Space opera with a paranormal twist, Terry Jackman’s novel explores prejudice, corruption, and the value of true friendship.
If you haven’t seen it already, go to the Fantasy Hive website to see the glorious cover reveal of the fourth and final book in Juliet’s Marek Series.
Author’s fantasy world has a lot to tell us about how conflict can be resolved in our world.
DARTFORD, KENT – 14 October 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing entertaining books. At a time when conflict is causing problems across the world, economies are collapsing, and winter is coming, escapism has never been more welcome. Fantasy, more than any other literary genre, can provide a means of escape, albeit it temporary; humour can not only entertain and distract but, when used as a satirical weapon, may even be able to help inspiration. The latest book from Mark Montanaro, offers more epic fantasy poking fun at warmongers, dictators and politicians.
The Enchanting Tricks is the sequel to Montanaro’s successful 2020 debut The Magic Fix. The Known World is back, with more magic, more comedy, more fantasy. Not to mention some new characters, unnecessary fighting and incompetent leaders making a mess. If you can imagine such a thing…
Mark Montanaro says, “In a fantasy world of Goblins, Pixies, Ogres, Humans, Elves and Trolls, it’s just about feasible that there could be an enchantment that would make everyone get along. If only there was one that would work in the real world.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, said, “In some rather worrying ways, the world around us is becoming more like Mark’s ‘Known World’ every day. Inept leaders and covert factions plotting, lying, fighting, for little more than self-aggrandisement or personal power, with almost casual indifference to their own populations whom they seem to regard as entirely disposable. Even Ogres and Goblins behave better than that! Mostly. Over the last few months, as we have been editing and otherwise preparing Mark’s book ready for production, our world has been getting uncomfortably closer and closer to some of the ridiculous situations in the story. At one point we seriously wondered whether it was too close to home. You might not think that the best way to escape from a world in conflict is to immerse yourself in a fictional one but, in fact, Mark’s story, while a cutting satire on politics, warfare and leadership, does actually give us hope for better times to come while also making us laugh out loud along the way.”
The Enchanting Tricks, is published by Elsewhen Press in eBook format today and will be available in paperback on the 7th November.
Notes for Editors
About Mark Montanaro
Mark has always been a man of many talents. He can count with both hands, get five letter words on Countdown and once solved a Rubik’s cube in just 5 days, 13 hours and 59 minutes.
His creativity started at an early age, when he invented plenty of imaginary friends, and even more imaginary girlfriends. As he got older, he started to use his talents to change the world for the better. World peace, poverty reduction, climate change; Mark imagined he had solutions to all of them.
He now lives in London with his Xbox, television and non-imaginary girlfriend. He recently embarked on his greatest and most creative project yet: a witty novel set in a fantasy world, The Magic Fix, Mark’s debut book. The Enchanting Tricks is the sequel.
About The Enchanting Tricks
The Known World is still not fixed… and things have got ugly
In the Goblin realm, Queen Afflech was doing remarkably well considering the circumstances. She had seen her husband die, and both her sons killed within the space of a couple of weeks. That kind of thing does tend to bring you down a bit.
Losing three kings in a few days looked rather careless. But of more concern to the Goblin warlords was whether it looked weak to their enemies. They suspected the Humans were behind one death and the Ogres behind another. The Pixies were no threat, the Trolls would probably soon be killing one another again, and the Elves were irrelevant (or, to be precise, just annoying).
Meanwhile, King Wyndham wanted to show the Goblins that Humans were not to blame (apart from the two who might be to blame). Petra, the most famous Pixie in the Known World, knew exactly who was to blame and wanted to rescue them. Lord Protector Higarth was determined to help the Goblins with their predicament, whether they wanted Ogre-help or not.
But on the plus side, the dragon’s gone; and there are still plenty of unicorns… maybe they can somehow solve everything?
ISBN: 9781915304193 eBook / 9781915304094 paperback 270pp
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“From Broderick, Prince of Asconar, Earl of Carlshore and Thorn, Duke of Wicksborough, Baron of Highbury and Warden of Dershanmoor, to My Lady Parisan, King’s Investigator, greetings. It has been brought to my attention that a certain Reinwald, Master Historian, noted Archmagus and tutor to our court in this city of Nemithia, has this day failed to report to the duties awaiting him. I do ask you, as my father’s most loyal servant, to seek the cause of this laxity and bring word of the mage to me, so that my concerns as to his safety be allayed.”
The herald delivered the message word-perfect to The Lady Parisan, Baroness of Orandy, Knight of the Diamond Circle and Sworn Paladin to Our Lady of the Sighs. Parisan’s companion, Foorourow Miar Raar Ramoura, Prince of Ilsfacar, (Foo to his friends) thought it a rather mundane assignment, but nevertheless together they ventured to the Archmagus’ imposing home to seek him. It turned out to be the start of an adventure to solve a mystery wrapped in an enigma bound by a conundrum and secured by a puzzle. All because of a missing diamond with a solar system at its core.
Authors Penelope Hill and J A Mortimore have effortlessly melded a Holmesian investigative duo, a richly detailed city where they encounter both nobility and seedier denizens, swashbuckling action, and magic that is palpable and, at times, awesome.
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 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
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
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
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
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.
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