I am a life-long reader of fiction – and occasionally non-fiction, mainly Military History – but have a particular fondness for Scottish Literature and Science Fiction. I am the author of one SF novel and several short stories which appeared in magazines or anthologies, details of which are below. At present my main activity in the genre is as a reviewer for Interzone. I have also undertaken proofreading work for both UK and US publishers.
Jack Deighton: A Potted Biography
Portions of this biography appear in my profile at Infinity Plus.
Jack Deighton was born in Dumbarton and is therefore a true Son of the Rock.*
He studied Chemistry at Glasgow University, then took a PhD (measuring 13C NMR substituent effects. His first sole publication was therefore his thesis Structural and Spectroscopic Studies of Ylides and Bicyclic Compounds.) He worked for two years in Hertfordshire studying the effects of additives on the processability of rubber, then moved back to Scotland and took up teaching. He has taught in Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline. Jack is married with two sons.
Note for those of you who speak aloud as you read:
You should pronounce “Deighton” to rhyme with “Brighton” and not with — to take an example, not at random — a certain town in Ohio. “Jack” should rhyme with, well, “Jack”…
An ylide is a charged compound a bit like a salt but, unlike a salt – which contains two types of ion each with a separate charge – an ylide has the charges on two adjacent atoms within a molecule.
*The old requirement that only those born in Dumbarton (as I was) can be regarded as Sons of the Rock may be out of date as just about everyone now has their first slap on the bum in Vale of Leven hospital which is in Alexandria, a few miles up the road.
Jack Deighton: Bibliography
“A Son Of The Rock,” Orbit, London, 1997. (Runner up for the British Science Fiction award.) Extracts can be read at infinity plus.
A further completed novel currently titled “Who Changes Not,” is available for publication.
A number of stories have appeared, including:
“The Face of the Waters,” New Worlds 2, Gollancz, 1992, nominated for BSFA award 1993 — also translated into French as “La Face Des Eaux” in Cyberdreams 2,
“This Is The Road,” New Worlds 3, Gollancz, 1993, nominated for BSFA award 1994, — also as “Le Chemin D’Eternite’,” in Cyberdreams 7,
“Closing Time,” Interzone 89, November 1994,
“The Gentlemen Go By,” Spectrum SF 2,
“SHIFT,” Spectrum SF 3,
“Dusk,” Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction, Mercat Press, 2005 – is also to be found at infinity plus.
“Osmotic Pressure,” “Postcripts 22/23″ from PS Publishing, 2010.
A Son Of The Rock
(Buy Brand New from me using Paypal. £3.50. Postage is included in the price. Scroll to bottom of this page for the pay button.)
A Son Of The Rock explores the effects on society if no-one appears to age. There is a drug called Euthuol which everyone takes to stop the ageing process at whichever age they take it. When ageing does occur at the end of life, it is rapid and the victims are shunned and hidden away.
Alan is a young mining engineer whose family has a genetic defect which may mean he will age before his due time if he takes the drug. He is on a final trip round the mining planets before taking up his career when he and his girl-friend meet an old man — the last of his religion — who has never taken Euthuol. The ramifications of this encounter dog Alan his whole life as he struggles with the decision to take the drug or not, and with the morality of mining and the wider society.
This scenario allowed me to explore issues of cultural colonisation, intolerance, prejudice and the rights of small cultures vis a vis larger ones.
From the novel’s cover.
“A Son of the Rock is hewn from solid, living stuff. It makes you take a long, cool look at our cool, cool world. It’s a rara avis, a truly Scottish SF novel, that makes subtle but profound statements about colonialism, political and cultural. But it’s the characters that give this book its inner strength. Real people, real lives, real dilemmas, real emotions.” – Ian McDonald
Praise for A Son Of The Rock.
“A jewel in the crumbling substrate of popular fiction.” Foundation
“A notable achievement.” Vector
“A pretty damn fine debut novel. I recommend this to anyone who has even a passing interest in Science Fiction.” – bookmole.vox.com. (As vox is no more, this link no longer works.)
“This guy never seemed to write anything else, which is a damned shame.” Good Reads (The review is down the page a bit.)
“The sort of character-led, considered and very British SF which rarely seems to be published these days” – Ian Sales