Wild Speculation – SPOILERS

This page is set aside for people to post speculation on my books. I will not respond to posts here and, aside from checking for inappropriate behaviour, I don’t intend to read the comments in any detail. This page is for you guys.


  1. Keep your posts civil. I will not hesitate to delete offensive material and, potentially, block the person(s) involved.
  2. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!!! Do not come to this page unless you are happy to have books spoiled, or have read the books already.
  3. Everyone has their own opinions. If you don’t agree with someone’s opinion and can’t articulate your concerns in a reasonable manner, don’t post.
  4. Please scan the comments before posting a new one to see whether your point is already being considered. Otherwise we just end up with pages and pages of the same thing.
  5. Remember: keep your posts civil and here will be spoilers. Yes, I know I’m repeating myself.
  6. Final reminder: Overwatch is recording everything you do, and I don’t mean the one with that talking monkey and the girl with the fake Cockney accent.

Right. Have at it.

66 responses to “Wild Speculation – SPOILERS

  1. Thank you very much, Neill, to take my idea so seriously.

    I think that this sentence is a brilliantly misleading one: “With a sigh, Krystal followed, wishing that she could shift too.” I was already suspecting that she was the royal in the club, but this sentence made me doubt it again.

    • Frankie Gouge

      Turn about to be the difference between “can’t” and “won’t”. Most of use assume “can’t”.

  2. I have been speculating for a while about the Xinti, so this page is a godsend.

    We know there were three castes. The warriors got themselves killed in the war, and the scientists at Negral eventually died out.

    What about the bureaucrats? My theory is that they made themselves organic bodies and hid. More specifically, I think they disguised themselves as humans and hid outside what is now Jenlay space. Maybe just a single village of them, hidden in an otherwise human world. Without either the warriors or the scientiststo drive them they are doomed to stagnation … unless another Xinti from the warrior caste that ruled the last they heard should show up to lead them …

    Of course, should the Negral AIs come across indications of survivors on a planet somewhere they will be conflicted. Almost certainly they will be unwilling to turn their superweapons on such a planet should it, for example, be a Pinnacle stronghold and will need to arrange for more subtle investigation.

    (I have not yet figured out how the weird emails about Annika’s kidnapping fit into this. Give me time.)

  3. Also, has anyone else noticed some weird similarities cropping up between Niall’s books and Grrl Power? For example, Maxima’s origin seems very similar to Adamantium’s, and there’s a certain basic concept in common between Krona the reality hacker and Nia, even if the actual implementation seems different.

    • Regarding Admantium and Maxima, I suspect it was just a case of it being an obvious way to get metallic skin, if not born with it. The origin similarity didn’t really occur to me while reading. Style-wise Admantium reminded me more of Colossus from the X-Men than anyone else.

      As for Krona and Nia, aren’t both Niall and Dave Barrack current or former IT professionals? If so, I’m sure they have both wished for that power at one time or another.

      Imagine the fun if Niall did a crossover like Dave did with Marion Harmon (Wearing the Cape series). Just how workplace-inappropriate could the banter get with Svetilo, Dabbler, and Chakra all present?

      • I SHUDDER to contemplate Kitsune or worse, ARTEMIS! loose in Cygnus’ world. The mayhem would be eternal.

  4. Frankie Gouge

    Is Misfits in a separate universe from your other series? Seems related to the Thaumatology series.

    • There are some parallels. I already mentioned similarities between Baltzman’s and Cragscales’ and of course there are a lot between Krystal and Ceridwyn. But the Thaumatology dragons are a “little” different from the Misfit ones.

      OTOH I’d really like to see if there are any Demons like Lily.

  5. I Still think there is a way to link the timelines of Fox and Aneka. Since the tech in Fox is headed to where Aneka woke up… just saying… This is fiction so to hell with the holes I poked in it before…… 😉

  6. OK.. so here’s a real idea?
    The core planet for the Pinnacle is actually a self-aware organic super computer and those “bushes” are actually like antenna that has been listening and collecting any form of electro pulses for several millennia. Since the settlement of the Pinnacle the planet has been sending out signals for help, but no one was able to detect the language until the AIs entered the space. Now, Aneka and Ella (plus science team) are sent to try and communicate with the planet to see what can be done to repair the damage and to research the riches of information the planet has been storing for millennia. At first the Pinnacle were blasé (not believing it’s true obviously) about the whole thing. As it becomes more evident that the planet is alive, and they are going to lose their home world, the tension builds until something tragic happens to some of the science crew and innocent civilians. It is now past the point of détente and the Pinnacle leadership must be taught a severe lesson….etc. Then the discovery within the planets memory of vast areas of space inhabited by intelligent life…etc.

    • Ah, I missed that comment. Yes, that’s a possible future development. On the other hand, the ending in “Hope” was kind of “riding into the sunset” and there are many more and bigger loose ends in the other series.

  7. One of the things I have been wondering about while reading the thaumatology series is how Ceri or Lily would age.

    Demons obviously have a childhood in the books and some have been described as eldery, but some of them are also incredibly old (case in point Moloch) and while there have not been any sign that draconic blood gives age advantages, in fact Gwyn indicated that she would die long before seeing her mate again, the dragons themselves were immortal (I presume?) and Ceri manifesting as a black fur werewolf and their slow ageing seems to me to indicate that she might have similar advantages.

    There is an potentially interesting internal conflict here that reminds me of a line in the Girl out of the Box series where the main character reflects on being practically immortal while living a high risk life by saying (and I am paraphrashing here) “I will either go out in a blaze long before my time or I will live to see everyone I care about turn to dust”.

    This would be especially poignant with Micheal since Ceri has been accused humerously of robbing the cradle, but what happens when he becommes outwardly much older then her and it becommes apparent that he will die while she might still be youngish? What if Lilys/Ceris non-human side do not give age benefits and they have to live to see the other turn old and grey?

    One does not really have to write about this happening, I can assume that there might be plenty anguish about just the prospect that Ceri might have to bury Michael when he dies of old age, and that is if they get lucky.

    • Considering that each of the books up to now covered less than a year of time I don’t see any chance to read a book in this series set into at least 2080 or so. OTOH with Ceri’s rather unlimited power and creativity she might find a way to at least give Michael the longevity of a black fur, so they can have another century together.

      • since black moon is set 16 years after the end of the main series I can presume that (if nothing horrible happens to the character) we will see older and a possibly aged cast

    • Is it not kind of hinted that merlin got realy realy old too?

  8. I have the distinct impression that aging isn’t really a thing for sorcerers or their familiars, or anyone with high levels of magic. Demons lords live a long time because they use some of their immense power to that end, etc.

    Ceri’s already demonstrated the power and knowledge to completely rebuild a person’s body (her and Lily’s werewolf transformations, for example). Nobody she cares about is going to get old unless they tell her to let it happen.

  9. Time to speculate who might be the main villain behind the attacks in the misfits books.
    I was suspecting Marin even in Vol 1, but now there are more hints. What do you think?

    • Marin is so obvious that I hope it is not him. “He” has been used, so let us assume that the villain is male. If we have already met him or at least seen mention of him, there are not that many significant male characters from which to choose: Marin, Cragscales, various family members, the groundskeeper, and a couple Scarlins that I can recall. The Scarlins can probably be eliminated since they were not around before Ramona.
      Considering the remainder, Marin or Charity Darkmoon’s father seems the most likely. The author has hinted that something is off about Marin with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but the Darkmoons are the ones who benefited from the set up of Felicity’s mother. Of course, I could be completely mistaken and it is really the sausage-on-a-bun vendor. 🙂

      • I have to agree with both of you, Neil has been setting up a massive ‘Its Me’ in flashing lights over Marin’s head. But we now know that the main villain isn’t a who but an evil soul in an object that can posses people at a distance.
        So are we thinking Marin is a puppet or more of a high priest in the cult of Shastin Nightsky? I get the feeling its more than likely the second option.

    • Marin might be a true bad guy, or he could be a “Snape” character. We do not have enough information to tell. Personally, I hope his odd behavior is for a more interesting reason than being allied to the old Nightsky lich.

      • you may be right Ben, but thinking through Neil’s other stories he’s not one for Snape type characters, also Marin conveniently avoided the mass possession in the end of year party from misfit magic. I will be fun to see how it all works out in the coming books.

      • Rainer Prem

        Craig: Not only that; he also lured the principal (who is most likely the most able magician) away from the scene.

      • But did he do it prevent her from trying to stop it or to save her? One would assume that such a school has quite a few capable magic users on staff, some of whom were likely present. As for the dean being the best at magic, why would that be? More likely, she is better at administration, independent of her magic aptitude. Perhaps, she just didn’t run fast enough.

  10. is there a chance of getting another Gunwitch book in the near future? I really loved the book and had hoped for a quick second to follow.


    • I don’t normally reply here, but… Yes, there’ll likely be another Gunwitch book. It won’t be quick, however. I’ve no planned date for one at this time.

  11. What I think would be cool (it is an opinion and we all know what they are worth), and I think might actually help out, is if the next Aneka novel was an anthology. Figure 4 or 5 short stories as they come to mind, then edited into an ark. You’ve already got the groundwork done in the discription. I would think 4 or 5 short stories would be easier to write and allow you to have some fun with ideas you’ve had but couldn’t use because you didn’t feel you could give us the great stories we’ve all come to love. Just my unnecessary and unneeded suggestion (and maybe a small attempt to get more books out of you faster out of pure greed and impatience, LOL)

  12. Any chance of another safari book soon

  13. Sydney is probably thinking about “Kate on a. Hot tin roof”

    • Robert Barron

      I would be interested in that as well. I have read most of your books and have enjoyed all of them!!

  14. Sorry this isn’t exactly speculation but I thought it was a very amusing coincidence and thought I’d share. While re-reading Thaumology I got the urge to watch The Adams Family (the original series). Amazon video had it and while watching the first episode I noticed they have a replica of the Capitoline Wolf (aka Luprica) in their lounge. Niall tell me you knew that.

  15. …or
    Luperca, depending on how annoying your spell check is being

  16. I was thinking about the sniper rifle Aneka got from the Xinti AIs* after reading one of the “what if” pieces from Randall Munroe, the author of the xkcd web comic. It seems that the “significant fraction of the speed of light” for the the projectile velocity is probably enough to cause nuclear fusion when it hits the target. That might not be quite as precise as Aneka wanted.

    Here is the link. The near-lightspeed part is about half way down.


    * The Cold Steel Mind, if I recall correctly

    • Going to stick my oar in here. You’re right, but only if the projectile is passing through air. This is why there’s a dual pulse, one to clear a channel, a second to propel the ‘bullet.’ If you want to go hyper-tech, you clear the channel with a force field. (You need ‘field jacketing’ for a lot of energy weapons. X- and gamma-ray beams in standard atmosphere would have painfully short range.)
      It’s treading heavily into space opera territory, but a lot of the stuff in the Aneka books does.

      • I remembered the dual pulse, but was thinking about what happens at the target location.

      • Ah. I guess it depends upon the definition of ‘respectable percentage of the speed of light.’ 🙂

      • I usually interpret that as about 5% or more, but that’s just me. At that level you are getting into particle collider speeds, at least older ones. They were called atom-smashers, after all. The LHC is much faster, but not very portable and hard to aim. 🙂

      • Unless you’re a Ghostbuster. Though, I suppose, the ‘hard to aim’ still applies.

  17. Alrighty so my two plot holeish peeves with True dark is this:

    1. When Mink talked to Belphegor why did he not try to mindcontrol her? Why would someone like Mink put herself in a situation where she might be mindcontrolled? I might be forgetting something from a earlier book that gives her some sort of immunity to it, but I cannot remmmeber that off the top of my head.

    2. The conclusion with Captain Freedom felt a little strange. He was basically felled by his own monologuing. I don’t see how Astrea could reliably plan that he was going to monologue unless she used her guilt inducing powers to make him confess, but that was never explicitly stated nor did he seem particularly remorsefull which other targets of her powers were. It seemed from their exchange that she just tricked him into revealing his true plan which just seems uncharacteristic for someone who has been maintaining a persona for basically the whole book and from the buildup it seemed like she was sure she could make him do it.

    • 1. He didn’t try because he couldn’t. I don’t want to go into that more because it’ll spoil future elements of the story. Mink took a calculated risk and it turned out she was right.
      2. You may be right. You are right about him feeling no guilt so her ability to read such wouldn’t work. She did, however, have the ability to pick up on his emotions and lies. She knew he had some reason he was not revealing for wanting Cygnus out of the way. She bet on his attraction to her not being entirely faked to slow him down, and specifically told him he couldn’t leave her alive to release him from his need to keep his plans secret. She assumed that he would want someone to know what he had been through. She gave him an opportunity to open up without apparent consequences. But, ultimately, yes: he monologued himself into failure. That has to be the ultimate superhero trope and I don’t think I’ve ever used it before, so I think I can get a pass this once.

      • 1. Alright. I guess the disconnect for me was also partly that I expected Mink to place a ton of cameras and microphones in his house then use some hacker magic to basically skype him the info through whatever screen he was watching at the time, but if she was reasonably sure that she is immune to his mindcontrol then it makes sense that she would do it in person.

        2. As someone who can get into someone elses head in at least some capacity I agree she would be ideal to make something like that happen. But it just seemed like she was sure of the outcome beforehand while from my perspective the chance that he was gonna monolouge seemed fringe.

        I guess that my bigger problem with the scene was that it was just not that satisfying of a conclusion. Same with the Kaiju and the warlord really. There was a lot of buildup in the book but it happened in a lot of diffrent sort of directions so the conclusion at the end did not really feel like it payed off, but it sets the series up for the next book I presume with it being called Liberty.

        I might be expecting too much of a standard format of the story though as there were like 5 seperate stories running throughout the book (The political side, the abduction story, the LA angle, Cap Freedom, Midnight, The chinese warlord etc…) and some of the storylines seemed to conclude in the middle of the book while others are carrying into the next. The conclusion at the end was something of a let down since there was a lot of smaller conclusions throughout the book instead of one massive one at the end like most books do.

      • I couldn’t leave everything until the end. Just practically. And some of this stuff isn’t just setting up the next book, it’s setting up the one after! Not as bad as the Thaumatology series where I unconsciously set up things in book 1 that didn’t pay off until book 10.
        As a side note, the original conception for this part of the sequence was to have June become Miss Liberty. The public perception of her revealing Captain Freedom’s duplicity would cause people to latch onto her as the new national hero. Maybe I should’ve gone that way, but I like the Miss Liberty character I’ve got and having June get powers from the reactor explosion highlighted the results of that event.
        Hopefully, this didn’t spoil the book too much for you, and the next one will be more to your tastes.

      • Rainer Prem

        You wrote “Not as bad as the Thaumatology series where I unconsciously set up things in book 1 that didn’t pay off until book 10.”

        In my personal opinion, this IS the greatest strength of the Thaumatology series. I just finished rereading the whole series. There you do have the big story arc which only slightly influences most earlier books, but makes rereading a real fun.

  18. I got to reiterate that I enjoyed the book a lot throughout it, just that the conclusion felt underwhelming. Might also have something to do with the book being over and me being deppresed about that though

  19. Happy 32nd birthday, Ceri!

  20. In Liberty I’m curious about why the creation of exploding energy projectiles was worthy of comment about the unlikely physics. It seems fairly mild compared to some of the other ultra abilities. “Photon torpedoes” are far from the weirdest thing in sci-fi and superhero fiction.

    Random thought: could Frostburn have contained the blob with ice walls? It didn’t appear to react with water in Puget Sound and ice is frozen water.

    • My take on the worthiness of the unlikely physics getting mentioned is that its worth of mentioning because what happened, simply isnt supposed to happen. Radiation doesnt like to be contained, even by energy fields, but is relatively easier to direct so you get Ultras shooting energy beams. The fact that Cygnus just wrapped up some of the highest energy particles known to science in a ball off cosmic energy and threw it at something is pretty out there by the rules of the Ultrahuman universe. Other Ultras seem to be able to shoot an energy beam, but not an energy projectile.

      And this may be a bit of a pedantic point, but if you were referring to photon torpedos in the Star Trek sense, they are matter/antimatter weapons and not an energy projectile.

  21. Re: Human mind in robot body.

    I like the new Fox-book very much, so I can’t say I’m disappointed. But I’d really like to see more issues about the difference of being in an artificial body than only “I don’t need to eat” or “I don’t need to breathe” or “I’m basically indestructible.”

    What if Fox would be killed with her newest backup one week old? What if there was real damage to her “brain”? Damage to her sensors? What if Kit would have been hacked like Misaki?

    • “What if Fox would be killed with her newest backup one week old? ”

      You could end up with an interesting situation where Fox has to investigate her own murder. That would be a pretty cool premise.

  22. Got a new toaster today. It has a few settings that made me realize it has a computer in it. For some reason I got the feeling I should name it. *facepalm* I blame you for this.

  23. Sorry just had to share this. https://www.amazon.com/Soylent-Replacement-Shake-Flavor-Variety/dp/B07C6586KM. I’m sure this is a perfectly legitimate product, but for those of you over 50 it may give you a bit of a chill. If they come up with a green “flavor” I’m going to run away screaming

    • I am over 50, and DEFINITELY got chills and a “HUH?” moment. Harry Harrison was an excellent author, and I will always love the Stainless Steel Rat Series!!!

  24. Hope it’s ok to post this in here if not feel free to remove it. Another inde author I follow is currently in a legal battle against a ebook piracy site and has started a go fund me campaign, Bring ebook.bike to Justice I don’t know if any of your books are on there but here is a link to it (I hope)


  25. Not so much a speculation as an observation. The anti-vaccination crowd has been getting a lot of play on my side of the pond and seems to be gaining traction. A Texas state legislator got some press for calling vaccines sorcery. Idiocy aside, the way this is playing reminded me a lot of the way memetics campaigns get used in the Foxverse. I think of memes as being funny pictures or what not, and we’re seeing what amounts to a mix of intentional and unintentional social engineering taking place. I’ve never looked into whether this sort of thing is a codified field of study, but it’s interesting and scary to watch it spook out in real time.

  26. Some speculations about Fox Meridian.

    I think it would be a great plot if Fox wakes up and Terri tells her that she was restored from a backup, since her original copy has disappeared. She now has to find out what happened to her first self. It would also be a great ending if she rescues her original self and now there are two Foxes with different memories. Will she be able to learn from Kit how to re-integrate her copies? What is the legal status of a digitized human with two different minds?

    • If you really want to drive the lawyers crazy: One divergent infomorph personality commits a murder. When they reintegrate: is the merged one, horrified by the action, responsible?
      Or what if they were restored from a backup from a point BEFORE the murder. That would seem a pretty big loophole. Opens the door to a lot of low consequence crime if you can afford a frame replacement. Found out you wife was cheating since your last backup: Kill them both and short out your comp. You get restored to before you even knew! Is it then right to punish the you that never had a hateful thought for either victim? It was the later you that thought up the scheme.

  27. Hey I was just reading something and discovered there is a place on Mars called Terra Meridiani. Was that your inspiration for Fox’s name?

  28. Are you ever going to do more in the Misfits series?

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