Who Reads my Books? Alan Smith

Hi Neal

I started on SciFi very early with my father’s huge collection of pulp magazines, firstly by looking at all the lurid illustrations then eventually graduating to the written word. I read all the usual classics: Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Campbell, etc before moving onto newer, edgier writers like Vonnegut, Harry Harrison, Bob Shaw, Philip K Dick and Douglas Adams. Being the exact right age for the likes of Star Wars, (Tom Baker) Dr Who and Blakes 7 also helped cement my life-long love of the genre, with gothic and weird being my favourite flavour.

I first found one of your books (The Gabble) around the same time I discovered Alastair Reynolds and Iain Banks (what a year!) It immediately appealed to my taste for the profoundly strange and alien, with hints of a much bigger universe that you kindly expanded upon in the following decade. My favourite (so far) is the first full novel that I read: Voyage of the Sable Keech, it pitched me into a universe of monsters and intrigue that made my head spin – glorious!

I’ve had a pretty mixed working life with an early stint in the Royal Australian Navy followed by many, many driving and delivery jobs before falling into civil engineering and following a move to New Zealand, a 15 year career with the local Council. Officially, I manage a small team of guys who repair and maintain the wastewater and stormwater infrastructure but you can usually find me ‘on the tools’ and elbow deep in something unpleasant!

I’m currently re-reading Gideon the Ninth (and then Harrow the Ninth) by Tamsyn Muir in preparation for the final instalment due this year. If you like a gothic blend of fantasy and scifi, I highly recommend it.


And a photo of me in Bali with a group of mates for our collective 50th. Remember when you could just get on a plane and travel? Sigh…

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