A FORMER member of the RAF has penned his first book ... at the age of 83.

Maldon resident Vernon Yarker has written a sci-fi novel called Dark Matter Transit.

He says the book sets out to be “believable” science fiction, drawing from his experiences over the decades he worked with the RAF.

In the book, a spaceship which lurks behind the moon has recruited a human who travels with the crew on adventures throughout the cosmos.

The ship uses Dark Matter Transit, a new method of travel which renders wormhole and hyperdrive theory as yesterday’s technology.

But travels through dark matter are not without risk and can toss a spaceship thousands of light years beyond, or even in the opposite direction to, its intended target.

Mr Yarker spent 25 years travelling to countries such as the Maldives, Egypt and Germany before returning to England.

He said: “I have recently turned to writing and my first book is Dark Matter Transit.

“There is quite a strong flavour of the RAF in its pages.

“I wanted it to be believable sci-fi, not all about square-jawed characters decimating alien populations with ray guns.

“They do get into wars in the book, but the characters are humane – just like you and me.

“It results in a cocktail of a novel called Dark Matter Transit, where readers step aboard a huge alien spaceship and throw their expectations right out of the window.

“I wanted to write something that preserves the hallmarks of science fiction which readers have come to expect, but also packs in a tonne of original material.

“There’s a poignant romance, a trip across the cosmos and a shed-load of classic science fiction that Einstein would be proud of.”

Mr Yarker was born in South Woodham Ferrers in 1936. He joined the RAF when he was just 15 and trained as a telegraphist.

After leaving the RAF, he worked in Holland for a time, before returning to the UK to work as a permanent staff member of the Army Cadet Force.

He added: “The story is really resonating with readers and many are commenting on the believability of the narrative’s scientific undertone.

“It’s a good thing, because I’m currently finishing up volume two and intend to release it very soon.”

The book is available in paperback now on Amazon, priced £9.45.

For details, visit darkmattertransit.com.