Andrew McBurnie was born in Hull, UK, and emigrated with his family to Australia in 1966. He lives in Sydney.
Starship Walker grew out of my desire for a mode of interstellar travel which seems more believable to me than warp drives, stargates or any other of the other current SF means of bypassing the dismal fact that the enormous distances between the stars are very unlikely to be crossed by human beings. I also wanted to include as part of the story some more recent discoveries of astronomy, particularly the fact that our home system exists in an enormous, safe bubble inside the galactic clouds, from which it will depart in a few million more years into a much more hostile environment. Much SF seems oblivious to this.
Fear Week is about the city where I grew up, Hull, in the Yorkshire East Riding. It was the second most bombed city after London, but was always kept secret during the war. Hull was only referred to as 'a north-eastern city'. This is not widely known. As children, we were accustomed to bombed-out ruins: in the way of children, we thought it was normal. The early sixties was an era when all young people knew that at any moment, their lives might be ended by a nuclear war, a threat that was just called 'The Bomb'. The phrase, 'press the button', was widely used to mean the end of the world. The Cuban missile crisis was very nearly it. It's surprising that many people nowadays don't know how close we came - and aren't aware that the danger still exists.
by Andrew McBurnie
By foot across the galaxy: Walkers pilot starships, but few people have the mental talents to control the weird quantum technology that powers a star-drive. When an enigmatic force disables the two Walkers on board the Xinglong Hao, novice Walker Gillian Berry is thrust into the role before her training is finished. But she has problems that could cause disaster for the ship.
by Andrew McBurnie
Kids: Have you realised your parents are insane yet? Teenager Adrian Thorby is about to experience a week of embarrassing and comic incidents. He's scared: it's 1962, the week of the Cuban missile crisis, and nuclear war menaces the world. Adrian is a science-fiction fan who fears he won't live to see a futuristic world of space travel and robots. And he will never have a girlfriend.
on May 27, 2011
I enjoyed this: a science-fiction novel depicting a London whose streets, buildings and people undergo regular and unexpected shifts and disappearances that only the apparently autistic Graham Smith notices.
The suggestion here that those who don’t seem to fit into our world _really_ might not be quite in it is an interesting story device. Without revealing too much of the plot, this is a “many-worlds” tale, although the nature of the many worlds does not become clear for a while. There is a (naturally) evil multi-national company, which has been able to profit from other parallel worlds. Graham Smith is fundamental to the success of the evil multi-national, so we get a “caper” story, but with unusual twists.
If I had a criticism it would be the title, which is singularly uninformative until you have read the book. I would have gone for something like, “Graham Smith’s war of the worlds”. Well, that’s corny, but the idea is to focus on the hero.
If you are tired of bookshops whose so-called “science-fiction” shelves are laden with great fat multi-volume sword and sorcery novels, and if not that it’s vampire books, this science-fiction tale is for you (sorry if my prejudices are showing).
Death and the Dream
on Sep. 30, 2011
This is a collection of short stories about womens' experience of death and loneliness. There is an intriguing use of scientific themes. One story, about a female laboratory worker, is partially in the form of an experimental report. The final story, "Rain Dream", introduces marine biology in its depiction of a female scientist struggling with loneliness and a drinking problem. (The description of her bad behavior in a restaurant as that of an apparently different character is effective.)
I'm not sure if "Rain Dream" is successful in its use of lobster biology as a means of delineating the woman's fears - lobsters spend much of their lives hiding away, amongst other things. But maybe it's just that this is a novel approach. There is a suggestion via the obsessing on lobster biology that the woman is pregnant and is frightened of a male who may be violent to her.
I'd call the collection interesting, however it didn't engage my emotions. But then, neither does Chekov, though I love his stories.