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Colin Greenland

Colin Greenland has been described as 'one of the most distinctive and best loved of British sf writers'. He has also been described, by Neil Gaiman, as 'looking a little like Gandalf's rock-and-rolling youngest brother would, if he were secretly a pirate'. To this uncertain tribute, Colin's only recorded response was: 'A-ha, Frodo me lad, don't step on my blue suede sandals.'

Colin was born in Dover, Kent in 1954. He wrote his first book, about a fire engine that laid an egg, five years later. His first novel, Daybreak on a Different Mountain, took two years to write and seven years to sell, finally appearing in1984 from Allen & Unwin, who had already rejected it a few years earlier.

Colin made his name in the columns of the New Statesman, The Face and the Sunday Times, where he patiently explained to a sceptical world about sf and fantasy. For two years he was Arts Council Writer in Residence at the Science Fiction Foundation. He wrote the words for Magnetic Storm, a book of works by the fantasy artist Roger Dean, and his interviews with Michael Moorcock have been collected and published under the title Death is No Obstacle.

Colin's fourth novel, Take Back Plenty, began the tale of the cantankerous and resilient space trucker, Captain Tabitha Jute. It appeared in 1990, to immediate and lasting acclaim. Take Back Plenty has been praised by authors and critics from Iain Banks to Ursula Le Guin, and remains the only novel ever to have won all three British sf awards: the Eastercon, the British SF Association, and the Arthur C. Clarke. Take Back Plenty was also the first novel nominated by the SF Fan Fund to be recorded as a Talking Book for the Blind, with Colin reading his own words.

Take Back Plenty was followed in 1995 by a sequel, Seasons of Plenty. The Plenty Principle, a collection of short stories featuring a previously untold adventure of the young Captain Jute, appeared in 1997, and Mother of Plenty completed the trilogy in July 1998.

Colin Greenland's work has been translated into nine languages and broadcast on BBC radio. In 1996 he was Guest of Honour at the annual British national sf convention.

After eight years at Ortygia House, famous freezing cold palatial home of sf writers, in April 1996 Colin Greenland moved to Cambridge, where he now lives with his partner, the writer and editor Susanna Clarke.

'A Passion for Lord Pierrot' and eighteen others of the best stories of Colin Greenland can be found in:

  • The Plenty Principle
    HarperCollins, ISBN 0 00 649906 6, £5.99
    (reviewed elsewhere in infinity plus)
    'Exceeds even the wildest hopes' - Peter Crowther, Interzone
    'Indelibly entertaining' - Vector
    'Testament to the man's unique gift of story telling' - SFX

also available:

  • The Tabitha Jute Trilogy
    • Take Back Plenty, HarperCollins, ISBN 0 586 21339 2, £5.99
    • Seasons of Plenty, HarperCollins, ISBN 0 00 647344 X, £4.99
    • Mother of Plenty ("...a seriously strange load of old guff..."), HarperCollins, ISBN 0 00 649907 4 £5.99

not available in bookshops:

  • Harm's Way
    'Tremendous fun... Colin Greenland has recreated the universe' - Locus
    'A charmer...deserves the label of tour de force' - Analog
    'SF will never be the same again' - Starburst


  • The Hour of the Thin Ox
  • Other Voices

for autographed paperback copies at bargain prices and small numbers of other titles, editions & formats, email requests to

Colin Greenland: bibliography


  • "Miss Otis Regrets" 2nd prize, The Fiction Magazine/Faber & Faber competition.


  • The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British "New Wave" in Science Fiction (Routledge) - Eaton Award for S.F. Criticism, 1985.


  • Daybreak on a Different Mountain (novel - Allen & Unwin).
  • "A House of Straw and Paper", Imagine.
  • Magnetic Storm: The Work of Roger and Martyn Dean (Dragon's World).
  • Co-author: Album Cover Album vol. 3 (Dragon's World).


  • Co-editor: Interzone: The First Anthology (J.M. Dent; St. Martin's Press, New York).


  • Rückkehr im Morgenrot (Goldmann, 1986).
  • Co-author: The Freelance Writer's Handbook (Ebury Press).


  • The Hour of the Thin Ox (novel - Unwin Hyman).
  • "The Living End", The Fiction Magazine.
  • Co-editor: Storm Warnings: S.F. Confronts the Future (essay collection - S.Illinois University Press).


  • Other Voices (novel - Unwin Hyman).
  • "The Wish", Other Edens II (Unwin Hyman).
  • "Off the Case" and "The Disemboguement", The Drabble Project (Beccon).
  • Video, ICA Guardian Conversation with Michael Moorcock.


  • "The Traveller", Zenith: The Best in New British S.F. (Sphere).
  • "In My View" (opinion article), Sunday Times, 10 Sep.


  • Take Back Plenty (novel - Unwin Hyman) - Arthur C. Clarke Award and B.S.F.A. Award for Best Novel, 1991; Eastercon Award, 1992.
  • "A Passion for Lord Pierrot", Zenith 2: The Best in New British S.F. (Sphere).
  • "Best Friends", More Tales from The Forbidden Planet (Titan).
  • "Science Fiction 1990" (supplement), Sunday Times, 9 Sep.
  • "The Carve-Up", Journal Wired.


  • "Nothing Special", Temps (Penguin).
  • "The Stone Face", Final Shadows (New York: Doubleday).
  • "In the Garden", Novacon chapbook.
  • Take Back Plenty (New York: Avon).
  • [Daybreak on a Different Mountain] (Tokyo Sogensha).


  • "Going to the Black Bear", The Weerde (Penguin).
  • Michael Moorcock: Death is No Obstacle (Savoy Books).
  • "Candy Comes Back", In Dreams (Gollancz).
  • "Seasonal Greetings from Bacup", R.E.M.
  • "The Foreign Post", Eurotemps (Penguin).
  • "Jen ctete dál...", Ikarie.
  • Variété Tussen de Sterren (Holland: Luitingh-Sijthoff).
  • Reconquistar Plenty (Barcelona: Martínez Roca).


  • Den Ny Alice (Århus: Klim).
  • [Take Back Plenty] (Moscow: Gryph-F).
  • Harm's Way (novel - HarperCollins and Avon).
  • Begegnungen auf dem Möbiusband (München: Heyne).
  • "The Girl who Changed Everything", The Weerde 2 (Penguin).
  • "Lodgings", Touch Wood (Little, Brown).


  • "Temptations of Iron", Michael Moorcock's Elric: Tales of the White Wolf (Stone Mountain, GA: White Wolf).
  • "The Station With No Name", 13 More Tales of Horror (Scholastic).


  • "The Travelling Companion", Strange Plasma.
  • "Station of the Cross", Tombs (Stone Mountain, GA: White Wolf).
  • Seasons of Plenty (novel - HarperCollins).
  • "Grandma", 13 Again (Scholastic).
  • "The Suffer the Children Man" (BBC Radio 4).


  • Seasons of Plenty (Avon).
  • "Masquerade and High Water", The Sandman Book of Dreams (New York: HarperCollins).
  • Sophies Kurs (München: Heyne).
  • "A Bit of Company" (BBC Radio 4).
  • "Pokusení oceli", Ikarie.
  • Harmin Tiellä (Helsinki: Loki-Kirjat).
  • "Fiery Spirits", Pawn of Chaos: Tales of the Eternal Champion (Stone Mountain, GA: White Wolf).


  • The Plenty Principle (collection - HarperCollins).
  • Problemen in Overvloed (Holland: Luitingh-Sijthoff).
  • "Christmas with Mary", Interzone.


  • "Emergency Exit" (extract from Mother of Plenty), Interzone.
  • Mother of Plenty (novel - HarperCollins and Avon).
  • "Miss Becky Laban and the Galactic League", Albedo.


  • "The Way to Norwich", Moonshots (DAW, 1999).
  • children's novel, Dreamtime series, title to be announced (Orion, 1999).
  • Take Back Plenty (Milan: Perseo; Portugal; Bulgaria).
  • Harm's Way (Paris: J'Ai Lu).

Work in progress

  • Tempesta (graphic novel - with Dave McKean).

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© Colin Greenland 7 November 1998