Ian J Miller


Ian J Miller was born 7th August 1942 to the son of a policeman sent to Hokitika (New Zealand) to fill vacancies due to the mass murderer Stanley Graham. Secondary education was at Ashburton High School, thence to University of Canterbury (BSc Hons1, PhD), followed by post-docs at Calgary, Southampton and Armidale. I returned to New Zealand to Chemistry Division, DSIR, to work first on lignin chemistry, then recycling, seaweed research, then hydrothermal wood liquefaction. In 1986 I left DSIR to set up Carina Chemical Laboratories Ltd, to carry out research to support the private half of a joint venture to make pyromellitates, the basis of high temperature resistant plastics. (When called to a TV program to discuss the danger of foam plastics in fires, I aimed a gas torch at the palm of my hand, protected only by a piece of foam plastic I had made shortly before. Fortunately, it worked, it glowed yellow hot, but held the heat for about half a minute.) This venture, and an associated seaweed processing venture collapsed during the late 1980s financial crisis, mostly for financial reasons. Current projects include the development of Nemidon gels (www.nemidon.co.nz/) and fuels and chemicals through the hydrothermal treatment of microalgae (www.aquaflowgroup.com/). I have written about 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers, about 35 other articles, and I was on the Editorial Board of Botanica Marina between about 1998-2008.

In my first year University, following an argument with some Arts students, I was challenged to write a fictional book. I did in spare time: Gemina. I subsequently self-published a revised version, only to find publicity was forbidden as a condition of getting my finance for the pyromellitates project. Since then, I have written a few more science in fiction thriller-type novels that don't fit nicely in any category. These form a "future history", and Puppeteer is the first of one entry point.

Smashwords Interview

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Hokitika, then Rakaia, both small towns in New Zealand. Both favoured outdoor activities, and neither had much in the way of cultural activity. This made me much more independently oriented, and it forced me to think for myself. On top of that, Hokitika is on the West Coast, an isolated region where there is a tradition of being "your own man". Perhaps, as a consequence, my writing is somewhat different from that of many other authors, as I try more for originality than compliance with accepted procedures.
When did you first start writing?
My first efforts were as a student at University, and it was done as a response to "I bet you couldn't," from some girls doing English literature for an arts degree. I was studying chemistry, and I had maintained this was more practical, and at least science students did something, whereas all they were doing was criticizing. One thing led to another, and I ended up writing my first novel, then a second one. I eventually rewrote the first one, but the second was destroyed.
Read more of this interview.


Pre-release—available December 7, 2023. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 97,610. Language: British English. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Military
The Federation faces rebellion and internal corruption. Even the Space Corps is so corrupted that half turns on the other half in the first battle. A team of three must ferret out the source of this corruption, find the rebel base, and then defeat the rebel fleet, despite being outnumbered.
Planetary Formation and Biogenesis Second Edition
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 327,740. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: May 18, 2022 . Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Astronomy, Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Space Science
A scientific analysis of almost 1290 scientific papers leads to the conclusion that the initial accretion of planets was due to chemistry, and that determines the nature of a solar system. From this, we see what chemistry can lead to life, and hence what planets require for life to evolve. This is best achieved on felsic continents around fumaroles, on an earth-like planet around a G or K star
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 128,550. Language: English. Published: July 15, 2021 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Hard sci-fi
(5.00 from 1 review)
Captain Jonas Stryker narrowly escapes jail due to a corrupt system run by a shadowy corporate group called The Board, who employ space piracy, terrorism, and even weaponised asteroids to overthrow the Federal government. Only he can stop them. A story of greed, corruption and honour, combining science and visionary speculation that goes from the high frontier to outback Australia.
'Bot War
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 113,640. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
(5.00 from 1 review)
Terrorists with robotic war machines will make James Grey very rich, but can he control them? John Maxwell and a small group are all that stand between order and its complete collapse as governments go bankrupt through too much debt. A story where technology gets out of control, but the real danger lies in the governments that have abandoned their duty, and the masses who do not care.
Biofuels. An Overview.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 55,300. Language: English. Published: July 31, 2014 . Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Chemistry / Industrial & Technical, Nonfiction » Transportation » Transportation planning
(4.00 from 1 review)
A survey of resource availability and the constraints and advantages of technologies that could be used for biofuels.
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 142,930. Language: Commonwealth English. Published: June 20, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
(4.50 from 2 reviews)
In the 2150s, the world economies are recovering. Three characters see the opportunities differently. One aims to get rich, and will kill to do so; one wants all opportunities buried in giant corporations, and uses a machine pistol to achieve this; the last, a skilled sniper, wants a return to free enterprise and law and order. Only one can win.
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 107,970. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
When resource shortages, debt and terrorism threaten to bring anarchy to the world, one man sent on a mission to thwart hi-tech terrorism must find whoever is manipulating both terrorists and antiterrorist forces to bring down governance. When he unravels the plot, his sense of honor is severely tested, but only unimpeachable honor can succeed.