DARTFORD, KENT – 02 April 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The World is at War, again by Simon Lowe. An espionage novel set in a near future where technology has been discredited and a period of Great Regression in under way, The World is at War, again blends genre and expectation as characters take on an extravagant, often comic search for identity and meaning in unusual times.
In suburbia, low level Agent Assassins Maria and Marco Fandanelli are given a surprise promotion as “Things Aren’t Going Too Well With The War”. Leaving their son Peter behind, they set sail on the luxury cruise-liner Water Lily City, hoping an important mission might save their careers and their marriage.
Dilapidated and derelict, Panbury Hall is not what Peter expected from boarding school. Together, with his celebrity dorm buddy, he adjusts to a new life that involves double dates, ginger vodka, Fine Art face painting and kidnapping, as they attempt to uncover the mystery of Panbury Hall.
Despite being a member of the Misorov Agent Assassin dynasty, Chewti is a reluctant AA. She only joined the Family Business to track down her cousin Nadia, the rogue AA who killed her mother. Really, she wanted to be a school teacher. So when Nadia is spotted loitering in the grounds of Panbury Hall, the opportunity to avenge her mother’s death and have her dream job is too tempting to turn down.
The World is at War, again is available from today on eBook platforms and will be published in paperback in June.
About Simon Lowe
Simon Lowe is the non-nom de plume of the author Simon Lowe. From humble beginnings inside a Melton Mowbray pork pie, Simon spent a summer building insulation for the millennium dome (nobody ever complained about being cold, did they?) before working the daytime shift as a flair cocktail waiter in a bar next to Leicester train station, impressing commuters with his juggling skills before pouring their coffee and thanking them for their patience. He would eventually find his feet in the big smoke as a bookseller. For ten years, he passed sharpies to famous authors with an envious, often murderous smile. He later went on to take charge of a primary school library, issuing fines to four year olds with indiscriminate glee. Fearing burn out, from the heady world of books, he chose to settle down in Hertford of all places.
As it stands, Simon has one partner, one son and one cat. Alongside writing fiction, he is a stay at home dad with ambitious plans to leave the house one day.
His short stories have popped up in journals and magazines on three continents including Visible Ink, Storgy, Firewords, AMP, Chaleur magazine, Ponder Review, Adelaide Literary journal, The Write launch, and elsewhere. He has also written about books for the Guardian newspaper.
The World is at War, Again is both a novel and a rumination on how very bad and very good the world would be without technology.
Comedy writer Craig Meighan, tired of having to be creative with the truth to support the government’s dubious political agendas, took his wife’s advice and quit the Civil Service to be creative with fiction instead.
DARTFORD, KENT – 19 March 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan. A satire on bureaucracy, it imagines the Biblical Genesis story as God’s seventh and final attempt to get his creation right. But what happened to the previous six universes? They still exist and one unlucky government worker accidentally gets transported to the first and must find his way home through each of them, which could have apocalyptic consequences for all seven universes and God himself.
Craig Meighan had written for short films, radio jokes and stand-up comedy but hadn’t been making a career in it. He joined the civil service and initially enjoyed it, but three governments, 4 Prime Ministers and 12 years later, he found himself in the odd position of working very hard to achieve things that were the exact opposite of his moral beliefs.
The decisive moment came when he received an existentially terrifying pension statement that suggested he’d have a further 38 punishing years until retirement. Afraid that he’d be stuck in the job forever, he told his wife Jen that he felt like he was wasting valuable time.
Craig says: “My retirement age was projected at 71. I checked my life expectancy and, because I’m from a predominantly working class bit of Scotland, that was projected at 68! I had a better chance of dying during a zoom call about welfare policy than I did of enjoying a retirement. Jen asked what I wanted to do with my life and I told her what she already knew, that I wanted to be a writer. She asked the killer question, which was, ‘Why aren’t you trying to do it?’ I didn’t have a good answer. She read my work and told me that she believed I was good enough to write professionally, that I would always regret it if I didn’t give it my full undivided attention to see where it could take me and that I should quit my job and just write. If I was no further forward after a year, I could go and get an office job again and at least I’d know that I’d tried. The next day I handed in my notice to the job I’d held for 12 years. When someone shows that level of support to your dream, you have to give it everything. You owe them 100% effort.”
Craig finished his book and submitted it to various publishers. Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press takes up the story: “As soon as we read it, we knew we’d love to publish it. The combination of fantasy, satire, and playing with the creation mythos, was irresistible. If you can imagine Hitchhiker’s in the style of Pulp Fiction, you’ll understand why we were hooked right away. We asked Craig which of the characters in the book were inspired by the ministers that he had worked for, but he wouldn’t tell us. The pandemic has delayed our publication schedule but we’re delighted that we can now share Craig’s book with readers, and they can try to guess for themselves.”
Craig adds: “Sometimes it’s all you need: one person to show some belief in your abilities, one person to back you. It’s nice to repay that faith, even if how you repay it is to write a book which features a sentient almond. I now spend most of my week writing fiction and I am 6000% happier than I was before. So Jen’s support has completely changed my life for the better, come what may.”
Far Far Beyond Berlin is available from today as an eBook, and in paperback on 17th May.
Notes for Editors
About Craig Meighan
Craig Meighan was born in Lanarkshire, in central Scotland. Both a keen drummer and a fan of science fiction, he grew up wanting to be either Animal, from The Muppets, or Douglas Adams. This has led to an unfortunate habit of smashing up his computer at the end of each writing session.
With the ambition of becoming a screenwriter, he attended film college in Glasgow. He spent a short time making corporate videos and then after attending one chance meeting, he accidentally joined the civil service. Intending to stay for one summer, he ended up staying for 12 years (so think carefully before inviting him round for tea).
He is too polite to say which of the killer robots, demons and other assorted antagonists that appear in his book, are based on his interactions with actual government ministers.
His first novel, Far Far Beyond Berlin, was written in the evenings, after work, every day for a year, at the end of which time his wife Jen convinced him it was time to finally leave the safety of the office job and pursue writing full-time. She cunningly incentivised him by promising that if he managed to get his book published, he could get a big dog.
Craig lives with Jen, just outside Glasgow, where they like to play softball, enter pub quizzes and do escape rooms. He is delighted to say that he is now the proud owner of a huge daft greyhound named Ralph.
About Far Far Beyond Berlin
Even Geniuses need practice
Not everything goes to plan at the first attempt… In Da Vinci’s downstairs loo hung his first, borderline insulting, versions of the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo’s back garden was chock-a-block full of ugly lumps of misshapen marble. Even Einstein committed a great ‘blunder’ in his first go at General Relativity. God is no different, this universe may be his masterpiece, but there were many failed versions before it – and they’re still out there.
Far Far Beyond Berlin is a fantasy novel, which tells the story of a lonely, disillusioned government worker’s adventures after being stranded in a faraway universe – Joy World: God’s first, disastrous attempt at creation.
God’s previous universes, a chain of 6 now-abandoned worlds, are linked by a series of portals. Our jaded hero must travel back through them, past the remaining dangers and bizarre stragglers. He’ll join forces with a jolly, eccentric and visually arresting crew of sailors on a mysteriously flooded world. He’ll battle killer robots and play parlour games against a clingy supercomputer, with his life hanging in the balance. He’ll become a teleportation connoisseur; he will argue with a virtual goose – it sure beats photocopying.
Meanwhile, high above in the heavens, an increasingly flustered God tries to manage the situation with His best friend Satan; His less famous son, Jeff; and His ludicrously angry angel of death, a creature named Fate. They know that a human loose in the portal network is a calamity that could have apocalyptic consequences in seven different universes. Fate is dispatched to find and kill the poor man before the whole place goes up in a puff of smoke; if he can just control his temper…
Riftmaster, a new novel from Miles Nelson tells a story about identity, empathy, and what it means to be human, which, though timeless, is especially significant here and now
DARTFORD, KENT – 24 February 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of Riftmaster by Miles Nelson. On the face of it, Riftmaster is a science fiction adventure about a college student who is whisked away from Earth by a mysterious and unpredictable force known as the Rift and stranded on another world where he meets a mysterious traveller, the self-styled Riftmaster. But at its heart it is an allegory of the isolation and social alienation felt by many in the trans community here on our own planet.
Miles Nelson says, “Riftmaster was in part influenced by my own personal experiences. I wanted to write a story about identity, empathy, and what it means to be human. At the time of writing I was myself going through a difficult period of my life. I felt as though I had very few people to turn to. I was engaged, but felt like I wasn’t the person I wanted to be when I was married. Even my fiancé, now husband, who had stood by me from the very beginning, couldn’t quite understand how I felt. I’m trans and autistic. All in all, a great recipe for feelings of isolation and the need for a magical journey of self-discovery. If there’s anything I can take comfort in, it’s the enormous size of the universe we live in. Riftmaster gave me the chance to fly away from all of those everyday problems to wonderful and beautiful worlds where earthly problems meant nothing, where so far away from societal expectations, a person is free to be whoever they want.”
How do we deal with these problems if we don’t have the opportunity to leave Earth and travel the cosmos? Miles Nelson adds, “Earth is the only home I, and everyone like me, will ever know, and this planet still has a long way to go before we can feel truly safe and welcome. I could do without seeing the horror on people’s faces when they hear my voice having already called me ‘bro’. One of the things Riftmaster addresses is small things like that, and how they can make you feel.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “Riftmaster will resonate with many readers who experience isolation and alienation, especially while most of us are still living through imposed social distancing and lockdown. But hopefully it will help people to understand and consider the impact of their words and actions on others.”
Miles Nelson again: “When it comes to the people you know and love, try your hardest to do what makes them happy and comfortable. But… if you slip up or fail, don’t worry; it’s the trying that counts. Every time one of my parents apologises for using the wrong name or pronouns, I always smile. So long as they’re trying their hardest, it’s enough to fill my heart with so much joy. Over the course of the story in Riftmaster, it is not overt attempts to hurt someone, but the adamant refusal to change, that causes the most harm. There are many people in my life who, because they knew me before, refuse to even try. But, if I got a promotion at work, they wouldn’t still call me a cashier. How is this really any different? I know it takes time. But it really is the effort to change that counts. There are a lot of little things people can do to help someone feel just a bit less alien. Treating others as equals, for example, rather than calling them ‘sweetheart’ and ‘sir’. You wouldn’t think it’s a big change, but it can mean a lot more than you know.”
Bailey, the main character of Riftmaster, is himself not trans. He is someone anybody can relate to: a kind-hearted young man on the cusp of his prime, who was cruelly swept away from everything he’s ever known by nothing more than bad luck. As the story unfolds, Bailey is forced to confront his own personal biases in order to change and grow. Miles Nelson hopes that, one day, Riftmaster can help at least one of its readers to do the same.
Riftmaster is available for pre-order in eBook format; it will be published on the 5th March as eBook, and in paperback on 3rd May.
Notes for Editors
About 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 although Riftmaster is technically his fourth novel, he likes to pretend the first three don’t exist. 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.
How do you hold on to hope when you’re being repeatedly wrenched between worlds?
College student Bailey Jones is plucked from his world by a mysterious and unpredictable force known as the Rift, which appears to move people at random from one world to another. Stranded on an alien planet, he is relieved when he meets a fellow human, the self-styled Riftmaster, who is prepared to assist him. Although curious about his new companion’s real identity, Bailey hopes that, with years of experience of the Rift, this cosmic traveller can help him find a way to return to Earth. But first, as the two of them are ripped without warning from one hostile planet to another, Bailey must rely on the Riftmaster to show him how to survive.
Riftmaster, an adventure, an exploration, is concerned with loss, and letting go, while still holding onto your humanity and identity, even when life seems hopeless.
The cover artwork and illustrations in the book were also created by Miles Nelson.
Did you know that God had six attempts to create the perfect universe before he finally created ours? Each of them was a learning experience for Him!
Far Far Beyond Berlin is the debut fantasy novel from writer Craig Meighan, which tells the story of a human who becomes stranded on the first world that God created, Joy World, and his subsequent attempt to return home to our world, which involves traversing all six of God’s previous worlds. God is not happy. In fact he’s getting quite flustered so he dispatches Fate, his angel of worse than death, to catch and dispose of the interloper.
As you can imagine, this paves the way for adventures, scrapes, shenanigans, but above all a good laugh (for us, not for the protagonists). And en route we meet some interesting characters including the one who is going to reveal the cover to us… Graham the Gravity-Goose:
If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube.
Far Far Beyond Berlin will be published on March 19th on all the best eBook platforms (available to preorder from the end of February) and in paperback on May 17th.
Calling it “tense, ominous and addictive”, book blogger Karen at Hair Past A Freckle posted a review of C.R. Berry‘s time travel conspiracy thriller, Million Eyes, the first book in the Million Eyes trilogy, in January last year. On New Year’s Day 2021, she named it one of her top reads of 2020.
Karen begins by explaining how Million Eyes begins in 1100 with King William II and something that very obviously shouldn’t exist in the 12th century. Like many readers, she knew of this event having seen the Rufus Stone in the New Forest where William was supposedly accidentally shot, and which Million Eyes says may not have been quite as straightforward as history tells it.
It’s difficult to review this book without giving away spoilers but I can say that there are some completely unexpected moments which totally shocked me.
She goes on to describe the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, saying that they are “very different people” and that she “particularly enjoyed seeing how Jennifer’s understandable scepticism gradually diminishes as she realises that he is telling the truth”. She calls the characterisation “excellent throughout” and that Jennifer in particular is a “fabulous character”.
She rounds off her review by saying that “as a long-time Whovian, perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay to Million Eyes is that it reminded me of a Doctor Who plot”.
You can read the full review on Hair Past A Freckle here.
Dealing with supernatural threats to Her Majesty’s realm is the purview of HM OWG. You would be surprised to know how many operatives they have throughout the UK. The Eye Collectors is the story of one perfidious case from the Cardiff office.
DARTFORD, KENT – 04 September 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Eye Collectors by Simon Kewin. Subtitled A story of Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, protecting the public from the unnatural since 1645, it is genre-defying, being at once a contemporary urban fantasy, a chilling paranormal thriller, a gritty police-procedural mystery, and a witty satire on the barriers to diversity in modern society… set largely in Cardiff.
When Danesh Shahzan gets called to a crime scene, it’s usually because the police suspect not just foul play but unnatural forces at play. Danesh is an Acolyte in Her Majesty’s Office of the Witchfinder General, a shadowy arm of the British government fighting supernatural threats to the realm. This time, he’s been called in by Detective Inspector Nikola Zubrasky to investigate a murder in Cardiff. The victim had been placed inside a runic circle and their eyes carefully removed from their head. Danesh soon confirms that magical forces are at work. Concerned that there may be more victims to come, he and DI Zubrasky establish a wary collaboration as they each pursue the investigation within the constraints of their respective organisations. Soon Danesh learns that there may be much wider implications to what is taking place and that somehow he has an unexpected connection. He also realises something about himself that he can never admit to the people with whom he works…
An early reader described The Eye Collectors as “Dirk Gently meets Good Omens!”
The Eye Collectors is available now in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 16th November 2020.
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.
Alternate history, As Ants to the Gods, challenges some orthodoxies and assumptions of Western culture. For adults only, certainly not the faint-hearted or easily shocked, it is a ribald and irreverent exploration of a world that could have been.
DARTFORD, KENT – 21 August 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of As Ants to the Gods, alternate history adventure by Alex Burcher.
Five years after the Great Fire of Lundun, ex-dragoon Laqua is lured by an ex-comrade-in-arms into helping the Keepers of the Light, a covert band fighting the equally clandestine Cult of the Death of Hope. The Cult intends to bring down the empire of the Moors and, indeed, all civilisation. An empire that has conquered most of Europe, where the language is Arabic and the flag of the falcate moon flies. Where alcohol is banned and hashish legal, prison is unknown and punishment is by whip, knife or hook. A world in which the Industrial Revolution is already well advanced and steam engines chug. Where the Norse have settled the New World first. In Lundun, capital of the Tin Isles, the largest mosque looms over St Paul’s Cathedral. And Samuel Peppin has given up his diaries to write bawdy poems.
Vital to defeating the Cult is an ancient secret Scroll, the final chapter of the sacred Script, its authenticity assured by its Seal. While the Cult would destroy it, the Keepers intend its dissemination to all. But, until they have the means to do so, Laqua is entrusted with its safekeeping. He falls in with a dour eunuch, a functionary of the Court of the Amir in Qurtuba, and a perfidious, possibly drug-addled, heretic. And what part might a libidinous Norsewoman play? Ahead of him lie spying, fighting, loving, torture and tragedy … and the discovery of a hideous truth.
As Ants to the Gods is now available in both eBook format and paperback, from good retailers or the publisher.
Notes for Editors
About Alex Burcher
Alex Burcher is a health-care professional with a predilection for skiing, cycling, swimming, rock music (think the Black Crowes and the Duhks), red wine and Calvados, and trying to learn the saxophone and piano. Alex has written technical articles for professional journals but is now venturing into fiction.
His deployment of anatomical knowledge in his writing has sometimes to be restrained. He loves words and believes that vocabulary should not be confined to the familiar, that nearly all are worth preserving and enjoying. Alex does not see why a book cannot be both exciting and well-written. Writers he admires include Phillip Roth, Robert Harris, Michael Chabon, Keith Roberts, Margaret Attwood, Harlan Ellison and many others too obscure to mention.
Reviewer Ben Potts compares Million Eyes to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and George Orwell’s 1984. He notes that the manipulation of timelines and ensuing time travel paradoxes are just a backdrop for the novel’s main draw: the conspiracy thriller elements, which are front and centre.
As pivotal moments in history shift, the world starts to become more and more… off, offering a disorienting but enthralling experience. We won’t spoil some of the more delectable twists here, but it gets interesting.
Potts also notes the “believable and genuine conflict” between the two main characters, Gregory Ferro and Jennifer Larson, and that the book does a good job of making the reader feel like they’re stepping backwards in time. He adds that Berry’s writing is “clear and easy to understand” and caps off his review by calling it an “excellent read”.
Potts also makes reference to Berry’s interview with Time Travel Nexus, in which he talks about the creation of the book, the short stories that accompany it (which we published as a free ebook called Million Eyes: Extra Time), his love of sci-fi and conspiracy theories, and how he went about creating his ‘rules of time travel’ for the Million Eyes series.