Don’t Look Back, the definitive retrospective collection of short stories by John Gribbin is now available to pre-order from major eBook retailers. Many of the stories in this collection were originally published in Analog and other magazines. Some were precursors to John’s classic novels Innervisions, Double Planet, The Alice Encounter and Father to the Man. As well as 23 Science Fiction short stories, three of which John wrote with his son Ben Gribbin, this collection includes two Science Fact essays on subjects beloved of science fiction authors and readers. In one essay, John provides scientifically accurate DIY instructions for creating a time machine; and in the other, he argues that the Moon is, in fact, a Babel Fish!
A real scientist writing science-fiction with real science ￼￼￼￼￼￼– what more could one ask? John Gribbin is a visionary, ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼and one heck of a good storyteller. – Robert J. Sawyer Hugo Award-winning author of QUANTUM NIGHT
Complementing John’s stories is the fantastic cover designed by legendary space artist David A. Hardy.
Don’t Look Back will be published in eBook formats on the 5th May and in paperback on the 7th August.
The finalists of the 2016 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards have been announced. They include Thomas Silent by Ben Gribbin in the Teenager category.
The Wishing Shelf Awards are awarded based on the results of groups of readers rather than a judging panel. The children’s books were this year read and judged by children in 8 UK primary and secondary schools; the adult books by 2 Reading Groups, 1 in London and 1 in Stockholm. The books were marked according to EDITING, THEME, STYLE, COVER and, in the case of many of the children’s books, ILLUSTRATIONS. Only books that were awarded over 30/40 are finalists.
The winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in each category, picked from the finalists, will be announced on April 1st 2017.
On Risingshadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Ben Gribbin’s novel Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids. When he started to read it he found it to be such a “compelling and entertaining fairy-tale-like story” that he read it in one sitting, and by the end “I could only think of what a fine and absorbing story I had just read” he says.
At the start of his review Seregil describes it as a “good old-fashioned yet modern fairy-tale adventure which is told in a heartwarming and pleasant manner”, adding that it will delight readers of all ages. Ben has, he says, “created his own original vision” of mermaids in an “irresistible” novel, adding that it is such an interesting version of mermaids and mermen because “he writes about people who live in a parallel realm, but sometimes visit our world”.
Although Thomas Silent may appear to be a young adult or children’s fairy-tale, Seregil says it “transcends the normal boundaries” of such fiction by being a story that also attracts adult readers. Tom is a classic heroic protagonist who will appeal to young readers. As well as being an adventure story it’s also a ‘coming of age’ story as Tom discovers who he truly is and what he must do, and as such will appeal to older readers too.
Seregil compliments Ben on how he “writes fluently about Tom’s life” and the “realistic way” in which relationships are handled. He says that Ben writes “intriguingly” about Tom, Coralie and Phillimore and their relationship. He says that the story is “simple, but beautiful” and that “Ben Gribbin’s prose flows easily and his writing style feels entertaining”, with elements of “wistfulness” and “lyrical beauty” that are “seldom found in young adult fantasy fiction”. Ben Gribbin’s prose flows easily and his writing style feels entertaining with elements of wistfulness and lyrical beauty that are seldom found in young adult fantasy fiction
In conclusion, Seregil says that he hopes to read more from Ben Gribbin and recommends Thomas Silent as an adventure for the whole family. It has, he says, a simple beauty and “captivating allure” that will charm readers of any age who have “a child-like fascination with fantasy stories” as it takes them on a “magical journey to a parallel realm”.
This tale of real mermaids and mermen is perfect for every teenager who knows they are special and have a great destiny waiting for them. We’ve all looked out from a beach and wondered what is over the sea, but so very few of us find out as Tom does.
When widower Angelo found a small baby on the beach twelve years ago, he decided to bring him up as his own son. A sign around the baby’s neck said ‘THOMAS SILENT’, so that was the name he was given. Apart from other people’s curiosity about his name, Tom’s life so far had been happy and uneventful. When he wasn’t at school, Tom would help Angelo run the café in his beachside shack. One sunday morning, Tom was in the café on his own when a tall, thin, old man called Phillimore came in to escape from the rain. He showed Tom seven bright blue-green stones that he claimed came from a mermaid’s necklace. When Tom held one of the stones he could almost feel the rise and fall of the ocean. Phillimore left and Tom thought no more about the stones or the strange old man until Angelo died and the café shack was closed.
Six months later, when Tom visits the deserted shack, he finds an envelope from Angelo and discovers what else had been found with the baby on the beach. Tom’s simple life suddenly becomes a mysterious adventure that starts with a magical night-time swim to the shore of a strange land. He meets Coralie, a girl hiding in the caves on the beach with Phillimore. The people of the land are held captive to the will of an evil tyrant whose power comes from more of the blue-green stones, which he has been hoarding in the city of Murmur. Tom realises that he, Thomas Silent, is the only one who can defeat the tyrant and save the people of Murmur. But first he must understand the power of the sea-stones and discover his true self.
Pete Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press said “This delightful tale will enthrall any teenager who knows that they are special and have a great destiny waiting for them. We have all looked out from a beach and wondered what is over the sea, but so very few of us find out as Tom does. Ben not only captures the magic of the sea that is so special to him, but also uses it to propel every reader into a strange world alongside Tom; a world where the choice between right and wrong is not clear-cut and Tom’s actions could have both personal and global consequences.”
Thomas Silent, or, Why there are no more mermaids is available from today on all popular eBook platforms. It will be out in paperback in February 2016.
Notes for Editors
About Ben Gribbin
Ben Gribbin first fell in love with the sea when he was born in Brighton in 1976. Fascinated by fantasy and still in love with the sea, he uses these as major themes in his writing, particularly his poetry. He took his love for the sea with him when he studied at Trinity College, Dublin, for an MPhil in Creative Writing and Publishing, and spent any time not writing, or drinking Guinness, gazing wistfully at the beautiful Eastern Irish Coast.
Whilst living in London and pursuing a career in helping other people to publish their writing at a major publishing house, Ben wrote the first draft of Thomas Silent. Several rewrites, 4 house moves, one wedding and 3 children later, Ben is excited to see his work in print.
Ben has had poetry published in Magma, and The Irish Poetry Review. He also had The Sad Happy Tale of Aberystwyth the Bat, a novella for children, published in 2015.
Ben continues to love writing and the sea, working in his small box room in rural East Sussex, where he lives with his wife and children.