New Doctor Who Post on Mindless Ones

After a couple of weeks of not being able to type much because of arthritis, here’s the final post in my look at Doctor Who season twenty-two, on Revelation of the Daleks. Patreon backers can also find an ebook of the whole series of posts (which I won’t be putting up for sale) here. I’ll be posting more stuff here this week now my hands are a little better.

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Destroyer: Chapter 10

Section B5(B) of the Security Service had a very different remit from the rest of MI5. While most of the service was devoted to fairly routine espionage operations, Section B5(B) operated out of separate offices, and had little contact with the rest of the service. It had to keep secrets even from the rest of the organisation, because its job was to infiltrate subversive movements, and to report back on their activities. Only one man, known as “M”, knew everything that his section was up to, and he kept it to himself. Fleming and Turing had made arrangements to meet up with him, to make sure that their plans weren’t going to involve them treading on his toes.

Maxwell Knight was someone Fleming had known for some time, but had never really been able to understand. The man was a mystery wrapped inside an enigma wrapped inside a bully who could destroy an underling with a well-chosen expletive, and nobody Fleming knew had ever got close enough to him to understand what made him tick.

His office gave little indication of his importance. It was functional – a desk, filing cabinets, a telephone, and little else. There were windows, but they were kept closed and blinded at all times, and the light in the room came from a desk lamp. Like much about the Security Service, the office gave away little about what activities took place there, and even less about the character of the man who did the work.

While the rooms through which they had walked had been full of the noise of ringing telephones and clattering typewriters, Knight’s office was sufficiently insulated that the only sound in the room was of its occupant scratching away with his pen at the papers he was reviewing.

Fleming was always slightly intimidated when he entered Knight’s office, but Turing seemed utterly oblivious to the importance of the man they were visiting – either that, or his casual stance was the product of a better actor than Fleming thought him.

While Fleming was stood firmly erect, Turing was slouched over, scratching at his ear distractedly, and humming under his breath. Fleming nudged him with his elbow, and the noise stopped for approximately thirty seconds, then started again.

They waited for a while while Knight, apparently unaware of their presence, continued to work through the papers on his desk. Eventually, Fleming gave a slight cough and spoke.

“Major Knight.”

“Ian. And who’s this with you?”

“This is Alan Turing, one of the boffins we’re working with up at Bletchley. Quite a remarkable mind.”

“Really? Not got much time for the remarkable myself. It’s the normal we need. A remarkable spy would be no use, would he?”

“Indeed,” Turing replied, although Knight had not yet addressed him, “but not everyone is a spy. And while the normal people do have their part to play, so do the remarkable. The world needs all kinds of people, Sir Maxwell. It’s the Hitlers of this world who want everyone to be the same – it’s not a very British attitude, is it?”

Knight gave a slight “hmph”, and appeared to decide that Turing was a lost cause. He turned his attention back to Fleming.

“So, what are you after, man?”

“Well, Sir Maxwell, I’d like you to give me the latest on what’s been going on with Hess. I’ve been away for a couple of days, and I’m sure any information would be useful to Turing.”

“And what’s Turing doing, that he needs the information?”

“He’s the one who’s trying to decrypt the documents.”

“Ah. I see… and where exactly have you been, anyway?”

“It’s rather embarrassing, sir. I’m afraid it was a bit of a wild goose chase. I went to visit Aleister Crowley, in the mistaken belief that he might be of some use to us.”

“Aleister!” Knight’s eyebrows shot up, “Good God! How is the old rogue?”

“You know him, sir?”

“Oh, yes. I studied with him back in the thirties. Far, far cleverer man than you might think. Knows his stuff, all right.”

“So you know him well then?”

“Oh yes. Introduced him to your friend Wheatley, too. Wheatley only saw him a handful of times, though I believe they corresponded a little afterwards. For myself… well, the man’s definitely a cad, no question of that. But he’s a cad who knows what he’s about. Plays his cards close to his chest.”

“So you think there may be something to his Satan-worshipping?”

“Oh, he’s no Satanist. His beliefs are far more idiosyncratic than that. He has invented his own religion, with elements of every mad belief that has crossed his path and taken his fancy, but Satan isn’t a part of it.”


“Oh yes. What Crowley believes is that he is himself a god, but that anyone can attain that rank. `Every man and every woman is a star’, he says. The idea is that we’re in a new age, the aeon of Thelema as he calls it. He claims he was given a revelation by the Egyptian gods.”

“Surely no-one can believe in the Egyptian gods in this day and age? This is the twentieth century!”

“Indeed it is. But Crowley believes that those gods are still there, and that we are in the early days of a new religion – one of which he is the founder, prophet, and thus far only real believer.”

Turing interrupted “Sorry to butt in here, but is all this really relevant to the matter at hand?”

Knight grinned. “Ah, you’re one of that type, are you? Man who knows the value of everything and the price of nothing? Well, we’ll get down to business then, shall we?”

Fleming nodded. Knight was, despite his apparent impatience, clearly starting to respect Turing, as he had expected he would.

Knight continued, “There’s really not much news to give you. Hess has been transferred to the Tower, but he’s still not talking. But Ian, you might want to have a word with Tom Driberg. He may be able to help you…”

This is an excerpt from my novel, Destroyer. If you like this chapter, please buy the book. It can be bought in hardback from Lulu. The Kindle and paperback editions are available from Amazon (UK) and (US). For non-Kindle ebook versions This Books2Read Universal Link will give you links for your preferred ebook retailer.

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I Aten’t Ded

Hands still hurting a bit, and the heatwave making it impossible for me to think. Will try to get the last of the Who posts up tomorrow, but no promises.

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Beach Boys Book 3 Now Out!

The Beach Boys on CD volume 3 is now available. I know some of you have been waiting for it a long time, so I thought I’d let you all know straight away.
Note that *I have not yet received my proof copies* of the physical book, so be aware that purchases of the physical books in the next few days might be flawed (though the digital files used for them look perfectly fine to me). The paperback should be going live in the next hour or two, the rest are already available.

The hardback can be found at Lulu. The paperback is at Amazon (US) (UK) (and will be in other online shops eventually). The Kindle ebook is at Amazon (US) and (UK), and the book can be found on all other ebook stores via this Books2Read Universal link as it becomes available for them (so far it’s on Kobo, Scribd, and Inktera, with other bookstores following over the next few days).

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Brief updates

Just to let you all know that the ebook versions of Beach Boys book vol 3 are uploaded to Amazon and Draft2Digital (which will in turn send it through to all the other ebook stores shortly). I accidentally priced the Amazon version at $10 rather than $5 and can’t fix that until it’s finished processing, but it should be fixed tomorrow.
I’ll provide purchase links when I have the paper copies up. I’ve had some formatting difficulties with that (primarily because it’s only the second paper book I’ve published through Amazon rather than Lulu, but also because of stupid things to do with typesetting and not having a long enough blurb for the back cover so it doesn’t go into super-large print), but I should have them done tomorrow or Tuesday.
Also, I know I haven’t yet done the final Doctor Who season 22 post. I’ve had an arthritis flare-up in my hands for the last few days, so haven’t been able to type much. As soon as my hands get better, I’ll write it up. No guarantees as to when that will be, but these flare-ups never last too long.

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Destroyer: Chapter 9

Before the war, travelling to Torquay had mostly been for pleasure – holidaymakers would travel down to the south west to swim in the town’s famously blue waters, to marvel at the sights, and to look out over the ocean. Now, however, the journey was made most often by evacuees, desperate to get away from the danger of London.

The south west of England had always, though, been a place unto itself, with different mores, a different accent, and a different, slower, pace of life than the metropolis. Ian Fleming had once heard someone talk about how the difference between Britain and America was that in America a hundred years was a long time, while in Britain a hundred miles was a long way. The hundred-and-sixty or so miles between London and Torquay seemed an almost insurmountable distance culturally, if not geographically.

This was not a place of clubs and chaps who knew chaps. This was a place where everyone knew everyone, and where strangers were not welcome, even though the town had built itself on tourism. People from out of town were perfectly fine to spend their money on overpriced ices and watered beer, but they were not to be talked to, or to be treated as people rather than walking wallets.

And because of this reticence, and a general reluctance to give directions, Fleming had some difficulty finding his target, and it was almost dark before he arrived. Aleister Crowley had apparently moved relatively recently, and Fleming found him not in a Gothic mansion or abandoned monastery, but in a small, white-painted, suburban house.

Fleming’s knock had been answered by a frail-looking old man, who bore such little resemblance to the Great Beast of legend that Fleming had needed to make sure he’d come to the right place.

“I’m looking for Aleister Crowley”.

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” said the skinny, balding old man, with the white goatee, with bits of egg-yolk in his beard.

“An interesting creed. But not, perhaps, a useful one during a war.”

“Come through to my dining room, and we might discuss its utility in comfort.”

Crowley led Fleming through to a small dining room, whose window opened onto a view of the green fields nearby. He sat at the single chair pulled up to a round wooden coffee table, on which was a cup of tea, much of which seemed to have spilled into the saucer on which the cup was placed, and an eggcup containing a half-eaten boiled egg with a spoon still inside it.

Crowley gestured to the one other chair in the room, and Fleming pulled it up to the table.

“Do sit down,” Crowley said, after Fleming had taken his seat. He picked up his spoon, and finished off his egg, eating slowly and methodically, and dabbing his mouth with a napkin after every bite. Only when he had finished eating did he resume the conversation. “Now, you believe that doing one’s will is an anarchist creed. Far from it. Should the policemen and judges of this world be let loose on society, it would be a veritable hell. One cannot do one’s will until one understands what that will is, and very few people have attained such a level of understanding.”

Crowley smiled, a gentle smile which quite surprised Fleming with his charm. Crowley had an imposing reputation, but the elderly gentleman here did indeed seem a gentle man. There was a kindness to him which quite belied Wheatley’s fearsome warnings. Fleming decided he was going to like this man.

Crowley dabbed his mouth again with his napkin, smearing the egg yolk without managing to remove any of it, then continued talking.

“Anyway, I do not normally enter into metaphysical debate until I have been introduced to my interlocutor. You would be?”

“My name is Ian Fleming, sir, and I have come on behalf of Naval Intelligence.”

“Ah, so you would be here about the Hess affair. Most perplexing. Why would an intelligent man think that Britain would – now, of all times – be interested in surrender? A year ago, maybe. But we have struggled through enough, and lost enough, that to back down without victory would be a betrayal of the dead.”

“Indeed. I’m sure he has his reasons, though.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you knew what those reasons were. But you in the intelligence services know more than most the wisdom of the command to know, to dare, to will, and to keep silence. I shall not press you on matters which are beyond the scope of my activities, and shall assume that you will inform me of any matters which are germane.”

Crowley reached into his jacket pocket and took out a small, zippered, pouch. He opened it, and nestled in what looked like a velvet lining was a syringe.

“I hope you don’t mind, sir, if I take my regular infusion of diamorphine?”

Fleming nodded his assent, and Crowley tied off his left arm, found a vein, and injected the fluid. His expression immediately changed into one of vacant bliss – rather more quickly, Fleming thought, than the drug could have affected him; Fleming wondered if this was all an act, and if Crowley had injected some inert substance rather than the narcotic.

The two men talked for some time about trivial matters, and Fleming noted that Crowley’s train of thought seemed to drift, more or less at random. He would be talking about the insignia of the Nazis, and then suddenly break off and start talking about the Egyptian god Noor-Ra-Huit, or he would ask about Hess and, before Fleming had a chance to answer, would go on into a digression about demonic possession.

Eventually, Fleming managed to steer the topic around to the purpose of his visit.

“So, Mr. Crowley, what help, precisely, do you think you can provide His Majesty’s Government in the matter of Herr Hess?”

“Oh, I thought maybe I could perform an exorcism on him. Or maybe telepathically contact him and extract the appropriate information from him.”

Fleming paused before replying. “You’re offering…to perform a magic spell? That’s your offer?”

“Indeed. I shall magickally extract any information you require from his skull.”

“We were rather hoping that you should, perhaps, merely intimidate him. Put on a show of some sort, or offer him occult secrets in return for his co-operation.”

“My dear sir!” Crowley’s expression was a perfect mask of offence, save for his eyes, which were glittering. “You ask me to perform…fakery? To prostitute my life’s work?”

“I apologise if I have caused any offence. But you must understand that His Majesty’s Government does not believe that telepathic powers have any effect. Your magic can’t be of any use to us.”

Crowley rose.

“In that case, sir, I fear we have nothing further to discuss. Please give my regards to Mr. Wheatley.”

Fleming was half-way down the street before he realised that he had not mentioned Wheatley to Crowley at all.

This is an excerpt from my novel, Destroyer. If you like this chapter, please buy the book. It can be bought in hardback from Lulu. The Kindle and paperback editions are available from Amazon (UK) and (US). For non-Kindle ebook versions This Books2Read Universal Link will give you links for your preferred ebook retailer.

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Beach Boys Book 3 Now Available For Patrons

I’ve uploaded the third volume of my Beach Boys book as epub and mobi files to Patreon. Backers can find them here.
The book will be going on general release in a few days, and I’ll be contacting Patreons on the $2 or higher tiers then for their addresses, to send physical copies of this and Destroyer

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