All Books

AFTER THE WINTER SOLSTICE

Sendal’s world experiences the most extreme seasons imaginable,  and now brilliant astronomer royal has learned to weaponise the winter. The world of Astronomer Royal Sendal has such an extreme orbit that the air becomes lethally cold in the Outer Winter. Life has evolved to survive by freezing solid, so the Outer Winter has always been an unexplored frontier. Now Lady Sendal has begun to explore that frontier – and weaponise it.

Asimov’s Science Fiction, January/February 2024

THE WASHER FROM THE FORD

If you are in the Laundromat and you see a woman putting your slashed and bloody clothes into a washing machine, hurry home and lock the door. Bean Nighe is a spectral fairy from the Scottish Highlands. In centuries past she was seen only by those who are about to die violently, washing the blood from their clothes at a ford. Now she is in Australia, and using laundromats.

Translated and republished in the Chinese magazine Science Fiction World, December 2023

This Spells Trouble

Sean’s collaboration with Paul Collins is a young adult comic fantasy about an apprentice wizard struggling to cope with a dragon, an iffryt, a warrior girl, and his lazy, incompetent master.

 

“This is just a riotous, joyful comic adventure from the very first page, and, I tell you now, your kids from middle school to upper will eat it up with relish! 14 year old Winton is apprenticed to a very dodgy wizard named Faramond – a lazy, ignorant shyster if ever there was one … But there’s more to this novel than just fantasy, adventure and humour! Interwoven throughout are scientific references, courtesy of Sean McMullen … I highly recommend it to you for your readers from around 11/12 years upwards.” Sue Warren

Saving Galileo

No, this is not the JPL documentary. In Sean’s story of the near future, dead alien civilizations use immense ice telescopes to communicate across millions of years. Lars has spent two years working on the Lunar Kilometer Telescope. Now he is on Earth again, acclimatising to the greater gravity and dating Daria, who was sent to kill him. Lars has learned that, millions of years ago, alien civilizations had ice telescopes the size of planets. Now Earth’s first ice telescope was operational and that was very significant for humanity.

Generation Nemesis

Generation Nemesis, Sean’s novel of climate change revenge, was published by Wizard’s Tower Press in November 2022.  It is set in 2045, when everyone born before the year 2000 is put on trial for the climate crimes of greed, squander, greed or display. The penalty is death, and the Auditor General of Audit Camp 71 has never pardoned anyone. The family of climatologist Jason Hall has been wiped out in this camp, and when he volunteers to be audited he discovers that the Auditor General is his granddaughter.

“As bleakly intense a take on climate change and its consequences as you will find.” Unbound Worlds Library

“If you’re not appalled, you’re reading it wrong.” Paul Graham Raven

“Chilling.” Locus

From the PROLOGUE:

When did it start to go so terribly wrong? Perhaps the catastrophe began when Thomas Newcomen invented his steam engine in 1712, or when a descendent of that engine was installed in a railway locomotive in 1804. There is certainly a case for declaring that early cars began transporting us along the road to ruin around 1900, and the aircraft that soon followed them led to a global tourism industry that flew us to disaster ten times faster. All those inventions took carbon out of the ground and dumped it into the atmosphere, all of them were tools for squander. Now squandering attracts the death penalty, and the methods of execution are very inventive.

                                                                        #

I shall start my story on a desert road, in the intense heat of a clear summer afternoon, greatly enhanced by greenhouse warming. Teams of people born before the new millennium were harnessed to wagons, and I was one of them. Those wagons were SUVs stripped of their engines, bonnets and seats, and loaded with water, food and desiccated bodies. The road was not well maintained, but that was deliberate.

            We were being taught the hard way just how much energy was required to move a vehicle, and how much of that energy had been squandered moving billions of those vehicles for a century and a half. Each of the SUVs was painted with words declaring NO FUEL RESOURCES ARE BEING CONSUMED ON THIS JOURNEY.

            We were tippers on our way to be audited, and the process was supposed to be fair. Even when your climate crime was so serious that death was not sufficient punishment, you still got an audit. We were being taken into the desert to Audit Camp 71, where passably affluent people with European backgrounds were audited for climate crimes by their Generation Victim peers. A third of us had already died.

Beacon

Beacon appearedin the May/June 2022 issue of Analog. The speed of light cannot be exceeded, but a race of aliens has developed a way to build virtual civilisations from its very occasional visitors.

 

The Elektron Mill

The Elektron Mill ( Parsec 2, August 2021) 

The ancient Greeks knew about static electricity and the Romans could build very large mills. Together they could build a machine to produce enormous voltages and generate gods, but gods are not always good company.

Sean’s 100th professional story

 

Damocles

Damocles (Analog, March/April 2021)

She knew the design of a weapon that might have ended both World Wars. It would definitely have ended the world. It was too dangerous for her to be anywhere except in solitary confinement in a maximum security prison, but after three decades she had had enough.

The Chrysalis Pool

If you could look ahead as a child and see the sort of person your adult self becomes, would you really want to grow up? Some of us may get a choice when the chance to become hyper-adult presents itself. One catch is that you have to die, in very cold water. Another that you may not like yourself.

The Chrysalis Pool came equal 4th in the 2021 Analog Readers Poll.

“Another good story by one of the best.” SFREVU

 

A HISTORY OF NEW ZEALAND SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY

To celebrate the upcoming CoNZealand 78th World Science Fiction Convention being held in New Zealand this year, Simon Litten and I have written a sixty-five page History of New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy. Simon is one of the leading experts in New Zealand science-fiction and fantasy, and was one of the founding members of the Phoenix Science Fiction Club in Wellington. I was thrilled when he asked to collaborate on this. 

It has been published here – free. Read Chapter 1: Here Be Utopias; Chapter 2: Science Fiction and Fantasy Reborn; Chapter 3: SF Cinema and Television Before the Ring Arrived; Chapter 4: Lord of the Screens. Chapter 4; Chapter 5: New Zealand Writes – Contemporary Fiction; Chapter 6: Film and Television After the Ring; Chapter 7: Artists, Comics, Crash Courses and the Future.

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