Jun 012015

Ian Sales has finished his Apollo Quartet, and the final book is brilliant. You should read the first three first, as they will loop you into this series of worlds all linked by the Apollo programme, all four obsessively researched, in very slightly alternate histories.

The fourth book focusses on the wife of an astronaut going into space, and she has, as a shameful – to him – secret: she is a science fiction writer. The book is gorgeous, a bit longer than the novella-length of the other three – fulfilling this conceptual series, and serving as an exquisite capstone to the quartet.

Jun 112014

This is the third of Ian Sales’ Apollo Quartet – I loved both the first and the second novellas. Short books, based on a series of what-ifs around the early days of the space programme. You get the sense that if anyone could plan an Apollo moon mission today, they’d speak to Sales, although he takes the series far beyond its original scope, bringing forth the optimism and fear of space age SF together with some thankfully modern sensibilities, like what if the Mercury astronauts were women. These novellas are tight and well-crafted and a pleasure to read – and re-read. Bravo.

Do yourself a favour: get it here.

Jan 172013

The second in Ian Sales’ Apollo Quartet, four novellas set in a shared universe. The second, like the first, shows meticulous research into Apollo spaceflight, giving us a picture of what might have been had it not died. General Bradley Emerson, the only man to have ever gone to Mars, is now being pulled out of retirement for a final mission. The action drifts between his 1979 Mars mission and the 1999 “present”. The story is one of discovery, of governments and paranoia, but it is a deep, personal story as well, and it’s beautiful. Read it, and the first.


Get it on here (UK) or here (US) (Adrift on the Sea of Rains, Apollo Quartet 1 review here)

May 182012


Obsessive research and worldbuilding in a mostly prebuilt world manages to combine 60s-style hard SF with 80s style fear of Soviets and 90s style hopelessness about the future with contemporary plot and depth of character. Plus, a wunderwaffe. And a potted history of a fictionalised, militarised Apollo programme.

In a word: fascinating. Short enough to read in a sitting, deep enough to return and explore.

Demonstrates how ebooks can reinvigorate short literary forms, while providing limited hardbacks for the collectible-obsessed.

This we need more of. Fortunately, it is the first of a quartet. I Can’t wait for the other three.

Buy it here in a range of DRM-free flavours. Or, even, paper.