The Desolator

The Hal Spacejock FAQ


I'm going to keep this brief else people won't bother to read it - which detracts from the purpose of having a Frequently Asked Questions page in the first place.

Questions are bold, answers below them. I'm not trying to be cute with my replies, just brief.

Why 'Hal Spacejock'? Isn't that name kind of lame?
Yes, and that's a joke on me. I like dry intelligent humour, very droll and understated, and so I gave the character a completely over-the-top name. In a similar fashion the books are named after a human even though Clunk (a robot) is the central character. Of course, that leads to one of two outcomes: People who like intelligent humour avoid the Hal Spacejock books because they sound silly, and people who like silly books get hold of these and go WTF? But sometimes it works out just fine. Here's a typical reaction email:

"It's not the zany slapstick style of comedy I was expecting - more of a really well developed, fun story with interesting characters and enough real-world observations to make it a very enjoyable read. Thanks for a great story."

(You'll find more feedback emails here)

How do all your works fit into the Hal Series?
?The other day I ?realised I'm the only person on the planet who knows where my 20+ ?novels all fit together, and ?I figured I ?should draw up a chart or something.

?Well, that sounds like a lot of work and I'm pretty busy, so here's a quick rundown instead!

? All of the Hal Spacejock novels take place one after the other, with no gaps. You could read them in any order, but sometimes the later books mention events from earlier ones.

?The Harriet Walsh/Peace Force books take place a couple of years before the first Hal Spacejock novel. ?Harriet first appeared in Hal Spacejock 4, written in 2008, where she's a major character. She also appears in several Spacejock novels after that one.

Sam Willet, from ?The Secret War series, first appears in Hal Spacejock 9: Max Damage. The Secret War books take place ten years before the first Hal Spacejock novel.

?Harriet also appears in Hal Junior, as the little tearaway's mother. These books are set eight years after the Hal Spacejock series.

?My Dragon and Chips series features Clunk, from the Hal Spacejock series. They fit in somewhere after Hal Spacejock 8.

?Visit and Framed are Hal and Clunk short stories, while the novel Albion takes place after Hal Spacejock 8: Double Trouble.??

I ?also have a bunch of free short stories floating around. Thonn features the young villager from Dragon and Chips. The Desolator features the wizard, halfling and fighter from the same series.

My standalone book, How to Write a Novel, doesn't feature any of the Hal Spacejock characters. Yet.

?Hope that clears everything up!

I've written a book/short story/poem ... will you read it and give me feedback?
Sorry, but no. First, I don't want some loon claiming an idea in one of my future books came from their unpublished limerick, and second the internet is crammed with writers' groups, mailing lists, forums and workshops.

Will you give me a referral to your agent/publisher?
There's no point. The publishing industry is not a private club, and anyone can get in. You just have to write well, and write something they can sell.

How many Hal Spacejock books are you planning?
I have a lot of fun writing these books, but they're also hard work. If the enjoyment goes out of it I'll stop.

How long did it take you to get published?
Over twelve years, and I felt every one of them.

Have you considered writing anything but Hal & Clunk?
Sure - check out Hal Junior!

... More to come