The Stone Man and Maths

Received a fantastic email from a reader recently, one making a few points about how Andy’s dismissal of TSM as an ineffective alien invasion would actually be very, very wrong if things had gone a different way … here it is in its entirety. MAJOR SPOILER ALERTS if you haven’t read the book!


First off, I just basically inhaled The Stone Man and The Black Room on
my kindle over a few days. TSM was recommended to me after I read The
Martian by the Amazon AI and the reviews persuaded me and your devil’s
trick of including a bit of the next book at the end worked. I’ll rate
and review on Amazon, of course, but what really struck me reading them
back-to-back was the development of the writing between the two. TBR was
a much richer book, I felt, with themes threading through it and I felt
genuine empathy with the characters. Both were absolutely gripping and I
couldn’t put them down – thanks for the immense pleasure I got from both
of them.

However, I couldn’t help but pick up on something in TSM which I am
certain has been raised before (unless I was reading too fast and
misunderstood; entirely possible given how excited I was). As I
understand it, the Stone Men intend to take their target, extract the
body part, split it into two and create two new stone men. The
characters seemed pretty casual about this not being an invasion since
the population would grow and this would always be a relatively small
harvest compared with the population. I feel like the characters were
wrong about this because of exponential growth.

First visit: 1 stone man creates 2 more (we now have three)
Second visit: 3 stone men create 2 more each (OK, one failed, but let’s
just go with the ideal model) – we now have six new stone men, making a
total of 9
Third visit: Each of the 9 stone men make two more, so that’s 27
Fourth visit: 27 x 3 = 81

So you can see from the pattern that the number of stone men (in the
ideal scenario as far as they are concerned) trebles each visit. This
needs a little table:

Visit Total Stone Men After
1 3
2 3×3=9
3 3x3x3=27
4 3x3x3x3=81
5 3x3x3x3x3=243

n 3^n (three to the power n)

The problem with exponential growth is that it is fucking fast. It
starts off looking OK, but then it cuntifies. So at the end of visit 10
there will be 3x3x3x3x3x3x3x3x3x3 = 59 049 Stone Men. This is still
pretty small compared to the population of the UK, but how about after
15 visits?

3^15 = 14.3 million. That’s a big chunk.

18 visits? – 387 million. We’ve run out of British people. 20 visits
wipes out half the world’s population.

Anyway, I’m a maths teacher and I go back to work tomorrow. My holiday
has obviously been too long so I feel the need to explain maths to
whoever, including an author who probably heard this all already or
thought of it himself. So apologies if this wasted good writing time.
Anyway, I bloody loved the books. Keep it up.”

Audiobooks – read by me – out NOW!

To celebrate the release of my first self-narrated audiobook, THE BLACK ROOM, PART ONE (Part Two is also up, and three and four and The Man On Table Ten are being processed as we speak) here’s the sound of me getting angrier and angrier as I keep screwing up! Apologies for all the swearing. Check the books out on!

The Stone Man: The Audiobook!

Hey guys. I’ve been working on a lot of things … expect regular stuff on here now. Trust me :-D

Stuff like this! One of those things I’ve been busy with is coming to fruition. I’m very excited to announce the upcoming audiobook of The Stone Man, read by the excellent Matt Addis and featuring an all-new afterword read by me … so how about a teaser sample? Check it out!

What’s the new book all about? OUT SUNDAY MAY 11TH!

A head full of knives KINDLE COVER BLACK

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet here on the website for a while … but it’s because I’ve been WRITING! And the new book is out THIS SUNDAY! It’s called A HEAD FULL OF KNIVES, and here’s the blurb:

Martin Hogan is being watched, all of the time. He just doesn’t know it yet.

It started a long time ago, too, even before his wife died. Before he started walking every day. Before the walks became an attempt to find a release from the whirlwind that his brain has turned into.

He never walks alone, of course, although his 18 month old son and his faithful dog, Scoffer, aren’t the greatest conversationalists.

Then the walks become longer. Then the other dog starts showing up. The big white one, with the funny looking head. The one that sits and watches Martin and his family as they walk away.

All over the world, the first attacks begin. The Brotherhood of the Raid make their existence known; a leaderless group who randomly and inexplicably assault both strangers and loved ones without explanation.

Martin and the surviving members of his family are about to find that these events are connected. Caught at the centre of the world as it changes beyond recognition, Martin will be faced with a series of impossible choices … but how can an ordinary and broken man figure out the unthinkable? What can he possibly do with a head full of knives?

Luke Smitherd (author of the Amazon bestseller THE STONE MAN and THE BLACK ROOM series) asks you once again to consider what you would do in his latest unusual and original novel. A HEAD FULL OF KNIVES will not only change the way you look at your pets forever, but will force you to decide the fate of the world when it lies in your hands.

Out Sunday May 11th!

NEW BOOK INFO! Interview over on about The Stone Man, The Black Room … and the next book, ‘A Terrible Grip!’

Yep, it’s another interview, this time with the good people over at, courtesy of Max Pfeffer. This one goes more in-depth on my thoughts regarding The Stone Man, and perhaps more interestingly for you long-time Smithereens, some titillation about the NEW book, hopefully available by April. Max asks some sharp questions here about the themes and ideas behind TSM, and it was nice to talk about them. Check it out:



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Whaddya know? One Has Been Jolly Well Interviewed … AGAIN!

Hi folks, it seems several Smithereens (this is actually catching. I. Do. Not. Believe. It) on the Luke Smitherd Book Stuff Facebook Page are emailing about not hearing the interview that they missed with me on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire today (well, yesterday, as it’s nearly 2am here but I’m not in bed yet). In particular, my American readers who were only just waking up when it was on, especially as I didn’t mention anything about it online before it happened.

Well, fret no more, because here it is in it’s entirety. Don’t expect any searing insights into the creative process, or tips on self-publishing; it’s very light, very fluffy, and probably focuses more on the ‘tribute act’ element of my day (night) job than the books, but for those of you that may be wondering what I sound like, it’s all here. You also get to hear me do an American/Canadian accent that drops badly in and out as I begin to wonder what the hell I’m supposed to be saying. Either way, I’m very grateful to the good people of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire for having me on anf for giving me a chance to plug my stuff to their audience. I enjoyed doing it. See what you think:

Paperback Paparazzi! Let’s See Your TSM Paperback Snaps!

Seeing as The Stone Man has been out in paperback (thanks to Amazon Createspace) for a few days now and has actually shifted a few copies, I thought it might be fun if those of you that have made very, VERY sensible choices and bought a copy sent me in a shot of the book; either just the book in an interesting location, yourself holding it, or even just a shot of it sitting snugly in your hand. I’d love to see them, and either way I’ll post all of the ones I get up on here! And BEFORE any wags send in their shots of them wiping their arses with it, I saw the gag coming, okay ..?

Hmm, anyway, maybe I’ll think up some sort of little prize for the best photo? I’ll ponder it …

Anyway, for now, here’s my very basic attempt. Surely you can do better than this, or at least match it? :-)


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The Stone Man just got a very nice review from, and just in time for the paperback release. Click on the image below to read it; they say some lovely things about me. Very flattering, and pretty exciting too, as this is my first proper media review. Chuffed to bits! :-)


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