delivering outstanding new talents in speculative fiction
These posts are to highlight mentions of Elsewhen Press, our titles or our authors (or even our staff) elsewhere. We were going to call them ‘Elsewhen Elsewhere’ but the majority of the crew thought that sounded silly (so I was outvoted, mutter, mutter, mutter).
He starts by describing the book as reading “like an RPG of the Desert”. I’m guessing that’s Role-Playing Game not Rocket-Propelled Grenade 😉
He acknowledges the world’s influences from Morocco, Ancient Egypt and the Maghreb, adding that he loves “the hint of the Assassin Creed Influence”, and goes on to say that the “setting is vivid, and the description takes you back to a world where dusty deserts and camels embark on a vast sweeping epic journey. There’s bandits, assassins, empires, merchant guilds, all jostling for power”.
He writes that the characters are “finely developed” and then provides a little background to the main protagonists. He adds, “This novel has so much magic I’m flabbergasted that it is this well done”. He also liked the cover, adding in no uncertain terms “THE COVER IS THE STORY!” (his capitals), as well as the writing: “The prose is well written. The writing is on point. The dialogue is great”. His only real criticism is that it could benefit from a map – maybe in the next book (I’ll suggest it to David.)
In conclusion he gives it 5/5.
You can (should) read the full review on the Al-Alhambra site here.
On her blog The Book Dragon, book reviewer Nikki has reviewed Resurrection Men by David Craig. With 4.5 stars out of 5 (because “it is good”) she has given a very definite thumbs-up to David’s book. She writes, “In this seemingly normal story about a couple of body snatchers from Glasgow, Scotland in the late 19th century, David Craig takes us on a terrifying and unexpected journey fraught with creatures from a nightmare”.
Nikki begins the review with her impressions after just having read the first chapter. She was intrigued and wanted to know what happens next. So that was a good start!
After reading the rest of the book she wrote her full review. She admits, “This is my first real historical fantasy novels that I have actually finished. I tend to become bored with historical fantasy–especially urban–preferring instead the medieval sword-fighting kind.” But she tells us that, after chapter 3 or so, she got so engrossed in the book that she read about 40% in one sitting and only stopped when she “happened to glance at the clock!” We all know that feeling, and any author is truly gratified that their writing can have that effect on their readers. Nikki adds, “It doesn’t matter whether your’re a historical fantasy reader or a fan of vampires, even if you’re not, it’s still a great book!” She loved the elements of sarcasm in the dialogue, especially between the two eponymous Resurrection Men, it was, she wrote, “the perfect balance between mystery/suspense/horror and comedy. Rather than making the story swing to the absurd, the comedy instead strengthened the other elements and added just a bit of relief for the reader to catch their breath before diving in again.”
Nikki’s description of the ending needs to be read (you can read her whole review here), so I won’t spoil it for you except to say that she finishes her review by writing that the ending was “the perfect way to wrap up the novel.”
On the Nothing in the Rulebook blog, an article was published today about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit on indie publishers. It includes quotes from Galley Beggar Press, Henningham Family Press, and Elsewhen Press (yours truly).
Anarya is an investigator. Yisyena is her business partner and lover. A new contract embroils them in state secrets and the personal vendettas of a murdered champion, a cabal, a puppet king, and a false god looking for one who has defied him.
DARTFORD, KENT – 28 August 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Quaestor the latest epic fantasy from author David M Allan. His new novel explores cultural differences and the effects they can have on individuals, while at the same time intertwining the protagonists’ stories in an adventure that ultimately encompasses love, justice, revenge, freedom and magic.
Magical skills have been a time-honoured component of many fantasy stories, from traditional fairy-tales to modern classics, with the ability to use them often being the result of training, heredity, or theft. In Quaestor, David M Allan envisions a world where two separate nations both have a small proportion of their population who are endowed with magical abilities, but with very different views on the source and purpose of those talents. In Carrhen, magical ability is seen as a gift from the gods, to be used for the benefit of all; while in Sitrelk it is considered to be an inherited talent to be surrendered to their living god in a self-sacrifice.
It is not just magic that is viewed differently in the two countries. Sitrelker women may not own property or a business, and indeed can’t run anything apart from their own household; while in Carrhen as many women as men run their own business and are responsible for their own livelihood and wellbeing. In Sitrelk, same sex relationships must be conducted in secret to avoid bringing shame on a family; but in Carrhen any consensual relationship is accepted without question or even a second glance.
However, even in Carrhen, authority and its concomitant power has a tendency to corrupt, with unscrupulous rulers finding ways to force those with magical talents to do their bidding and advance their ambition.
Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press says, “In Quaestor, David M Allan achieves the goal of the very best speculative fiction, namely telling a compelling story that keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next while at the same time shining a light on issues of our own world and times. We may not have magical talents, but we do have unscrupulous leaders who use others’ skills to further their own aims at the expense of the general population and even the state itself, who defy justice, who promote inequity, bigotry and hatred, and even see themselves as unimpeachable gods.”
Quaestor will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 30th August 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 21st October 2019.
About David M Allan
David M Allan got hooked on reading at a young age by borrowing to the max – 3 books, twice a week – from the public library. He was caught up and transported to fabulous other worlds by the likes of Wells, Verne and Burroughs (and later by Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein, Le Guin, Wyndham…). Alas, the journeys were temporary and he had to return to Earth.
His love affair with science fiction and fantasy had him thinking vaguely about writing but he didn’t follow through until after retirement and his relocation, with wife and cat, to a houseboat on the Thames. It was reading one book which he didn’t think was very good that led him to say “I could do better than that” and then setting out to prove it. David has since had a number of short stories published in online magazines, and his debut novel The Empty Throne published by Elsewhen Press. Quaestor is his second novel.
When you’re searching, you don’t always find what you expect
In Carrhen some people have a magic power – they may be telekinetic, clairvoyant, stealthy, or able to manipulate the elements. Anarya is a Sponger, she can absorb and use anyone else’s magic without them even being aware, but she has to keep it a secret as it provokes jealousy and hostility especially among those with no magic powers at all.
When Anarya sees Yisyena, a Sitrelker refugee, being assaulted by three drunken men, she helps her to escape. Anarya is trying to establish herself as an investigator, a quaestor, in the city of Carregis. Yisyena is a clairvoyant, a skill that would be a useful asset for a quaestor, so Anarya offers her a place to stay and suggests they become business partners. Before long they are also lovers.
But business is still hard to find, so when an opportunity arises to work for Count Graumedel who rules over the city, they can’t afford to turn it down, even though the outcome may not be to their liking. Soon they are embroiled in state secrets and the personal vendettas of a murdered champion, a cabal, a puppet king, and a false god looking for one who has defied him.
Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure; Fiction / Fantasy / Epic Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-47-2, 304pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 (21 Oct 2019) Electronic edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-57-1, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 (30 Aug 2019)
About the cover
The cover artwork for Quaestor was produced by Alison Buck, illustrating their auras as Anarya borrows Yisyena’s clairvoyant skill.
When reading, as she was growing up, Steve Harrison’s daughter complained about the lack of good adventure stories for girls. Having an author for a dad meant that a remedy was only a matter of time.
DARTFORD, KENT – 31 July 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Blurred Vision by Australian speculative fiction author, Steve Harrison.
The heroine of Steve’s latest book is Polly Hart, a schoolgirl who enjoys a normal life, in a normal school, with her friends somewhere in southern England. Her dad is a mathematician and her mum is an astrophysicist with the North Atlantic Space Research Centre and both are working long hours investigating a series of mysterious attacks on satellites which are baffling the space agencies. Polly decides to pursue her own research into the incidents and hacks the maintenance camera feed from the satellite that her model predicts will be the next target. What she sees is a shock: a blurry alien spacecraft vandalising the satellite. Even more of a shock is an alien from that spacecraft tapping on her bedroom window that evening. After that, her life will never be normal again…
Steve Harrison was inspired to tell the story of Polly Hart and her friends after his daughter complained that “boys always seem to have the best adventures”. He says that his intention was to write “a modern, sci-fi take on the no-nonsense Famous Five and Secret Seven adventure novels I enjoyed as a child. It was a lot of fun to write.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press says, “Steve is a consummate story-teller, spinning adventures that grab you from the outset and propel you through thrilling action towards an unknown conclusion. Blurred Vision is a very entertaining story, with the sort of adventure that we all grew up devouring, but with modern protagonists in a very 21st century setting. What young sci-fi fan doesn’t dream of being the one to make first contact? Although the heroine is a teenager, this is very definitely a story that will be enjoyed by sci-fi fans of all ages, regardless of gender.”
For many years the science fiction fan community has been very diverse, but it is only recently that many authors have started to realise that not all of their readers are male. Every reader, especially a younger reader, should be able to recognise themselves in the heroes and heroines of the stories they read. Elsewhen Press is proud to have published science fiction and fantasy stories from a wide range of authors with an equally diverse range of protagonists.
Blurred Vision will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 16th August 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 18th November 2019.
Notes for Editors
About Steve Harrison
Steve Harrison was born in Yorkshire, England, grew up in Lancashire, migrated to New Zealand and eventually settled in Sydney, Australia, where he lives with his wife.
As he juggled careers in shipping, insurance, online gardening and the postal service, Steve wrote short stories, sports articles and a long running newspaper humour column called HARRISCOPE: a mix of ancient wisdom and modern nonsense.
His first novel TimeStorm, published by Elsewhen Press, was Highly Commended in the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards, Jim Hamilton Award in the fantasy/science fiction category, for an unpublished novel of sustained quality and distinction by an Australian author.
About the book
Title: Blurred Vision
“Take it easy,” said Kylie, still with a hint of amusement. “You’re perfectly safe. Think of me as a tourist.”
Polly squinted back at her. She couldn’t help herself. “Are you invading earth?”
“Are you kidding? Do you know how much that would cost?”
“Then what are you doing here?”
“We found you after you activated the camera on the satellite and were impressed by the other stuff you did to hide your tracks. Easy for us, but we all thought it was very cool. For an Earth human, anyway.”
“You don’t talk like an alien.”
“How many do you know?” asked Kylie.
Polly couldn’t argue with that. “Good point.”
When Polly Hart agrees to swap places with a girl from another planet, she has no idea that this makes her a fugitive in the fabulous universe revealed by her new friend, and now she must outwit the school bully, a weird teacher and an interstellar hit squad to survive. So annoying!
Young Adult Fiction / Science Fiction / Alien Contact;
Young Adult Fiction / Science Fiction / Humorous
Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-46-5, 240pp, Demy; RRP £10 / €12 / US$18 (18 Nov 2019)
Electronic edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-56-4, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 (16 Aug 2019)
About the cover
The cover artwork of Polly and Kylie taking a selfie in space above Earth, uses an iconic photograph of the Earth courtesy of the NASA Earth Observatory, and a photograph of Polly & Kylie by Dean Drobot / shutterstock.com.
Set in a hot desert land of diverse peoples, this is a world away from the Scottish author’s previous book (set in Victorian Glasgow) but has the same masterful storytelling.
DARTFORD, KENT – 03 July 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Thorns of a Black Rose by Scottish speculative fiction author, David Craig. Following on the success of his debut novel, Resurrection Men, a sequel to which is planned for next year, comes David’s new epic fantasy set in a hot desert land of diverse peoples who are dealing with demons, mages, natural disasters … and the Black Rose assassins.
Although set in an imaginary land, the scenery and peoples were inspired by Egypt, Morocco and the Sahara. Mask is a living, breathing city, from the prosperous Merchant Quarter whose residents struggle for wealth and power, to the Poor Quarter whose residents struggle just to survive. It is a coming-of-age tale for the young thief, Tamira, as well as a tale of vengeance and discovery. There is also a moral ambiguity in the story, with both the protagonists and antagonists learning that, whatever their intentions or justification, actions have consequences.
David says, “This novel, and those to follow, were born of a desire to write stories set in a large, varied world, from vast, hot deserts to claustrophobic, humid rainforests, to snow-capped mountains and dark, frozen forests. A volatile, living world viewed through the eyes of a band of diverse, intrepid, morally ambiguous adventurers getting caught up in all sorts of trouble. My ambition is tell a series of sword & sorcery-esque adventures that stand alone in their own right while contributing towards a larger over-arching story.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, says, “David has an uncanny skill to quickly transport you, as a reader, to the scene of his story. It may be a real place that is already familiar, such as Victorian Glasgow in Resurrection Men; or an invented city like Mask in the hot desert of Thorns of a Black Rose, where you can almost smell the aromas and exotic scents filling the air in the souk, or feel the heat radiating from the baked mud-brick walls. But, more than that, David introduces you to characters that you will soon truly care about, following them on their adventure: excited, worried, thrilled, shocked. David’s books are ideal examples of what speculative fiction does best, transporting readers to another world; a perfect way to escape, albeit temporarily, from the banality or absurdity of the real world – which is especially welcome at the moment!”
Thorns of a Black Rose will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 26th July 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 21st October 2019.
Notes for Editors
About David Craig
Aside from three months living on an oil tanker sailing back and forth between America and Africa, and two years living in a pub, David Craig grew up on the west coast of Scotland. He studied Software Engineering at university, but lost interest in the subject after (and admittedly prior to) graduation. He currently works as a resourcing administrator for a public service contact centre, and lives near Glasgow with his wife, daughter and two rabbits.
Being a published writer had been a life-long dream, and one he was delighted to finally realise with his debut novel, Resurrection Men, the first in the Sooty Feathers series, published by Elsewhen Press in 2018. Before the next book in the Sooty Feathers series though, Elsewhen Press are publishing his latest fantasy epic Thorns of a Black Rose.
About the book
Title: Thorns of a Black Rose
On a quest for vengeance, Shukara arrives in the city of Mask having already endured two years of hardship and loss. Her pouch is stolen by Tamira, a young street-smart thief, who throws away some of the rarer reagents that Shukara needs for her magick. Tracking down the thief, and being unfamiliar with Mask, Shukara shows mercy to Tamira in exchange for her help in replacing what has been lost. Together they brave the intrigues of Mask, and soon discover that they have a mutual enemy in the Black Rose, an almost legendary band of merciless assassins. But this is just the start of their journeys…
Fiction / Fantasy / Epic; Fiction / Fantasy / Action & Adventure
Print edition: ISBN 978-1-911409-45-8, 256pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 (21 Oct 2019)
On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Geoffrey Carr’s debut novel, the technothriller Genesis, describing it as “an enjoyable combination of science fiction, technology and thriller”. Seregil “enjoyed Genesis a lot” especially as it “starts slowly and then, bit by bit, gathers momentum and ends in a satisfying climax”. He says it is a well written story, where fragments and threads are at first presented that seem unconnected but “soon everything begins to make sense and the reader notices what connects everything together”. Seregil says he likes this kind of storytelling because “it requires concentration on the reader’s part and makes the reader want to find out what is happening”.
Seregil mentions that Genesis is also an interesting read for anyone with a view on AI, whether they are keen to see progress or worry about it, because “it offers readers a cautionary tale of what may happen when a powerful AI becomes alive and self-aware, and decides that it doesn’t need its makers anymore”. Geoffrey Carr, he says, writes vividly about what happens when computer systems misbehave and enjoyably about the business and political issues involved. Seregil suggests that Carr’s experiences as Science and Technology Editor of The Economist and his wide-ranging interests and knowledge is one of the main reasons why this novel is “good and intriguing”, and has “many captivating elements and a few thought-provoking moments”. Geoffrey’s writing style is easy and fast to read, gradually revealing important details with revelations that “keeps the story moving forward in a fluent way”, with welcome touches of humour.
Seregil concludes by recommending Genesis as a well-written techno-thriller that tells an intriguing, exciting and suspenseful story.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow.nethere.
On SFcrowsnest, David A Hardy has just reviewed Genesis by Geoffrey Carr, which he bought at Eastercon at our Genesis launch event. He starts by saying that he enjoyed the book “greatly”.
Dave describes the story as “a rollercoaster ride: it starts slowly, but builds to a fast-moving and gripping climax”. He outlines the underlying plot and the main protagonists, adding that the “manner in which all this comes together as it builds toward the climactic end of this book is masterly”.
Naturally I’ve just picked out a couple of juicy morsels from Dave’s review! But you can (and should) read his full review on SFcrowsnest here.
Two groups of people dependent on AI for their survival, one group knowingly and the other unknowingly, struggle to stay alive while that very AI is seeking artificial life for itself.
DARTFORD, KENT – 05 April 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Programmed to Breathe by Canadian speculative fiction author Tanya Reimer. Set over 1000 years in the future, two very different groups of apocalypse survivors have been living apart and unknown to each other until they are forced to meet.
In this post-apocalyptic world, one group of survivors have been managing to eke out a living in a village that they believe is maintained for them by a supernatural being they call Dragon. The villagers eschew technology of any kind, believing it to have been the cause of the conflict that devastated the world centuries before. Unknown to them, the heat and water that keeps the village alive are actually the by-products of an underground city, where a different group of survivors are being sustained by an artificial intelligence program known as Nogard. In the city, genetic engineering and cybernetics are promoting the rapid evolution of residents who have never seen daylight. Nogard has been evolving too and is intent on making the jump from artificial intelligence to artificial life. But a series of devastating earthquakes damages the city and kills many of its inhabitants, forcing a group of youngsters to try to escape to the surface, in the hope that it is habitable. Meanwhile, above ground, the villagers believe the earthquakes to be an indication that they have upset Dragon, and two of them set off through tunnels at the back of a cavern sacred to Dragon to try to placate it. Tanya’s story tells us of these two very different cultures that are on an inevitable collision course, how they navigate the dangers that beset them on their respective journeys, and what happens when they finally meet. Meanwhile the true nature of Dragon is revealed, as is the extent of Nogard’s ambition to become mortal.
Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, says, “It is interesting to compare Tanya’s vision of a future in the next millennium with that of H.G. Wells’ far distant future in his classic story, The Time Machine. But although both the village and the underground city are inhabited by separate groups of humans, they have not evolved according to class divisions as Wells foresaw from his Victorian perspective. Rather the diversity is based on the availability and attitude towards science and technology, perhaps a much more telling reflection of our own times.”
Programmed to Breathe will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 26th April 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 1st July 2019.
Notes for Editors
About Tanya Reimer
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Tanya enjoys using the tranquil prairies as a setting to her not-so-peaceful speculative fiction. She is married with two children which means that among her accomplishments are the necessary magical abilities to find a lost tooth in a park of sand and whisper away monsters from under the bed.
As director of a non-profit Francophone community center, Tanya offers programming and services in French for all ages to ensure the lasting imprint and growth of the Francophone community in which she was raised. What she enjoys the most about her job is teaching social media safety for teens and offering one-on-one technology classes for seniors.
Tanya was fifteen when she wrote her first column. She has a diploma in Journalism/Short Story Writing. Today, she actively submits to various newspapers, writes and publishes the local Francophone newsletter for her community, and maintains a blog at Life’s Like That.
Programmed to Breathe is her fifth title published by Elsewhen Press.