MB Reed

Author and mathematician

The Pentacle Papers

The Third Reich meets the Swinging Sixties

Click the button below to subscribe to my occasional newsletter. In return, you will receive a free compendium The Final Patient. As well as Patient (long-listed for the Fish Publishing short story award 2020) and other stories, it contains the opening chapters of the three Pentacle Papers novels:

  1. The Hammond Conjecture: Quantum mechanics meets neuroscience, British humour meets cyberpunk
  2. The Hammond Perception: Romance and revolution in an alternative 1968
  3. The Hammond Catastrophe (in preparation)

Scroll down for details of the novels. Or click the FOOTNOTES link to read the accompanying notes.

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24/10/2023: I have made a video of a newsreel of the alternative 1940s. To view it click here.

I have made a video to advertise Perception, and shared it on Instagram. To view it click here.

Read the review of Conjecture on file770.com.

SPSFC 2021

Conjecture was a semi-finalist in the Self-Published Science Fiction Competition 2021

The Hammond Conjecture

The Hammond Conjecture is an alternative-history novel which explores themes of memory, identity and historical narrative. It is also a lot of fun.

Are you sure you know who you are? If your memories disappeared and were replaced with someone else’s, would you still be you? And what if those memories were not just from another person - but of a different world?

London 1982 – perhaps. Regaining consciousness in an isolation ward of catatonic patients, glimpsing the outside world only through a television news bulletin, that is the dilemma facing Hugh Hammond.

Gradually Hugh’s memories return – of his life as an MI6 officer a decade earlier. But in a world where Britain has been locked in a lonely Cold War against a Fascist-dominated Europe. Are his memories false: delusions, or implanted as part of a mind-control experiment? Or was the television news fake – and if so, why? And what is the role of Carlton, the shadowy Intelligence officer who delivered him to the hospital?

Hugh types out his recollections: an adventure which takes him from an opium den in Limehouse, via a hippie encampment in British-occupied North France, to a State Reception for the Deputy Führer in the Durbar Court in Whitehall, and a Le Carre-style climax in the divided city of Paris.

Meanwhile in the hospital Hugh struggles to understand his predicament, and to escape from it. But escape only leads him into greater danger.

Very well thought-out. Reminds me of Michael Moorcock’s earlier novels. – Gary Gibson, leading British sci-fi writer.

The Hammond Conjecture on Amazon

The Hammond Perception: Romance and Revolution in an Alternative 1968

The Hammond Perception is set in Hugh Hammond’s alternative world in the year before he returned to Britain. It follows the coming-of-age of his younger brother Thomas from shy, insecure and sexually confused schoolboy to a centred young man who has learned the difference between sex and love, and who is prepared to fight for whom, rather than what, he believes in.

Tommy doesn’t question his sheltered, repressed life until he meets Iona at the Sixth Form disco. She introduces him to a world of Left Bank intellectuals and left-wing philosophers. When King Edward VIII appoints a populist kleptocrat as PM they become politically active, organising a schoolkids trade union. But as democracy collapses and fascists and anarchists run wild, their relationship also hits the rocks. Iona is sucked into Maoist fervour while Tommy takes acid and drops out. Around them, a cast of journalists and spies, soldiers and activists and an underground resistance movement scheme and betray each other.

In August the political violence reaches its peak in Trafalgar Square. Does Iona survive? Can Tommy save her? Will she renounce activism and return to him? Does he really want her to?

The Hammond Perception on Amazon

The Hammond Catastrophe: When Worlds Collide

The story picks up from where the timelines in The Hammond Conjecture ended.

Only two men can foil the Führer’s dream of multi-world domination. Unfortunately both of them are Hugh Hammond.

Hugh Hammond is an everyman, who thinks with every organ other than his brain. - Amazon reviewer of Conjecture

The Hammond Catastrophe on Amazon - coming later

“When I imagine things, I imagine the truth. It’s so much better when it comes from how you imagine it, rather than how you report it.” – Ray Davies (of The Kinks) 1973