Interview with Tony Thorne MBE

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The War of the Worlds by HG Wells. I was awestricken and became a SciFi fan which I still am today.
When did you first start writing?
When I was a boy I made up fantasy tales for my younger sister and two brothers. Some of them I illustrated crudely in a notebook.
Serious actual writing began, using a very old Underwood typewriter, soon after I left the Army in 1948, aged 22.
When did you make your first sale of a story?
Back in 1952, not long after I left Technical College in London, I wrote my first SciFi Tale, Timely Encounter, and mailed it off to the editor of THE VARGO STATTEN SF MAGAZINE. I was delighted when he accepted it and paid me the sum of ten pounds, which was very good in those days.
What was that story about?
Time Travel, a favourite theme of mine ever since. My anti-hero in the tale was a criminal trying to escape into the future. The time machine worked fine, but when he arrived back, the earth and the sun had moved on in their orbits, but he had not... disaster! I've explored that situation in more recent stories too.
I see, and that time shift problem must work both ways?
Definitely... making time travel in either direction very dangerous... if not impossible. Apart from that effect, the idea of visiting the past leads to all kinds of complications. If you kept repeating it, you could deposit the same banknote into your account as often as you pleased. You might even get on the end of a queue doing it when every person in front of you... was you too.
1952 was quite a while ago. Have you been writing ever since?
On and off yes I have. But my business career soon took over most of my spare time. I joined a small Mechanical Design Company and turned it into a Research and Development operation, specializing in Applied Physics products. We won contracts with the various British Atomic Energy Establishments, leading to the development of a range of marketable products. My writing time became devoted to technical papers, patent applications, and business reports. There was really no time for fiction.
How did you get your MBE?
My team and I developed several ranges of products including vacuum insulated pipelines for liquefied gas transfer systems, temperature measuring instruments, very high temperature furnaces for nuclear graphite processing, pressure suit systems for handling hazardous materials, plus low temperature instruments for use in cryosurgery of the human eye. Their worldwide marketing success resulted in the Queen awarding me an MBE in 1986.
When did you resume writing fiction?
When I retired, around the turn of the century. I began with short stories again and soon discovered that millions of other aspiring writers were doing the same. Finding an agent or waiting for a response from a publisher took forever, so. I decided to look into self-publishing. That's when I bought a Kindle Reader and discovered Amazon and Createspace. My imagination began working overtime and I was soon drafting around 4 or 5 speculative short tales every month. Then I met up with an old acquaintance, the late Harry Harrison, he liked my work, wrote me a very generous introduction to a collection of some of them, Tenerife Tall Tales. However, he then insisted that, if I really wanted to succeed as a writer, I would have to write a novel. So I began writing the first book in my Points of View trilogy. Meanwhile, my SciFi and Fantasy short stories were taking off, featured mostly on magazine websites and included in various anthologies.
Which is your best selling book?
That must be my fiction to fact title, THE SINGULARITY IS COMING. The first paperback printing of its Chinese language version was 4000 copies, with about 75% shipped to bookstores so far, and apparently well received, but I don't have any sales figures yet. The eBook versions have been available over there since May 2016, but I've no news yet about how sales are going.The English language versions sell steadily, mostly in the USA, with occasional peaks when I organize a promotion.
What do you mean by both fiction and fact?
The book is a combination of actual history and speculative fiction, which makes it tricky to categorize conventionally. The first (long) chapter explains what a singularity is, and also covers my factual background in writing fiction about intelligent robots.
Some early prophetic examples, happening now, are included in a later chapter. Then there are chapters reviewing what various international experts believe is going to happen to us, when creations more far intelligent than we are begin to appear... and possibly in less than 10 years time.Finally a recommended (long) list of other titles in the field is included.
Whate are you working on at the moment?
I've been updating my BEST SELLING AUTHOR PLAN title, with an account of how I managed to break into the Chinese market. At the same time I'm also working with my new Canadian editor on novel number 3 in my POINTS OF VIEW trilogy. She works for Caliburn Press, of Madison, Wisconsin, USA. who have now acquired the series for publication, scheduled beginning August 2016.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My trusty Kindle Paperwhite Reader- It's the third one I've had. The second one accidentally fell into the footbath I was using at the time and it didn't like it at all. I guess it was the warm soapy water that killed it. I can't recall what happened to my first one, probably something similarly foolish.
What advice can you give to aspiring young writers??
It's a tough business nowadays and highly competitive. You must be prepared to keep at it, whatever, and never give up. Mainly, I believe it is vital to get as much exposure as you can, and help that elusive golden chance to find YOU. That's my formula for success and it has worked for me. My Chinese publisher discovered my self-published Singularity book on the internet, and sent me an offer, which I readily accepted.
Published 2016-09-15.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Points of View - The Weapons
Price: $3.95 $1.95 USD. (51% off until July 06!) Words: 51,790. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Spies & espionage
The further adventures of previously blind Horace Mayberry now fitted with nanotronic AI eyes having superhuman properties that can range over most of the electro-magnetic spectrum. To pay for them he has been apprenticed to an active government secret agent, Major Aubrey Jackson. In this action-packed Book Two of the series, five nanotronic beam weapons have been stolen by terrorists from the lab
Time Travel Trouble
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 25,760. Language: English. Published: October 19, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
An introduction to the concept of Time Travel, to the past and the future. Its paradoxes explored and expanded to their impossible consequences. The book includes a collection of eight speculative tales illustrating why it either cannot work, or it's far too dangerous to even try it.
Points of View
Series: Points of View. Price: $0.99 USD. (Free until July 06!) Words: 54,480. Language: English. Published: August 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Thriller and Suspense, Fiction » Mashups
In POINTS OF VIEW, a blind young Londoner, Horace Mayberry, is fitted with superhuman, intelligent eyes. able to develop various functions to assist in whatever hazardous situations he experiences. The price after minimal training, is to become assistant to a real secret agent. Apprehensive at first he is soon plunged into a dangerous new world which changes his character and enhances his dreams
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,560. Language: English. Published: October 8, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Horror » Weird fiction
This medical SciFi tale concerns a group of desperately obese people who need a solution to their addiction. They are each offered a free surgical operation by a foreign clinic. They go ahead, apprehensively...but is it really for free?
Ain't It The Truth..!
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,350. Language: English. Published: September 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Inspirational
Ain't it the Truth, is a collection of quirky items to amuse and entertain, but not only the reader. There are stories and lots of jokes to put over, some satirical verse, and even a short sketch for a couple to perform. Read them, then try them out to become the hit of any party... home, office or conference.
Bill's Helical Blues
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,400. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Action
Mystery and mayhem ensue when our hero decides to start an aerial photography business after successfully dealing with a particularly annoying intruder in his garden, using his new model helicopter.Things develop successfully, until a sinister client approaches him with a proposition that seems a little shady, but financially impossible to refuse.
Best Selling Author Plan
Price: $0.99 USD. (Free until June 25!) Words: 6,960. Language: English. Published: September 19, 2014. Categories: Essay » Author profile
Just what budding authors need to inspire then to succeed. This book is an autobiographical outline of the author's on-going progress, plus an account of an alternative plan that worked successfully for one audacious writer.
The Singularity is Coming - The Artificial Intelligence Explosion
Price: $3.99 $0.99 USD. (75% off until June 23!) Words: 38,750. Language: English. Published: September 17, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Intelligence (AI) & semantics, Essay
This ‘fact-fiction’ book is about THE SINGULARITY, and the resulting Artificial Intelligence Explosion. A singularity is a one way event, something which cannot be reversed. The event explored in this book is Artificial General Intelligence; how its runaway consequences will change our way of life… completely. Will we be ready for it?
Macabre Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 46,170. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
A collection of 18 quirky tales to chill and delight you. Including: Brain Wave – An awesome medical application... surely not using a time machine? Indulgence:- This free, but totally effective treatment might not be what every overweight person thought they were getting? Micro-Voices – They can drive you off-balance and with him,,,they did! These events couldn't really happen...right?
Tenerife Tall Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,690. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
This first collection, in a trilogy of speculative stories is set on, around, and even under, the magical Canary Island of Tenerife. It has an introduction by the legendary American SF author, Harry Harrison, and won the top award in the SF category of the 2009 New York Beach Book Festival. The 17 quirky tales include - Black Hole, Smaller than Life, Evolution, Hologhosts, and Long Term Survival.