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I’m a guest on today’s Guardian science weekly podcast.  I had a great time recording it last week with two journalists I respect a great deal and read often, Alok Jha and Ian Sample.  We discuss the brilliant Out of this World science fiction exhibition at the British Library, the discovery of planets without stars and, of course, The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth.

Listen to the podcast here.

In January, Newbooks Magazine, the magazine for readers and reading groups, chose The Sky's Dark labyrinth as one of their forthcoming debut novels of the year. I was especially grateful; it gave me a great boost as I sat and wondered whether anyone would really go for a novel based on 17th century astronomy.

Now, they have reviewed the book and I'm particularly pleased that reviewer Berwyn Peet has said, "a good read and as a rich source of discussion for book groups."

I have a new story published by ESA:


The largest and most complex scientific instrument yet to be fitted to the International Space Station was installed today. Taken into space by the Space Shuttle, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer will sift ten thousand cosmic-ray hits every minute, looking for nature’s best-kept particle secrets. ...


Click on the ‘read more’ link below the tags if you cannot already see the whole article.



I would like to extend my thanks to Pippa Goldsmidt who has reviewed The Sky's Dark Labyrinth for the superb LabLit website.


"The story of the Copernican revolution is usually summed up as a single moment in Western civilisation when science overturned religion, and people started to replace the Bible’s account of the world around them with theories based on physical observations.

I'm pleased to report another review of The Sky's Dark Labyrinth, this time by science journalist Tim Jones.


"Galileo Galilei’s scrape with the Roman Catholic Church is well known.


His suggestion that the Earth spins on its axis and orbits around the Sun was an afront to scripture that got him branded as a heretic and almost burnt at the stake. How he first became aware of the full peril of his situation is less well known: on a rooftop in Rome, eavesdropping whilst taking a pee behind a bush.

A few weeks back I was signing books at Waterstones Stevenage when Dave Scott pop in to say hi.  We had met briefly before at another signing of mine and it was a pleasure to see a familiar face.  He was rushing to finish his holiday packing and bought The Sky's Dark Labyrinth for his vacation reading.  What I did not know was that Dave was taking a punt on me because he was not sure that a novel about astronomy was his kind of thing.

Thankfully, he has decided that it is and wrote a review for GeekPlanetOnline.

There are some great deals online at the moment for The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth.  Check out the Book Depository and who both have it today for just £8.08 in hardback.  Amazon also have the Kindle ebook edition at just £7.69 – grab it quick in case they suddenly realise that they shouldn’t be selling it yet as the release date isn’t until 14th May!  Please check all prices carefully, these discounts can change rapidly.

I have a new story published by ESA:


ESA’s Herschel infrared space observatory has detected raging winds of molecular gas streaming away from galaxies. Suspected for years, these outflows may have the power to strip galaxies of gas and halt star formation in its tracks...


Click on the ‘read more’ link below the tags if you cannot already see the whole article.


I have a new story published by ESA:


Newly released images from ESA’s Mars Express show Nili Fossae, a system of deep fractures around the giant Isidis impact basin. Some of these incisions into the martian crust are up to 500 m deep and probably formed at the same time as the basin...


It has been an absolute thrill to hear that the website has chosen The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth as their May 2011 Debut of the Month.  In their review, they write “A vivid, thrilling portrayal of the lives and work of Kepler and Galileo... It's the first in what will be a fascinating trilogy. Each book bringing to life, through vivid storytelling, key moments in our understanding of the cosmos... Books like this transform the way you access and understand our view of history.”

You can read the full review here.  There is also a link from that page that will allow you to read the first two chapters of the book for free, and compare prices across the major internet book retailers.



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