Good new pieces of fiction in the offing – recommended!

In 2011, the year my Folktales of the Peak District entered the public domain, my friend Hank Quense published to two satirical science fiction novels: Zaftan Entrepreneurs and Zaftan Miscreants. They were eye-wateringly funny, and I remember recommending them to everyone who appreciated the works of the late Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

Now, in 2018, when FBP is scheduled to unleash my own attempt at satirical fantasy (National Cake Day in Ruritania) on an unsuspecting world, Hank is poised to release a set of seven e-books of the Zaftan tales. The series is to be entitled The Zaftan Troubles and ornamented with a new cover graphic, and the e-books will be published at fortnightly intervals starting next month (August, for those who’ve mislaid their calendars). Hank tells me the first e-book will be free to download and the other six will cost only $0.99 each. I shall certainly purchase them and enjoy being re-acquainted with the Zaftans!

For those who’re new to Hank’s work, there’s a new webpage explaining the series:

Meanwhile, I’ve just had the pleasure of editing a new draft novella (working title A4 Stalkbook) by my friend Pamela Turton, whose brilliant and unsettling Blue is the Object was published little more than a year ago. In this new work, Pamela has moved from the theme of sexual exploitation to a murder mystery (or is it a murder?) that takes a sideways and critical look at the effects of social media on young people. All her fiction combines social commentary with well-crafted and often gripping stories. I look forward to reading the final published version of A4 Stalkbook, or whatever title is finally chosen.

Having writer friends as gifted and as different as Hank and Pamela (and there are others, different again and also gifted) is both a challenge and an inspiration. But sometimes, when I read them at their best, they can be depressing. A little voice whispers in my ear “You’ll never be able to write as well as that”. The little voice is probably right, but it isn’t going to stop me trying!


  • Hi Mark,
    As a Douglas Adams fan hooked by the first radio broadcast with Peter Jones as The Book, I shall have to give your friend’s Zaftan series a visit. I look forward to more of Pamela Turton’s work, too, as well as getting my chops round a slice of Ruritanian Cake.
    It appears we share an ear whisperer, by the way, though I’ve written little other than some football-related verse since the op. in April.

    • Thanks, Phil – good to hear from you again and to infer that your convalescence is progressing. If you can make Petersgate Tap next Wednesday I’ll see you there, DV!

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