Archive for Johnny Mackintosh

Readers’ Gallery Created

Posted in Readers content, Website news with tags , , , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by keithmansfield

In true Vision On style, I’ve finally taken some of the wonderful pictures I’ve been sent and begun a readers’ gallery. I’ll do my best to scan more images and start adding others as they come in. You can access it by clicking on this thumbnail drawing of a Krun.

If you want to send me your drawings, you can email them to keith[at] replacing the [at] with the regular email symbol.


1. Saturn

Posted in 12 Days of Johnny Mackintosh, Space, star blaze with tags , , , on December 26, 2009 by keithmansfield

“he was staring at the huge planet Saturn … for Johnny was not standing in any room on Earth. He was on the bridge of his very own spaceship”, pp. 1–2

Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

Happy Christmas to fans of Johnny Mackintosh everywhere! I hope you had a great time.

For the next twelve days, leading up to publication, I’m going to be posting images that give what I hope is a tantalizing taste of Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze, showing places Johnny visits, but not giving the story away. Today’s first image shows the planet Saturn.

If I had a spaceship, the first place I would visit would be Saturn. End of. Ever since I was young it’s the sight I’ve most dreamed of seeing close at hand with the naked eye. Perhaps, in a couple of hundred years’ time, there’ll be a thriving tourist industry and plenty of space hotels in orbit.

All four of the gas giant planets in the solar system turn out to have ring systems but the others pale when compared with the mighty Saturn, whose rings can sometimes be seen through small telescopes from Earth. We don’t know for certain how and why they formed and how long they’ll last. A few years ago opinion among astronomers was that they were a temporary phenomenon. Nowadays, it’s thought more likely the rings are stable and could even last as long as Saturn or the rest of the solar system.

As Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze begins, the Spirit of London is close to Saturn. This picture was taken by the Cassini spacecraft, and this particular shot is of an equinox, where the planet is exactly half in light and half in shadow. We’re used to the myriad satellites orbiting Earth, for instance giving us TV, mobile phones and weather forecasting, but it’s amazing to think that nowadays we have satellites in orbit around other bodies. There are three around Mars and it’s a tremendous achievement for Cassini to have been positioned around Saturn as it has.

I’m very excited about tomorrow’s picture as it’s one I took myself…

The Second Johnny Mackintosh book

Posted in Book news, Space with tags , , , , on August 16, 2009 by keithmansfield

If you’ve come to this site because you’re desperate to discover more about the sequel to Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London (and who could blame you), you’re in the right place. Finally, the full manuscript for Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze is with Quercus Books and in production, due to publish early in 2010.

Supernova image SN2006gyThe Star Blaze of the title is what we might normally call a supernova, the moment a star explodes at the end of its life. At that time, the light from a single sun will outshine the rest of its galaxy.

Of course it would be wrong to tell you what happens, but I have to say I’m very excited about the new book. I can say the action begins around five months after the end of Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London and that you should check back soon as I’ll be posting a little taster…

[Image: artist’s impression of Supernova SN2007gy, courtesy NASA/CXC/M.Weiss; X-ray: NASA/CXC/UC Berkeley/N.Smith et al.; IR: Lick/UC Berkeley/J.Bloom & C.Hansen]

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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