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

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.

Print editions – size and price changes

As a result of the combined stupidity of Brexit and tragedy of Covid-19, alongside the concomitant shortages caused by the supply chain crisis, the escalating costs of paper, ink and shipping has meant that our printers are having to charge us significantly more than they were even 2 years ago. Like many indie publishers, we use printers with digital presses so that we don’t need to print and store thousands of copies of each title in advance – but that also means that each time we print a copy of a book for sale the production cost may well have increased.

When we launched Elsewhen Press, we chose to price our print editions at £9.99. That was generally considered to be a reasonable price for a trade paperback, and was recommended as having a psychological advantage because it is (just) below £10 – although I’ve never been convinced how true that is! For most of our books, that meant that we could earn a little income after covering the printing costs and paying the author their royalties. Over the last ten years we have been determined to keep to that price, to the point that for some titles we now lose money for every copy sold through retailers.

This is now getting to the point where it is unsustainable for us, so we have to address this problem, or stop producing print editions of our books. As you can see from the above, there are two ways to try to manage this problem: reduce the production cost and/or increase the cover price.

We have been looking at ways to reduce the production cost of our books. This has meant that we have started to use POD printers for our newest titles, and changed the trim size of our books from 215x135mm to 203x127mm (which is apparently the most popular size for paperbacks, anyway). Apart from slightly lower printing costs for some of our titles, this also means that the sales and distribution is now handled directly by the POD service rather than by us, and our titles can become available in retailers that previously eschewed our books. For example, if you look for our latest titles on Amazon you will see that the paperback edition is shown as ‘In Stock’ and available for delivery within a day or two directly from Amazon – what’s more Amazon can offer customers far better shipping terms than we ever could. We also now use the Ingrams POD service, which means that our new titles are now available through Barnes & Noble and other retailers in the US and elsewhere, as well as in UK bookshops through the wholesaler Gardners, so even if readers don’t want to buy from Amazon they can get our books through most good indie bookstores.

The result is that in many cases we have been able to keep the list price to £10, although for longer books we now have to price some of them at £11 or £12. Obviously, if the costs keep escalating as some commentators predict, we may have to increase the cover price of all of our books again. Meanwhile, we will gradually be moving our backlist titles over to the new POD services and trim sizes, which should make them all more readily available to potential readers.

Out today in paperback – Million Eyes II: The Unraveller

Today sees the launch of the print edition of Million Eyes II: The Unraveller by C.R. Berry, it is available from all good bookshops and Amazon.

Artwork: Alison Buck

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.

Imagine if smartphones were banned.

Author Simon Lowe’s new novel ‘The World is at War, again’ takes a witty look at a world where new technology is a war-time vulnerability and society must regress to the safety of old tech.

DARTFORD, KENT – 07 June 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house that is becoming known for high quality, insightful yet entertaining speculative fiction. Their latest title, The World is at War, again by author Simon Lowe, although set in a near-future world, has a very retro feel about it. The global domination of new technology, from mega-corporations with no particular allegiance to national borders or political ideology, had led not to equality or a level playing-field but to an inability for nation-states to compete. Technology itself had become the fifth column, undermining governments and the military. The only solution was the Great Regression, rolling back insidiously pervasive technology and reverting to a world of paper, typewriters and land-line telephones. Against this background, Agent Assassins are deployed on covert missions because “Things Aren’t Going Too Well With The War” – including one agent who is tracking down another who has gone rogue, her cousin.

Cover design: Alison Buck

Lowe’s novel is neither dystopian nor post-apocalyptic fiction – the protagonists are attempting to pre-empt potential apocalypse. Nor, indeed, is it entirely fictional. Already, this year, cyber-security experts have been warning of the potential dangers of ‘smart cities’; ransom-ware attacks are on the increase, not just against businesses but also healthcare, government and infrastructure – the attack on software controlling an oil pipeline in the US caused widespread panic and public mayhem, including the terrifyingly stupid spectacle of people stockpiling petrol in plastic bags! The UK government’s own Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, CPNI, is warning industry and academia about the risks from ‘hostile state actors’. Meanwhile, during the pandemic, big tech companies (and their billionaire owners) have massively increased in value as their products and services have become ever more embedded and crucial to the lives of so many people. Where businesses used to be dependent on the goodwill of governments, the situation is now reversed, with the budgets of some smaller nations dwarfed by those of big tech, while much governmental infrastructure around the world is now under the control of a handful of corporations. How long would hostilities last if an enemy state could switch off the mobile phone network, the power grid, and the Internet within seconds of war being declared?

Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press, says, “Science fiction has a long tradition of shining a spotlight on society’s problems, by recasting them in an alternative context (whether that’s an alien world, or a different time). The ever-increasing dependence on technology, and the impact that it has on our everyday security, not to mention long-term stability and defence, is an important issue that people are starting to consider. In The World is at War, again Simon Lowe has highlighted these serious concerns in a witty and entertaining way – after all, who hasn’t dreamt of becoming a trained Assassin and taking out a troublesome cousin. I know I have.”

The World is at War, again is already available in eBook format and is now available in paperback from today.

Notes for Editors

About The World is at War, again

The World is at War, again. New technology has been abandoned, a period of Great Regression is under way.
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 blends genre and expectation as characters take on an extravagant, often comic search for identity and meaning in unusual times. It is both a novel and a rumination on how very bad and very good the world would be without technology.

ISBN: 9781911409830 (paperback, 296pp) / 9781911409939 (eBook)

About Simon Lowe

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.

 

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.

Author addresses the isolation and alienation felt by many in the trans community, with allegorical SF adventure

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 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.

About Riftmaster

Cover art: Miles Nelson

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.

Visit bit.ly/Riftmaster

 

Cover reveal: Far Far Beyond Berlin by Craig Meighan

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.

The cover is by artist Gordon Miller.

You can find more details about the book here.