Please excuse a little self-promotion, but Candy Jar Books has just announced The Benton Files 3, which includes a short story written by me — don’t let that stop you from buying it though, as it also includes a great short by Andrew Allen!
The Benton Files is a series of books featuring reminiscences from the aged John Benton, telling tales of his exploits from yesteryear. In The Benton Files 3, the stories focus on the erstwhile sergeant’s time as a second-hand car dealer, running JB Motors.
The first story is Wickard’s World by Andrew Allen. Andrew has previously contributed short stories and the novel The Haunting of Gabriel Chase to the Lethbridge-Stewart range. Andrew says:
“The Benton Files would have worked very well as an ITC television show in the style of The Protectors or Man in a Suitcase, and it was this spy-fi, slightly outlandish (but told in sixty minutes or less) vibe that I wanted to incorporate into my story. I also enjoyed cartoons that had robots turning into cars and, with this, the other elements of my story fell into place.”
The second story is my A Right Old Run Around. I’ve been following the Lethbridge-Stewart range since The Forgotten Son and have been itching to get involved somehow; when I heard that Candy Jar’s next phase would be licensed UNIT stories, this felt like an ideal opportunity to repeatedly badger Shaun and Tim to give me a shot!
Tim came back with a great idea for me to work on. It seemed inspired by some of the Marvel comics I love, and this felt like a perfect fit. I tried to channel a bit of Ant Man, a bit of The Terror of Tim Boo Ba, a bit of The Dæmons, and fully embrace the sometimes ridiculous side of Doctor Who. Saying that, while it was important for me to give Benton and readers a fun little romp, there’s a real responsibility and weight to writing this much-loved character, adding to his story and ultimately the story of UNIT. A Right Old Runaround might be a tiny footnote in this incredible sprawling narrative, but I’m very excited and proud that I could tell this grand adventure on a small scale.
Range Editor Tim Gambrell says:
“What we have in The Benton Files 3 is a pair of slightly outlandish stories which show that, even in civilian life, Benton’s past endeavours won’t let him rest quietly. And, as we would expect, he’s more than up for such adventures and perfectly capable of handling things by himself. Because The Benton Files stories are told in the first person, the real challenge for the writers is judging how much Benton can get away with revealing about his past without compromising the story he’s telling. It’s a balancing exercise between rambling banter, engaging storytelling and the Official Secrets Act.
“Andrew and I rolled a few ideas around before we settled on his story. I was originally pushing things along a much darker avenue, but that would have clashed uncomfortably with Philip’s story and its more humorous tone. As it turned out, what Andrew delivered was pretty much perfect.
“Philip ran with the basic storyline I gave him and came back with a yarn that also pretty much landed precisely where I wanted it to, matching humour with moments of real drama and action. I think what we’ve ended up with is a pair of stories that complement each other well: similar, yet not too dissimilar. As for those darker ideas I had… Well, there’s plenty more numbers after ‘3’ and there’ll be plenty more opportunities for other stories!”
Here’s the blurb for The Benton Files 3:
Join retired Sergeant Major John Benton, as he recounts two more tales of his exploits from yesteryear. Life proves to be no less quiet and retiring for Benton after his time with UNIT, when he’s running JB Motors in Wiltshire.
In Wickard’s World by Andrew Allen, Benton is offered an unusual used car to sell on by a friend, only to discover that the car has many hidden secrets.
In Philip Bates’ A Right Old Run Around, Benton tries to assist three fugitive aliens. The only problem is, they are only about 5mm tall. It turns out size is the least of Benton’s worries when their persecutors arrive.
Will Benton ever escape the legacy of his time with UNIT? Will JB Motors survive with its stock intact?
Read these two hair-raising adventures to find out…