Discussing the influences behind Shadow Service on John Scalzi’s blog

Some days you just want to create a montage of the Grim Reaper, the Milbury stones and Sir Roger Moore.


Well, writer John Scalzi regularly invites writers to share the big idea behind their latest books and I was honoured to be invited to talk about Shadow Service last week.

In the article, I talk about the pop culture that I grew up loving and how it influences my writing today. Basically, it’s a run down of the inside of my head!

Naturally, I start the article with a quote from The Five Doctors:

“A man is the sum of his memories, you know. A Time Lord more so.”

So says Peter Davison’s Doctor in the 20th Anniversary Doctor Who story, first broadcast in 1983. 

Why quote the good Doctor at a piece exploring the origins of Shadow Service, my creator-owned comic which is being collected for the first time this month? Well, because this book proves that, just as men and women are the sum of their memories, a creator is the sum of their influences too.

Growing up in Britain of the late seventies and early eighties, I was obsessed with two things: James Bond, then played by the redoubtable Roger Moore, and scary stuff. The former was natural. Bond was everywhere, in the cinema and on ITV every bank holiday. As for the scary stuff? Well, the seventies especially seemed designed to scare kids. Horror was a staple of the stories we consumed on television as the nights drew in. Children of the Stones stands out as a particular favourite that downright terrified me, a tale of children fighting a strange, otherworldly cult in the British countryside where people are brainwashed, and victims turn into Neolithic standing stones.

Want to read more? Then head over to The Big Idea.

And thanks again to John and site editor Athena for having me stop by!

Image of Roger Moore by Allan Warren CC BY-SA 3.0

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