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 cover is by Alison Buck
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…
Both the Mail Online Femail section (here) and the Daily Telegraph, today have complimentary news items about David Shannon and his debut novel HOWUL. They quote his wife, the award-winning author Bernardine Evaristo OBE, as saying that she thought he was watching football in his study when he was in fact writing his novel.
The review by Timothy Arden describes HOWUL as “unconventional, quirky, extraordinary … unmissable” and “little short of a masterpiece”. Following the review is a fascinating interview with David Shannon. You can read the review and the interview here on the Reader’s Digest site.
David Shannon’s absurdist satire, HOWUL, recounts an unlikely hero’s journey, in a ravaged yet familiar future
DARTFORD, KENT – 15 January 2021 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of HOWUL, a life’s journey by David Shannon. Provocative yet savagely funny, this absurdist satire is ominously relevant today despite being set, in North Wales, in a future following an undisclosed catastrophe which has radically affected technology, culture, and even language. Shannon says, “Buried in it is a howl against austerity and oppression. My inspirations were Riddley Walker, Don Quixote and Mad Max.”
Lindsay Nicholson MBE described HOWUL as “Un-put-down-able! A classic hero’s journey, deftly handled. I was surprised by every twist and turn, the plotting was superb, and the engagement of all the senses – I could smell those flowers and herbs. A tour de force.”
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “HOWUL is a brilliantly unique book that sparkles with wit and tells a compelling story. It is an account by the eponymous ‘hero’ of events that befall him on his quest to seek answers and revenge. It is, therefore, written in the patois of the future that Howul inhabits – a clipped, almost pidgin, dialect of English which is nevertheless entirely comprehensible. It not only adds authenticity, humour, and at times pathos, to the story, but also illustrates the skill with which Shannon has constructed not just the world and the storyline but even a consistent grammar in which to tell it – comparisons with Anthony Burgess are inevitable.”
HOWUL is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 15th March.
Notes for Editors
About David Shannon
David Shannon grew up in Bristol, the youngest of 3 children. Yes, he was the spoilt one. After stints as a TEFL teacher in Italy and croupier in London, he had a first writing career as a journalist working for (among others) Cosmopolitan, the Sunday Times, the Radio Times, Good Housekeeping, Country Living and Best. He wrote a lot about showbiz, interviewing and profiling many celebrities. Even though any actors he met kept telling him what a difficult career theirs is, he then abandoned journalism for acting. Many years later he’s still doing it, using the name David France. How successful has he been at this? Judge for yourself. Have you ever heard of him? He’s done plenty of low-budget feature films (including Werewolves of the Third Reich) but makes most of his living by writing, running and acting in murder mystery events. Chronic shyness afflicted him for many years but he is now painfully opinionated about almost everything. And he loves pigs. Despite this, he remains happily married to a writer slightly more famous than him – the 2019 Booker Prize winner, Bernardine Evaristo. They live in London.
Books are dangerous. People in Blanow think that books are dangerous: they fill your head with drivel, make poor firewood and cannot be eaten (even in an emergency).
This book is about Howul. He sees things differently: fires are dangerous; people are dangerous; books are just books. Howul secretly writes down what goes on around him in Blanow. How its people treat foreigners, treat his daughter, treat him. None of it is pretty. Worse still, everything here keeps trying to kill him: rats, snakes, diseases, roof slates, the weather, the sea. That he survives must mean something. He wants to find out what. By trying to do this, he gets himself thrown out of Blanow… and so his journey begins.
Like all gripping stories, HOWUL is about the bad things people do to each other and what to do if they happen to you. Some people use sticks to stay safe. Some use guns. Words are the weapons that Howul uses most. He makes them sharp. He makes them hurt. Of course books are dangerous.
“Did we win the battle?” asked King Wyndham. “Well it depends how you define winning,” answered Longfield, one of the King’s royal commanders. So starts The Magic Fix, a satirical tale with a cast of mythical characters, by author Mark Montanaro.
DARTFORD, KENT – 25 September 2020 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Magic Fix by Mark Montanaro. Epic fantasy in the grand tradition of Craig Shaw Gardner, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and others, Mark Montanaro shines a satirical spotlight on prejudice, authority, power, destiny and the futility of conflict. Set in a fictional continent (The Known World) peopled by Humans, Elves, Pixies, Trolls, Goblins and Ogres, where a pointless war is polarising the races, short-term ambition is blinding leaders to imminent danger, and narrow-minded thinking leaves them all open to the ravages of a natural disaster. Sound familiar?
In The Known World, the Humans are fighting a losing battle with the Trolls. Meanwhile the Ogres are up to something, which probably isn’t good. Could one flying unicorn bring about peace in the Known World? No, obviously not. But maybe a group of rebels have the answer. Or perhaps the answer lies with a young Pixie with one remarkable gift. Does the Elvish Oracle have the answer? Who knows? And, even if she did, would anyone understand her cryptic answers (we all know what Oracles are like!) The Known World is in danger of being rent in twain, and twain-rending is never good! Did we mention the dragon?
Editorial director of Elsewhen Press, Peter Buck, said: “At a time when our world is being ravaged by a natural disaster and leaders’ inability to lead, the need for escapist wit has never been greater. Mark’s ‘Known World’ is also undergoing a natural disaster (a dragon) as well as a failure of leadership. Too close to home? Well at least it will make you laugh.”
The Magic Fix is available from today in eBook format and will be available in paperback from 30th November 2020.
Notes for Editors
About Mark Montanaro
Mark Montanaro 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 has 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, is set to be his best work so far.
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.
On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Good Intentions by Ira Nayman. This is the first novel in The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy, but also the sixth novel of the Transdimensional Authority series. Seregil starts by saying that he’s “amazed at how fresh and original, not to mention amusing, this novel is” and that, despite being the sixth Multiverse novel, Ira “manages to come up with new novels that are just as good and entertaining as the previous ones”.
Seregil’s review is well worth reading in its entirety, so I will only pick out a couple more quotes from it, and encourage you to read the full review yourself. He describes the book as an “excellent humorous science fiction novel that is filled with quirkiness, inventiveness and hilarious wittiness”, “one of the most amusing and most satirical science fiction novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading”, “sharp yet entertaining satire and parody about humans, humanity and the state of the world”. I think that gives a reasonable picture of how much Seregil liked the book. He concludes by saying it is “one of the best novels available for readers who love humorous speculative fiction.”
Read Seregil’s review on Risingshadow.net here.