There were titles early in my career that were uncredited, published pseudonymously or where I acted as a ghost writer. So I’m only listing here books that credit me as author. I’ll try to include covers of alternate and foreign editions, where I have them - publishers don’t always provide author copies, though they’re supposed to; and there have been foreign editions of some of my books I didn’t know about except as rumours.
My trilogies and series of books - the Orcs series, the Nightshade Chronicles trilogy and the Quicksilver trilogy - are listed separately on this site. See the menu on the top left. This list covers the rest.
Gladiators Game Book No 1 (Boxtree, 1992)
In the writing profession your credits are your collateral - having a few books on your CV puts you on the industry’s radar and makes subsequent commissions a little easier to secure. So when you’re starting out you tend to take what you can get. Which is not to demean the Gladiators TV show; a quiz book might not have been something I was ambitious to write but I was grateful for it, and you always have an affection for your first published book.
As is common with tie-in projects like this, I’d written the book from a summary of the show before it aired and without seeing a single episode. I wrote it for a flat fee, no royalties. A couple of months after it was published my then agent mentioned that it had sold over 100,000 copies, if memory serves. But that was the deal and I went into it open-eyed.
Tom & Jerry: The Movie (Boxtree, 1993)
I wrote this from the shooting script and turned it in well before the film was released. The movie wasn’t anywhere near as great as we all hoped - I think that having the characters talk, and making it a musical, were perhaps not the wisest decisions - but, hey, I got to work with two legendary cartoon characters. Due to an oversight by the publisher my name didn’t appear in the book, despite a contractual obligation that it would. I was promised this would be rectified in later printings but I don’t know if it ever was. Welcome to the zany world of publishing.
Wordsmiths of Wonder: Fifty Interviews With Writers of the Fantastic (Orbit, 1993)
This was one of my early titles based on my idea and not someone else’s. I’m proud of all my early books - you put heart and soul into everything you write, whatever the source material - but I’m particularly proud of this one. The interviews were all originally published in magazines and newspapers, and many were expanded for the book. I liked the idea of a book title with the acronym WoW! Wordsmiths was (very) longlisted for the World Fantasy Award. It’s sad that at least fourteen of the interviewees are no longer with us.
Wordsmiths of Wonder is in three sections: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Here’s a list of the interviewees:
Douglas Adams, Brian Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, Iain M. Banks, Greg Bear, Ray Bradbury, David Brin, C.J. Cherryh, Storm Constantine, Gardner Dozois, Colin Greenland,
Joe Haldeman, Harry Harrison, Robert Holdstock, Michael Moorcock, Larry Niven & Steven Barnes, Frederik Pohl, Kim Stanley Robinson, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg, Dan Simmons, Brian Stableford, Michael Swanwick, Lisa Tuttle, Howard Waldrop, David Wingrove.
Robert Asprin, Terry Brooks, Louise Cooper, Stephen Donaldson, David Gemmell,
Patricia Kennealy, Katharine Kerr, Tanith Lee, Dwina Murphy-Gibb, Diana Paxson,
Terry Pratchett, Tad Williams, Jonathan Wylie.
Peter Atkins, Jonathan Aycliffe, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Christopher Fowler, Stephen Gallagher, James Herbert, Shaun Hudson, Graham Masterton, Kim Newman, Guy N. Smith.
Cool Zool (Boxtree, 1994)
Zool was a popular arcade game character back in the day. As the book wasn’t based on a film or TV series I was allowed a lot of leeway in doing more or less what I wanted with the cast of characters and the premise, which was fun. The only thing was that the publisher had a bunch of black and white illustrations they’d bought, none of which had anything to do with Zool, and they wanted what they depicted worked into the story. All against a punishing deadline. Which was an interesting challenge.
Strange Invaders (Point SF/Scholastic, 1995)
Considering that science fiction is a lifelong passion with me, it’s perhaps strange that this YA title is the only sf novel I’ve written, though I have penned short stories in the genre. I wanted to call it simply Strangers, but the publisher preferred their choice of title. Scholastic had enormous success with their Point Horror and Point Crime imprints, and launched Point SF and Point Fantasy on its back. Sadly, neither line lasted very long. I think Point Fantasy ran to only 28 titles.
Spider-Man: The Hobgoblin (Boxtree, 1996)
There are iconic characters I’ve always wanted to work with - I’d kill to write Batman or Dr Who, for example - so even though this was YA and based on the animated TV series I still jumped at the chance to play with the web-slinger. I understand there was a French edition of this book, but I’ve never seen it.
Dark Skies: The Awakening (Bantam Books, 1997)
This was a bitter-sweet experience. Dark Skies was an American series commissioned in the wake of The X-Files’ enormous popularity. As with the tie-in titles I cover above, I wrote the book based on the scripts before the series was shown in the UK. About halfway through I was supplied with all the episodes - on VHS - minus music and special effects, which made for strange viewing. Literally a couple of weeks after I delivered the manuscript the series was cancelled. My book covered the first four episodes of the series, and the plan was to tackle the remaining episodes in subsequent books if it went well, but the cancellation scuppered that. The book was too far into production to be stopped and the publisher went ahead and released it. Dark Skies was a far from perfect series, but the concept was good and I think it would have improved if it was allowed to carry on. But the TV business, like publishing, can be hard-edged.
I wrote several “official” biographies/autobiographies (see my mention of ghosting up above) and here are two that credited me as author.
Ken and Me (Simon & Schuster, 1993)
I think I got this commission because of my work as a journalist, where interviews were one of my specialities, and exhaustive interviewing of the subject are the bedrock of biographies. I believe I’m right in saying that Coronation Street’s Ken Barlow (as played by William Roache) is the world’s longest-running soap character. There was at least one more subsequent autobiography of Roache - celebrities tend to clock up several - but I wasn’t involved with it.
Here are the covers of the paperback and large print editions:
Gerry Anderson: The Authorised Biography (Legend/Random House, 1996)
This project was born of tragedy. Simon Archer was a local radio presenter and a huge fan of Gerry Anderson’s TV series. Gerry agreed to Simon writing his authorised biography, but shortly after he began, Simon lost his life in a car accident. I worked from Simon’s notes, coupled with my own interviews with Gerry, and turned in the book against what had become a pretty tight deadline. As with William Roache, there was another Gerry Anderson authorised biography a couple of years later by another writer who incorporated elements of my work and Simon’s. I wasn’t involved in that.
Fade To Black (Scholastic/Point Crime1997)
This YA novel, and a handful of short stories, comprise the only crime fiction I’ve written. Fade To Black is essentially in the classic whodunnit tradition, as you can see from the blurb:
“The house Ben remembered with such affection now seemed sinister. Maybe it was the fact that he was here because of a death ...
“Silvester Whitbourne lived and died for the movies - literally. Now his family are eagerly gathering in his strange old house for the reading of his will. You’d almost think some of them would kill for Silvester’s priceless collection of movie
“And soon one of them does. Ben Whitbourne feels he’s walked on to the set of a horror film. But will anyone be left when the final credits roll ... ?”
Here’s the cover, alongside the hardcover large print edition, and the French edition:
These are the German, Italian and Spanish editions:
David Gemmell Graphic Novels
Working with David Gemmell in adapting his novels Legend and Wolf in Shadow was a pleasure, not least because while overseeing the projects he more or less gave me free rein as far as the scripts were concerned. I greatly appreciated that trust. The graphic novels, published in 1993 and 1994 respectively, were superbly illustrated by Chris Baker, the artist also known as Fangorn, with lettering by Elitta Fell. They were published by Random House, under its Legend imprint (named after Dave Gemmell’s novel, which was quite an accolade).
There was a limited hardback edition of the graphic novel of Legend, restricted to 200 copies, signed by David, Chris, Elitta and myself. Its cover’s identical to the paper edition (as below, with the back cover blurb) so I haven’t reproduced it here. Here also is the German edition, published by Verlag Thomas Tilsner and translated by Fred Fliege.
And here’s a rarity. The publisher produced an edition of four copies just for the creators - hardbound, with high quality slick paper, gold tooled lettering and a silk bookmark. We all signed each copy.
A campaign book was produced for the retail trade:
The Wolf in Shadow cover, back cover blurb, and the cover without over-print, which formed the basis of a promotional poster:
Shake Me To Wake Me collects a selection of my stories, with one specially written new story (The Gripes of Wrath). It’s a book I’m particularly proud of.
Table of contents
Introduction: Sleeping With The Writer
Picking Up The Tab
Throwing A Wobbly
We Are For The Dark
1. Falling in Love
2. If You Can’t Do It With The Lights On You Shouldn’t Be Doing It At All
3. Good Brown, Charlie Grief
Polly Put The Mockers On
The Gripes of Wrath
About the Author
The book was published in trade paperback, a limited, signed hardcover edition (250 copies) and as an e-book.
Here’s the cover, by Andy Bigwood, without over-print:
You can read my short story Throwing A Wobbly here.
I’ve had stories in a number of anthologies and magazines, as well as non-fiction pieces, introductions I’ve written to other people’s books, and endorsements I was happy to provide. There are far too many of all of these to feature individually here, and a lot I’ve either mislaid over the years or never had copies of in the first place. So here’s a kind of mosaic made up of a small, random selection of copies I have to hand, including a few foreign editions, just as a taster:
This summary/gallery compiled August 2020.
© Stan Nicholls
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