The Harriet Walsh series

Who is Hal Spacejock?

Hal Spacejock is one of the most memorable figures in sci-fi. Joules Taylor

Everyone knows someone like Hal - he's the guy who plugs a 12-volt lantern into a mains socket and burns his house down. He's the guy who does his own plumbing and floods the neighbour's house. He's the guy who visits three stores to save a few bucks on a hammer, then blows a hundred and twenty on a laser-guided tape measure with built-in bottle opener.

In my novels, Hal Spacejock is a freighter pilot trying to make a living hauling cargo all over the galaxy. His ship, the Black Gull, is a high-maintenance old wreck controlled by a confident, unflappable computer called the Navcom.

Unfortunately, Hal can only afford to land on backwater planets, where the only cargo jobs on offer are the kind which will land him on a prison planet for life.

By the way, many people see the dreaded words "Science Fiction" and imagine themselves buried in reams of technical detail and endless futuristic gadgets explained so thoroughly you suspect the author built their own working models. However, there are actually two kinds of science fiction: Hard SF - where the characters and plot are secondary to the scientific detail, and Entertaining SF - where the interaction between the characters is paramount. OK, I lied about 'Entertaining', I just didn't want to call it 'soft'.

In Spacejock books cars hover and spaceships fly, and I'll leave it to the scientists to invent them in time for the future. If you want to know more about Hal's history, and view a selection of previous covers, click here