S J MacDonald

Biography

I am a primary school teacher living in Cardiff, Wales, UK. I live in a tiny house full of books, animals, rocks and fossils.

I love travelling by myself because you get to meet more local people that way. My favourite trips so far have been ice fishing in the arctic circle, the Canadian Rockies in winter and camping with my sister in Devon (Every bit as adventurous!)

I have been writing stories since I was a kid but have only recently taken the plunge into publishing. I've also recently started a science fiction review site http://www.starshipsandaliens.com which is nearly as much fun as writing.

Where to find S J MacDonald online


Where to buy in print


Books

Spacer Tales: The Haunted Hatchway
By
Price: Free! Words: 4,600. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Welcome to Kluskey's spacer hangout. Here, spacers swap yarns of ghost ships, space monsters, the weird and wonderful and the downright daft. In this story, spacer Biz Cooper tells of a ghostly presence on board the freighter Colestar 24. A 4,500 word story.
Spacer Tales: The Alien Monks
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,830. Language: English. Published: July 23, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
(3.00 from 1 review)
Welcome to Kluskey's spacer hangout. Here, spacers swap yarns of ghost ships, space monsters, the weird and wonderful and the downright daft. In this story the hangout is visited by alien monks keen to try Tam Kluskey’s famous burgers.
Spacer Tales: The Space Monster of Sector 17
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,310. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Welcome to Kluskey's spacer hangout. Here, spacers swap yarns of ghost ships, space monsters, the weird and wonderful and the downright daft. In this story, spacer Pell tells of a mysterious encounter.
Spacer Tales: The Explorer
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,000. Language: English. Published: June 13, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
(3.00 from 1 review)
Welcome to Kluskey's spacer hangout. Here, spacers swap yarns of ghost ships, space monsters, the weird and wonderful and the downright daft. Exploration Corps officer Amil Talen has just got back from a two year expedition, telling tales of strange new life forms. But just what is it lurking at the bottom of that cave?
Spacer Tales: The Lonely Engineer
By
Price: Free! Words: 3,450. Language: English. Published: June 12, 2011. Category: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
Welcome to Kluskey's spacer hangout. Here, spacers swap yarns of ghost ships, space monsters, the weird and wonderful and the downright daft. In this first story, veteran spacer Jok tells the story of the last survivor of a doomed starship. A 3,200 word sci-fi ghost story.

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Smashwords book reviews by S J MacDonald

  • Munch Ado About Nothing on Aug. 14, 2011

    Imaginative story, great characters, well written and amusing. Thanks, Arthur Mackeown, it's a very entertaining read. I'll give this a mention on the Starships and Aliens website. :)
  • Hal Junior 1: The Secret Signal on Oct. 01, 2011

    Concept/World The story is set on a space station which felt realistic and industrial. Story The story zips along with lots of laughs, mysteries and adventure. It’s like Dennis the Menace in space, great fun! Characters Hal Junior is great as the hero. I howled with laughter at his chemistry homework. Stinky Binn is good as the nerdy genius sidekick. The villains are suitably cartoony. I enjoyed the Teacher robot, too. Presentation I liked the cartoon cover of this book and loved the illustrations. They worked well even on kindle and added a new dimension of humour to the story. It’s just the right length for younger readers. Overall I bought a kindle copy of this book because I’d enjoyed the “Hal Spacejock” story so much. I liked The Secret Signal so much that I’ve bought a paperpack version of it too for our class library. I had to buy it on the Amazon US site and pay shipping to the UK, but I know that the kids in my class will just love this. It doesn’t come any more highly recommended than that!
  • Anthology of Futures on Oct. 17, 2011

    Concept/World I liked the idea of a collection of stories about possible futures. They were actually all in some way about either the end of the world or near world-ending disaster. I’d have liked to see that reflected in either the title or the blurb. Story/Characters Enhancement – what would you do if a mysterious alien being gave you superhuman powers? Get rich? Become powerful? Find yourself with dead bodies to dispose of? Brodrick, the main character in this story, does all of the above. An entertaining story. (****) Blackness – when a mysterious blackness appears over Earth and starts planting alien seeds, humanity has to figure out what’s going on and what to do about it. I liked the “bright young man, determined to go down in history as someone with more than one brain cell”. (****) Brightlight – This was my favourite of the stories. It’s reminiscent of classic 50s sci fi and even has an alien called Blob. Brilliant! (*****) The Factory – in a world that mankind has virtually destroyed with pollution, are the machines working to their own agenda? This is a familiar plot, though well presented here. (****) Time Trip – Ellis can travel in time to visualise the future. The environments are vividly described and the gradual coming back towards the present works well for holding suspense. Without giving away any spoilers, I enjoyed the story right up till the last part. I found the insane irresponsibility of the people bringing about the end of the world just too incredible. (***) The Chill - I liked the concept of this story, the lone man Gleeson fighting against the elements. However, he was described as never having seen the sea. When he found himself in a warm ocean he didn’t react to the sight of it at all and evidently knew about tides. Then I got to the part about the undersea volcano. I’m an amateur volcanologist and did howl at that bit. Readers who don’t know about pillow lava, hot spots and basalt flood plains may accept it as credible. Since I do, the story lost me at that point. (**) Presentation The first story appears to be indented, which made it a little odd to read on the kindle. There are a few typos of the kind not picked up by spellcheckers, like “grizzly” instead of “grisly”, bodies/body’s. I didn’t find that they impaired my enjoyment of the stories. Overall In any collection of short stories there are going to be ones you like more than others. I really loved “Brightlight” and would recommend this book even for that story alone. “The Chill” left me cold (sorry, had to be done) but only because I’m a science geek and volcano nut so was spluttering protests at my kindle over the volcanology. The characters don’t have any great emotional depth but in plot-driven short stories they don’t need to, really. All the stories are well written with amusing lines and well structured plots. One to enjoy!
  • The Bear and the Bee on Oct. 18, 2011

    By Class 7 (7-9 years old) We would like the poem to be longer. It was a brilliant story and a brilliant poem and I wouldn't want anything to change. It tells you how to make friends. We wanted to give you 10 stars. We learnt not to be mean to anybody and that told us a brilliant lesson. It was a great rhyming story. Love from the whole of Class 7 and Mrs MacDonald.
  • Twin-Bred on Nov. 05, 2011

    Concept/World The idea that twins have such a strong bond that it would transcend even difference of species is an interesting one. People of strong anti-abortion or religious views might find some aspects of The Project controversial. There is also a moral question as to whether it is justifiable to create “abnormal” babies either for scientific or social purposes. Those issues make this a powerful, thought provoking book. Story The story covers a broad range of time, alternating narrative with excerpts from scientific reports. This works well, giving both an overview of the experiment and an intimate view of individuals involved in it. The pacing is good and I liked (no spoilers!) that things did not work out as expected. Characters It’s difficult to create really believable aliens but Karen Wyle achieves it with the Tofa. They are incomprehensible despite every effort of humans to communicate with them. I liked that some mysteries remained unsolved. Mara, the scientist carrying out the experiment, was complex. I too wondered at times whether she was disturbed. She’s certainly obsessive and driven. There were a lot of minor characters – I felt at times that some of them could have been condensed and I’d have liked more focus on perhaps just one family. Presentation The cover is eye-catching and shows you immediately what the book is going to be about. Spelling, grammar and formatting are all to a professional standard. Overall This book is intriguing, scary, funny and sad. I found myself reading parts of it with detachment, considering the scientific and moral issues raised. At other times I was laughing out loud, then shocked and upset. This is definitely a book that you will remember reading.
  • The Cat's Nature - a poem for all ages on May 10, 2012

    Good poem, Robyn. I like your repeated use of "so to say", and the imagery. I too would have loved an illustration - maybe a picture of Mimi with a cat birthday cake? :)
  • How to: Calculate the Mode, Median and Mean averages. on May 10, 2012

    Excellent, Robyn - I love your "how to" help book and will be pointing it out to the maths groups I teach. Very helpful for kids to be shown how to do things by other kids, thanks! :))