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CHILDREN'S BOOKS:

Top Secret

Background Information

I'm Number 7. I joined the Night Brigade on Tuesday. I'm the "New Kid".

Tonight we're going out on our first mission. And I'm scared.

The crew has to work together like well oiled machinery. Make a mistake, and you're SQUASHED.

Top Secret is my first picture book in the “Beddie-bye Sci-fi" genre. This science fiction book for 5/9-year-olds is a Mission:Impossible style coming-of-age adventure story told in very few words from the point of view of the new member of a crew called The Night Brigade who are involved in a mysterious nocturnal mission. I brought my engineering background into play by designing all the equipment used by The Night Brigade on a computer using a 3-D graphics program, and then tracing the designs onto watercolour paper. The look of the book suggests influence by filmmakers such as Ridley Scott and Terry Gilliam.

Nowadays, goblins, witches, and capricious gods curse us no more now that people have paved over Fairyland. Fairies aren’t so constantly underfoot these days in the over-developed world. Creepy woods have been replaced by creepy urban wastelands. Long-ago kingdoms have been built up into Megalopolis. Magic has given way to Science (i.e. magic that works). But the old fairy tale settings became frozen in time once they were captured from the oral tradition and committed to writing. Had they been left free to merrily hop from tongue to tongue like today’s urban myths, making only the odd appearance in the newspapers from time to time.

I’ve set Top Secret in an Edge City of no specific location. The crew of characters are far from Tinkerbells--rather, they’re inspired by lads in the film Memphis Belle and they use American slang instead of fruity 19th century language. They don’t use magic, but they do use gear designed on my computer. I won’t tell you what their mission is since that would be telling.

I hope the traditional fairy tale never dies out, but just the same, I’m always heartened when a new fable for our time comes down the pike. I’m hoping that a body of modern fairy tales will harvest those young readers who might not have a taste for too many princesses.