An Instinct for Murder

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Zine
Title: An Instinct for Murder
Publisher: Judith Proctor
Editor:
Author(s): Chris Boucher
Cover Artist(s): Jason Fletcher
Illustrator(s): Kevin Davies, Kathryn Andersen and Andrew Williams
Date(s):
Series?: yes
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Star Cops
Language: English
External Links:
cover by Jason Fletcher
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
back cover by Andrew Williams. The editor writes "Those who watched the series will recall that striking image of a bootprint from the open credits"

An Instinct for Murder is a gen Star Cops novel by Chris Boucher. It was published as a zine by Judith Proctor in 1999 (and later published by What Noise Productions as a Kindle book, 2013).

It has a sequel, Little Green Men and Other Stories.

From the publisher:

Featuring a full colour cover by Jason Fletcher and interior art by Kevin Davies, Kathryn Andersen and Andrew Williams, this is a novel that will appeal to both those who watched Star Cops and those who missed it.

This is hard SF, not space opera. It's set in the near future and involves no FTL drives, no aliens, and no futuristic devices (apart from Box, who is remarkably reminiscent of Orac).

Nathan Spring is a policeman. He's a good one. He's happy in his job and has no desire whatsoever to go into space (especially as he gets space sick). Unfortunatly, he's been conned into applying for a job with the International Space Police Force, a body that garners so little respect that people refer to them disparagingly as 'Star Cops'.

People are dying in space. Space suits are failing. The computer says the deaths are within the limits of statistical probability; Nathan doesn't fully trust computers. But if there is a crime, what is the motive and how is it being carried out?

Although this is being published as a fanzine, it was originally written with the intention of being published as a professional novel. (I don't know why it wasn't. I suspect Star Cops was too small a series for a main-stream publisher to be interested. It certainly wasn't for want of good writing) This makes it virtually unique among zines as it is published with the full consent of the copyright holder. A portion of the cover price will go to Chris Boucher.

Although this is essentially a genzine, people should be aware that it contains a fair bit of bad language and a small amount of sex. It's greatly expanded from the episode as seen on screen and the special effects are better <grin>.

Word count 62,200 That's about 85 A4 pages of story. [1]

Background

editorial by Judith Proctor
Chris Boucher was script editor for the entire series of Blake's 7 and wrote scripts for both Blake's 7 and Doctor Who. Many people have found points of similarity between Blake's 7 and Star Cops. These similarities show up more in later episodes of Star Cops as more characters are introduced.

A 1991 TV Zone interview by Joe Nazarro referred to the novelisation:

Boucher is currently working on a novelisation of his Star Cops episodes, partly for the challenge of writing a novel, but also to restore the episodes to their original form. "There's a sort of revenge to it," he agrees. "It's going to be the way it should have been. Actually, I've done a trick I do quite frequently: I've made it so bloody complicated, I don't know where the hell I'm coming from. I've put all five my episodes into it, and how I'm going to pay them all off, I don't know. It's all a great spaghetti bolognese of plots and words and bits and bobs. I don't even know if I'm going to be able to find a publisher for it, but anyway, I've now got to finish it."

As for the future, Chris Boucher is philosophical about any upcoming projects. "I'm doing a novel because I've never done one," he states, "and what I've done one, I should be able to write another one. If tomorrow, six offers come on the blower, the novel will go straight on the back burner, and I shall turn to a more proper pursuit!"

Footnote: Sadly, Chris didn't manage to interest a commercial publisher in 'Star Cops' but as you can see, he did eventually have it published by Judith Proctor.[2]

Profic vs. Fanfic

Although this book was published as a fanzine, it was originally written with the intention of being published as a professional novel. However, Star Cops may have been too minor a series to interest a mainstream publisher.[1] Because it is published with the full consent of the copyright holder, it is virtually unique among zines. A portion of the cover price will go to Chris Boucher.

"Although this is essentially a genzine, people should be aware that it contains a fair bit of bad language and a small amount of sex. It's greatly expanded from the episode as seen on screen and the special effects are better."

Interior Images

The editor writes:

Hardly any of [the artists] had any decent reference photos from which to work. Finding pictures illustrating 'Star Cops' was a real problem and I have to thank Una McCormack for finding a reference picture for the front cover. Jason Fletcher did an excellent job with the scanned image. (Would you believe that we couldn't find any pictures at all on the web? All the sites with pictures vanished just when we needed them.) Kathryn Andersen has produced some lovely protraits using the videos as her guide. Andrew Williams did the back cover (those who watched the series will recall that striking image of a bootprint from the opening credits). Kevin Davies has produced an amazing number of excellent pictures at very short notice.[3]

References

  1. Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  2. Star Cops listing on Hermit.org
  3. Editorial by Judith Proctor