International acclaim for journalist’s novel

Author David Barnett
Author David Barnett

A former Wigan Post reporter is celebrating what looks like his breakthrough novel after it attracted international attention.

David M Barnett’s books have been on the shelves for years now and have particularly won him a small army of fans of the British “steam punk” genre.

But his latest literary departure - a comedy/drama named Calling Major Tom - has won rave reviews in the national media and online, including by Amazon customers.

And it is going global after publisher Orion’s new commercial fiction imprint Trapeze secured publication rights for foreign language editions for Germany, Spain, France, Bulgaria, Italy, China and Taiwan!

Family, friends and fans gathered at Wigan’s Waterstone’s store to hear David talk about the tome and read excerpts. He also exclusively revealed that there may be a sequel in the pipeline too.

The book features a troubled Wigan family who find help from an unexpected source ... the world’s grumpiest astronaut.

Thomas Major, who – through a series of hilarious mistakes – finds himself in space as the first human to head towards Mars. A misdialled phone number puts him in touch with the Ormerod family in Wigan, who are facing a mountain of problems.

Nan Gladys is suffering from dementia but is looking after siblings Ellie, 15, and James, 10, while their father is in prison. But Gladys has got the Ormerods in a bit of bother and Thomas is their last chance to stop them losing their home and being split up. But he’s tens of thousands of miles away in space, and only getting further away.

Meanwhile the astronaut immediately earns himself the nickname of Major Tom from the media as his launch into space coincides with the death of David Bowie who had a famous song of that name.

David, who is also a freelance journalist, has already had seven novels published, including the Gideon Smith series of Victorian fantasy adventures.