Mysterious Marsden recast as setting for out of this world novel

The Man from Marsden uses the area's best loved landmarks to ensure that readers never look at its moors in the same way again

Birkby writer, Chris Bedford, celebrates the launch of his first sci-fi novel, The Man From Marsden.

It is renowned for having the longest canal tunnel in Britain and being the set of the madcap black comedy The League of Gentlemen.

But now Marsden has been reinvented as the location of an out of this world sci-fi mystery novel.

Making the most of the village’s brooding moors and hidden valleys, The Man From Marsden could set readers’ imaginations on fire as they ponder the unearthly incidents that could be going on their doorstep.

Sci-fi mystery novel, The Man From Marsden
Sci-fi mystery novel, The Man From Marsden
 

Including references to the jazz festival, Huddersfield Town FC and a surprise cameo appearance from the region’s best known sci-fi actor, Sir Patrick Stewart, its author, Chris Bedford, hopes that it will encourage more people to take literary inspiration from the areas that they know best.

Influenced by the works of John Wyndham and H G Wells, the story tells the tale of a local resident, Sam, who is abducted by UFOs high up on the hills after a family feud, before returning unexpectedly, two years later.

Written from his perspective and those who were affected by his sudden return, it questions and blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction.

Chris, who lives in Birkby and first started writing the book 20 years ago, said: “The book started life as a sandbox where I could play around with ideas and characters.

“I drew upon people I have known and my own personal experiences so many people may recognise a little bit of themselves within it.

Marsden Moor's March Haigh Reservoir and March Hill from Buckstones.
Marsden Moor's March Haigh Reservoir and March Hill from Buckstones.
 

“I grew up reading the works of authors whose tales took ordinary British people and put them into extraordinary situations. Nowadays most stories in the science fiction genre tend to be dominated by Americans but I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the earlier pioneers and write one for us.

“I think Huddersfield is the perfect location for a science fiction novel. We have a rich history, lots of local character and diversity in abundance and Marsden itself provides an excellent backdrop with its woollen industry and mysterious Tunnel End.

“I have been bowled over by the support I have received and Sir Patrick Stewart’s consent.

“After all you couldn’t have a sci-fi story set around these parts without a nod to the Captain himself.”

This is Chris’ first published book since he was made redundant and he now plans to focus on writing full-time.

“There may be a sequel but I also have several other stories in the works,” he said. “My happy ending would be to see this one turned into a TV series or a film.”

The book, which costs £9.99, can be ordered in Waterstones or on Amazon at: www.amazon.co.uk/The-Man-Marsden-Chris-Bedford/dp/1909049271

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