Academic bureaucracy is stifling research but it’s not too late to put down your tea and rage against the system.

Vegan author, vegan main character, vegan publisher. Surprisingly King Street Run is not a vegan manifesto.

DARTFORD, KENT – 10 May 2024 – Elsewhen Press, an indie publisher specialising in speculative fiction, publishes novels from a wide variety of authors and with a huge range of themes and characters. But with the publication of King Street Run by V.R. Ling, it is the first time that Elsewhen Press, which is run by vegans, has published a book penned by a vegan author, with a vegan main character. That said, the book is not a manifesto for veganism. It does have a serious underlying premise, but it is essentially an adventure story, while also being a satire on society and academia in particular, poking fun at bureaucracy and stuffiness, thereby addressing important themes such as social mobility, imposter syndrome and entitlement. The book is also filled with playful references to popular culture as well as celebrated Cambridge alumni such as Douglas Adams and M.R. James.

The main character, Thomas, is an archaeology student at King’s College, Cambridge, who stumbles on a trio of anachronistic characters whom he initially believes to be steampunk enthusiasts but soon discovers to be the personifications of three of the Cambridge Colleges. Something is attacking them, and by extension the very essence of the Colleges. They need Thomas’ help to identify and stop their attacker. As the story progresses, Thomas meets the personification of all of the Colleges, before he must ultimately perform an unlikely heist to solve the problem.

The author, herself a Cambridge graduate, has taken great delight in including many Cambridge-related puns and disguised references, positively encouraging readers’ groups to be on the look-out for a variety of ‘Easter eggs’ within the text.

V.R. Ling said: “Not everything is what it seems. There are nooks and crannies in the text that seem plain enough, but look again and you might see something else. It might not be the sort of thing most writers hope for, but I’d love for readers to pause now and again, frown, and think ‘hang on a minute’ before re-reading a paragraph or reaching for their phone to check a detail. I have a love for old buildings and all their ‘twirly bits’ – turrets, little doors that lead up narrow staircases, embellished door frames, hidden cupboards and the like. These impish inclusions are my silly way of reflecting that love in writing; details you might not notice at first – and in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter if you don’t – but when/if you do, they provide another layer to the story.”

Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, said: “When Victoria submitted King Street Run to us, we were immediately enthralled by the setting, the characters and the adventure. Despite the serious underlying message, the deft combination of satire with archaeology and fantasy is very appealing. The main character being vegan was an obvious personal bonus. We later discovered that Victoria is also vegan so, during the editing process, we have not only been swapping comments on the text itself but also recipes and shopping tips!”

Is an adventure set among the Colleges of Cambridge likely to appeal to readers other than Cambridge alumni? Peter Buck, again: “The beauty of King Street Run is that it can be read purely as a fantasy novel about meta-beings, created by the history of a place and the people who are an institution’s collective memories. Or it can be read as an adventure, a race against time to stop the forces of evil defeating the forces of good. Or it can be read as a satire, lampooning staid elements in a society that needs to progress. Of course, it is all those things, so it will certainly appeal to Cambridge alumni; but it has a much wider appeal to lovers of fantasy, adventure, satire, and those concerned about the future of respected institutions – academic bureaucracy is familiar to people worldwide, not just graduates from institutions with buildings that are centuries old.”

King Street Run is now out in eBook and will be available in paperback on 20th May through all good booksellers.

Notes for Editors

About King Street Run

To Thomas, archaeology was time travel…
little did he know how literal that would turn out to be.

King Street Run by V.R. Ling; Cover by Alison Buck
Cover: Alison Buck

Thomas Wharton, an archaeology graduate, becomes drawn into the problems of a series of anachronistic characters who exist in the fractions of a second behind our own time. These characters turn out to be personifications of the Cambridge Colleges; they have the amalgamated foibles, history, and temperament of their Fellows and students and, together with Thomas, must enter into a race against time to prevent their world being destroyed by an unknown assailant.

King Street Run is a satirical fantasy thriller set among the iconic buildings of contemporary Cambridge.

.

Cover art: Alison Buck

About V.R. Ling

V.R. Ling
V.R. Ling

V.R. Ling (Victoria) has a life-long love for science fiction and fantasy, and by coincidence science and fiction have separately shaped her life; the science part came in the form of a degree in archaeology, a Masters in biological anthropology, and then a PhD in biological anthropology from King’s College, Cambridge. On the fiction front she is influenced by the likes of H.G Wells, Jules Verne, M.R James, Douglas Adams, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and many others. She also has a life-long fascination with the 19th century (literature, scientific advances, architecture); Victoria by name, Victorian by nature. She is an animal lover, vegan, likes sixties music, adores classic Doctor Who, and has an antique book collection that smells as good as it looks.

King Street Run by V.R. Ling is out today

King Street Run by V.R. Ling is available from today as an eBook from all good retailers.

King Street Run by V.R. Ling; Cover by Alison Buck
Cover: Alison Buck

King Street Run is a satirical fantasy thriller set among the iconic buildings of contemporary Cambridge.

To Thomas, archaeology was time travel…
little did he know how literal that would turn out to be.

Thomas Wharton, an archaeology graduate, becomes drawn into the problems of a series of anachronistic characters who exist in the fractions of a second behind our own time. These characters turn out to be personifications of the Cambridge Colleges; they have the amalgamated foibles, history, and temperament of their Fellows and students and, together with Thomas, must enter into a race against time to prevent their world being destroyed by an unknown assailant.

Available from today as an eBook on the usual platforms; paperback edition available from May 20 2024.

As disasters and refugees once again hit the headlines, Ira Nayman’s satire on the inability of governments to handle a refugee crisis seems ever more prescient

In his Multiverse Refugees Trilogy, the imminent destruction of an inhabited universe leads to the need for the managed immigration of aliens – despite incompetent governments, greedy corporations and opposition from protest groups.

DARTFORD, KENT – 20 August 2021 – Elsewhen Press is a publishing house that is becoming known for high quality, entertaining yet insightful speculative fiction, addressing real-world issues through a fictional prism. Their latest title is Bad Actors by Ira Nayman. It is the second book in Ira’s Multiverse Refugees Trilogy (and hence subtitled Second Pi in the Face). Ira, a prize-winning satirist and past President of SFCanada, the organisation of science fiction and fantasy professionals in his native Canada, comes from a family in which previous generations had been refugees. He is well aware of the contribution that refugees make to a country that has become their adopted home, and is incensed by increasing xenophobia around the world. This has driven him to write this trilogy.

Ira says, “Anger is the satirist’s rocket fuel. I decided to write a story about refugees. Sure, it’s not an uncommon trope in speculative fiction, where aliens are sometimes metaphors for human beings, but I figured nobody had approached the subject quite like I would.

It is undoubtedly true that no-one else would write such a story quite like Ira. As Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press puts it, “Ira has a unique and highly distinctive way of telling a story: at times surreal, rarely predictable, always funny and often poignant.

In Ira’s story, the refugees are escaping an ill-fated universe that is in imminent danger of collapse. To live on Earth Prime they must undergo changes that irreversibly affect their physiology, and they are being helped to cope by non-governmental agencies and charities. Unlike those that we see in news bulletins, Ira’s refugees are short aliens, with blue skin, always wearing exquisite three-piece suits. Their beliefs revolve around humour and their only weapons, and defence, are jokes.

But Ira, as well as entertaining his readers, is keen to make a point and encourage people to think about the issues that he addresses. Peter Buck, again, “His skill as a satirist keeps you laughing all the way to the end, while gently directing your attention to the real-world issues that are at the heart of the story.

Can satire effect change? Ira certainly hopes so. Using aliens to encourage humanity in world leaders is his tactic.

Bad Actors: Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: Second Pi in the Face is now available in eBook format on most platforms and will be out in paperback in October. Good Intentions was the first book in the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy and Ira is already putting the finishing touches to the final book.

Notes for Editors

About Bad Actors

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer
Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

Two years after the discovery that Earth Prime 4-6-4-0-8-9 dash Omega is in imminent danger of collapse, the Transdimensional Authority has helped hundreds of millions…well, millions…okay, a lot of aliens immigrate to Earth Prime. How’s that working out?

Rodney              Pendleton, the first alien to make the move, is now a tech millionaire (hover technology is wildly popular – who knew?). Wainwright Walsh, lead singer for The Occidental Tourists (ask your parents… or, maybe your grandparents), puts together an all-star band to raise funds for a foundation to help the aliens adjust to their new home.

But all is not beat yas and scream on Earth Prime. An investigation into the first murder of an alien being leads to an anti-alien protest group, revealing a dark, speciesist strain of human emotion. And a different investigation into the disappearance of aliens in Latin America reveals a dark, greedy strain of human emotion.

It turns out, some problems cannot be solved by the swift, unexpected application of pie!

ISBN: 9781911409847 (paperback, 264pp) / 9781911409946 (eBook)

Visit bit.ly/BadActors-IraNayman

About Ira Nayman

Ira Nayman has been writing comedy for over 50 years. Bad Actors is the seventh novel set in the Transdimensional Authority/Multiverse series published by Elsewhen Press, the second in the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy. He has also self-published 12 books in the Alternate Reality News Service series, the latest of which is named Welcome to the Insurrection (We’re Not Sorry for the Inconvenience).

Ira will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of his web site, Les Pages aux Folles, in the first week of September, 2022. The birthplace of both the Alternate Reality News Service and the Transdimensional Authority, Les Pages aux Folles’ weekly updates of social and political satire will fill 38 books and will be comprised of somewhere between two and two and a half million words.

Ira was also the editor of Amazing Stories magazine for two and a half years, and is past President of SFCanada, the Canadian organization of science fiction and fantasy professionals.

About the cover

The artwork at the heart of the cover of Bad Actors was produced by Canadian artist Hugh Spencer, and provides a vision of the experience of travelling between alternate realities (according to Ira).

 

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.

Comic espionage thriller ‘The World is at War, again’ out today as eBook

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.

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

 

This isn’t God’s first attempt at creation. A new comic fantasy reveals all…

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

Cover artwork: Gordon Miller

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…

Visit bit.ly/FarFarBeyondBerlin

 

David Shannon and HOWUL coverage in Mail Online and Daily Telegraph

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

 

Realising a life’s journey – Interview with David Shannon in The European

In The European, an article about author David Shannon and his debut novel HOWUL predicts that he may be about to emerge as a major literary talent!

Cover design: Alison Buck

You can read the article and an interview with David on The European’s website here.

 

“little short of a masterpiece” – review of HOWUL and interview with David Shannon in Reader’s Digest

Cover design: Alison Buck

In the Reader’s Digest online Culture section, HOWUL by David Shannon is featured as the Must-read of the week.

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.

 

Author invents quirky future dialect of English for a literary tale of revenge

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.”

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

About HOWUL

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.

Visit bit.ly/HOWUL