comment below for more details.

Here are a few comments about the stories that I've received so far:

"I enjoyed all of them immensely and would willingly read more of your writings if you have any?! 
They are all great fun and I found myself speed-reading them as I wanted to find out what was going to happen!" - Brian Hurrell

"It was a great story. Made even better by your superb delivery. I thoroughly enjoyed it." -

So that's the basic information, stand by for more news of readings and also details of some of the stories to whet your appetite - you may already have seem the first one - Futureshock!

Next reading: Steampunk Convivial 30th / 31st July (but more dates to follow)

Photograph by Jeanette Macklin