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

 

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

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

As MI5, the UK Security Service, issues a warning about foreign interference, Terry Grimwood’s new book also examines interference in government for military advantage

In the time-honoured tradition of science fiction writers holding up a mirror to society, using a story ostensibly set in the future or on another planet, Interference explores how grubby political deals would still infect our dealings with other planets and civilisations.

DARTFORD, KENT – 18 January 2022 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thought-provoking speculative fiction. Many science fiction stories address current, real-world issues but through the fictional prism of an alternative society. Interference, the latest story from author Terry Grimwood, well-known for scrutinising politics in his science fiction, is no exception.

Terry says “Science fiction is the perfect lens through which contemporary social and political issues can be examined. Transplanting one or more aspects of the human condition into a futuristic or alien setting gives the writer space to tease out, and study, its heart.”

If a government envoy, trying to examine a foreign request for military aid in a contentious war, becomes aware that what is on offer in return is potentially valuable to their own government, how do they maintain an ethical position? If it would also be personally rewarding, the temptation would be even greater; or if the health of sick family members would be improved…

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Terry very quickly builds a believable setting in which a statesman is subjected to ethical dilemma, profound temptation and unconscionable pressure. Being a science fiction story where the politician is a human negotiating on behalf of Earth with a powerful alien species may make the situation easier to imagine and understand, and in many ways more believable, but it does not make the moral choices any less real. At a time when many of us are rightly questioning the principles and standards of conduct to which our leaders should be held, Interference sheds a light on human behaviour under duress, the ease with which bribery can be self-justified, the inexcusable defence of ‘just following orders’, and how small corrupt deals may be denounced by political leaders or the media but the biggest corruptions are hailed as statesmanship. It was intriguing to see the very same word, ‘interference’, being used by MI5 in their warning on the very day that Terry’s book became available for pre-order. Science Fiction is often prescient!”

Elsewhen Press is delighted to announce that Interference is available for pre-order in ebook and print editions, in advance of publication at the end of this month.

Notes for Editors

About Terry Grimwood

Suffolk born and proud of it, Terry Grimwood is the author of a handful of novels and novellas, including Deadside Revolution, the science fiction-flavoured political thriller Bloody War and Joe which was inspired by true events. His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies and have been gathered into three collections, The Exaggerated Man, There Is A Way To Live Forever and Affairs of a Cardio-Vascular Nature. Terry has also written and Directed three plays as well as co-written engineering textbooks for Pearson Educational Press. He plays the harmonica and with a little persuasion (not much persuasion, actually) will growl a song into a microphone. By day he teaches electrical installation at a further education college. He is married to Debra, the love of his life.

About Interference

The grubby dance of politics didn’t end when we left the solar system, it followed us to the stars

Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer
Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer

The god-like Iaens are infinitely more advanced than humankind, so why have they requested military assistance in a conflict they can surely win unaided?

Torstein Danielson, Secretary for Interplanetary Affairs, is on a fact-finding mission to their home planet and headed straight into the heart of a war-zone. With him, onboard the Starship Kissinger, is a detachment of marines for protection, an embedded pack of sycophantic journalists who are not expected to cause trouble, and reporter Katherina Molale, who most certainly will and is never afraid to dig for the truth.

Torstein wants this mission over as quickly as possible. His daughter is terminally ill, his marriage in tatters. But then the Iaens offer a gift in return for military intervention and suddenly the stakes, both for humanity as a race and for Torstein personally, are very high indeed.

Cover design: Alex Storer

Independent small press to publish new titles despite resurging pandemic

Like many small arts organisations, the lack of government support has meant that Elsewhen Press has been struggling to keep publishing during the pandemic.

DARTFORD, KENT – 28 December 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thought-provoking speculative fiction – specifically set up in 2011 to champion new authors. The books they publish often address current, real-world issues but through a fictional prism. Obviously, one of the most significant real-world issues over the last two years has been the global pandemic that has been ravaging many aspects of society, affecting people’s health and mental wellbeing, as well as the resulting economic effects. The impact has been anything but fictional.

“As a small business we have had no support from government,” says Peter Buck, Elsewhen Press Editorial Director, “and our income has been decimated. Meanwhile the costs of paper, printing and shipping have spiralled. Before the first lockdown, many pundits predicted an increase in the sales of eBooks, but that was not the experience of most indie presses; indeed book sales slumped, as people struggled to pay even their everyday bills on reduced incomes. Some indie presses have had to give up completely. We have been lucky enough to be able to keep going thanks to personal loans and family support, and we have even managed to publish those new titles that we had already planned – albeit most of them somewhat later than we had intended. We felt that it was important to keep publishing as much as we could. For many readers, being able to escape into a good book is what has been helping them cope with the unprecedented stress of everyday life. For some authors the enforced isolation has encouraged them to write.

“As autumn arrived this year, it was looking like things might finally start returning to some sort of ‘new normal’ with bookshops open again, even some science fiction and fantasy conventions restarting. At the Novacon convention in November, our first in-person event for almost two years, we had a joint, belated launch party for the titles we had published since the initial lockdown, and we finally got to reconnect with some of our readers. But that fillip has been shortlived, and with the impact of the Omicron variant we are now no longer certain if we will be able to hold launch parties for the new titles that we will be publishing at the start of 2022.

“Whether or not we are able to hold launch events for them, we will be publishing a number of great new books early next year:

 

Blood Legacy, the second book in a fantasy series from Cardiff-based writer Tej Turner – we published the first book in the series, Bloodsworn, in January of this year;

 

Interference by Terry Grimwood, a science fiction novella where grubby politics is still interfering when humanity goes interstellar;

 

The Forge and the Flood by Durham-based author Miles Nelson, a YA fantasy allegory that touches on identity and the illusion of difference – we published Miles’ debut novel Riftmaster in March this year;

 

The Seven Succubi by Simon Kewin, a witty contemporary police procedural with a difference. Instead of CID, the investigators work for the secretive HM Office of the Witchfinder General – during lockdown in 2020, we published the first book in the series, The Eye Collectors, which one reader described as ‘Dirk Gently meets Good Omens’.”

Notes for Editors

About Tej Turner

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

Tej Turner has spent much of his life on the move and does not have any particular place he calls ‘home’. For a large period of his childhood, he dwelt within the Westcountry of England, and he then moved to rural Wales to study Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter. After completing his studies, he moved to Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. He is also an intermittent traveller who every now and then straps on a backpack and flies off to another part of the world to go on an adventure. Blood Legacy is his fourth published novel, following Bloodsworn, the first in the Avatars of Ruin series. His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015, followed by his sequel Dinnusos Rises in 2017. Both of them were described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has also had short stories published in various anthologies.

About Terry Grimwood

Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer
Cover design and artwork: Alex Storer

Suffolk born and proud of it, Terry Grimwood is the author of a handful of novels and novellas, including Deadside Revolution, the science fiction-flavoured political thriller Bloody War and Joe which was inspired by true events. His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies and have been gathered into three collections, The Exaggerated Man, There Is A Way To Live Forever and Affairs of a Cardio-Vascular Nature. Terry has also written and Directed three plays as well as co-written engineering textbooks for Pearson Educational Press. He plays the harmonica and with a little persuasion (not much persuasion, actually) will growl a song into a microphone. By day he teaches electrical installation at a further education college. He is married to Debra, the love of his life.

About Miles Nelson

Cover art: Miles Nelson
Cover art: Miles Nelson

Miles was born and raised in Durham. He studied video game design at Teesside University, graduating in 2018. Since then, he has taken a step back from coding to work on his writing career, and has since led several masterclasses with New Writing North. He has been writing all his life, and whilst he is primarily a sci-fi writer who loves long journeys, strange worlds and all things space and stars, he has also had brief flings with the genres of fantasy and horror. He often writes stories highlighting the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community, and tries to include themes of empathy and inclusivity in all he does. Even then, though, Miles stands firm in the belief that this is not the defining element of his stories. And although he tries to represent his community as best he can, these themes are never the main focus; because he believes that (in most cases) a person shouldn’t be defined by their deviation from standard norms. Outside of scifi and fantasy, he has a deep-rooted fascination with natural history, and collects books told from unique perspectives (be they animal, alien, or mammoths from Mars). The older, the better; his oldest book is just about to turn 100! He currently lives in Durham City with his husband, Chris, who so far seems unworried by Miles’ rapidly growing collections.

About Simon Kewin

Cover image: Alison Buck
Cover image: Alison Buck

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.

Out today in paperback – The Rising Flood by Juliet Kemp

Artwork: Tony Allcock
Artwork: Tony Allcock

The Rising Flood, book 3 of Juliet Kemp’s Marek series, is available in paperback from today from all good bookshops and Amazon.

Why do so many readers escape into fantasy worlds where politics is just as messy as in our world?

Reading to escape from the realities of life has become more widespread during the pandemic, yet many readers are turning to fantasy worlds where politics and unrest are just as real.

DARTFORD, KENT – 26 October 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thoughtful speculative fiction, often addressing current, real-world issues through a fictional prism. This includes fantasy books, which have long been seen as a way of escaping from the real-world. Authors too, get to escape into a world of their own imagination. Building a believable and engaging world is the hallmark of a talented author. One such author is Juliet Kemp, who has built a world and a series of books that have been gaining attention and much admiration from other award-winning authors such as Aliette de Bodard, Rivers Solomon and Malka Older.

The trite advice often given to new authors is ‘write what you know’. When it comes to a fantasy setting, is that really possible? Yes, according to author Juliet Kemp. The setting for Juliet’s Marek series is a port called Marek, part of a larger state called Teren, but virtually an autonomous city-state of its own. Politics, both civic and national, plays a large part in the life of the main protagonists – alongside magic and demons. While the supernatural elements are outside any author’s normal experience, Juliet can conjure the politics with some authority. “I have an academic background in politics, and have worked and volunteered in campaigning and activist organisations,” says Juliet. “I’m fascinated by the nuts and bolts of politics in its broadest sense: how people make things happen, how they negotiate and compromise or refuse to. How they interact with one another in groups that have shared goals, and what happens when those goals don’t align, or don’t align quite enough. How people are forced to make pragmatic decisions, when they refuse to, and what information they choose to listen to or ignore. Making things happen can be a messy process, and sometimes you have to work with people you’d rather not; I wanted to reflect that messy reality, and the fact that sometimes people make bad decisions, in Marek’s politics.” The latest Marek book, The Rising Flood, includes unrest both in the capital city of Teren where dissenters are being threatened with demons, and also in Marek itself where a frustrated underclass is seeking a voice. Juliet again, “In this book I also introduced those campaigning for change from a different angle; there’ll be more of that in the next book, which draws further on political history and the radical movements I’ve always been fascinated by.”

But why is Marek a port on the Oval Sea, with the river being such an important presence? Juliet admits it’s more of ‘what you know’, “I’ve lived in river cities all my life, and these days I spend my working day looking out at the Thames. No surprise that Marek’s river has become increasingly important over the series. Of course, lots of cities are built on rivers: they’re a water source, transport source. In Marek’s case, they define its history, founded as a port for Teren – and in choosing to make it the port for Teren, I could create more possibilities for political tension over control of that access to the wider world.”

In The Rising Flood, as the title intimates, there is not just the threat of political inundation, but also a very real risk of the river flooding. That too reflects Juliet’s daily life, “Where I live now is on the site of an old warehouse (we are, legally, still responsible for maintaining a bridge that no longer exists between one warehouse and the next), and when I look out of my window at high tide, the river is above the level of our front door. (I am regularly grateful for the river wall, and the Thames Barrier.) So no surprise that when writing this book, I started thinking about floods, and flood plains, and (looking further down my own river) what happens when people build on flood plains and just hope for the best.”

The Rising Flood is now available in eBook format on most platforms and will be out in paperback in December.

Notes for Editors

About The Rising Flood

Artwork: Tony Allcock
Artwork: Tony Allcock

Hope alone cannot withstand a rising flood

A darkness writhes in the heart of Teren.

The Academy is unleashing demons on dissenters, and refugees rush to leave the capital with nothing but their lives and a hope.

That hope brings them to the city of Marek, Teren’s only major port, which harbours dreams of independence. But Marek is not as stable as it seems.

Marcia, Heir to House Fereno, has spent the last two years fighting to keep Marek safe and prosperous – but with child, her relationship in ruins and the increasing threat of Teren to worry about, can she find her way through? The printing houses of the city run rabble-rousing polemic, penned by an increasingly frustrated majority who feel left out of the rule and riches of Marek. They demand change, and Marcia can’t help but agree with much of what they’re saying.

On the other side of the bridge, the tiny group of Marek’s remaining sorcerers must negotiate their way through troubles of their own. Cato, Marcia’s exiled brother, and Reb, her ex-lover, are trying to train a new generation of sorcerers and both are having problems. Jonas simply won’t take ‘no’ for an answer from Cato; and Reb’s two students feel held back, both know that change, and strife, may be coming – and neither are ready to deal with it. But Reb cannot bring herself to move faster.

Between them, the five sorcerers alongside Marek’s cityangel can expel a single demon. But Teren has many, and other fears loom on the horizon. Out-of-season storms rampage across the Oval Sea, threatening trade – and Jonas’ family, out plying the trade winds – and the unseasonable weather threatens Marek itself.

Menaced by the distant capital, by dissension from within, and even by nature itself – will the rising flood lift all boats?

Or will they be capsized?

ISBN: 9781911409885 (paperback, 392pp) / 9781911409984 (eBook)

Visit bit.ly/TheRisingFlood

About Juliet Kemp

Juliet Kemp lives by the river in London, with their partners, child, dog, and too many fountain pens. They have had stories published in several anthologies and online magazines. Their employment history variously includes working as a cycle instructor, sysadmin, life model, researcher, permaculture designer, and journalist. When not writing or parenting, Juliet goes climbing, knits, reads way too much, and drinks a lot of tea.

 

Retired NHS Consultant finds a productive balance between his passion for diving, a flair for fiction and a love of life on the river.

Unable to pursue his love of diving due to the pandemic restrictions, David M Allan has instead made good use of the time, writing another insightful fantasy novel.

DARTFORD, KENT – 23 September 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house specialising in high quality, entertaining and thoughtful speculative fiction, often addressing current, real-world issues through a fictional prism. To date, they have published three novels by writer, David M Allan, a retired NHS Consultant.

In retirement, David has to some extent replaced the intensity and excitement of life in the NHS with a passion for diving. “I didn’t start diving until I was 58,” he says, “and I regret not having started earlier.”

Now an accomplished underwater photographer, he has dived extensively, in the warm, clear waters of the Red Sea, Indonesia and the Maldives. But, not content with spending as much time as possible under the water, David has gone one further and chosen to live on it. In addition to discovering a love of diving, David has also, in retirement, become a published novelist, exchanging the necessarily clinical sterility and reassuring solidity of the hospital environment for the gentle rocking of a houseboat on the Thames, where he now lives with his wife.

After the fast pace of his NHS career, David’s routine is dictated now by the patterns and rhythm of life on the river…

River-craft generally travel at low speed, their gentle wash causing little problem for moored boats such as David’s, but passing traffic is always felt. However, far from being disruptive, David finds activity on the water soothing, even helpful when he’s writing. He says, “What I see from my window as I’m writing are tour boats, rowing boats, kayaks and paddle boards. They are slightly distracting but also relaxing, as are the various waterfowl that inhabit this stretch of the river. You could even say the birds are, to some extent, inspirational as the constant movement stimulates me.”

From time to time, the calm flow of life on the river is interrupted…

Emergency service vessels are permitted to travel at higher speeds along the river and, occasionally, one will race past David’s houseboat. Indeed, Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, said “We were talking to David about his latest book, Thiever, recently and he mentioned that an emergency boat had just gone by and had literally ‘rocked the boat’. Not that David was complaining: he’d had to hold on to his computer as things slid about, but nothing was damaged and David certainly wouldn’t want the emergency services to have to slow down.”

The Covid pandemic has led to a severe curtailment of diving opportunities, but this has allowed David to concentrate on his writing. And he has used the time well, completing a sequel to Quaestor, his popular fantasy novel. Entitled Thiever, this continues the story of two young women from different cultures, backgrounds and races, who not only find love together but challenge a false god, help a beleaguered king, and sow the seeds of equality in a hierarchical society.

Thiever is now available in eBook format on most platforms and will be out in paperback in November.

Notes for Editors

About Thiever

Artwork: Alison Buck
Artwork: Alison Buck

Change is not always as good as a rest

After the events in Jotuk at the end of Quaestor, Anarya is no longer a Sponger but is now a Thiever – when she takes someone’s magic talent they lose it until she can no longer hold on to it. Worryingly, the power also brings a desperate hunger to take others’ talents, just as the false god did. As Anarya struggles to control the compulsion, Yisul is fraught with worry and seeks help for her lover. But Jotuk is in upheaval; the Twenty-Three families are in disarray, divided over how the city should be governed.

In Carregis, the king seeks to establish himself as an effective ruler. First, though, he must work out whom he can trust.

Meanwhile, the priestesses of Quarenna and the priests of Huler are having disturbing dreams…

Thiever is the much-anticipated sequel to David M Allan’s Quaestor.

ISBN: 9781911409878 (paperback, 386pp) / 9781911409977 (eBook)

Visit bit.ly/Thiever

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 was his second novel and Thiever is its sequel. They too have been published by Elsewhen Press.

Available from today in paperback: Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan

Cover artwork: Gordon Miller

The paperback edition of Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan is available from today. Order online or from your favourite bookshop.

Available from today in paperback: Riftmaster by Miles Nelson

Cover art: Miles Nelson

The paperback edition of Riftmaster by Miles Nelson is available from today. Order online or from your local bookshop.