The story revolves around two 23rd century space travellers, who each have a secret but share a love of 20th century cinema. They know every movie ending ever made but will they survive when the credits roll?
So far it has had 10 x 5 star reviews on Amazon and has been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Awards 2014 and even made it to No#3 in the Amazon Top 100 paid-for ebook chart in the science fiction/steampunk category. Thank you all.
Secret Cargo is available from Amazon (including Amazon.com if you are in the US) plus iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, Kobo and Gardeners plus just about any other ebook source you can name.
And there's more... here's what the early reviews said...
"If, by the end, you are not screaming curses at the author, then you've read it wrong!"
"...the twists which come close to the end had me both cheering and crying."
"...marvellous mental imagery - and some a little bit 'mental'..."
Here are the latest reviews in full (including one review from Puerto Rica)
5.0 out of 5 stars - A great read I am looking forward to part2! - 11 April 2014
As a fan of science fiction I am always looking to be exposed to new authors. I downloaded Secret Cargo to my Kindle and read it start to finish in one setting. For the record, I am not someone who is going to discuss the idioms and literary nuances of any book; I read for pleasure, and that is exactly what Secret Cargo delivered. The story premise is unique, the dialog is engaging, and there are plenty of novel sci-fi inventions that make this eBook a great read. I won't play the spoiler, but there are plenty of surprises and plot twists. My only disappointment was that since I was reading it on my Kindle I was not keeping a good watch on percent complete. When I got to the end, I was definitely left wanting for more. I hope that Part 2 is on the way, and soon! Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars - Enjoyable even if you're not a sci-fi geek - 26 Feb 2014
I'm not a sci-fi geek (though I love John Wyndham's books), and I'm not really a film buff either. However, if you are either of those things, I think you'd absolutely love this novella, and get even more out of reading it than I did.
I really liked it, anyway – despite my ignorance of sci-fi and what terms like steampunk mean – as it's an easy, entertaining and ultimately thought-provoking read. It also caused me to have a really vivid dream about it afterwards, so obviously made as much of an impression on my subconscious as it did as my conscious mind!
4.0 out of 5 stars - classic short story - 12 Feb 2014
By Amazon Customer
Secret cargo is a classic short story, the main characters are established fairly quickly, with further surprising aspects of themselves neatly woven into the story as you go along. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I enjoyed this novelette on holiday, and sometimes, a short story like this fills a journey very nicely.
5.0 out of 5 stars - 30 Jan 2014
I'm not a great reader. In fact, I'm very fussy, and a lot of books get discarded within minutes – life's too short. Secret Cargo had me gripped from page one. It is refreshingly easy to read, it is engaging and charming on so many levels and its humour and plot proved so compelling, it was indeed hard to put down. How so much plot, futuristic outer-space imagery, tragedy (a sprinkling) and fun is packed into such a short book, left me impressed. For me, Secret Cargo is an inspired work of art, which I enjoyed very much and will certainly revisit in the future.
5.0 out of 5 stars - Small but crafted - 26 Jan 2014
By Writearound "Poet"
This is long short story or a short novella ( who wants to split hairs about word count ). The story has the satisfying circular arc that makes the end a beginning. It is well crafted and draws you into another world which in the end sci-fi and fantasy lives and stands by. If you aren't convinced of the world created by the writer you don't want to stay there, I stayed till the end ...enough said. The art of the novella is tricky enough detail to create a sense of reality but too much and you risk bloating the novella into a rushed novel. It is a trick many could not pull off but Christian does.
5.0 out of 5 stars - A great read - 21 Jan 2014
By Jon MD
A very worth while purchase and read. Enjoyed it cover to cover. Well written and the author certainly knows his stuff. Thoroughly enjoyable.
4.0 out of 5 stars - Twisty, turny fun - 21 Jan 2014
By R. B. Harkess "Rob H"
This is the first thing I have seen from Charles since This is the Quickest Way Downand I was instant taken back to the quirky style I remembered. This is slightly outside of his Urban Fantasy playpen; much more Steampunk and very good at it too. The technology concepts are quite delightful.
Having said that I did think that both the main characters turning out to be unlikely closet ancient (20th Century) history geeks stretched the plot a little and did in some ways seem a vehicle to mention a lot of books and films. I didn't quite get what that was to do with the story, and it did distract a little from the main plot. Which was a shame, as I enjoyed the simplicity of the setting and the retelling of a classic abandonment story.
On the flip side I loved the idea of an AI system that had a primary interface about as helpful as a DOS session
Of course, I can't tell you much else about it without going into spoilers. It is, after all, a short story. I'll settle for saying that its very much up to the standard one would expect from Charles.
5.0 out of 5 stars - Cargo of secrets - 19 Jan 2014
By A fielding
Cargo of secrets indeed everyone from the sapient life forms to the robotic intelligence had their own little secret hidden away.It took me about twenty minutes to read this book it wasn't long enough in a good way. The references to films etc in the early parts were amusing and witty. I had an inkling that all would not end well for the travellers when the instructions given to the robot were shall we say ambivalent without giving too much away! Get it, read it it's well worth it. Well done Charles now to download some more. (This review is by S Fielding but my kindle is registered to my wife)
5.0 out of 5 stars - Science Fiction has never been as real as this - January 18, 2014
By Anibal J. Rosario Planas
This book probably falls somewhere between a short story and a novelette. However, you will get more than your money's worth when you read this 50+ pages.
The story has only two central characters, both of which have interesting surprises up their sleeves. The technology around them is an interesting cross between steampunk style retro machinery and futuristic dreams, but both seem rooted very much in actual, realistic technology. But the really interesting thing is not the background in which it is set, but the struggles of the characters and the few surprises the author manages to hit us with.
The story is short and fast paced, but well developed. You will probably sit down and want to finish reading without stopping. But do take the time to savor the unexpected twists and turns.
5.0 out of 5 stars - This Author Never Fails To Surprise Me - 11 Jan 2014
By Rae Gee
Secret Cargo takes a look at two secretive space travellers. After their starship is wrecked, they find themselves stranded and that's when things begin to come to light.
Well, what can I say about this book?! Charles Christian has a knack for taking something which most people would span over a series of novels (and probably wouldn't write half as well) and cramming it in to something less than sixty pages. This is a quick and interesting read. If you know your popular culture from the 20th and early 21st centuries then you're going to love this. And the twists which come close to the end had me both cheering and crying.
I get the feeling that Christian doesn't wear his heart on his sleeve but, for this one, the last few pages were packed with raw emotion. It was a complete, and wonderfully surprising, contrast to the rest of the book. The entire book is a beautiful read for anyone who's into sci-fi, modern culture, or just wants a read which is completely different from other books in the genre. Secret Cargo does exactly what it says on the tin (a long short story) and, like Christian's other book "This is the Quickest Way Down", will leave you wanting to more. If, by the end, you're not screaming curses at the author, then you've read it wrong! Brilliant book and definitely looking forward to Christian's next offering.
5.0 out of 5 stars - Boom ...and there it is. The Secret. - 8 Jan 2014
By Mrs. M. S. Bidwell
So what's the big Secret? I read Mr C's witty novelette to find out and was immediately drawn in by his clever writing.
I was warmed to the cockles (Norfolk ones of course) to learn that some things will still exist in a world 300 years from now. The cultural history that we have now is the key to the Secret here. 20c and 21c film acts as the magnetic force which pulls the two characters closer, and the Secret cargo is revealed. But wait! There is no time to dwell on such matters, their survival is at stake.
Mr C pushes us along at a pace dictated by words and within creates marvellous mental imagery (and some just a little bit 'mental' but hey that's pure fantasy). I loved it. Love the cover too!
5.0 out of 5 stars - Intro to Steampunk - 8 Jan 2014
I have known Charles since his post-barrister career as a tech guru for the law took off. I have seen him publish haiku on line and dismissed this as the dilettante pass time of those called to the Bar. I gradually became aware that he was keen on sci fi and again didn't bother to read any!
I have now read "Secret Cargo" and it is a wonderful revelation.
His tech journalism was always "au point", witty. Charles has a talent for pricking the overblown claims of tech suppliers and encouraging legal tech users to give him opinions, which he very equitably filters and interprets. He became the go to authority of the actual use of technology in the Law.
But this is something else. It is still witty, very tongue in cheek, packed with accessible cultural references and self deprecating.
The story line grabs and whirls you along. The characterisation is hilarious schoolboy fantasy (I'm sure I recognise a version of Mrs C in Meredith!).
I am not an expert on Steampunk as a genre; but as a 60 year old graduate in English Literature I can recognise good writing and a great read. So I will pass this on to my kids who are seriously into Manga, fantasy and sci-fi lit and see what they say about genre authenticity; but I bet its bang on.