1933 - Chester City Grammar School.
1937 - An insight into his time at Manchester University can be found in 'Little Wilson and Big God' by Anthony Burgess - with whom he formed a close friendship. This has many references and is best described by Burgess himself (look up 'Mason' in the Index).
1962 - Heart attack. Gave the motivation to begin writing career.
1964 - Head of St. Georges School, Teachers' rep. Wallasey Ed. Committee. Interstellar Two Five.
1966 - 'Out of the Unknown' series 2, (as John Rankine)'The World of Silence'. Broadcast 17th November 1966. This was taken from his short story 'Six Cubed Plus One'. The episode is on the BBC's 'Missing list.' Click the link for a complete breakdown of the episode (takes you to EOFFTV's site).
He was a natural choice to write many of the hugely popular Space 1999 adaptations. Two original books based on the characters followed and proved successful additions to the series.
1975 - Local Head Teacher President.
1976 - Novelization (as John Rankine) of 'Into Infinity' - 'Day after Tomorrow' series. Only the pilot was produced. The book despite being bought by Futura, approved by Johnny Byrne and ready to go to press, was withdrawn from publication at the last moment when the series was shelved. The manuscript is at present 'missing'. Two letters remain to give a tantalizing clue of this novel (see the Archive page).
1978 - Retired from teaching.
Politics - 1979-1981 was elected to the then 'Merseyside County Council' representing the Labour party. Amongst other things, he was on the 'Tunnels Committee' for Merseyside. This committee gave him the opportunity to explore the extensive and ancient tunnel systems in the Wirral and Liverpool areas - the very stuff of writing material!
He stopped writing in the early 1980's when his then agent, who had taken over from Leslie Flood at Carnell, told him that the market for Sci-fi had collapsed. He produced another historical novel at this point, but, despite being one of his best, the agent didn't want to take it on - something that has annoyed him ever since. This fact, and the agent's obvious lack of interest in his work, finally made up his mind to stop. He'd written over 40 novels and also felt he had 'done his bit'. He now concentrated his mind on politics.
During the 80's and 90's he gave numerous lectures to various societies, including one to the Romantic Authors Association! The surviving notes for these lectures can be downloaded from the 'Archive' page. These fully worked notes were then broken down onto cards for the actual lecture. They also provide information on how and why he began writing.
Persuaded out of retirement in 2002, he wrote 'In the Heart of the Flame'. This was something he had always wanted to write - the conclusion to the Dag Fletcher story.