One lazy Sunday, back in the 90s, I went for a walk in the country with my girlfriend. We took a public footpath through a peculiar looking farm that was largely overgrown and strangely Brutalist in its architecture. Then in one of those sudden transformations of perspective that happen all the time in fiction, but are rare treasures in real life, I suddenly looked with fresh eyes at what I had thought were pig sheds.
They were aircraft hangars.
In a crumbling old farm.
In the middle of nowhere.
I took a look inside one of the hangers and saw a memorial – a shrine, I guess – to members of the Special Operations Executive (mostly women, if I remember correctly) who had been flown into Nazi-occupied Europe to carry out sabotage and to liaise with and aid the resistance. There were photos of agents who had been captured and tortured to death.
A notice board explained that we had stumbled across RAF Tempsford, and described it as the most secret airbase of the Second World War.
Intrigued, I read up about the Special Operations Executive. Without a doubt, they were exceptionally brave people, and it's always felt poignant to me that they carried out such dangerous missions without any recognition at the time. Naturally, due to its clandestine nature, very few people knew of the SOE's existence during the war.
I had the real SOE very much in mind when I started writing Chimera Company and named the Legion's special ops organization* the Special Missions Executive. SpecMish for short. Just a little tip of the hat to the real heroes.
Talking of which, Issue #2 of Season 1 dropped this Tuesday. Hines "Bronze" Zy Pel is this week's cover star, and he's a former SpecMish operative. If you read my story in the Backblast Area Clear
anthology (and if you haven't, you should: the other stories are excellent), that's the same Hines Zy Pel on this week's cover.
* Yes, about that. When I wrote "The Legion's special ops organization", I was guilty of oversimplifying. There are several clandestine outfits and they do not get along. We will see a lot more not only of SpecMish but of Legion Naval Intelligence in Season 2.
There's Hines Zy Pel on the front of Issue #2. Hit the image to find out more.
Doctor Who and the Royal Marine Space Commandos
I mentioned a week or so that I'd just bought the audio for Royal Marine Space Commandos by Jon and James Evans. I got distracted by listening first to Tom Baker read his own Doctor Who novel that was released recently. Scratchman,
it's called and it really is excellent. If you like the Fourth Doctor then this is really something very special indeed. And if you like audios, do get the audiobook.
last night, I started Royal Marine Space Commandos
while I went for a 12k run this evening. Loved it. It's right down to action and a lot of fun. There's also occasional mention of brewing up cups of tea, yomping, and describing being pinned down and about to be overrun any second as, "I don't want to make a fuss, but we seem to be in a spot of bother".
In other words, it's a little British, but my friend JR Handley will be disappointed that there is no wearing of powdered wigs or consumption of heated beer, which he is convinced defines how British people live their lives. Makes for a slightly different perspective in any case. Recommended.
Buddies with Bargains
A couple of bargain reads from friends have been catching my eye. And not just because both feature gorgeous artwork.
Earl T Roske has been putting out a trilogy on fast release this month. It's a space adventure series about the Orphan Corps Shepherds. I've only got the one kid to shepherd myself, and I don't have to take him to hole up in an old space station, so the shepherds clearly have quite the handful.
The first two are out now with third coming very soon. For the moment, they're 99c/ 99p in USA,CA, AUS, UK and free in Kindle Unlimited. If you want to find out more, follow this link
Fight the Good Fight
by Daniel Gibbs is a space fleet military SF series. First two already out and third in a couple of weeks. The first one is temporarily 99c/99p and all are free in Kindle Unlimited. Find out more at this link
Daniel describes his series thus: If you love Babylon 5, Safehold
, and Destroyermen
, you must read “Echoes of War,” a military sci-fi series that will take you to the heart of duty, sacrifice, and the unseen scars of those who serve.
See you next time and, as always, thank you for your support.