A retired teacher from Horsham is venturing into online publishing, with collections of short stories available for download to Kindle.
Derek McMillan, of Giblets Lane, told the County Times about writing his first story - The Mirror of Eternity.
“The first book I wrote was about teaching, it wasn’t a work of fiction,” he said, “this is the first work of fiction that I’ve done.
“I’ve always been interested in science fiction, in the idea of time travel.
“I have always used science fiction as a means of escape, both writing it and reading it.”
Derek lists his favourite authors as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert and Jack London. On the lighter side, he is also a fan of various incarnations of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and of the TV series Red Dwarf.
The Mirror of Eternity and the other stories in the collection explore concepts of time travel, and of perceived realities and transient versions of ‘self’ created in cyberspace.
Science fiction writers who deal with time travel often come up against one or more theoretical paradoxes.
In The Mirror of Eternity, the narrator’s friend Xavier claims to have got around this problem by inventing the eponymous mirror - a device which allows the user to experience the past as a passive observer.
Things go awry because, as quantum physicists or Douglas Adams’ private detective Dirk Gently could have told him, it is not possible to observe something without affecting it.
The legends of King Arthur also have a clear influence: in the story Paradox, Lady of Shalott references hint at a link between her mirror - a substitute for interaction with reality - and the Mirror of Eternity, or the computer screen through which a version of the legend of Sir Gareth ‘Beaumains’ is experienced.
Derek has ten collections of short stories available at http://alfiedog.com/products-page/derek-mcmillan