On Alternative Magazine Online, Marty Mulrooney has reviewed Mike French’s surreal novel Fictional Alignment, the sequel to An Android Awakes. Marty starts by recommending reading An Android Awakes first, because both books complement each other in “exciting and often unexpected ways”. He goes on to warn readers of Fictional Aligment to prepare “to be shocked, baffled and amazed, in no particular order and sometimes all at once”.
Mike French, says Marty, writes “like a man possessed, transitioning from science fiction to romance one minute and from horror to comedy the next, with a multitude of other genres crammed in-between” with prose that is often “surprisingly elegant”. Describing Fictional Alignment as a book that celebrates the power of the written word, Marty concludes his review by saying that “there was nothing quite like An Android Awakes when it was first published in 2015 and there’s nothing quite like Fictional Alignment now in 2018”. Fictional Alignment is, he says, “just as well written and engaging as An Android Awakes” and he highly recommends it.
Master story-teller Christopher Nuttall weaves a new epic fantasy series. Five years after the earth-shattering events at the end of his Bookworm series, the Golden City has fallen, the Empire is no more, and ancient magic threatens the land.
Christopher Nuttall, one of the most popular science fiction and fantasy authors on Amazon, is an accomplished writer of epic fantasy. His bestselling, and award-winning, Bookworm series has achieved worldwide success as ebooks, paperbacks and, more recently, as unabridged audiobooks from Tantor Media. The first book was published by Elsewhen Press in 2013 and the final, fourth, book in the series was published in 2015. Since then fans have been clamouring for more stories set in the same world. Now, in 2018, Christopher has obliged with a new series that begins five years after the events at the end of the original series. Shifting focus away from the Golden City and the powerful magical families who lived there, The Unwritten Words looks to what is happening in the other kingdoms that are suddenly no longer in thrall to the Empire. The few sorcerors who are left have no authority, so land grabs and power plays rely on might rather than magic. Which means that anyone who can wield magic has an immediate advantage.
The Ghost in You is a first-hand account, from beyond the grave, by an innocent girl who dies before her time and tries to make sense of what is happening to her, while helping her friends and discovering her purpose.
DARTFORD, KENT – 26 January 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Ghost in You, the latest novel by Katrina Mountfort. A ghost story with a difference, told in the first person by the ghost herself. It addresses what awaits us when we die, the age-old concern of life after death, felt most keenly when a person is taken too soon. Along the way it also considers what it means to be soulmates.
No-one knows what happens when we die. There are theories; there are hopes; there are dreams. But eventually we all find out … Rowena had never thought about it. She was only 19 and hadn’t even experienced her first kiss. Dying was the last thing she expected; or rather, what followed was the last thing she expected. With no blinding light… no choirs of angels… it actually took her a while to realise that she was in fact dead, although seeing her own body at the foot of the stairs was a big clue.
When Sapphira writes the first human-written fiction in a century, zealot androids vow to eradicate all fiction. They fail – her book is a best seller – so they send a team back in time to realign the historical record with her fictional stories.
DARTFORD, KENT – 12 January 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of a new book by Mike French. Fictional Alignment is a sequel to the ground-breaking An Android Awakes, a collaboration between Mike French and artist Karl Brown which was published at the end of 2015 by Elsewhen Press. In that book, Android Writer PD121928 is attempting to have a novel published, but is only allowed 42 failed submissions before he will be terminated. Despairing, as he waits to hear whether his final attempt has been accepted, he commits suicide; but it is accepted, so his successor, PD121929, passes himself off as the author. In Fictional Alignment we discover that, because fewer than a hundred copies of that novel were sold, PD121929 was himself terminated. The human Sapphira, who had been in love with PD121928, wrote a bestselling novel Humans (An Arrangement of Minor Defects) based on the stories he told her on the night they first met. It was marketed by the Altostratus publishing house as the first work of fiction by a human for over a hundred years. As a result, a handful of zealot androids massacred the senate and formed a new regime fuelled with a passion to eradicate the evil of fiction from android society. But however much they try, they are unable to remove the impact of Sapphira’s novel. If fiction cannot be made to align with reality, then reality must be made to align with fiction. So, in a desperate move, they kidnap Sapphira and force her to work with an oddball team that travels back in time to enact the events of the stories in her book – thus ensuring that they are historical records rather than fiction. This is the ultimate implementation of fake news.
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Lisa writes that Ira’s novel “blends the elements of a police procedural with madcap humor and imaginative characters and locales” and the reader is “treated to humor that leaves no stone unturned” where “everything and everyone is fair game for Nayman’s wit” including employing “absurdity to good effect” and “a knack for giving old expressions a new twist”.
The book is liberally sprinkled with references to popular culture and Lisa specifically picks out the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek, Mel Blanc, Jack Ryan and Canadian icons such as Margaret Atwood, Celine Dion and Tim Hortons. Aliens are also fair game for Ira’s fun, ranging from sparkling word play to slapstick humour. While some of the humour is purely for entertainment, some is intended to “pack a satirical bite based on Nayman’s observation of human nature” and “politics” as well as “observations about relationships, workplace dynamics, and our interface with technology that hit close to home”.
Lisa found the book to be “an enjoyable read, although I found myself reading carefully rather than quickly so as not to miss any of the sometimes-subtle humor”. It was, Lisa says, “entertaining, and the variety of types of humor and original turns of phrase kept things fresh”, there are “strong female as well as male characters, inventive and creative scene-setting, and some dead-on satire”.
Thanks for the review Lisa, we’re very happy that you enjoyed Ira’s book.
On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just posted a marvellous review of Dinnusos Rises, the latest novel from Tej Turner. Although it is a sequel to his debut novel The Janus Cycle, it can also be read as a standalone novel. Seregil says he found The Janus Cycle captivating (“intriguing and insightful” was how he described it in his review) and he therefore had high expectations for Dinnusos Rises. In this review he writes that he is pleased to say that Dinnusos Rises met all of his expectations and “even managed to exceed them, because it’s just as rewarding and thought-provoking a reading experience as The Janus Cycle and then some”, adding that it is a “perfect companion” to The Janus Cycle.
Seregil describes Dinnusos Rises as “vibrant and intriguingly gritty”, saying that it is “one of the most fascinating novels of the year” with a “sophisticatedly complex story and colourful characters” which “will mesmerise readers who enjoy reading thought-provoking stories”.
He says it’s great that Tej “blends literary fiction with speculative fiction and spices the story with a touch of surrealism” to make a novel that takes readers on a “captivating and rewarding journey into a realistic yet surreal urban landscape where strange things happen and where reality meets fantasy in a powerful way”. Seregil compliments Tej’s characterisation as “excellent”, all of the characters are three-dimensional, have depth to them and each has a unique voice. He says that the characters “interact with each other in a believable way” and “nothing feels artificial or pretentious”. Using multiple viewpoints in a “vivid way” Tej “keeps the story fresh and interesting”.
Seregil says that Tej has a “genuine talent for writing stories that are spiced with gritty realism” exploring challenging themes in a realistic way while avoiding “melodramatic moments”; Tej counterbalances the harshness and grittiness with “moments of beauty and a few humorous elements”. Seregil says that one of the best things about the novel is that Tej “explores attraction, sex and different forms of sexuality in an admirably bold and realistic way”, and “dares to explore different kind of sexuality”.
In conclusion, Seregil describes Dinnusos Rises as a “prime example of what gifted authors are capable of achieving when they have courage to write about various themes and issues in a bold and insightful way”, and says it is “one of the best novels of the year” that “dares to be different and wonderfully showcases the diversity of the genre and its possibilities”. His summary is that Dinnusos Rises is “excellent in every possible way, because it’s a daring, thought-provoking and satisfyingly gritty novel”.
This was a very brief précis of Seregil’s review which you should read here.
On a number of review sites, including Library Thing, Sheri A. Wilkinson has just posted her review of Dinnusos Rises, the sequel to The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. She noted that the use of a series of narrators, the main characters in the story, meant that she “got to feel what each was going through”. She also commented that “Attention to detail brings you deeper into the story”. She had not previously read The Janus Cycle (but is now going to). She says she enjoyed Dinnusos Rises and is sure that other readers will enjoy it too.
On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Tanya Reimer’s latest Sacred Land Story. An “excellent prequel” to her first Sacred Land Story, Ghosts on the Prairies, Seregil says that Legends on the Prairies “captures the reader’s attention from the first page”. He says that he considers Tanya’s novels to be “hidden treasures” waiting to be found by readers, because they’re wonderfully different from other speculative fiction novels due to their blend of literary fiction, speculative fiction, historical elements and paranormal elements. He goes on to say that Tanya “has her own original literary voice and she uses it well”.
Seregil was eager to read Legends on the Prairies because he had enjoyed reading Tanya’s previous novels Ghosts on the Prairies and Can’t Dream Without You, and was not disappointed. He was impressed by the story and found it “entertaining and thought-provoking”, adding that in his opinion it is “better and more rounded” than Ghost on the Prairies because it “has plenty of depth and the author writes more fluently about the happenings”. It is, he says, a “successful combination of several elements” including historical fiction and speculative fiction, and “The story pulses with substance and has clearly been written out of passion for storytelling”.
He compliments Tanya’s characterisation which is “satisfying and believable” as she fleshes out her protagonists’ traits in an “engaging” way, fluently conveying “their inner turmoil and conflicted emotions to her readers”. It’s great that she has “created realistic protagonists who are not perfect and flawless cookie-cutter characters”, such that the reader wants to find out more about them because she writes so “intensely about their feelings, lives and problems”.
Seregil says that Legends on the Prairies is a “powerful exploration of friendship, hope, love and growth”, and that Tanya writes “fluently about believing in yourself and what you’re capable of doing” while creating a “good story that has plenty of tensions and substance”. She has an “insightful way of writing about change and growth” and lets her characters “make mistakes along the way”. He also says that he enjoys the way she “writes about legends. She infuses her story with them, but doesn’t let them hinder her from concentrating on achingly realistic storytelling”.
Seregil concludes by saying Legends on the Prairies is “an accessible novel that can be recommended to many readers”; and, like Ghosts on the Prairies, “will appeal to both mainstream fiction readers and speculative fiction readers” – filled with “life and turmoil” it will “intrigue and please both readerships”. Inviting readers into a world where “myth and legend meet everyday life and the harsh and painful reality of existence in a powerful way”, it will “entertain and thrill” readers. His final verdict is “Excellent, thought-provoking and well written entertainment for adults”.
You should read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow here.
Having favourably reviewed each of the first two books in the trilogy when they were published, Future Perfect (“A terrific novel”) and Forbidden Alliance (“Recommended for all lovers of books about future worlds”) it was no surprise that Terry should be the first to review the trilogy finale which she says was “fun to read”. She says it is a “terrific trilogy” that tells a lot about human nature and the “possible (and worrying) development” of some of humanity’s less likeable traits. Terry writes that she really appreciated Katrina’s “clever assessment of what technology would be like nearly 200 years from now” as too many other books set in the future have less convincing world building, adding that the “characterisation is great”. Concluding that Freedom’s Prisoners is “Very clever and well thought out” she recommends it to those who like “these sort of books, and to those who think they don’t, too!”
You can read Terry’s full review of Freedom’s Prisoners on her blog here. Her review of Future Perfect is here and her review of Forbidden Alliance is here
When Time Agency agent Radames Trafshanian is not trying to impress her good friend in the Transdimensional Authority, her very special friend, if you know what we mean (and, if you do, could you please tell us, because we’re not entirely certain…), she is busy trying to solve crimes against time (that is, crimes that are themselves against time, not trying to solve them against time – she’s not on the clock… well, she sort of is, but you know what we mean don’t you. You don’t? Well then, you’ll have to read It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should to find out).
In this novel, which is not nearly as parenthetical as the previous paragraph may have led you to believe, we accompany Radames on her latest case, followed by her previous case (time travel’s like that) and on the way we find out much more about the origin of the Time Agency itself and why it’s organised like a Library, which is very timely (see what we did there?). Featuring guest appearances by Noomi Rapier, Elvis Presley and Margaret Atwo–.
* (really, would it have killed him to plan the series more in advance? George R. R. Martin planned the first 137 books in his series – it will take more generations in his family to write than the books themselves actually chronicle – before he wrote a single word, and everybody knows where they stand with him)