Canadian author Tanya Reimer creates a future where AI is both essential and a threat

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.

Dragon design: Alison Buck

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.

Visit bit.ly/ProgrammedToBreathe

About the book

Title: Programmed to Breathe

Fiction / Science Fiction / Cyberpunk; Fiction / Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering; Fiction / Dystopian

Print edition:

ISBN 978-1-911409-43-4, 288pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 / CA$23.99 (1 Jul 2019)

Electronic edition:

ISBN 978-1-911409-53-3, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 / CA$4.99 (26 Apr 2019)

About the cover

The cover artwork, inspired by Tanya’s description of an image of Dragon in the sacred cavern, was produced by the artist Alison Buck.

“something special for readers who love dystopian stories” – review of Freedom’s Prisoners on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alex Storer
Artwork: Alex Storer

Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Katrina Mountfort’s third novel in The Blueprint Trilogy. Eager to read it, as he enjoyed Future Perfect and Forbidden Alliance the first two novels in the trilogy, Seregil says that Freedom’s Prisoners is a “stunning conclusion” to the trilogy that was both “immensely satisfying and intriguing” and “one of the best and most entertaining young adult science fiction novels I’ve ever read”. He says that the trilogy as a whole is a “rewarding reading experience” because Katrina has created a “terrifying vision of dystopian future and doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readership”, adding that The Blueprint Trilogy stands out from the many new young adult science fiction novels and series, as a “prime example of what can be achieved when an author pays attention to writing an emotionally challenging story, creates realistic characters and has courage to write thought-provoking prose”, outshining others “in terms of depth, prose and storytelling”. Seregil recommends all three novels in the trilogy to adults and young adults alike, describing it as “an evocatively written novel that will charm its readers with a good story and interesting characters who have to deal with real problems”.

Seregil compliments Katrina’s ability to write believable characters, and says she “excels at writing about what her characters feel and what kind of choices they make”. The story is “thrilling and thought-provoking” as it explores “guilt, endurance, love, loss, fear and hope in a spellbinding way”. He says that Freedom’s Prisoners contains “many exciting and thrilling scenes which will impress readers and fans of the series”. But Katrina’s vision of this dystopian future is “evocative and terrifying, because humankind and society has changed a lot and people have almost forgotten what it means to be human”.

Seregil says that one of the most impressive things about the whole trilogy is that Katrina has written “a story that reveals a lot about human nature and what humans are capable of doing to each other. There’s quite a lot of underlying wisdom in this story and also plenty of sharp commentary about our way of life and what may happen to mankind.” The story has a strong emotional impact on readers, and Seregil loves it because it is “captivating to read about the characters and their complex lives”.

Seregil recommends The Blueprint Trilogy to readers who have enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games or Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, or indeed anyone who loves “emotionally challenging and thought-provoking stories”, and concludes by saying “There’s a strongly beating human heart at the core of each of these novels that will make you fall in love with the story and the characters. They’re something special for readers who love dystopian stories.”

But don’t just rely on this précis of Seregil’s review, you should read the full review on RisingShadow here.

 

“quite a page-turner” – review of Freedom’s Prisoners on Terry Tyler Book Reviews

On her Terry Tyler Book Reviews blog, writer Terry Tyler has just reviewed Freedom’s Prisoners, the third book in the Blueprint trilogy by Katrina Mountfort, and awarded it 5 out of 5 stars.

Artwork: Alex Storer
Artwork: Alex Storer

Having favourably reviewed each of the first two books in the trilogy when they were published, Future Perfect (“A terrific novel”) and Forbidden Alliance (“Recommended for all lovers of books about future worlds”) it was no surprise that Terry should be the first to review the trilogy finale which she says was “fun to read”. She says it is a “terrific trilogy” that tells a lot about human nature and the “possible (and worrying) development” of some of humanity’s less likeable traits. Terry writes that she really appreciated Katrina’s “clever assessment of what technology would be like nearly 200 years from now” as too many other books set in the future have less convincing world building, adding that the “characterisation is great”. Concluding that Freedom’s Prisoners is “Very clever and well thought out” she recommends it to those who like “these sort of books, and to those who think they don’t, too!”

You can read Terry’s full review of Freedom’s Prisoners on her blog here. Her review of Future Perfect is here and her review of Forbidden Alliance is here

 

Out today – Freedom’s Prisoners by Katrina Mountfort

Today we are delighted to publish the third book in Katrina Mountfort’s Blueprint trilogy.

Artwork: Alex Storer
Artwork: Alex Storer

The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. In Book 3 of the trilogy, Freedom’s Prisoners, tensions have escalated since the breakout. Michael and his army of rebels may have won the first battle in their fight against the Citidome authorities, but can they win a war? The Citidomes are fighting back and no-one is safe any more as RotorFighters rain down fire on defenceless villages destroying them and their inhabitants.

Freedom’s Prisoners explores betrayal, guilt, hope and endurance in an explosive conclusion to the Blueprint trilogy which is perfectly portrayed in the awesome cover by Alex Storer.

Freedom’s Prisoners is the third book of the Blueprint trilogy. The first book was Future Perfect and the second book was Forbidden Alliance.

Freedom’s Prisoners is out today in eBook formats on all popular platforms, and will also be available in paperback in November (with a launch at Novacon in Nottingham).


Praise for the first two books of the Blueprint Trilogy:

“one of the best modern YA sci-fi novels ever written”

[Seregil of Rhiminee, Risingshadow]

“I enjoyed reading this modern utopia. It reminds me in some ways of 1984 and Brave New World

[Ian Blackwell, British Fantasy Society]

“I treasured Future Perfect’s closeness to reality, the nearest to realistic that you can get for a futuristic dystopian world”

[Hannah Brookes]

“I LOVED this book! Read it over a period of 24 hours, hated having to put it down.”

[Terry Tyler]

“will be of special interest to readers who are familiar with the YA science fiction novels written by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. If you’ve enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies, you’ll most likely enjoy this novel very much”

[Seregil of Rhiminee, Risingshadow]

Logan’s Run for The Hunger Games generation.”

[Reader comment]

 

Dodgy Bank Holiday weather predicted – Elsewhen Press to the rescue!

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend again and, as we head into it, the lovely weather we’ve had today (at least here around Elsewhen Towers) is not looking set to last. There’s a forecast of rain on Sunday and Monday. What a surprise.

But worry not! Elsewhen Press to the rescue! What better way to brighten up a dismal Bank Holiday than with a good book? And we have loads of good books for you to choose from. You don’t even have to brave the weather to get them as our books are available online on all the popular eBook platforms.

If you want science fiction, fantasy, epic fantasy, alternative history, a touch of the paranormal, time travel, dystopian futures, or even a good laugh we have a fantastic choice of titles for you. Look through the lists below…

(You might notice that some titles are in more than one list – not everything is easily classifiable!)

Science Fiction

Epic Fantasy

Fantasy

Alternative History

A Touch of the Paranormal

Time Travel

Dystopian Futures

Satire

Happy Bank Holiday – happy reading!

 

“fascinatingly engaging” – review of SmartYellow™ on Risingshadow

Artwork: Leosaysays
Artwork: Leosaysays

On the Risingshadow website, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed SmartYellow™ by J.A. Christy. Seregil starts by saying it was a “pleasant surprise” and goes on to describe it as “a stunning and thought-provoking story” and “one of the best novels of its kind” as it blends dystopian fiction and mystery elements with social issues. He adds that what makes SmartYellow™ stand out from other novels is “the author’s ability to draw her readers into the protagonist’s life” with a story that is “fascinatingly engaging and realistic” and characters that are fully fleshed out, credible and “relate to each other in a believable way”. In particular the two main characters have credible “personal voices of their own”.

Outlining the story background, Seregil says it “is the beginning of a fascinatingly told and terrifyingly realistic story about social control”. Readers get a “realistic and uncompromising glimpse” into the life of Katrina, the main protagonist, writing “touchingly” yet also “unflinchingly” about the problems in her harsh life and how she tries to survive on inadequate benefits. Seregil says that J.A. Christy “explores social inequity and scientific responsibility in an intriguing way”, causing the reader to ponder many questions relating to social control, some of which are answered in the story but many of which are left for the reader to decide for themselves. Seregil applauds this, saying that it is “rewarding to read an intelligent and thought-provoking story that raises questions about our current way of life” and how we treat those who are different or don’t fit in.

Seregil closes the review comparing J.A. Christy with Margaret Atwood. He admits that he seldom gives 5 stars, but felt compelled to do so for SmartYellow™ because “there’s something in this novel that intrigued me a lot”. Commenting that the author “writes excellently and realistically about Katrina and her problems”, Seregil says he is looking forward to reading more speculative fiction from J.A. Christy “because she’s a talented new voice in the field of modern speculative fiction”. He concludes by recommending SmartYellow™ because it’s “well written” and the “story flows effortlessly from start to finish”.

You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.

 

“I bloody loved it” – review of An Android Awakes on Shelf Abuse

Artwork: Karl Brown Cover Design: Craig Nash
Artwork: Karl Brown
Cover Design: Craig Nash

On his Shelf Abuse website, writer Carl Doherty has reviewed An Android Awakes by Mike French and Karl Brown. He gets off to a good start by describing it as a “brilliant book”!

Outlining the overall storyline and structure of the book, Carl likens Mike French’s approach to Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man. He says some of the stories are “sad, some are epic, some are small and silly. Some are set in a cyberpunk-inflected dystopian future far removed from our own while others could take place tomorrow…” The way that the Android, in each rejected submission reiterates and reinvents concepts, characters and names is “what has to be one of the most unique world-building exercises I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading”. The stories are far from conventional, he says, “with the strangest stories so out there that Vonnegut’s ubiquitous sci-fi author Kilgore Trout would have rejected them for being too weird”. He commends Karl Brown’s artwork that evokes “an early 2000AD and exemplify the book’s eclectic and erratic nature” and only “further add to An Android Awakes eccentricity”. He adds that the small snippets of the Android’s world “were enough to keep me transfixed”.

He concludes by saying that some readers may be baffled, but those who “enjoy it won’t just enjoy it but love it and hold it dear.” He says “I bloody loved it” and recommends that any genre fan who is frustrated at ‘safe’ and conventional books should make time for Mike French’s work, adding “I guarantee you won’t have read anything else quite like it”.

You can read Carl’s full review here.

 

“excellently done” – review of Forbidden Alliance by Dylan Hearn

Artwork: Alex Storer
Artwork: Alex Storer

In the Recommended Reads section of the Suffolk Scribblings website (All is not quiet in the countryside), writer Dylan Hearn has written a review of Forbidden Alliance by Katrina Mountfort, the second book in the Blueprint trilogy.

Dylan describes this book as “very much a coming-of-age tale” from the perspective of 16 year old Joy. Having read and enjoyed Future Perfect, the first book in the trilogy (which he described as a “great dystopian satire”) he says that Forbidden Alliance is a “really interesting step change” which allows Katrina to add “more depth to what was already an excellent story”, adding that it is “an excellent middle book to the trilogy”. He says that Katrina’s writing of the love triangle at the heart of Joy’s story “captures all the earnestness and heartache of young love to the full” and will appeal to a YA audience. He concludes by recommending it to every fan of YA dystopian novels.

You can read Dylan’s full review on Suffolk Scribblings here.

 

“strong and full of passion” – review of Forbidden Alliance on Risingshadow

Artwork: Alex Storer
Artwork: Alex Storer

On Risingshadow recently, Seregil of Rhiminee reviewed Forbidden Alliance, the second book in the Blueprint trilogy from Katrina Mountfort. He enjoyed Future Perfect, the first book in the trilogy, last year (“one of the best modern YA sci-fi novels ever written”), so he was eager to read this one. He says it was “everything that I hoped it would be” and Katrina has done an impressive job of creating an “original vision of dystopian future”. He says it is “the kind of sequel that all sequels should be like” building on the story of the first book in an intriguing way that “is exceptionally immersive and addictive because of the well-created and three-dimensional characters”. Although it may seem to be a YA novel, Seregil says it is “passionately written”, will “charm its readers” and “please readers of all ages who are looking for an entertaining science fiction story to read”. He recommends it for young adults and adults alike, and says it is “something special for fans of good YA sci-fi stories”.

Seregil observes that the way the narrative shifts between the viewpoints of Joy and Cathy adds a lot of depth to the story because, although similar, they are different characters with different perspectives and feelings. He says that Katrina writes realistically about relationships, families and about life outside the citidomes, adding that “Descriptions of how the village is kept alive are wonderfully realistic and nuanced, because the author pays attention to many minor details.” Katrina knows, he says, how to include “romantic elements without alienating her readers”, and excels at writing about the characters’ feelings in a deep way. She “has a talent of making the story flow easily”, immersing her readers and making us care about the characters and their fates – which not many authors achieve in young adult novels!

He concludes by saying that Katrina brings a “breath of much-needed fresh air to young adult science fiction genre” with the Blueprint trilogy. The story is “strong and full of passion” and her “characters are so vivid that it feels like you’re reading about real people”. He says fans of Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth will surely enjoy this trilogy. He says he can “wholeheartedly recommend it to all readers” because Future Perfect and Forbidden Alliance are among the best YA science fiction novels ever written, because there’s “a strongly beating human heart at the core of both novels that will make you fall in love with the story and the characters”. He is looking forward to the final book of the trilogy, Freedom’s Prisoners.

You can read Seregil’s full review here.

 

“exciting and imaginative” – review of Forbidden Alliance on Fashion Bookworm

Artwork: Alex Storer
Artwork: Alex Storer

On her blog Fashion Bookworm Catherine Amey has just reviewed Forbidden Alliance by Katrina Mountfort, the second book in the Blueprint trilogy.

She starts by saying how she was “enthralled” by Future Perfect, the first book of the trilogy, so she was “extremely excited” to read book two. She says it is “exciting and imaginative” and she found herself “genuinely caring about the characters and fully invested in their adventures”. In fact she says she enjoyed Forbiddem Alliance even more than Future Perfect. She concludes by saying it was “quite simply the best novel I have read in a long time”.

You can read Catherine’s full review here.