Michael E. Lloyd

Observation One: Singing of Promises


Also on this page: About the author, Reviews, and an Excerpt

A vast electrical circuit closes.

The huge discharge focuses two rich radio beams down to a point not far above the surface of the Earth. There, in an unseen sphere, a holographic “Radimote” is born and glides to land in northern Spain — invisible still, but watching and listening and ready to roll.

The Radimote’s Handlers, hovering undetected in their star-craft Mater in fixed orbit over Africa, rapidly learn the basic social niceties of the new world they have travelled far to study. So they are soon ready to endow their virtual missionary with a carefully selected, female human form.

Her first precious target is Toni Murano, a young music student. He haplessly follows the beautiful siren’s unspoken call, but very quickly loses sight of her and is instead entangled in the major security alert which she has unintentionally caused. He manages to slip through that ragged dragnet, only to end up instead on a very sharp hook: the mysterious visitor in the red silk scarf finally makes quite definite contact, he christens her “Carla,” and he is overwhelmingly embraced in the “Doman” mission of exploration.

Press-ganged on the spot into obedient service as an Illuminator for the visitors’ initial observations, Toni is soon once again the quarry of national police and security services, and is forced to take on a crisp new identity. Then, led by Carla and her senior officer “Quo” on a rapid chase round Europe, he helps the Domans to build their initial maps and models of the Earth, and to search in vain up the echelons of power for a political leader with apparently flawless integrity ...

about the author ...

Michael E. Lloyd, about the author

Michael E. Lloyd lives near Cambridge, England. He worked for thirty years in the international information systems business, but left all that behind in 2002 to pursue his other neglected interests, writing in particular.

His first full-length novel, Observation One: Singing of Promises (written and set in the world-changing year of 2003) is founded on one of his greatest passions: the truth and integrity embodied in the life and work of the American writer, singer and musician, Janis Ian. The following year he went on to produce a definitive study and celebration of Janis’ complete body of over 270 recorded songs.

Observation Two: Standing Divided was written in 2006, and Observation Three: Changing Hearts marked the completion of the Observation Trilogy in 2008.

A very different sort of story, Donna’s Men, emerged in 2010, and Mike completed his latest full-length novel, Missing Emilie, in 2011.

When he’s not writing, Mike enjoys pike and carp fishing, choral singing and occasional private flying, as well as editing, reading, drawing, language tuition, music, bridge, and chess. His own web site can be found here.


The concept of Observation One is wonderful, the plot intriguing, the characters fresh and complete. You have a good eye for cities and the people and buildings that fill them. My compliments on this polished and finished product. If you decide to create Observation Two please let me know so that I can read it as soon as it’s available. I'm hoping many of the same characters will be featured, but in new places — perhaps America. You should find a higher level of “inversion” here, particularly in Washington, D.C.

This brings to mind the whole subject of “Truth Delta Analysis.” Is this an original concept? It is brilliant!

Congratulations on your fine work.

Chuck Gregory, Editor
CWG Press, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (

[Publisher's note: The second novel in the Observation series, Observation Two: Standing Divided (set largely in the USA, as Chuck Gregory had hoped), was published online by Bewildering Stories in 2006-7.]

I really enjoyed reading Observation One. The prose is impeccable. Its clean straightforward style, with memorable characters, clear thinking, and well-defined plot is like a breath of fresh air. Moreover, there’s plenty of fine descriptive writing, and I especially liked the deft interpolation of the Janis Ian lyrics in the early chapters. And the political satire is very sophisticated. There’s some very subtle irony in the Domans’ search for an “honest” politician ...

Gary Inbinder, writer, California

Mike Lloyd’s Observation One began to have “ripple effects” as soon as it appeared on line. First, it caused significant improvements in Bewildering Stories’ appearance and format. And it’s had a snowball effect: with Mike’s ever cheerful and unflagging support, those improvements continue to this day. Would they have been made without the inspiration of Observation One? Only much later, if ever.

It can’t be emphasized enough that Observation One instantly became one of Bewildering Stories’ “flagship works.” Long before it concluded, it was already an “elephant in the living room” that contributors overlook at their peril. By itself alone it would have sufficed to raise the standard of prose fiction at Bewildering Stories from amateur to professional quality.

But what about the general reader? Curl up with the book and enjoy! How can you follow Toni’s peregrinations without getting itchy feet and wanting to go see the sights for yourself? The Domans’ “Truth Delta Analysis” is a satirical hoot, and it’s practical, too: it could be applied to both politicians and journalists alike.

But what really topped it off for me was finding out not who the Domans are — we know they’re space aliens — but what they are. If you’ve read Observation One, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you have a real treat in store for you!

Don Webb, Editor
Bewildering Stories


They checked his mobile phone first. It looked perfectly normal. The anti-terrorist officer who had been speaking seemed somehow deflated. His colleague was more impatient. He opened up the phone, expertly took it to pieces in seconds, found nothing extraordinary. They looked again at the well-dressed and trembling young man. There was already little doubt of the mistake.

‘So why did you leave here so fast?’

‘I was following the woman.’ It felt like an admission of guilt.

‘What woman?’

Toni took a deep breath. They seemed a little less aggressive now.

‘She walked across the road about ten minutes after I’d sat down. She seemed to be heading straight towards me, and she was smiling right at me. It was almost unreal — the sort of thing you’d see in your dreams ...’

‘OK, OK, Romeo — but what did she look like, what did she do?’

‘She was smart. In her twenties, long dark hair, red silk scarf. I thought she might be coming over to my table. But she sat down at the corner and ordered drinks — two drinks. Then I realised she must have been holding on to the jacket and the camera for a friend — probably a man. I was a bit disappointed ...’

‘What camera?’

‘She took it out of her bag with a jacket, and put it on the table. But her friend never arrived. After a while she put the things back in the bag, then she suddenly turned round quite deliberately and smiled straight at me again. Then she just walked away without even touching the drinks ...’

Toni was abruptly aware of two photo flashes somewhere ahead of him.

‘So why did you follow her?’

‘I don’t know. I really don’t. I just couldn’t stop myself. I’ve never done anything like that before!’

Observation One: Singing of Promises
is published by Bewildering Press.
Cover art by Crystalwizard

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