Imagine if smartphones were banned.

Author Simon Lowe’s new novel ‘The World is at War, again’ takes a witty look at a world where new technology is a war-time vulnerability and society must regress to the safety of old tech.

DARTFORD, KENT – 07 June 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house that is becoming known for high quality, insightful yet entertaining speculative fiction. Their latest title, The World is at War, again by author Simon Lowe, although set in a near-future world, has a very retro feel about it. The global domination of new technology, from mega-corporations with no particular allegiance to national borders or political ideology, had led not to equality or a level playing-field but to an inability for nation-states to compete. Technology itself had become the fifth column, undermining governments and the military. The only solution was the Great Regression, rolling back insidiously pervasive technology and reverting to a world of paper, typewriters and land-line telephones. Against this background, Agent Assassins are deployed on covert missions because “Things Aren’t Going Too Well With The War” – including one agent who is tracking down another who has gone rogue, her cousin.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Lowe’s novel is neither dystopian nor post-apocalyptic fiction – the protagonists are attempting to pre-empt potential apocalypse. Nor, indeed, is it entirely fictional. Already, this year, cyber-security experts have been warning of the potential dangers of ‘smart cities’; ransom-ware attacks are on the increase, not just against businesses but also healthcare, government and infrastructure – the attack on software controlling an oil pipeline in the US caused widespread panic and public mayhem, including the terrifyingly stupid spectacle of people stockpiling petrol in plastic bags! The UK government’s own Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, CPNI, is warning industry and academia about the risks from ‘hostile state actors’. Meanwhile, during the pandemic, big tech companies (and their billionaire owners) have massively increased in value as their products and services have become ever more embedded and crucial to the lives of so many people. Where businesses used to be dependent on the goodwill of governments, the situation is now reversed, with the budgets of some smaller nations dwarfed by those of big tech, while much governmental infrastructure around the world is now under the control of a handful of corporations. How long would hostilities last if an enemy state could switch off the mobile phone network, the power grid, and the Internet within seconds of war being declared?

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, says, “Science fiction has a long tradition of shining a spotlight on society’s problems, by recasting them in an alternative context (whether that’s an alien world, or a different time). The ever-increasing dependence on technology, and the impact that it has on our everyday security, not to mention long-term stability and defence, is an important issue that people are starting to consider. In The World is at War, again Simon Lowe has highlighted these serious concerns in a witty and entertaining way – after all, who hasn’t dreamt of becoming a trained Assassin and taking out a troublesome cousin. I know I have.”

The World is at War, again is already available in eBook format and is now available in paperback from today.

Notes for Editors

About The World is at War, again

The World is at War, again. New technology has been abandoned, a period of Great Regression is under way.
In suburbia, low level Agent Assassins Maria and Marco Fandanelli are given a surprise promotion as “Things Aren’t Going Too Well With The War”. Leaving their son Peter behind, they set sail on the luxury cruise-liner Water Lily City, hoping an important mission might save their careers and their marriage.

Dilapidated and derelict, Panbury Hall is not what Peter expected from boarding school. Together, with his celebrity dorm buddy, he adjusts to a new life that involves double dates, ginger vodka, Fine Art face painting and kidnapping, as they attempt to uncover the mystery of Panbury Hall.

Despite being a member of the Misorov Agent Assassin dynasty, Chewti is a reluctant AA. She only joined the Family Business to track down her cousin Nadia, the rogue AA who killed her mother. Really, she wanted to be a school teacher. So when Nadia is spotted loitering in the grounds of Panbury Hall, the opportunity to avenge her mother’s death and have her dream job is too tempting to turn down.

The World is at War, again blends genre and expectation as characters take on an extravagant, often comic search for identity and meaning in unusual times. It is both a novel and a rumination on how very bad and very good the world would be without technology.

ISBN: 9781911409830 (paperback, 296pp) / 9781911409939 (eBook)

About Simon Lowe

Simon Lowe

Simon Lowe is the non-nom de plume of the author Simon Lowe. From humble beginnings inside a Melton Mowbray pork pie, Simon spent a summer building insulation for the millennium dome (nobody ever complained about being cold, did they?) before working the daytime shift as a flair cocktail waiter in a bar next to Leicester train station, impressing commuters with his juggling skills before pouring their coffee and thanking them for their patience. He would eventually find his feet in the big smoke as a bookseller. For ten years, he passed sharpies to famous authors with an envious, often murderous smile. He later went on to take charge of a primary school library, issuing fines to four year olds with indiscriminate glee. Fearing burn out, from the heady world of books, he chose to settle down in Hertford of all places.

As it stands, Simon has one partner, one son and one cat. Alongside writing fiction, he is a stay at home dad with ambitious plans to leave the house one day.

His short stories have popped up in journals and magazines on three continents including Visible Ink, Storgy, Firewords, AMP, Chaleur magazine, Ponder Review, Adelaide Literary journal, The Write launch, and elsewhere. He has also written about books for the Guardian newspaper.