Despite much prejudice over the years, it is undeniable that female authors have been a strong and significant force in Science Fiction and Fantasy since the earliest days. One only has to think of Margaret Cavendish, Mary Shelley, Jane Webb Loudon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Julian May, Marion Bradley, Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling. Even so, it is generally harder for female authors to be published, and many readers still say they are less likely to pick up a book if the author is obviously female.
Elsewhen Press, which was established in 2011, applies no constraints of age, race, gender or sexual orientation, on the authors whose work we consider or publish – our only criterion is quality. We now have a roll-call of female, male and non-binary authors, from various continents, writing in many different sub-genres of speculative fiction. To mark International Women’s Day 2018, we would like to highlight some of the female authors that have enabled Elsewhen Press to live up to its mission of delivering outstanding new talents in speculative fiction. They are all great writers and awesome people; we are honoured to have them as our authors and friends.
Zoë was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband, their daughter and a collection of swords. Zoë writes when she’s not fencing, looking after her daughters, or working as a print controller for an advertising company.
The Underside series (Sailor to a Siren; The Wages of Sin)
The Underside series, space opera with a significant nod to gangland thrillers, introduced us to Zoë Sumra’s universe and established her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all made this a first series in what is going to be a fascinating and enthralling universe.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Tanya enjoys using the tranquil prairies as a setting to her not-so-peaceful speculative fiction.
She is married with two children which means among her accomplishments are the necessary magical abilities to find a lost tooth in a park of sand and whisper away monsters from under the bed.
As director of a non-profit Francophone community center, Tanya offers programming and services in French for all ages to ensure the lasting imprint and growth of the Francophone community in which she was raised. What she enjoys the most about her job is teaching social media safety for teens and offering one-on-one technology classes for seniors.
Tanya was fifteen when she wrote her first column. She has a diploma in Journalism/Short Story Writing. Today, she actively submits to various newspapers, writes and publishes the local Francophone newsletter for her community, and maintains a blog at Life’s Like That.
Sacred Land Stories (Legends on the Prairies; Ghosts on the Prairies; Cursed on the Prairies)
The Sacred Land Stories trilogy follows a trans-generational timeline that starts in Legends on the Prairies, continues in Ghosts on the Prairies and culminates in Cursed on the Prairies. Alternate history suspense incorporating the paranormal and magical realism, and infused with romance, these are stories that concern the Sacred Lands of the Ghost tribes in the prairies of Saskatchewan, stretching from 1882 to 1936. But they also touch on the interwoven loves, hopes, dreams and tragedies of lives lived on those prairies by both the tribes and the settlers.
Sanem Ozdural was born in Ankara, Turkey in the 70s, and spent her childhood from age seven onwards in England. Happy days at a quintessentially British boarding school in Surrey helped forge her character and tastes, not to mention lasting friendships. Making her way to the U.S. she studied economics at Princeton University. After graduating from Boston University School of Law, she moved to New Orleans where she practiced as a prosecutor and civil litigator, and spent seven wonderful years living in the French Quarter.
In 2004 she migrated from New Orleans via Washington, D.C., reaching New York City in 2006, where she lived and practiced law until 2013. After teaching business law at Koç University in Istanbul for a few semesters, she is now back in New Orleans once again working as a lawyer. Sanem was an avid bridge player until the tenth round of revisions to her debut novel. She is now thoroughly enjoying an indefinite bridge sabbatical, and imagining all sorts of stories that feature absolutely no bridge or chess.
LiGa series (LiGa™; the Dark shall do what Light cannot)
The LiGa series is a thought-provoking series of books in an essentially contemporary setting, with elements of both science fiction and fantasy. The LiGa of the series title is a contraction of Life Game, a game in which contestants are gambling with their lives to win what is essentially indefinite life expectancy. In the first book we meet the players of a LiGa™ Bridge tournament who are competing against each other to join the ranks of the ‘Immortal’ members of LiGa. In the second book, we find out more about the secretive organisation behind the game as we travel with some of them to a fantastic place beyond the Light Veil.
Rebecca started writing when she was supposed to be studying for her exams at Otago University but somehow passed anyway, eventually graduating with a decorative piece of paper. She moved to the UK to pursue a career in publishing and after a couple of mishaps ended up in Edinburgh and sold Instrument of Peace to Elsewhen Press, which is not quite the career she had in mind. The career she did have in mind was along more editorial lines which is why she is now a volunteer at Inspired Quill and a freelance copy-editor for everyone else. She also has a blog which she infrequently remembers to update, where those mysterious things known as short stories can be found.
Even after three years in the UK, she is baffled by the fact that the British use miles, pints and 1p coins but things like pineapple lumps, black forest chocolate and L&P have not caught on. Rebecca would like to make it very clear that she is a Kiwi and absolutely NOT an Australian (or South African) and she will do almost anything for chocolate.
Symphony of the Cursed trilogy (Instrument of Peace; Instrument of War; Instrument of Chaos)
The Symphony of the Cursed trilogy, is a YA fantasy that begins with Instrument of Peace, which Rebecca describes as a magic school setting combined with the reality of the mundane world and horror of the Dresden Files, without any characters named Harry. Her trilogy sees the main protagonist, Mitch, move from high school to university while he strives to break The Twisted Curse that threatens those around him.
The location for the story may be surprising to some readers, especially those in the Northern hemisphere. The Academy, where Mitch is being educated in magic, is in a semi-mythical land populated by magical beings and legendary creatures, not to mention awe-inspiring natural features such as volcanoes, that has in recent years been discovered to be the location for Middle Earth. We know it, of course, as New Zealand.
Katrina was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Future Perfect was her debut novel and the first book in the Blueprint trilogy. Forbidden Alliance and Freedom’s Prisoners completed the trilogy. Her latest novel is The Ghost in You.
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything.
A dark undercurrent runs through the trilogy: the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty. Despite seeming to be set in a distant and dystopian future, it is clear that many of the disturbing aspects of Katrina’s future world can be seen here and now; this should be a warning to us all. The books appeal to both an adult and young adult audience.
J.A. Christy’s writing career began in infant school at the age of seven when she won best poetry prize with her poem ‘Winter’. Since then she has been writing short stories and has had several published in magazines and anthologies.
She holds a PhD in which she explores the stories we use in everyday life to construct our identities. Working in high hazard safety, she is a Chartered Psychologist and Scientist and writes to apply her knowledge to cross the boundaries between science and art, in particular in the crime, speculative and science-fiction genres.
She lives in Oldham with her partner and their dog. J.A. Christy also writes under the name Jacqueline Ward.
SmartYellow™ explores themes of social inequity and scientific responsibility. J.A. Christy’s first speculative fiction novel leads her heroine Katrina to understand how probability, hope and empathy play a huge part in the flow of life and are absent in the stagnation of mere survival. As readers we also start to question how we would know if the power of the State to support and care for the weak had become corrupted into the oppression of all those who do not fit society’s norms.
SmartYellow™ offers a worryingly plausible and chilling glimpse into an alternate Britain. For the sake of order and for the benefit of more fortunate members of society, those seen as socially undesirable are marked with SmartYellow™, making it easier for them to be controlled and maintained in a state of fruitless inactivity. Writer, J.A. Christy, turns an understanding and honest eye not only onto the weak, who have failed to cope with life, but also onto those who ruthlessly exploit them for their own ends. At times tense and threatening, at times tender and insightful, SmartYellow™ is a rewarding and thought-provoking read.
One as a sensible, hard-working type, employed in financial systems, graphic design and web site development. Another as a writer, scribbling away, committing her stories to disc and eventually publishing several to reasonable acclaim. Throughout all of them, the mother of two and wife of one.
Skilled at exploring the psychology and interior lives of her characters, Alison delivers stories that range from chilling tales of horror through insightful contemporary drama to thought-provoking science fiction. Her empathy with her protagonists, her rich descriptive prose and her use of gentle humour serve to ensure that, whatever the setting, her stories are always a rewarding read.
Abiding Evil, Alison’s second published novel, was a bestselling psychological horror story. A sleeping menace is roused deep in the darkness of a forest. For decades it grows, biding its time, reaching out to tug at the ordinary lives of those living beyond the shadow of the trees. Their children begin to disappear.
Unaware and unsuspecting of the danger, a group of families, friends for many years, journey to a newly re-opened hotel. It stands alone in a clearing a mile or more within the forest boundary. For some this will be their last reunion.
The long-awaited sequel will be published this year by Elsewhen Press.
Alison is also a talented artist who has designed many of the covers for our books. She is one of the co-founders of Elsewhen Press.
Tommy James has just written a review of Existence is Elsewhen for Starburst Magazine. Describing it as a “sharp collection” of short stories, Tommy writes that Existence is Elsewhen presents an “eclectic range of ideas” producing an end result that is “extremely well written” and “rich with a wide variety of material”. That variety is shown in the choice of tones of the stories with some “genuinely amusing pieces which nicely punctuate the darker stories”, while singling out Douglas Thompson’s Bird Brains as a “provocative tale whose ideas will manifest themselves long after you’ve finished reading”.
Tommy concludes that Existence is Elsewhen is a “smartly presented collection” that anyone who enjoys short fiction “would be well advised to familiarise themselves with”, awarding it 8 out of 10 stars.
You can read Tommy’s full review on the Starburst Magazine website here.
On Risingshadow.netSeregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Existence is Elsewhen. He starts by saying that as an anthology it “wonderfully showcases” what Elsewhen Press has to offer and is “something special and mesmerising”. He especially liked the fact that there was a wide variety of stories “that highlight the imagination and writing skills of various authors” ranging from “entertaining stories to thought-provoking stories” with a diversity from “colonising new planets to reverse evolution”. He adds that it is “an interesting anthology to those who want to read something out of the ordinary and want to be thrilled by stories that push and stretch the limits of normality and strangeness in various ways”.
He then gives a brief overview of each story, with his comments on each (all good, I’m pleased to say), followed by a slightly more detailed review of some of the stories that particularly interested him. I won’t try to summarise his detailed review in any more detail, except to say that he concludes by describing it as “a perfect anthology for readers who want to experience something different. Some of the sights and wonders explored in these stories are seldom found in modern speculative fiction, and thus make for an intriguing reading experience”. You really should read his full review here.
Twenty stories from twenty great writers, also including Rhys Hughes, Christopher Nuttall and Douglas Thompson
DARTFORD, KENT – 18 March 2016 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of Existence is Elsewhen, an anthology of twenty science fiction stories from twenty great writers. According to Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, “The title paraphrases the last sentence of André Breton’s 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism, perfectly summing up the intent behind this anthology of stories from a wonderful collection of authors. Different worlds… different times. It’s what Elsewhen Press has been about since we launched our first title in 2011. We were thrilled when John agreed to headline.”
Headlining the collection is John Gribbin, with a worrying vision of medical research in the near future. Future global healthcare is the theme of J.A.Christy’s story, while the ultimate in spare part surgery is where Dave Weaver takes the reader. Edwin Hayward’s search for a renewable protein source turns out to be digital; and Tanya Reimer’s story with characters we think we know, gives pause for thought about another food we all take for granted. Evolution is examined too, with Andy McKell’s chilling tale of what states could become if genetics are used to drive policy. Similarly, Robin Moran’s story explores the societal impact of an undesirable evolutionary trend, while Douglas Thompson provides a truly surreal warning of an impending disaster that will reverse evolution, with dire consequences.
On a lighter note, there is satire as Steve Harrison uncovers who really owns the Earth (and why); and Ira Nayman, who uses the surreal alternative realities of his Transdimensional Authority series as the setting for a detective story mash-up of Agatha Christie and Dashiel Hammett. Pursuing the crime-solving theme, Peter Wolfe explores life, and death, on a space station, while Stefan Jackson follows a police investigation into some bizarre cold-blooded murders in a cyberpunk future. Going into the past, albeit an 1831 set in the alternate Britain of his Royal Sorceress
series, Christopher Nuttall reports on an investigation into a girl with strange powers.
Strange powers in the present-day is the theme for Tej Turner, who tells a poignant tale of how extra-sensory perception makes it easier for a husband to bear his dying wife’s last few days. Difficult decisions are the theme of Chloe Skye’s heart-rending story exploring personal sacrifice. Relationships aren’t always so close, as Susan Oke’s tale demonstrates, when sibling rivalry is taken to the limit. Relationships are the backdrop to Peter R. Ellis’s story where a spectacular mid-winter event on a newly-colonised distant planet involves a Madonna and Child. Coming right back to Earth and in what feels like an almost imminent future, Siobhan McVeigh tells a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of using technology to deflect the blame for their actions. Building on the remarkable setting of Pera from her LiGa series, and developing Pera’s legendary Book of Shadow, Sanem Ozdural spins the creation myth of the first light tree in a lyrical and poetic song. Also exploring language, the master of fantastika and absurdism, Rhys Hughes, extrapolates the way in which language changes over time, with an entertaining result.
Existence is Elsewhen, published today by Elsewhen Press on popular eBook platforms, will also be available in paperback from the 25th March with a launch at the 2016 Eastercon in Manchester.
Notes for Editors
About John Gribbin
John Gribbin was born in 1946 in Maidstone, Kent. He studied physics at the University of Sussex and went on to complete an MSc in astronomy at the same University before moving to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, to work for his PhD. After working for the journal Nature and New Scientist, and three years with the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University, he has concentrated chiefly on writing books. These include In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, In Search of the Big Bang, and In Search of the Multiverse. He has also written and presented several series of critically acclaimed radio programmes on scientific topics for the BBC (including QUANTUM, for Radio Four), and has acted as consultant on several TV documentaries, as well as contributing to TV programmes for the Open University and the Discovery channel.
But he really wanted to be a successful science fiction writer, and has achieved at least the second part of that ambition with books such as Timeswitch and The Alice Encounter, and stories in publications such as Interzone and Analog. But as John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi so nearly said “Sf is all very well, John, but it won’t pay the rent”. Another thing that doesn’t pay the rent is his songwriting, mostly for various spinoffs of the Bonzo Dog Band. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical and Royal Meteorological Societies.
To the non-Pera born Shadow may be elusive and the Book of Shadow too big to comprehend. With the help of two of their Immortals, LiGa have produced an initiation of sorts into the mind and soul of Pera. Orion (Imm.) provides an introduction to Shadow, while Roland Griffith S.J. (Imm.) offers us a personal selection from the Book of Shadow. Thanks to the generosity of LiGa, we are delighted to be able to make this LiGa pamphlet, Extracts for the Book of Shadow available for free download.
“Shadow is one of the most enthralling beings ever created in modern speculative fiction”
Seregil of Rhiminee, Risingshadow
Extracts from The Book of Shadow, is now available for free download, click here for details and download links.
Following on from the critically acclaimed LiGa™, this new novel reveals more about the secretive organisation behind the life-extending technology of LiGa. Along with LiGa’s newest recruits, we are transported from New York on an eventful voyage across the high seas and beyond the Light Veil to the colourful and wonderful world of Pera, an almost-mythical place on the other side of reality. On the way we meet the pirate Patron and her ship the Flying Fish, the only one that can sail through the Light Veil; Orion (Imm.), the Hunter, respected by some and feared by others; and Shadow, the formidable soul of Pera.
There are light trees in Pera that eat sunlight and bear fruit which, in turn, lights up and energises (literally) the whole community. There are light birds that glitter in the night because they have eaten the seed of the lightberry. The House of Light and Dark, which is the domain of the Sun and her brother, Twilight, welcomes all creatures living in Pera. But in the midst of all the glitter, laughter and the songs, it must be remembered that the lightberry is poisonous to the non-Pera born, and the Land is afraid when the Sun retreats, for it is then that Twilight walks the streets…
the Dark shall do what Light cannot has been available in popular eBook formats since the 10th April.
On the Risingshadow.net website, Seregil of Rhiminee has written a review of Sanem Ozdural’s new novel the Dark shall do what Light cannot, the sequel to her debut novel LiGa™. The frequency with which Seregil reads new books and writes detailed and thoughtful reviews is quite astounding, and the sheer number of such reviews he has written makes his comments on Sanem’s new book all the more meaningful.
Seregil starts by recalling LiGa™, Sanem’s debut novel, which he says was “an interesting reading experience for me, because the author did something that I didn’t expect to be possible” which he explains was that “she made bridge look sexy and fashionable by transforming it into science fiction”. Although the Dark shall do what Light cannot is a sequel to LiGa™, and includes some of the same main characters, Seregil notes that it is perfectly possible to read it as a standalone novel. Having been “thrilled” by LiGa™, Seregil was “amazed” again by this sequel which is “an exceptionally good science-fantasy story” which “outshines LiGa™ in every possible way”. He says that in this new book Sanem demonstrates “her writing skills and storytelling abilities, because she transports her readers into a fascinating world of light and darkness. She weaves a web of magic with a good dash of originality around her readers.” He enjoyed reading the book very much because “it felt fresh and exciting”.
Seregil then discusses some of the characters and how well their characterisation works, as well as the story’s plot and the “impressive worldbuilding” of the setting of Pera where much of the action takes place. It pleased him that Sanem “takes her time to introduce the characters and the world of Pera with its different areas and traditions” and “doesn’t rush with the story. She smoothly combines different elements and gradually deepens the story by revealing more wonders and terrors about the world of Pera and delivers an excellent story.” He goes on to add that he was impressed by the effortless and skillful way she manages different threads and elements and brings them all together.
He especially found reading about Shadow fascinating. Shadow is the soul of Pera and has the body of an enormous crocodile (as featured on the cover of the book!). He says that “Shadow is one of the most enthralling beings ever created in modern speculative fiction novels”. Praise indeed!
As well as Shadow, Seregil is impressed by how Sanem “infuses her story with intriguing mythic, paranormal and religious elements that blend seamlessly into one another”. He also enjoyed her fresh approach to pirates in Pera where they pay taxes and give merchants receipts when they rob them.
Seregil says that “what makes this novel stand out is its complexity and philosophical elements. It was nice that the author didn’t underestimate her readers”. This also includes the excerpts from the Book of Shadow which are “wonderfully creative, poetic and mythic”.
Finally Seregil says that this novel was “an enjoyable reading experience, because it isn’t often that one has an opportunity to read this kind of science-fantasy. The Dark shall do what Light cannot is a skillfully written novel that differs quite a lot from other new and contemporary science fiction novels. It’s a fascinating combination of science fiction, fantasy, paranormal elements, mystery elements, traditions, religion and mythic elements.”
In conclusion he says that it is “Good, imaginative and thought-provoking science-fantasy for adults”.
This was just an extract, you should read Seregil’s whole review here.