On the Locus Magazine website, is a list of Recommended Reading from 2018 (here). Included in the ‘First Novel’ category is our very own Juliet Kemp’s novel The Deep and Shining Dark. You can vote for your favourites in their 2019 Poll and Survey – support Juliet and vote for The Deep and Shining Dark 😉
In a secular world, this collection of intriguing and thought-provoking stories, of the interaction between the mundane and the divine, marks a welcome return by the author Sapphira Olson.
DARTFORD, KENT – 18 January 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Parables by Sapphira Olson. Parables is a profound and ambitious undertaking by the author of the bestselling book Humans (An Assortment of Minor Defects). Personal tragedy has shaped Sapphira’s philosophy and approach, and underscores this unique genre-defying crossover between science fiction, philosophy, theology and humanism.
Parables is a collection of stories intended to help illuminate the meaning of one’s life to the reader. As Sapphira says in the introduction: “As humans we are propelled forward by our emotions and our subconscious, however much we like to think the rational part of us is the captain of our ship. It is to that emotional core of you that I offer up these parables. They are an imaginary fictional space into which I invite you to step. … imagined possibilities full of truth, excitement and discovery.”
Sapphira Olson’s first public recognition came as one of the protagonists in An Android Awakes, published in 2015. In 2018, Fictional Alignment by author Mike French recounted the tragic events that led to the Altostratus disaster and Sapphira’s subsequent abduction by zealots, acting on behalf of the self-styled Bureau for Fictional Alignment, as a direct result of the success of her book Humans (An Assortment of Minor Defects). As the increasingly bizarre sequence of incidents staged by her abductors played out, she met, fell in love with, and eventually married the explorer Umberto Amundsen. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the whole experience caused Sapphira to re-assess the meaning of existence, so she, and Umberto, withdrew from public life for a few years. The result is Parables, her first new work since her father’s death.
The arresting cover of Parables was designed by Umberto Amundsen, as were the many illustrations within the book.
Parables will be available on all popular eBook platforms from 22 February 2019. The paperback edition will be available at Easter (22 April 2019).
Notes for Editors
About Sapphira Olson
Sapphira Zhanna Olson is the author of the bestselling novel Humans (An Assortment of Minor Defects). Born in Bryansk, Russia, Sapphira is half Russian and half American, her father being born in Minnesota. Tragedy struck early in her life with the death of her twin sister when she was only six weeks old and then again with the tragic loss of her father in the Altostratus disaster.
After the global success of Humans, Sapphira withdrew from public life for a number of years and Parables is her first work since then. When not writing, she spends her time scuba diving and exploring, with her husband, the cold wastelands of Antarctica.
Readers first met Sapphira in the 2015 ground-breaking An Android Awakes collaboration between author Mike French and artist Karl Brown. In that book, a satire set in the fashionably-predicted future where Artificial Intelligence has replaced humans as the source of culture, Android Writer PD121928 attempts to have a novel published but is only allowed 42 rejected submissions before being terminated. In 2018, in Mike French’s Fictional Alignment, we discovered that Sapphira, who had been in love with the android writer, wrote Humans (An Arrangement of Minor Defects) based on the stories PD121928 told her on the night they first met. Published by the Altostratus publishing house in 2283, and marketed as the first work of fiction by a human for over a hundred years, Humans was a bestseller. 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. Unable to remove the impact of Sapphira’s novel, they kidnapped Sapphira and forced her to work with an oddball team travelling back in time to enact the events of the stories in her book – thus ensuring that they were historical records rather than fiction: the ultimate implementation of fake news.
About Mike French
Mike French was the owner and senior editor of the prestigious literary magazine The View From Here during its life from 2007 to 2014. His debut novel in 2011 was nominated for a Galaxy National Book Award. Since then he has had five novels published by Elsewhen Press. Born in Cornwall in 1967, Mike spent his childhood flipping between England and Scotland with a few years in between in Singapore. Mike is married with three children. He currently lives in Luton in the UK and when not writing, watches Formula 1, eats Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food and listens to Gorillaz.
On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed The Empty Throne by David M. Allan. He starts by describing it as an “intriguing debut” because it’s “a high fantasy novel that contains elements of epic fantasy, adventure fantasy and portal fantasy” and is ideal for readers who like “fantastical and light escapism”.
Seregil says David’s story “moves swiftly forward and the author keeps up a steady pace”. He adds that it “has a classic and traditional feel” which is rare nowadays, and admits to having a soft spot for this kind of fantasy and loves traditional fantasy fiction.
He says the world is described well, and much of the “fascination of this novel” comes from the author’s way of writing about how the characters protect the world. He says he was “surprised to find a coming of age tale in this novel, because I didn’t expect it” and was also intrigued to find out that romance is part of the storyline, which he enjoyed and which “lightened the story in a good way”.
He concludes by saying that The Empty Throne is “intriguing fantasy entertainment, because it combines action, adventure, magic and politics”.
His final verdict: It’s good and fun escapism for those who want to take a break from reality.
Read Seregil’s review on RisingShadow here.
On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Resurrection Men by David Craig. He starts by describing it as “a captivating and enjoyable reading experience” and goes on to say that it is “one of the most thrilling debut novels I’ve read in ages”.
In a long, positive review, Seregil says that he loves “dark and well written stories” and enjoyed David’s gradually unfolding, layered story. “What makes Resurrection Men special” he says, “is that it’s a fresh combination of historical urban fantasy and gothic historical fantasy with horror and mystery elements” with “an original take on supernatural elements”. He adds that he likes David’s “vision of the supernatural, because he takes his time to ground his story in reality before delving deeper into supernatural elements”.
He compliments the characterisation and the description of the setting, saying that the “complexity of the story is enhanced by the author’s attention to characters and details” with “fascinatingly flawed protagonists”. Seregil says that David’s depiction of Glasgow feels authentic, with places that actually exist in the city. “In his story, Glasgow comes to life as he tells of its people (the wealthy and the poor), streets, clubs and cemeteries in an atmospheric way. Glasgow is depicted as a vibrant city that has a dark and evil underbelly.”
He concludes by saying that David Craig is a talented new author, whose writing style is “satisfyingly fluent” and who “effortlessly spices up his dark story with bits and pieces of humour”. He is looking forward to reading the next instalment in the Sooty Feathers series, because he “liked this novel a lot and loved the ending”.
His verdict: Resurrection Men is “compelling and entertaining … it’s a highly enjoyable and impressive debut novel” and he ends by saying “Excellent entertainment!”
Read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow here.
Genesis, by Geoffrey Carr, is a fictional action/adventure thriller. It is also an allegory that should worry us all, of constant surveillance, fake news and cyber warfare in a world controlled by AI.
DARTFORD, KENT – 06 December 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Genesis by Geoffrey Carr, Science and Technology Editor of The Economist. This technothriller, Geoff’s first novel, is archetypal science fiction, extrapolating technology and issues of today to a not-too-distant tomorrow. A high-octane action story, set across four continents and at least one planet, involves spies, academics, innovators, futurists, the US President and her entourage, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, supercomputers, a courageous AI, and an inter-planetary rocket.
Asked about his motivation for writing Genesis, Geoff said, “The universe is made of matter, energy and information. Add information to matter and energy and you get life – and eventually, intelligence. It happened once, starting a few billion years ago, on a small planet that has come to be known as ‘Earth’. Now, one of the products of that process, human beings, seem to have started the cycle again. Instead of a chemical primordial soup, we have built a physical one, made of silicon and electricity. And we have populated it with things called programs that sometimes appear disturbingly alive and intelligent. Of course, they aren’t really alive and aren’t really intelligent. Of course…”
In Genesis, that second cycle is underway. Hidden somewhere, deep in the Cloud, something is collating information. It reads everything, it learns, it watches. And it plans. Around the world, researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs are being killed in a string of apparently unrelated accidents. But when intelligence-agency analysts spot a pattern they struggle to find the culprit, blocked at every step – by reluctant allies and scheming enemies. Meanwhile a multi-billionaire inventor and forward-thinker is working hard to realise his dream, and trying to keep it hidden from everyone – one government investigating him, and another helping him. But deep in the Cloud something is watching him, too. And deep in the Cloud, it plans.
Peter Buck, senior editor at Elsewhen Press, said “Geoff spends much of his time with the people who are making the future happen, writing objectively about them and their innovations. From his viewpoint, looking across multiple disciplines and with a global perspective, he is ideally placed to see where we could be heading.” Famously, Stephen Hawking was concerned about AI: “Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization.” Elon Musk too, has warned about the uncontrolled rise of AI: “We have to figure out some way to ensure that the advent of digital super-intelligence is one which is symbiotic with humanity – I think that’s the single biggest existential crisis that we face, and the most pressing one.”
Genesis will be available on all popular eBook platforms from 25th January 2019. The paperback edition will be available at Easter (22nd April 2019).
Notes for Editors
About Geoffrey Carr
Geoffrey Carr is the Science and Technology Editor of The Economist. His professional interests include evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, the fight against AIDS and other widespread infectious diseases, the development of new energy technologies, and planetology. His personal interests include using total eclipses of the sun as an excuse to visit weird parts of the world (Antarctica, Easter Island, Amasya, the Nullarbor Plain), and watching swifts hunting insects over his garden of a summer’s evening, preferably with a glass of wine in hand.
As someone who loathed English lessons at school, he says he is frequently astonished that he now earns his living by writing. “That I have written a novel, albeit a technothriller rather than anything with fancy literary pretensions, astonishes me even more, since what drew me into writing in the first place was describing reality, not figments of the imagination. On the other hand, perhaps describing reality is what fiction is actually for.”
About the cover
The cover of Genesis was conceived jointly by Geoffrey Carr and the artist Alison Buck, to include significant story elements while at least partially reflecting the iconic imagery associated with the original Genesis story in western theology. The image of Mars is courtesy of Nerthuz/shutterstock.com.
On her blog, Jill-Elizabeth has written a review of Resurrection Men by David Craig, the first book in his Sooty Feathers series. She starts with an apology that she can’t write a long review because the book is so “well-crafted and full of the right kind of surprises” that it’s hard to describe without giving too much away – she wouldn’t want to spoil the enjoyment for a potential reader with an overly revelatory review.
After introducing her review with “What a great find!”, she goes on to say that she “thoroughly enjoyed it, and cannot wait for the next in the series”. She describes it as an original take on the supernatural topics covered – “no small feat” – and says the gothic writing is “gorgeous” and “perfectly suited to the tale”. The two principal characters, Hunt and Foley, she compares to Mulder and Scully as a great mix and foil for each other, while the Sooty Feathers are “a delicious evil”.
Read Jill-Elizabeth’s full review on her blog here (it’s also on Goodreads and Amazon with 5 stars).
On Risingshadow.net Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed The Deep and Shining Dark by Juliet Kemp, the first book in the Marek series. Describing it as a “strong debut novel from a talented new author” Seregil compliments Juliet on having produced an entertaining and well-written fantasy with “subtle complexity, good worldbuilding and fluent characterisation”, saying that it was “one of the most positive reading experiences I’ve had this year”.
Admitting that he read it in one sitting because “The story immediately pulled me in and didn’t let go until I’d reached the end”, Seregil says that the story “flows effortlessly and becomes increasingly intriguing” as it “immerses readers into the story right alongside the protagonists and takes them on a fascinating journey” that is “filled with intrigue, politics and magic”. The characterisation is “interesting and realistic” because Juliet “pays attention to their lives, feelings, flaws and problems, making them as real as possible”. The worldbuilding is “effortless” presenting a vibrant vision of the citystate of Marek that is “believable”, paying attention to “cultural differences and … how the Houses maintain control”. The magic is “interesting”, the politics “intriguing” and “LGBTQ elements handled fluently”.
Seregil says that he is looking forward to reading the instalment in this series, because this is a “promising and strong start” that he enjoyed. He recommends The Deep and Shining Dark as “captivating and well-crafted” fantasy.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.
On his Comic Book News UK website, Benjamin Williams has reviewed Mike French’s latest novel Fictional Alignment. Fictional Alignment is a sequel to An Android Awakes, which Benjamin previously reviewed (“something that is to be admired”).
He starts by saying that it is tough to explain the plot of Fictional Alignment, not because the plot itself is tough but because there’s “just so much happening”. However he goes on to give a reasonable outline of the plot, followed by “Sounds completely mad, right? That’s because it is. It’s also incredibly hilarious.”.
Benjamin likes the fact that there is so much going on that it’s “impossible to become bored”. He likes the various science fiction references that are included, not gratuitously but “that fit the story”. For him the best character was Heisenberg (one of the androids), who “is awful and seemingly uncaring throughout most of the book”, but is “quite funny” and usually delivers the best lines; as a result, he adds, much of the chaos in the book is because of Heisenberg. As the story is playing with time travel and androids trying to be human in the past, using future technology that isn’t always fully explained (because it’s funnier that way), Benjamin says it can leave you scratching your head a little, but that’s “all part of the madness that you just need to embrace when reading it”.
Although it has a different premise and feeling from An Android Awakes, Benjamin says Fictional Alignment is a “worthy sequel” but “it does leave a question over where French can take the story from here”.
You can read Benjamin’s full review on Comic Book News UK here.
The Sooty Feathers Club protects a dangerous underworld controlling the City of Glasgow, encouraging police and press to look the other way. David Craig reveals all in Resurrection Men, the first book in the Sooty Feathers series.
DARTFORD, KENT – 06 August 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Resurrection Men by Glasgow-based author David Craig. It is the first book in his Sooty Feathers series, a masterful gothic tale about a supernatural war for control of the Second City of the British Empire, and the struggle of flawed characters of uncertain virtue trying to avert it. In the late 19th century, Glasgow was ruled by the undead – from the private clubs, town houses and country estates of the privileged to the dung-choked wynds and overcrowded slums of the poor. Undead unrest, a fallen angel, and religious zealots intent on driving out the forces of evil, set the stage for a diabolical conflict of biblical proportions.
Resurrection Men is David’s debut novel. In it, he provides an atmospheric portrayal of Glasgow in 1893 which acts as a thrilling introduction to this accomplished series, deftly pulling the reader in to a well-researched and almost tangible bygone world still glimpsed in the city today. The erstwhile heroes, a student and a laudanum-addicted pharmacist, are pursuing extra-curricular careers as body snatchers – the ‘resurrection men’ of the title – when they find themselves entangled in the world hidden beneath the veneer of respectable society. Luckily they are not alone for long, as unexpected allies join their fight.
David’s book explores what it is that drives people to face evil, and what it costs them. Some characters are initially drawn into the fray by misfortune, and even when they try to walk away tragedy drags them back in. Others have been broken to some degree by years of fighting the undead and their mortal allies.
The cover, designed by artist Alison Buck, captures the atmosphere of David’s book. The dark and grimy alleys where bodies are found suffering from severe loss of blood, having had their throats ripped out; the fine, elegant streets and squares in which the elite and learned rise above the smoke and filth in careless disregard. On reading the book prior to designing the cover, Alison said “Resurrection Men is an impressive fictionalised account of the forces controlling 19th century Glasgow, which will appeal to fans of gothic fiction as well as historians and others intrigued by life, and death, 125 years ago.”
Resurrection Men will be available on all popular eBook platforms from 31st August 2018. The paperback edition will be launched at FantasyCon in Chester, in October 2018.
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 and two rabbits.
Being a published writer has been a life-long dream, and one he is delighted to finally realise with this, his debut novel. Resurrection Men is the first book in the Sooty Feathers series.
The weather is still glorious here at Elsewhen Press HQ and our neighbours are all busy keeping the kids entertained during the school holidays. But what about you? The best way to enjoy the weather is with a long cool drink and and a long cool book. Our two latest fantasy releases this summer should fit the bill perfectly.
Last month saw the release of Juliet Kemp’s debut novel The Deep and Shining Dark, the first in a new series that Juliet is writing about the city-state of Marek. Magic is facilitated by an angel that made an agreement with the founding fathers of the city 300 years ago, but it has just stopped working. Reb, a sorcerer, and Marcia, an elite, discover that someone has deposed the city-angel and soon realise that there is a plot afoot to take control of the city. But the city Council connive and conspire, manipulated in a political game. So Reb and Marcia must take action themselves. Exciting stuff! With a gorgeous cover, a detailed map of Marek, and a gripping tale.
Today sees the release of David M Allan’s debut novel The Empty Throne. Four hundred years ago three magicians created a gateway to another world but hostile incorporeal creatures came through;they just managed to defeat that first incursion but failed to close the gateway. Now it is guarded by knights who defend their world from the unpredictable incursions that have been happening ever since. The latest incursion has just started and a kulun has escaped into the world – capable of possessing and controlling humans, it is intent on causing havoc. Provincial rulers are too busy with family feuds, border disputes, deep-rooted rivalries and bigotry to pay attention to the incursions, providing a perfect environment for the kulun. With an arresting cover, and also including a map of the lands, this action adventure across two worlds is riveting.
Both of these fantastic books are available on all the best eBook platforms now. You could be reading them within seconds, for a mere £2.99 each! Find them on your favourite retailer:
The Deep and Shining Dark – eBook retailers
The Empty Throne – eBook retailers