Hi, my name is Ian Packman, although a lot of people call me E because Ian is such a long and difficult name to say. Originally I was from the sunny South East but now I have settled in the somewhat more rural county of Shropshire.
Everyone seems to be starting with their jobs so I suppose I should start with that as well.
I spent the first 20 years of my working life serving Queen and Country as an Airframe Tech in the RAF. I served all over the UK (and occasionally abroad) working on Buccaneer, Jaguar, and Tornado. The last few years were spent back where I started, at the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering. This time however, I was the one standing at the front of the class doing the chalking and talking. A cyclical ending which appealed to me.
Eventually budget cuts and redundancy saw me return to Civvy Street and job hunting. One wet Thursday lunchtime I saw an ad in the paper for Train Drivers. I applied, got it, and now spend my days trundling up and down the Welsh border. It was never a schoolboy dream, and trains don’t really interest me outside of work but it is certainly a job that I love.
My father was a keen science fiction fan when I was growing up so all the books in the house had names like Asimov, Clarke, and Niven printed on the spine. That seems to be a theme around here! I stumbled across Neal Asher’s work whilst reading an article on Iain Banks. The (article) author said that people who liked the Culture often couldn’t get on with the Polity, and vice versa, although he himself loved both. I thought I’d give it a try and tracked down a copy of Gridlinked, along with Neal’s blog.
Gridlinked I loved. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the Polity AIs were not the omnipotent Gods of Banks’s Culture. There was actually stuff they couldn’t do just by employing field tech and advanced magic. Penny Royal has somewhat broken this idea but I think I read Neal saying that there was too much deus ex machina going on so that may change (no spoilers, I haven’t read Infinity Engine!).
In my free time I like to mess around with music. I used to play guitar in bands, nothing special, just a few gigs in local pubs, but the very unsociable shifts that I now work mean that had to go. Instead, along with a friend, I write and record songs at home for my own amusement. Strictly a hobby but sometimes other people like them as well. Once in a blue moon we will go out and play an acoustic set somewhere.
You can listen to our music here (you can listen for free, no need to buy): https://thehairthieves.bandcamp.com/ and there are a few videos here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLSBiYFY9RkejFtj1cJ9pZ7M_817foTk9p