About geoffnelder

I'm a former teacher who now lives in Chester, UK, and writes, critiques and edits for a living, which is why I'm always hungry.

Geoff’s talk at Lache Library

Just a reminder that I got talked into giving a talk at the Lache Library, Chester on Thursday 21st June at 2:30pm Although the talk centres on the historical fantasy novel Xaghra’s Revenge it is not necessary for you to have read it. Much of my delivery is why I wrote it, what strange things popped up when I did the research, images of the Gozo features that are in the story and a brief reading from me. Plenty of time for a Q&A. There’s a drinks machine there and I’ll bring biscuits. I only know of 3 people who are definitely coming and one of them is me.


Xaghra’s Revenge is sweet

Some of you might have seen my facebook posts and know that my historical fantasy book has been published this week. XAGHRA’S REVENGE came about when we were on holiday in Gozo, one of the Maltese islands. Attending a history exhibition I discovered that in 1551 pirates abducted all 5,000 people off Gozo, crammed them on 150 ships and took them to Libya to sell in auctions. Some didn’t make it. Others bought back by rich relatives in Malta and Italy. Some women were taken to harems in Constantinople. Well, those 5, 000 spirits scream out for revenge, don’t they? In my fictionalised version, a modern couple discover that one is descended from the pirate and one from an abductee, but which one? Their romance and lives are twisted by spirits some of which attempt to redo the 1565 Siege of Malta to change the cultural future of Europe and the world. If you’re interested the

Kindle £3.85 is at http://myBook.to/Xaghra

Paperback £16 ish (sorry) at  http://hyperurl.co/y953ga

There’s a video trailer on my website



Chester’s Climate book re-released

For a change I’ve released a non-fiction book. Chester’s Climate first came out in 1985, printed by a local Handbridge printer and sold out within a year. Recently, I have received requests for copies but I only have 3 and they’ve been taken apart. So Mrs N scanned in the pages and I uploaded them to Payhip – related to Paypal. I’d already done most of the research and work in the 1980s so I’m only charging $2 because it is an ebook at present.

This is from the press release:

This 40-page booklet was inspired by extremes of temperature and rain in the 1980s and was first published in 1985 and sold out in the same year. This edition is substantially the same but with a couple of pages at the end updating temperature and air pollution trends.

In this book are answers to:

Did the mid 20th Century have the best summers?

Are we due for the storm of centuries?

How often has the River Dee frozen over?

How is the Chester climate suitable for farming?

Did you know that local weather in Chester:

Uprooted trees in the city centre?

Made the city walls fall down?
Made a church kill a child?

Made a man eat his wife then is eaten himself?

Had colder winters than 1947 and 1963?

Had tornadoes and hurricanes?

Has its own cloud formations?

CHESTER’S CLIMATE: past and present new edition released 4th January 2017

Geoff’s Chaos

Realising not all members are in our facebook group, I’m shamelessly posting this ad for my latest science fiction story to be published.



Imagine a city which exists only in the minds of its inhabitants. There’s everything you’d expect in a real city including fun and trouble. Olga, has to get past the bouncer then in Mokii she finds an intruder. He is trying to usurp the virtual city because there is financial reward from the advertising revenue beamed into the visitors’ minds. Can she thwart him?

New science fiction book release and already has a 5 star review.

Created as an ebook by Solstice Publishing read for only 99 pence

Kindle ebook at http://mybook.to/ChaosOM

If you like it I’d be much obliged if you’d leave a word in the Amazon reviews. If you don’t like it I’ll try harder next time.

Iain M Banks – terrible news

I wam gutted to learn today that Iain M Banks has terminal cancer. There is a tenuous link to me in that he held up a copy of Exit, Pursued by a Bee during a book signing at NewCon4. He was selling 40 of his books to every one I sold of mine. I was sitting next to him and he took pity on me and helped me out. What a gentleman. He’s 7 years younger than me. Just shows we have to make the most of our lives.

I know there’ll be a wave of positive vibes winging his way this year – and well-deserved.


Notes on Land of the Headless

I’d forgotten my rucksack (I was bereft without it, like losing an arm or a h…) so I didn’t have my notes on Adam Robert’s book. I don’t think I did justice to my views at the meeting so I am posting my notes here. Feel free to attack them. They are only my subjective opinions.

Land of the Headless by Adam Roberts  Gollanz, 2007

Notes by Geoff Nelder

(Ironically the reader doesn’t experience the actual land of the Headless much)

Although the premise of a headless person surviving with his brain data transferred to an ordinator (the French call a computer an ordinateur) at the top of their spine, I found it hard to take seriously, to be involved.

I like the way Roberts uses elements of Game Theory eg the Prisoners’ Dilemma*; follows logically the consequences of Jon Cavala’s thoughts, even if flawed initially; the biology of someone without a head, even if not completely; and the writing style, which is an easy read with homage here and there to great writers and poets. The last is suitable as Jon was a poet. Eg near the end p233 “The air is cool but contained within itself the promise of the day’s heat yet to come.” (Wordsworth – This morning gives us promise of a glorious day).

Writing obscure in places eg p75 the military van. “Its wheels, though narrow, as tall as the chassis and angled slightly at an upwards taper.”

I like “Curled in sleep like an amplisand”.

Army training going up and down an artificial hill could be a homage to The Hill (1965 film with Sean Connery set in Libya)

Annoying repetitions of speaking to the reader with This is not my story but the story of Suizan Deluge who lost her head… Obvious that she didn’t even after meeting a headless woman who doesn’t deny she is her. Once Jon finds who he thinks is a headless Suizan it isn’t logical to persist in killing Mark Pol and then himself because it wouldn’t stop her being headless and his death would cause her distress.

Favourite line is from p11 “Though we speak to one another, you and I, perhaps,” I said, “are having different conversations.” This applies to our Book Group in Chester a lot of the time!

The biological consequences of losing a head is followed well. Loss of pituitary, pineal glands and hypothalamus are described and countered by a chemical pouch. Pineal is said to provide melatonin and so controlling the circadian rhythm. Headlessness would lead to Insipid Diabetes (producing excess urine normally controlled by the hypothalamus). Doesn’t mention much the lack of balance (middle ear function). Although the headless have prosthetics such as sensors for eyes, ears and speech, it doesn’t mention until the ‘vision’ about having a prosthetic head.

Fun consequences – no need for glasses including sunglasses, sunhats.

Irritated by plot. A plot hole seems to be that if Suizan didn’t want to name her rapist then why would she go to the police in the first place? Jon and the other two should have reasoned that the policeman was bluffing and called his bluff. I am irritated by Jon’s assumption the rapist was Mark Pol rather than Gymnaste and is so convinced with no evidence that he would go to such extremes as kill Mark Pol and himself. To me it’s not good enough to use this irrationality as a consequence of being headless because other afflicted individuals are not so stupid. Having said that I accept that everyone might react differently.


Ch 8 p 141 in the spaceship. Asserts that when going faster than light, you go back in time and thus lose some memory. I can’t find this anywhere else. It’s referred to again later and diminished as a kind of temporary and brief effect.

Yet another war story set in a future and space with thousands being killed and hurt with no ethical or emotional consequences. OTOH quite a good demonstration of how even intelligent soldiers trained to be mindlessly obedient can kill and follow orders without knowing why.

The book intrigued and annoyed in equal measure. Best aspect of the book is that it generates many ideas worth thinking about.

*Prisoner’s Dilemma in Game Theory Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of speaking to or exchanging messages with the other. The police admit they don’t have enough evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They plan to sentence both to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the police offer each prisoner a Faustian bargain (ie a deal with the devil). If he testifies against his partner, he will go free while the partner will get three years in prison on the main charge. Oh, yes, there is a catch … If both prisoners testify against each other, both will be sentenced to two years in jail.

Asimov’s Nightfall

Robin asked for Nightfall to be discussed at a future meeting – May? I found it freely available to read online such as <removed link as it might have been pirated.>

Being a short story (20 pages) is it presumptious of me to suggest we extend the discussion to any other Asimov shorts? Or would folk prefer to add one of his novels? If so which one?