Archive for July, 2008

Real Life in Space

Posted in Science, Space with tags , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2008 by keithmansfield

“The others followed suit . . . sliding down into what looked like a chaotic junkyard, about the size of a school gym. Johnny wondered if he was ever going to see the type of gleaming hi-tech spaceship he’d always imagined.”

JM&tSoL, p.81

When we watch science fiction films or TV shows, spaceships are normally spotlessly clean and tidy. The Discovery One of Kubrick/Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey would be the perfect pristine example if it weren’t for the mess going on inside computer HAL’s brain. From James Tiberius Kirk’s starship Enterprise through to Roj Blake’s Liberator, once we leave the shackles of Earth it seems nothing is ever the slightest bit out of place (even in zero G).

In real life things are seldom like that. I hate to disappoint any parents reading this, but I have to tell you that Johnny’s quarters on the Spirit of London are just as untidy as his bedroom back in Halader House.

At the UK’s National Space Centre in Leicester, there’s a mockup of one module of the International Space Station:

It’s informative to see how the same module looks in Earth orbit:

Thanks to Joey deVilla’s Global Nerdy blog for pointing out the pictures.
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Johnny Mackintosh en de supersnelle augurk

Posted in Book news, Dutch edition with tags , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2008 by keithmansfield

The Dutch edition of Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London was published on 24 June by Prometheus of Amsterdam. I’m in excellent company as Prometheus also publish the Dutch versions of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. As my UK publication date wasn’t until 3 July, that means Johnny Mackintosh en de supersnelle augurk was the first Johnny Mackintosh book to come out anywhere in the world.

The cover features Johnny and his faithful Old English sheepdog, Bentley, gazing at some beautiful stars, while a transparent, super fast London Gherkin blazes across the sky. There’s even my photo on the back, so if I wander into a bookshop in The Netherlands I can prove that I’m really the author.

It’s wonderful to read Johnny in another language and fascinating to see the effect of a translation: for instance, Johnny’s keyboard or Voice-Activated Computer, Kovac, has had to become Keyboard- Of Stem-Aangestuurde Computer, Kosac. Being quite a bad-tempered computer at times, I’m not sure whether he’d like it, but I certainly do.

Clicking the photos will enlarge the images, but in case the back cover copy doesn’t show up very well, it reads:

Het leven van Johnny Mackintosh is niet gemakkelijk: hij woont met zijn hond Bentley en zijn zelfgemaakte computer Kosac in een weeshuis, zijn vader zit in de gevangenis en zijn moeder is werkzaam in een ziekenhuis voor geschifte criminelen. Johnny en Bentley worden ook nog eens constant in de gaten gehouden door Mr. Wilkins, de geniepige kok van het weehuis. Maar wanneer de computer van Johnny een signaal opvangt dat niet afkomstig is van de aarde, verandert zijn leven drastisch. Johnny ontdekt dat hij nog een zusje heeft en dat de journalist die onderzoek deed naar zijn bizarre verhaal is vermoord.

Hij vlucht weg uit het weehuis om zijn zusje Clara te vinden. Beiden worden echter ontvoerd door buitenaardse wezens. Uiteindelijk weten ze te ontsnappen, maar tijdens hun reis naar huis onstaan er problemen waardoor ze terug in de tijd worden geslingerd. Johnny moet er alles aan doen om veilig op aarde terug te keren en de waarheid rondom zijn ouders te weten komen.

Johnny Mackintosh en de supersnelle augurk is het debuut van Keith Mansfield.

Johnny and Bentley watch the skies

If you want to get your own hands on a copy, you can buy the Dutch edition online.
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Meet the author of Johnny Mackintosh

Posted in Book news, Website news with tags , , , , , on July 21, 2008 by keithmansfield

Those lovely people at Harrods have asked me to sign books in their children’s Waterstone’s this coming Wednesday. Inspired by that, I’ve created (yet) another new section for this site. It’s called meet the author.

Right now there’s only Harrods from 3pm on Wednesday 23 July 2.30pm on Saturday 26 July [edit] and then I shall be somewhere in Oxford on Tuesday 12 August, but other dates will be added as and when.

I love doing readings and events, so if you’d like to invite me to you bookshop, literary festival, school or book group, do get in touch via keith[at]keithmansfield[dot]co[dot]uk.
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What other people say about Johnny Mackintosh

Posted in Book news, Website news with tags , , on July 13, 2008 by keithmansfield

I don’t know if it becomes easier as you publish more books, but it’s a nerve-wracking time at the moment as the early reviews of Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London begin to come in. Happily, people have said some lovely things so far. If that changes, I shall have to revert to the author’s defence of claiming I never read reviews.

I’ve created a new section of the site so you can see all the different bits and pieces written about the book in one place. It’s called What other people say about Johnny Mackintosh.
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The Science of Johnny Mackintosh

Posted in Science, Website news with tags , , on July 9, 2008 by keithmansfield

Want to know more about the science behind Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London? I’ve created a new section of this site that I’ll be adding to when time allows. Maybe, if I went back in time to do it, that would let me write more entries?
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