The Known World needs a fix or things could get very ugly

“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?

Cover design: S & A Buck

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.

Visit bit.ly/TheMagicFix

 

When there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who are the police gonna call? The Office of the Witchfinder General.

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.

Cover design: Alison Buck

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.

Visit bit.ly/TheEyeCollectors

 

“simply brilliant in its inventiveness and originality” – review of Good Intentions on Risingshadow

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

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.

 

Prize-winning Canadian satirist tackles the subject of alien refugees in his own inimitable style

Ira Nayman’s latest humorous science fiction novel sees a small blue alien resettled in a sleepy town, with local and transdimensional consequences.

DARTFORD, KENT – 22 March 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Good Intentions by prize-winning Canadian satirist and speculative fiction author Ira Nayman. The sixth book in his Transdimensional Authority series, Good Intentions also begins the Multiverse Refugees Trilogy as the First Pie in the Face (you’ll understand if you read on).

Ira says “I decided I wanted 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. I also came by the story honestly: my father came to Canada as a war orphan from Europe in the late 1940s, while my mother’s family fled persecution in Russia a generation earlier. I know what refugees contribute to the country, and have been incensed by the increasing xenophobia in both my country and the world at large. Anger is the satirist’s rocket fuel.

Cover artwork by Hugh Spencer

At the end of the second novel in the series, the chief scientist of the Transdimensional Authority set up an alarm to warn him if a universe is succumbing to the universe-killing machine that was at the heart of that story. One of Ira’s original inspirations for Good Intentions was: how would the Transdimensional Authority respond if that alarm went off?

The refugees from the ill-fated universe are short aliens with blue skin. The first one we meet, Rodney, wearing an impeccable suit, always carries a briefcase with him, out of which he seems able to pull any inanimate object that he needs. This includes pies, Rodney’s preferred means of introduction (now you might understand the subtitle of the book).

Peter Buck, Director of Word Wrangling at Elsewhen Press says “Ira has a unique and highly distinctive way of telling a story: at times surreal, rarely predictable, always funny and often poignant. Like the consummate satirist that he is, Ira entertains you with an unputdownable story that makes you laugh out loud and by the end you realise he has also made some extremely important points for you to think about. Perhaps the world’s so-called ‘leaders’ should be made to read Ira’s stories and then maybe they might start to exhibit a little more humanity. Or would that be too much to expect?

Good Intentions (The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: First Pie in the Face) will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 1st April 2019 (yes, April 1st!) and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 3rd June 2019.

Notes for Editors

About Ira Nayman

Ira Nayman

In another life, Ira Nayman was a skydiving WWI hero, a yak herder in the treacherous Rocky Valleys and the lead guitarist for the band The Strange Feebles. Since that other life happened in another universe, it may not be as impressive to you as it sounds.

In this universe, Ira is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of his decision to devote his life to writing comedy, in all of its forms and in a variety of media. His Web site of political and social satire, Les Pages aux Folles, has now been updated weekly for over fifteen years. The ninth book in the Alternate Reality News Service series, E Deplorables Unum, was self-published in January, 2019; two more books in the series will be published before the end of the year. Good Intentions is his sixth Multiverse novel published by Elsewhen Press.

Ira is also surprised to find himself the editor of Amazing Stories magazine. Yes, that Amazing Stories magazine. I know, right?

He finds his life in this universe exciting enough. The way things go, he’s probably allergic to sky…

Visit bit.ly/GoodIntentions-IraNayman

About the book

Title: Good Intentions

Subtitle: The Multiverse Refugees Trilogy: First Pie in the Face

Series: Transdimensional Authority, 6

Fiction / Science Fiction / Humorous; Fiction / Science Fiction / Adventure; Humor / Topic / Politics

Print edition:

ISBN 978-1-911409-44-1, 336pp, Demy; RRP £9.99 / €11.99 / US$17.99 / CA$23.99 (3 Jun 2019)

Electronic edition:

ISBN 978-1-911409-54-0, EPUB / Kindle; RRP £2.99 / €3.49 / US$3.99 / CA$4.99 (1 Apr 2019)

About the cover

The artwork at the heart of the cover of Good Intentions was produced by Canadian artist Hugh Spencer, and presents a pretty accurate vision of the experience of travelling between alternate realities (says Ira).

 

“impossible to become bored” – review of Fictional Alignment on Comic Book News UK

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On his Comic Book News UK website, Benjamin Williams has reviewed Mike French’s latest novel Fictional Alignment. Fictional Alignment is a sequel to An Android Awakes, which Benjamin previously reviewed (“something that is to be admired”).

He starts by saying that it is tough to explain the plot of Fictional Alignment, not because the plot itself is tough but because there’s “just so much happening”. However he goes on to give a reasonable outline of the plot, followed by “Sounds completely mad, right? That’s because it is. It’s also incredibly hilarious.”.

Benjamin likes the fact that there is so much going on that it’s “impossible to become bored”. He likes the various science fiction references that are included, not gratuitously but “that fit the story”. For him the best character was Heisenberg (one of the androids), who “is awful and seemingly uncaring throughout most of the book”, but is “quite funny” and usually delivers the best lines; as a result, he adds, much of the chaos in the book is because of Heisenberg. As the story is playing with time travel and androids trying to be human in the past, using future technology that isn’t always fully explained (because it’s funnier that way), Benjamin says it can leave you scratching your head a little, but that’s “all part of the madness that you just need to embrace when reading it”.

Although it has a different premise and feeling from An Android Awakes, Benjamin says Fictional Alignment is a “worthy sequel” but “it does leave a question over where French can take the story from here”.

You can read Benjamin’s full review on Comic Book News UK here.

 

Fictional Alignment is An Android Awakes dialled up to eleven – Shelf Abuse review

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On his blog Shelf Abuse, Carl Doherty has just reviewed Fictional Alignment, which he introduces as Mike French’s “sequel to the brilliantly bonkers An Android Awakes”. Describing the book as “grand and eclectic” he adds that “it’s never boring or short on style or ambition”. He says he absolutely loved Fictional Alignment, perhaps even more than An Android Awakes (which he reviewed in 2015 as “I bloody loved it”), adding that it’s “quite unlike anything I’ve ever read. Mike French is a distinct voice in a genre that too often not only settles for the derivative but is expected to do so by its readers.” Mike’s writing, Carl says, “has more in common with British comics than prose”, it is “punky and anarchic” and “closer in tone to the cheeky satire of classic 2000AD than anything else I can think of”.

Carl concludes by saying that Mike’s “idiosyncratic irreverence and boundless creativity make Fictional Alignment a demanding but unforgettable read”. You can read the whole of Carl’s review on Shelf Abuse here.

 

“consistently imaginative and always entertaining” – review of Fictional Alignment in Alternative Magazine Online

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On Alternative Magazine Online, Marty Mulrooney has reviewed Mike French’s surreal novel Fictional Alignment, the sequel to An Android Awakes. Marty starts by recommending reading An Android Awakes first, because both books complement each other in “exciting and often unexpected ways”. He goes on to warn readers of Fictional Aligment to prepare “to be shocked, baffled and amazed, in no particular order and sometimes all at once”.

Mike French, says Marty, writes “like a man possessed, transitioning from science fiction to romance one minute and from horror to comedy the next, with a multitude of other genres crammed in-between” with prose that is often “surprisingly elegant”. Describing Fictional Alignment as a book that celebrates the power of the written word, Marty concludes his review by saying that “there was nothing quite like An Android Awakes when it was first published in 2015 and there’s nothing quite like Fictional Alignment now in 2018”. Fictional Alignment is, he says, “just as well written and engaging as An Android Awakes” and he highly recommends it.

Read Marty’s full review on AMO here.

 

“mind-bending” and “emotionally expressive” – Win Wiacek review of Fictional Alignment

Cover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig Nash

On his website Now Read This!, comics writer (and past chairman of the Comics Creators Guild) Win Wiacek has reviewed Fictional Alignment by Mike French, the sequel to An Android Awakes. You may remember that Win was very complimentary about An Android Awakes (a “captivating and fascinating tome”), and he is no less enthused about Fictional Alignment. He describes the new book as a “mind-bending Scientific Romance” which offers a “challenging odyssey through the theocracy of thought and depicts a trenchant guerrilla war between What Is, What Might and What Should be…”. He suggests it will appeal to devotees of Michael Moorcock, Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch among others. High praise! Thanks Win.

You can read Win’s review on Now Read This! here.

 

Oddball, enjoyable and original – an interview with Mike French at the Alternative Magazine Online

Mike FrenchCover Art: Tony Allcock; Logo Design: Craig NashMike French was recently interviewed for the Alternative Magazine Online by Marty Mulrooney. Although it was predominantly to talk about Mike’s new book, Fictional Alignment the sequel to An Android Awakes, they covered a few other topics too (like house extensions, birthdays, and Blade Runner 2049). All in all an entertaining and informative interview, with a sneaky teaser at the end.

Oh, and “Oddball, enjoyable and original” was Marty’s description of Fictional Alignment not Mike. But there again…

Read the interview at the Alternative Magazine Online website here.

 

“excellent, fresh and wonderfully satirical science fiction” – review on Risinghadow of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There

Cover artwork: Hannah B. Farrell ARNS Cover on wall by permission of Travis MilesSeregil of Rhiminee recently reviewed Ira Nayman’s latest Multiverse novel The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There, the fifth book in the Multiverse (aka Transdimensional Authority) series. Seregil starts by writing “Ah, Ira Nayman has done it again!” and goes on to say that although this is the fifth book in the series “it is still as amusing, fresh and highly entertaining as the previous novels (to be totally honest, in certain ways this novel is even better than its predecessors).” Later Seregil writes that he finds Ira’s ability to parody popular culture absolutely brilliant and he was “once again amazed at his shameless way of writing genuinely funny and thought-provoking satire about TV series etc. Just like the previous novels, this novel has quite an amazing amount of references to popular culture, which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed reading it.” As he adds, “Virtually nobody and nothing is safe from his quirky humour and that’s an extremely good thing.” Seregil concludes his review with a plea to Ira: “More, please!”.

Read the whole of Seregil’s review on Risingshadow.net here.