Lambshead, John 1952–

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Lambshead, John 1952–

PERSONAL:

Born 1952, in Newquay, Cornwall, England; married; children: two daughters. Education: Brunel University of Technology, B.S.; Natural History Museum (London, England), Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Kent, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Novelist and author of scientific publications. Natural History Museum, London, England, senior research scientist in marine biodiversity; Southampton University, visiting chair, oceanography; University of California, regent's lecturer. Designer of computer games and author of wargaming books.

WRITINGS:

(With Leslie Newsom) Fall of the West, Warhammer Hisotrical Wargames, 2002.

The Hammer's Slammers Handbook: Vehicle Designs & Technical Specifications Plus an Easy Play Gaming System, Pireme Publishing, 2004.

Lucy's Blade (novel), Baen (Riverdale, NY), 2007.

Also author of numerous scientific and academic articles.

SIDELIGHTS:

A senior research scientist at London's Natural History Museum who specializes in marine ecology, John Lambshead also enjoys writing fiction. His first novel, Lucy's Blade, combines elements of fantasy and historical fiction. The story takes place in the 1500s at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Her royal astrologer, Dr. John Dee, summons a demon that possesses Lady Lucy Dennys, the niece of the queen's espionage chief, Sir Francis Walsingham. Just as Dee is about to kill Lucy with a knife to destroy the demon, Walsingham intervenes; Lucy goes on to face various other dangers, though, including arrangements for an unwanted marriage and, even more perilous, a plot by Spanish secret agents to assassinate the queen and place a Catholic monarch on the throne.

Harriet Klausner, reviewing Lucy's Blade for the Books ‘n’ Bytes Web site, called the novel a ‘lighthearted satirical fantasy’ with entertaining snippets of historical period material. A contributor to Publishers Weekly, on the other hand, felt that Lambshead's execution of an ‘imaginative’ premise ‘falters.’ While Klausner found the novel's anachronistic asides amusing, the Publishers Weekly writer—quoting the comment ‘Even a small cut could kill in a world without antibiotics"—considered them intrusive. A California Bookwatch reviewer praised Lucy's Blade as an exciting blend of magic, history, and adventure full of ‘satisfying twists and turns."

In an interview with Toni Weisskopf published on the Jim Baen's Universe Web site, Lambshead confided: ‘I had always, always, wanted to be an author but somehow I never did anything about it.’ Instead he followed a career in science, doing ecological research and designing wargames and computer games. Yet the urge to write stories remained with him, and—inspired by a college zoology professor who published a murder mystery that became the basis of a popular series—he began writing short stories and submitted one to a publisher. A sympathetic editor helped Lambshead rewrite the story several times, and finally published it. After this success, the scientist committed himself to a daily regimen of fiction writing. He loves science fiction, for which he developed a huge appetite in his youth. ‘I was stunned by the daring and originality of the American SF culture and spent all my pocket money on paperbacks at two shillings and six pence a go,’ he explained to Weisskopf. ‘I still prefer the American wham-bam storytelling style to the more highbrow British approach."

Lambshead was honored for his scientific work in 2000, when the London Evening Standard nominated him as one of London's top one hundred ‘unknown thinkers.’ He lives with his wife in Kent, England.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

California Bookwatch, August, 2007, ‘Baen Books."

Publishers Weekly, March 5, 2007, review of Lucy's Blade, p. 44.

ONLINE

Books 'n' Bytes,http://www.booksnbytes.com/ (November 1, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of Lucy's Blade.

Jim Baen's Universe,http://baens-universe.com/ (November 1, 2007), Toni Weisskopf, interview with John Lambshead.

Writertopia,http://www.writertopia.com/ (November 1, 2007), John Lambshead profile.