Physics teacher dedicated to making science fun, even in retirement.

New novel, by retired teacher, explores biological adaptation, quantum physics and relativity, as well as friendship, family and fame, in a fun wild adventure set on both Earth and Mars and in some additional dimensions.

DARTFORD, KENT – 12 August 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by new authors. Science fiction provides authors and readers with an opportunity to explore possibilities for other worlds while staying within the realms of what’s feasible. Recently retired physics teacher, Hugh Duncan, has used humour throughout his career to successfully encourage his pupils’ interest in science. Now he is taking the same approach to reach a wider audience with his novel, Life on Mars: The Vikings are coming.

Why did the NASA Viking missions discover no evidence of life on Mars? Was it a concerted effort to hide the truth? Who was doing the hiding? – What if it was the life on Mars itself that was determined to remain unnoticed by Earthlings?

Peter Buck, editorial director of Elsewhen Press says, “We’ve known Hugh for a long time and have always been impressed with his ability to enthuse his students. When he brought his novel to us, we were delighted to be able to publish it. Hugh has an innate ability to, literally, make fun of even the hardest concepts in science. If we described his book as an exploration of exobiology, phenotypic plasticity, quantum mechanical wave-functions, and electrostatics, it might only appeal to fans of hard science fiction. However, if we point out that the main protagonist is a teenage tortle (a Martian rock turtle) who has adapted for longevity in the harsh conditions of Mars, and that in this context ‘teenage’ means sixteen-million years of age, the tone of the story becomes a little clearer. A quantum-tunnelling worm participates in the adventure (a handy friend to have, it turns out, when you’re locked in a filing cabinet). Zombie vegetables are another hazard to be overcome (as is so often true in life). And so is a publicity-obsessed Martian artist, determined to expand his audience to Earth. The occasional intervention by the Physics Police (responsible for enforcing the Laws of Physics) just adds to the near-anarchy. The Vikings of the subtitle are the NASA probes sent to Mars in the 1970s. Finally, the truth can be told about why they failed to find evidence of life on Mars – in short, a concerted effort by much of the Martian fauna (and, indeed, some of the flora) to remain unobserved, with the help of two house martins from the South of France. Hugh’s story will appeal to those of us who were disappointed by the Viking missions’ results, along with conspiracy fans who were sure that the ‘face on Mars’ wasn’t just shadows, science fiction fans who like to extrapolate current knowledge, anyone fascinated by the scientific possibilities of life on other worlds, science students suffering with teachers who have no sense of fun, and especially young-at-heart readers (from 10 to 100+ years young) who enjoy a madcap adventure.”

World-renowned scientist John Gribbin, author of In Search of Schrodinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality, widely regarded as one of the best science writers of our time, said, “Life on Mars is fantasy on steroids. Instead of swords and magic potions, we have the ‘magic’ science of quantum physics and relativity theory, channelled through what feels like a hallucinogenic dream. My favourite character is a quantum-tunnelling worm, but the author’s fevered imagination provides us with a menagerie of almost equally bizarre creatures, on a mission to save the world – their world, that is, not ours. Suspend disbelief, strap in for the ride, and enjoy.”

The cover of the book features an image of the heroine of the story, Jade, a 16-million year old tortle. The image was created by Natascha Booth, one of Hugh’s former students now studying art at university in Dublin. The book also contains illustrations by Natascha of some of the main characters. Many of Hugh’s ex-students have already expressed their excitement at the forthcoming publication of the book, demonstrating the high regard he has engendered over his years as a teacher. Indeed some are very keen for him to come to launch the book at their current university.

Life on Mars: The Vikings are coming, is published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format today and will be available in paperback on the 12th September.

Notes for Editors

About Hugh Duncan

Hugh DuncanHugh Duncan hatched in Leicester in 1957. He studied astronomy at University College London and, though very lazy, got his degree. His final thesis was on Martian craters and, after, he worked at the UCL observatory cataloguing the Viking Mission photos.

Having fallen in love with a French woman and wanting to live happily ever after, he ruined that plan by becoming a science teacher. The temporary job became a lifelong career, first in the UK, then for 32 years at the International School of Nice, from which he has recently retired. A few years ago, UCL launched the maths journal Chalkdust, in which Hugh has had a number of articles published. In 1997, Oxford Study Courses, asked him to write revision guidebooks for IB Physics, which continues to this day.

Hugh started in science fiction aged five, when he wrote ‘Dr Who goes to the balloon planet’ and some have said it’s his best work to date. Nearly sixty years later, Life on Mars is his first published novel. Inspired by the mighty Terry Pratchett, for school charity projects Hugh started writing his own ‘Deskworld’ stories, parodying his school as one for witches and wizards. Three dozen stories sold well using a captive audience scared of getting bad grades if they didn’t buy them, hmm…

Hugh has been married for 40 years and has four children – most don’t seem to want to leave home in spite of being adults and having to listen to his songs and stories all the time. He lives in the South of France, not very far from the village with two famous house martins who appear in Life on Mars. He owns a Hermann’s tortoise called Sophie Rose.

About Life on Mars

Racing against time, Jade and her friends must hide evidence of Life on Mars to stop the probes from Earth finding them

Life on Mars cover art by Natascha Booth
Cover art: Natascha Booth

Jade is on her way to meet up with her dad, Elvis, for her sixteen-millionth birthday (tortles live a long time in spite of the harsh conditions on Mars), when she gets side-tracked by a strange object that appears to have fallen from the sky. Elvis’ travelling companion Starkwood, an electrostatic plant, is hearing voices, claiming that “The Vikings Are Coming”, while their football-pitch-sized flying friend Fionix confirms the rumour: the Earth has sent two craft to look for life on Mars.

It then becomes a race against time to hide any evidence of such life before Earth destroys it for good. Can Jade and her friends succeed, with help from a Lung Whale, a liquid horse, some flying cats, the Hellas Angels, the Pyrites and a couple of House Martins from the South of France? Oh, and a quantum-tunnelling worm – all while avoiding Zombie Vegetables and trouble with a Gravity Artist and the Physics Police?! A gentle and lightly humorous science fantasy adventure.

ISBN: 9781915304124 eBook / 9781915304025 paperback 400pp

Cover art and illustrations by: Natascha Booth

Visit bit.ly/LifeOnMars-Vikings

 

Alison Buck shortlisted for British Fantasy Society Best Artist Award

The British Fantasy Society (BFS) have just announced the shortlisted nominees for this years BFS Awards. The shortlist for Best Artist incudes our very own Alison Buck. The winner will be announced at FantasyCon in September.

Author cites value of a close community in the face of growing environmental despair.

Glasgow author Douglas Thompson honours his late brother’s UFO obsession with new sci-fi novel considering the abductee as divine outsider.

DARTFORD, KENT – 15 July 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. One of those authors is Douglas Thompson, from Glasgow.

Douglas was always sceptical of the fanatical belief in UFOs of his elder brother (the artist Ally Thompson 1955-2016), but since Ally’s untimely death from alcoholism, international news stories leaked from the American military have made Douglas wonder if his brother might ultimately be proven right. ‘White tic tacs’ and ‘off world vehicles’ have recently been publicly accepted as having ‘buzzed’ US boats and airplanes during military exercises while moving at speeds beyond any known terrestrial technology. Although the meaning and origin of these objects remains unknown, their existence is no longer denied or in doubt. Even NASA are entertaining the possibility that alien life may have located us before we’re able to locate them.

In homage to his late brother’s obsession, and bearing a dedication to him, Douglas Thompson’s new novel from Elsewhen Press, Stray Pilot, takes the notion of extra-terrestrial existence seriously by asking what would happen if a military pilot abducted by a UFO were to return 80 years later to his hometown to find everyone and everything aged while, for him, only a year has gone by (an effect known as time dilation according to Einstein’s theory of special relativity). Thompson has taken the starting point for his novel from classic UFO cases of the 1940s and ’80s that his brother ‘indoctrinated’ him with when he was in his early teens. The most famous of those was the tragic Mantell incident of 1948, when a 25-year old Kentucky Air National Guard pilot Captain Thomas Mantell was killed when he lost control of his P-51 Mustang while pursuing a mysterious silver disk as it rose to high altitude. Mantell’s crashed plane and body were recovered; but, in a similar case in 1978 in Australia, 20-year old pilot Frederick Valentich went missing in pursuit of a UFO and neither airplane nor pilot were ever found.

Rather than set his novel in Kentucky or Australia, Thompson wanted to use the story to shed light on his own contemporary Scotland, and its currently tense and complex relationship with the British state, which has a history of suppressing UFO data. He chose to turn Thomas Mantell into one Thomas Tellman and set his departure and return in a fictitious small town on Scotland’s north-east coast. Thompson explains: “Nobody says they won’t read or watch Shakespeare’s Macbeth because they don’t believe in the supernatural. And likewise I wonder if it’s time the contemporary taboo on talking about UFOs was lifted in favour of seeing the potential of this trope as a metaphor for the age-old idea of some divine messenger, be it angel or demon, coming to live among us for a while and thereby throwing light on the irony of human society, the weaknesses and strengths of homo sapiens. There’s always also the ‘changeling’ myth, the ancient anxiety that the missing child returns as something else in disguise…”

Thompson’s novel explores the creative tension between the closed intimacy of a small rural community and an outsider whose mind has been opened not just to an international, but stellar and cosmic perspective. Creating his own fictional setting for his altered version of the Thomas Mantell ‘myth’ has also enabled Thompson to add other ingredients into the plot mix. His fascination with his mother-in-law’s dementia has transmuted into the character of Tellman’s daughter now grown to be a bed-bound octogenarian, her loss of memory of the last 80 years standing in eerie parallel to her father’s disappearance. Tellman’s return also enables a penetrating perspective on the environmental damage humanity has done in that same time period.

So does Thompson now regret dismissing his brother’s ‘crank’ theories? Rather, he sees them as a message to the future whose value he has come to belatedly understand: “I still suspect that a lot of the UFO theories over the last five decades have been elaborate busking around a small core of mysterious facts. It’s the same with religion, in that the human brain won’t accept the unknown and seems always compelled to invent its own explanations. But just as with gothic cathedrals, we should never lose sight of how beautiful these inventions are, the stories we tell ourselves, since they are the very essence of all literature and art and essential to what we are as a species. If anyone or anything is studying us now and capable of being emotionally moved enough to find value in anything about us, I can’t help thinking it will be in precisely that capacity for invention and in our longing to meet something greater than ourselves. But regardless of any of that, maybe the real challenge is for us to try to become that greater thing we can already imagine and thereby save ourselves and our beleaguered natural environment before it’s too late.”

Stray Pilot, was published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format on 1st July and will be out in paperback on the 1st August.

Notes for Editors

About Douglas Thompson

Glasgow writer, Douglas Thompson, won the Herald/Grolsch Question Of Style Award 1989, 2nd prize in the Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2007, and the Faith/Unbelief Poetry Prize 2016. His short stories and poems have appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, including Ambit, Albedo One, Chapman and New Writing Scotland. Variously classed as a Weird, Horror, Sci Fi, Literary, or Historical novelist, he has published more than 17 novels and collections of short stories and poetry since 2009, from various publishers in Britain, Europe and America.

About Stray Pilot

Stray Pilot cover design by Tenebrae
Cover design by Tenebrae

A passionate environmental allegory

Thomas Tellman, an RAF pilot who disappeared pursuing a UFO in 1948, unexpectedly returns entirely un-aged to a small town on Scotland’s north-east coast. He finds that his 7-year-old daughter is now a bed-bound 87-year-old woman suffering from dementia. She greets him as her father but others assume she is deluded and that Thomas is an unhinged impostor or con man. While Thomas endeavours to blend in to an ordinary life, his presence gradually sets off unpredictable consequences, locally, nationally and globally. Members of the British Intelligence Services attempt to discredit Thomas in advance of what they anticipate will be his public disclosure of evidence of extra-terrestrial activity, but the local community protect him. Thomas, appalled by the increase in environmental damage that has occurred in his 80 year absence, appears to have returned with a mission: the true nature of which he guards from everyone around him.

Douglas Thompson’s thought-provoking novel is unashamedly science-fiction yet firmly in the tradition of literary explorations of the experience of the outsider. He weaves together themes of memory loss and dementia, alienation, and spiritual respect for the natural world; while at the same time counterposing the humanity inherent in close communities against the xenophobia and nihilistic materialism of contemporary urban society. Of all the book’s vivid characters, the fictional village of Kinburgh itself is the stand-out star: an archetypal symbol of human community. In an age of growing despair in the face of climate crises, Stray Pilot offers a passionate environmental allegory with a positive message of constructive hope: a love song to all that is best in ordinary people.

Cover design by Tenebrae

Visit bit.ly/StrayPilot

Satire with extra bite – review by Lisa Timpf of Ira Nayman’s Bad Actors on The Miramichi Reader

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer
Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

On the Miramichi Reader website, Lisa Timpf has just reviewed Bad Actors, the second book in Ira Nayman’s trilogy about the Multiverse Refugees.

She introduces the book as “In Bad Actors: Second Pi in the Face, veteran Canadian author Ira Nayman serves up offbeat hilarity with a side order of satire.” She adds that “One of the distinguishing features of Nayman’s writing is an irrepressible wit.” After briefly outlining the plot of the first book of the trilogy, Good Intentions, and introducing the plot of Bad Actors, Lisa writes “As anyone familiar with Nayman’s work might expect, Bad Actors is steeped in humour in a variety of forms, including ridiculous situations, slapstick, tangential digressions, and word play. It’s helpful to take one’s time reading Nayman’s writing so as not to miss any of his funny references, which range from in-your-face obvious to subtle-enough-to-miss-if-you’re-not-careful.”

She goes on to talk about the serious side of the story (indeed the whole trilogy), using humour to address the issue of racism and discrimination, and says that “Nayman’s passion for this issue comes through clearly in Bad Actors, adding extra bite to the satire.”

You can read the whole of Lisa’a review on the Miramichi Reader here. Thanks Lisa, glad you enjoyed the book.

Award-winning author celebrating 20 year anniversary of satirical website, releases eighth satirical novel.

The third book in Ira Nayman’s trilogy addressing the issue of refugees, reframing them in alternate realities across the multiverse, is published as he celebrates the record-breaking anniversary of his website.

DARTFORD, KENT – 17 June 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. One of those authors is award-winning Canadian satirist, Ira Nayman. In September, Ira’s website of political and social satire, Les Page aux Folles, (http://www.lespagesauxfolles.ca), will enjoy its record-breaking 20th anniversary. By then it will consist of 38 collections of prose articles and nine books of cartoons, over 3,700 pieces of writing and close to 2.5 million words. Surprisingly, as well as producing this wealth of material, Ira has also found the time to write eight novels in the Multiverse series, published by Elsewhen Press, exploring the possibilities of Alternate Realities. Of course they are not merely science fiction adventures, they are also replete with political satire and social commentary.

The latest in the series is The Ugly Truth. It is also the third novel in the Multiverse Refugees trilogy which addresses the exploits of refugees from the dying universe Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega, who are being relocated to alternate Earths across the multiverse. In Ira’s typical style, the serious subject of refugees is combined with a quirky humour – in this case, the refugees are little blue tricksters with no hair and exaggeratedly round features who wear exquisite three piece suits and wreak comic havoc on a wide variety of dominant species.

Asked how he finds the time to create SF novels as well weekly updates to his satirical website, a spokesperson for Ira said, “He’s proflicic…prolifcic…proclif – he writes a lot.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Ira is like a force of nature. His energy and dynamism shines through his work, not just on his incredible website but also in his novels that we have been privileged to publish. The humour never lets up, if you miss a joke there’ll be another one along in a line or two. He is a master of puns, and loves smashing words together to make entertaining neologisms. Meanwhile, he is not only telling an engaging story but often making a worthwhile point too. The Multiverse Refugees trilogy started addressing the pressing issue of how some states cope with, and respond to refugees, when the first novel, Good Intentions, came out in 2019; the second book, Bad Actors, in 2021 developed the theme; now in 2022 the third book, The Ugly Truth, seems ever more pertinent.”

Ira explained the method behind his madness this way: “Good Intentions, the first book in the trilogy, followed the single story of the first alien emigré from a dying universe. Bad Actors, the second book in the trilogy, takes place two years later, when tens of thousands of aliens have moved to Earth Prime. To reflect the diversity of their experience, that novel was made up of six different storylines. The Ugly Truth, which takes place two years after that, when over a million aliens have been placed in a variety of different universes, is a completely fragmented novel to reflect the variety of their experiences (and the responses of native populations to them). For me, form often follows function.”

The Ugly Truth, was published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format on 17th June and will be out in paperback on the 4th July.

Notes for Editors

About Ira Nayman

Ira Nayman is a debonair humunculus of mystery who leads an exciting double life as an author of humorous divertissements. He has self-published 12 books in the Alternate Reality News Service series, the latest of which is code-named Good King Wrenchless (but is really named Welcome to the Insurrection (We’re Not Sorry For the Inconvenience)), as well as XBT12 (Idiotocracy for Dummies, an omnibus volume containing the first three Vesampucceri books). The Ugly Truth is the eighth novel in the Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series, the third in the alien refugees trilogy.

Ira has also been assigned a bottom secret mission to promote the 20th anniversary of his web site, Les Pages aux Folles, which will take place in the first week of September, 2022. The birthplace of both the Alternate Reality News Service and the Transdimensional Authority, Les Pages aux Folles’ weekly updates of social and political satire will fill 38 books and comprise somewhere between two and two and a half million words.

Ira was also the editor of Amazing Stories magazine for two and a half years, and is past President of SFCanada, the organization of science fiction and fantasy professionals. Or, at least, that’s his cover story and he’s sticking to it.

About The Ugly Truth

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer
Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

Emigrating to a new universe can be hard.

People in the new universe eat for sustenance (rather than get their energy directly from sunlight). Eww! They use umbrellas to protect them from the rain (rather than pianos and anvils and safes and orangutans – oh, my! – falling from the sky). Their gods do not reward them in the afterlife for how funny they were while they were alive – as if any other qualities in life matter!

Fleeing a dying universe is not for the faint of gall bladder!

The Ugly Truth: is the final volume in Ira Nayman’s appropriately described Multiverse Refugees trilogy. In it, musicians are hoist on their own poetic petard, pies fly and four foot tall blue aliens with no hair and exaggeratedly round features who wear exquisite three piece suits find amusing new ways to die.

As they say on Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega, “May the Audi Enz laugh upon you all the days of your life!”

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

“The name of the game here is wordplay. Non-stop, unrestrained, groan-worthy … inspired wordplay.”

– Alex Good, reviewing Good Intentions

Visit bit.ly/TheUglyTruth-Nayman

Contact details:

For more information on Les Pages aux Folles, email Gisela McKay at g.mckay@lespagesauxfolles.ca or call her at +1 647-470-9087.

For more information on The Ugly Truth or any of the other novels in the Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series, contact Al Murray at Elsewhen Press on +44 (0) 7956 233402 email: al@elsewhen.co.uk

For more information on how ideas developed on Les Pages aux Folles informed the writing of the novels… it’s a toss-up, really. Feel free to contact either.

 

“This book moved me to tears” – Allen Stroud writes about The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner on Shepherd.com

The Janus Cycle cover image
Artwork: Alison Buck

Allen Stroud, author, academic and current chair of the BSFA, compiled a list of ‘The best contemporary fantasy and science fiction books with new takes and fresh characters’ for the Shepherd.com website. First on his list is The Janus Cycle by Tej Turner. Allen writes: “This book moved me. … the finale with an assemble moment of courage between many of the characters is such an empowering and cathartic moment… I was listening in the car and found myself in tears”

It is, of course, great news for an author that they have had such a profound effect on their readers. We’re a little concerned, though, if it moved Allen to tears while he was driving! When Tej saw Allen’s list, and his comments on The Janus Cycle, he said that to hear his book moved people is “very validating”. He went on to say: “I am very proud of [The Janus Cycle]. It put me on the map as an author and was a landmark for me on a personal level.”

You can find more about The Janus Cycle here; more about Tej here; more about Allen here; and read Allen’s booklist on Shepherd.com here.

Readers are looking for stories that cut across traditional categories. Speculative fiction authors are best placed to deliver.

Short story ideas often interrupt Andy McKell as he writes his novels. His latest collection of those stories, ‘Galaxies and Fantasies’, spans multiple genres.

DARTFORD, KENT – 27 May 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. Our authors write stories ranging from epics, through novels and novellas, to short stories. Some plan every scene in intricate detail, while others know their starting point and ending, but let the story unfold in its own way. But all stories start with the germ of an idea, an inspiration, a muse; ideas that come to the writer, often at inopportune moments. Many authors fill countless notebooks with ideas for stories, characters, events, or even just lines of dialogue, jotted down when they occur to them.

Author Andy McKell – well known for his Janus Paradisi series of science fiction novels – is currently working on a new series around the formation and collapse of galactic empires. As Andy says, “I’m an organic writer. While working on my next sci-fi novel, I let the characters lead the way towards what happens next: after all, they know their stories better than I do. I let them whisper into my subconscious: my fingers merely do the typing.”

But as he works on his novels, he gets ideas for other stories.

Andy continues, “BUT… my subconscious keeps hijacking my focus, thrusting new and totally irrelevant possibilities at me. It could be a biblical or mythical reference, a snippet of conversation, the echo of a movie, or an unexplored carry-over from another novel. I jot down the ideas or the opening line/paragraph and get back to the novel. The promise that I’ll return to the jottings usually placates my subconscious. Later, at a more convenient time, I look through the snippets and one or other fires my imagination enough to expand on the idea and there I go, down the rabbit-hole of some totally unexpected adventure.”

Of course, this happens many times, and often such an idea is the germ of inspiration for a short story. Sooner or later, Andy has enough short stories to collect together for publication. Elsewhen Press are delighted to be publishing his latest collection, Galaxies and Fantasies. Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press says, “Having published one of Andy’s short stories in an anthology in 2016, we have been keeping in touch with him, as we do with all of our fantastic authors. When he told us, ‘I have a batch of short stories that just might interest the reading public – at least, I hope they do,’ we asked to read them and were very happy that we did. My first impression of the collection was of an ‘eclectic’ set of stories across a number of the genres that are encompassed by the term ‘speculative fiction’. That appealed to us because we are probably best known for the fact that most of our books cut across multiple genres, which is proving to be very popular with modern readers. But even more than that, all of Andy’s stories, however long or short, have a twist or surprise; they are stories that stay with you long after you have finished reading them. We can’t wait for everyone to be able to enjoy them.”

Andy is still working on his new series, the first book of which is due to be published later this year. Meanwhile, he continues to jot down story ideas that interrupt his writing.

Galaxies and Fantasies, Andy McKell’s latest collection of short stories, will be published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format on 3rd June and in paperback on the 27th June.

Notes for Editors

About Andy McKell

Andy was abducted by science fiction pulp magazines and fell in love with classic noir in his early teens. He worked in marketing, franchising, and computing in London and Luxembourg before launching his own web design company. In 2011, he sold the company and retired early to write, act, and travel.

His multi-genre short stories have appeared in various anthologies, he continues to develop science fiction novels, and has branched-out into classic noir. He has little time for acting, these days.

He hopes you enjoy reading the adventures of his imaginary friends.

About Galaxies and Fantasies

Galaxies and Fantasies: Cover design by Alison Buck
Cover design by Alison Buck

Prepare for the unexpected

Galaxies and Fantasies is an eclectic collection of tales from master-storyteller, Andy McKell, crossing genres from mythology to cosmology, fairytale to space opera, surrealism to hyper-reality. What they all have in common is a twist, a surprise, a revelation. Leave your pre-conceptions aside when you read these stories, prepare for the unexpected, the extraordinary, the unpredictable. Some are quite succinct and you’ll be immediately wanting more; others are more elaborate, but deftly devised, and you’ll be thinking about them long after you’ve finished reading. These are stories that will stay with you, not in a haunting way, but like a satisfying memory that often returns to encourage, enchant or enrich your life.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/GalaxiesAndFantasies

Fantasy author predicted Partygate, evidence noted by OWG investigator

Simon Kewin’s police procedural book, The Seven Succubi, includes scenes set in the covert 13 Downing Street garden (shared with Number 10) where the protagonist notices empty wine bottles discarded in the foliage.

DARTFORD, KENT – 01 April 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. It is often the case that speculative fiction turns out to be prescient, and in the case of our latest title this is once again true. Simon Kewin is an author of both science fiction and fantasy novels. At the end of 2020, Elsewhen Press published The Eye Collectors, the first book in Simon’s Witchfinder series – a police procedural with a difference, the protagonist works for the Cardiff branch of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, a shadowy arm of government which enforces the law against magical crimes. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, the story is a whodunnit mystery set in a contemporary fantasy setting. The success of the book ensured that now in 2022, The Seven Succubi, the next title in Simon’s series, has been published. In this latest story, the investigator has to visit the London headquarters of the Office of the Witchfinder General, at 13 Downing Street, an address hidden inside 12 Downing Street and one that shares its garden with Number 10. Sitting on a bench in the garden he notices that “a dead wine bottle lurked in the shrubbery near my feet, and there was another wedged end-on into a bush as if someone had tried to conceal it.” This was written before the ‘Partygate’ allegations were made public. There’s no mention of a broken swing, but nonetheless it begs the question, if such a minor detail in the story is true, might the rest be too?

When asked about the discovery in the garden of number 13 Downing Street, Simon Kewin said “I’ve been asked by the Office of the Witchfinder General to make it absolutely clear that no crystal balls, divination spells, scrying devices or other illicit magics were used in the creation of this description of events in Downing Street. Definitely not. The whole thing is complete coincidence.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, says “When we read that scene in the book, we were amused but had no idea how significant an observation it was – not just a throw-away line as we originally thought. Once the Partygate allegations surfaced and were being officially investigated, we realised how prescient Simon had been. He has been allowed unprecedented access to restricted case notes and other material within Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, the first time this has been permitted in over three hundred and seventy-five years. So it seems more likely, especially given his assurance that he used no methods outlawed by magus law, that those events have been known to various agencies within law enforcement for some time. Nevertheless, Simon has always been very careful to emphasise the fictional nature of the events in his books, albeit based on the experiences of OWG investigators. But, as is often observed, there’s no smoke without fire…”

The Eye Collectors, the first book in the Witchfinder series, was described by one reader as ‘Dirk Gently meets Good Omens!’ The book has appealed to readers of contemporary and paranormal fantasy, as well as fans of police procedural, true crime and alternate history.

The Seven Succubi, the second book in the series, was published in eBook format in February and is now also available in paperback.

Notes for Editors

About Simon Kewin

Simon Kewin is a pseudonym used by an infinite number of monkeys who operate from a secret location deep in the English countryside. Every now and then they produce a manuscript that reads as a complete novel with a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes even in that order.

The Simon Kewin persona devised by the monkeys was born on the misty Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish Sea, at around the time The Beatles were twisting and shouting. He moved to the UK as a teenager, where he still resides. He is the author of over a hundred published short stories and poems, as well as a growing number of novels. In addition to fiction, he also writes computer software. The key thing, he finds, is not to get the two mixed up.

He has a first class honours degree in English Literature, is married, and has two daughters.

About The Seven Succubi

Of all the denizens of the circles of Hell, perhaps none is more feared among those of a high-minded sensibility than the succubi.

Cover image: Alison Buck
Cover image: Alison Buck

The Assizes of Suffolk in the eighteenth century granted the Office of the Witchfinder General the power to employ ‘demonic powers’ so long as their use is ‘reasonable’ and ‘made only to defeat some yet greater supernatural threat’. No attempt was made in the wording of the assizes to measure or grade such threats, however – making the question of whether it is acceptable to fight fire with fire a troublingly subjective one.

Now, in the twenty-first century, Danesh Shahzan, Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, had been struggling with that very question ever since the events of The Eye Collectors. An unexpected evening visit from his boss, the Crow, was alarming enough – but when it turned out to be to discuss his thesis on succubi, Danesh was surprised yet intrigued. Clearly, another investigation beckoned.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/WitchfinderSeries

Red Dragon facsimile edition published today

Cover image: Alison Buck
Cover image: Alison Buck

Elsewhen Press are pleased to be able to publish this facsimile of the 1999 illustrated, limited edition privately published by the author but since unobtainable.

When we published The Seven Succubi (the second story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645), the second book in Simon Kewin’s Witchfinder series, it referenced Dr Miriam Seacastle’s modest book Red Dragon, which was privately published by the author herself in 1999 in an illustrated, limited edition. We were keen to obtain a copy but discovered that there were no extant copies available. In his own book, Simon had mentioned that the OWG in Cardiff had a copy, so we sought permission to examine it. After much obfuscation and bureaucracy, we managed to contact the librarian directly. With a little persistence they were persuaded to allow us to peruse their copy in a secure facility. We were able to make a photographic record, which is what we have used as the basis for this facsimile edition.

We subsequently obtained permission to reproduce Red Dragon from Dr Seacastle, who expressed delight that her book would once more see the light of day, but conveyed her concern that all copies would again be seized by the OWG. We assured her that we are firmly of the opinion that this book is an invaluable collector’s item, and we will robustly resist any attempt to suppress its republication.

We also obtained the approval of the illustrator to use the original illustrations in this facsimile.

Travel broadens the mind, even inspiring fictional worlds

Tej Turner, author and seasoned traveller, realised that his own experiences, backpacking in exotic parts of the world, were the perfect field research for his epic fantasy adventure series.

DARTFORD, KENT – 14 March 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. One such author is Tej Turner. Tej works in Cardiff as a chef by day and writes fantasy books by night. But he is also an ardent explorer, informing and entertaining his many online followers through a travel blog in which he documents his, often ambitious, trips. Authors often spend more time doing background research for their stories than actually writing, especially if they have to create an imaginary world and populate it with competing peoples, myths, legends and cultures, not to mention geography, flora and fauna. Sometimes, though, the authors have already done some of the research without even realising it.

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “In 2015, we published a gritty urban fantasy that Tej had written, The Janus Cycle, but we hadn’t physically met him because he was handling the edits while away on a 9 month backpacking expedition around Asia. In fact, we first met him in person when we launched the book at Eastercon in a hotel in Heathrow, Tej arriving straight off the plane from Kathmandu. We have been friends ever since.”

It was in 2014, just before going on that trip around Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Nepal, that Tej had written the first few chapters of Blood Legacy, the second book in an epic fantasy series he had been planning: The Avatars of Ruin. When he got home in 2015, he picked it up again to finish writing it.

Tej says, “I would like to say that I went travelling as ‘field research’ but that would be a lie – it is just something that I love to do. But that said, when I returned from that trip, I did realise that one of the arcs for Blood Legacy involved its main characters doing things that I had just done myself; namely journeying to lands that are not only different to what they know in terms of scenery and climate, but also – at times – a bit of a culture shock.

“I remember – when I returned home a year later and continued writing – reaching certain points of the story and realising that I didn’t need to do any research because I already had firsthand experience of what the characters were doing. One example of this being when they needed to cross a mountain range; I had just come back from doing a high altitude trek in the mountains of Nepal so the experience was all still fresh within my mind.”

In 2021, Elsewhen Press published Bloodsworn, the first book of The Avatars of Ruin series, and now Blood Legacy is also available, in both paperback and eBook. Tej is currently close to completing the third book in the series, Blood War. Tej adds, “Blood War includes a story arc from even more regions of my world, including a jungle civilisation.”

Bloodsworn attracted praise from best-selling authors Anna Smith Spark, who said: “Classic epic fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously”; and Christopher G Nuttall, who said: “a stunning introduction to a new fantasy world”.

Blood Legacy, too, has already garnered praise from respected authors. Allen Stroud, author and current chair of the British Science Fiction Association said, “Tej Turner is taking you on a journey into Fantasy, only it’s not quite the journey you expected, and it’s all the better for it”; Joanne Hall said, “a nuanced, smart high fantasy novel with intelligent, complex characters, good LGBT rep and some killer twists”; and David Craig said, “an exciting book which ups the stakes, mixing traditional fantasy with an element of possession horror”.

Blood Legacy is available from today in both eBook and paperback formats.

Notes for Editors

About Tej Turner

Tej Turner does not have any particular place he would say he is ‘from’, as his family moved between various parts of England during his childhood. He eventually settled in Wales, where he studied Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter. Since then, Tej has mostly resided in Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. His childhood on the move seems to have rubbed off on him because when he is not in Cardiff, it is usually because he has strapped on a backpack and flown off to another part of the world to go on an adventure.

When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains, and so far, he has clocked two years in Asia and a year in South America. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he intends to return to someday. He also hopes to go on more adventures and has his sights set on Central America next. Firsthand accounts of Tej’s adventures abroad can be found on his travel blog on his website. A place he also posts author-related news.

His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and its sequel Dinnusos Rises was released in 2017. Both are hard to classify within typical genres but were semi-biographical in nature with elements of magical realism. They have often been described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has since branched off into writing epic fantasy and has an ongoing series called The Avatars of Ruin. The first instalment – Bloodsworn – was released in 2021, and its sequel Blood Legacy is out now. He is currently engaged in writing the third instalment (Blood War).

About The Avatars of Ruin

Book 1: Bloodsworn

Cover design: Alison Buck

Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters in the tales people told to their children often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’. And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.

It has been twelve years since The War of Ashes, but animosity still lingers between the nations of Sharma and Gavendara, and only a few souls have dared to cross the border between them.

The villagers of Jalard live a bucolic existence, nestled within the hills of western Sharma and far away from the boundary which was once a warzone. To them, tales of bloodshed seem no more than distant fables. They have little contact with the outside world, apart from once a year when they are visited by representatives from the Academy who choose two of them to be taken away to their institute in the capital. To be Chosen is considered a great honour… of which most of Jalard’s children dream.

But this year, the Academy representatives make an announcement which is so shocking it causes friction between the villagers, and some of them begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Just where are they taking the Chosen, and why? Some of them intend to find out, but what they discover will change their lives forever and set them on a long and bloody path to seek vengeance…

Book 2: Blood Legacy

Blood Legacy cover artwork: Alison Buck
Cover design: Alison Buck

The ragtag group from Jalard have finally reached Shemet, Sharma’s capital city. Scarred and bereft, they bring with them the grim tale of what happened to their village, and a warning about the ancient powers that have been awakened and now threaten all humanity.

Despite this, some of them still hope that reaching sanctuary within the Synod will mean an end to their hardships, but these hopes are soon dashed. Sharma’s ruling class are caught within their own inner turmoil. When Jaedin senses that there are moles within their ranks, not only does his call to crisis fall mostly on deaf ears, but some who do hear seek to thwart him when he tries to hunt these infiltrators down.

Meanwhile, across the Valantian Mountains, Gavendara is beginning to muster its forces. Using ritualistic means to augment their soldiers, their mutant army is like nothing the world has ever seen before.

The Zakaras are coming. And Sharma’s only hope of stopping them is if it can unite its people in time.

Covers by Alison Buck

Visit bit.ly/AvatarsOfRuin