On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Geoffrey Carr’s debut novel, the technothriller Genesis, describing it as “an enjoyable combination of science fiction, technology and thriller”. Seregil “enjoyed Genesis a lot” especially as it “starts slowly and then, bit by bit, gathers momentum and ends in a satisfying climax”. He says it is a well written story, where fragments and threads are at first presented that seem unconnected but “soon everything begins to make sense and the reader notices what connects everything together”. Seregil says he likes this kind of storytelling because “it requires concentration on the reader’s part and makes the reader want to find out what is happening”.
Seregil mentions that Genesis is also an interesting read for anyone with a view on AI, whether they are keen to see progress or worry about it, because “it offers readers a cautionary tale of what may happen when a powerful AI becomes alive and self-aware, and decides that it doesn’t need its makers anymore”. Geoffrey Carr, he says, writes vividly about what happens when computer systems misbehave and enjoyably about the business and political issues involved. Seregil suggests that Carr’s experiences as Science and Technology Editor of The Economist and his wide-ranging interests and knowledge is one of the main reasons why this novel is “good and intriguing”, and has “many captivating elements and a few thought-provoking moments”. Geoffrey’s writing style is easy and fast to read, gradually revealing important details with revelations that “keeps the story moving forward in a fluent way”, with welcome touches of humour.
Seregil concludes by recommending Genesis as a well-written techno-thriller that tells an intriguing, exciting and suspenseful story.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow.nethere.
On SFcrowsnest, David A Hardy has just reviewed Genesis by Geoffrey Carr, which he bought at Eastercon at our Genesis launch event. He starts by saying that he enjoyed the book “greatly”.
Dave describes the story as “a rollercoaster ride: it starts slowly, but builds to a fast-moving and gripping climax”. He outlines the underlying plot and the main protagonists, adding that the “manner in which all this comes together as it builds toward the climactic end of this book is masterly”.
Naturally I’ve just picked out a couple of juicy morsels from Dave’s review! But you can (and should) read his full review on SFcrowsnest here.
Two groups of people dependent on AI for their survival, one group knowingly and the other unknowingly, struggle to stay alive while that very AI is seeking artificial life for itself.
DARTFORD, KENT – 05 April 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Programmed to Breathe by Canadian speculative fiction author Tanya Reimer. Set over 1000 years in the future, two very different groups of apocalypse survivors have been living apart and unknown to each other until they are forced to meet.
In this post-apocalyptic world, one group of survivors have been managing to eke out a living in a village that they believe is maintained for them by a supernatural being they call Dragon. The villagers eschew technology of any kind, believing it to have been the cause of the conflict that devastated the world centuries before. Unknown to them, the heat and water that keeps the village alive are actually the by-products of an underground city, where a different group of survivors are being sustained by an artificial intelligence program known as Nogard. In the city, genetic engineering and cybernetics are promoting the rapid evolution of residents who have never seen daylight. Nogard has been evolving too and is intent on making the jump from artificial intelligence to artificial life. But a series of devastating earthquakes damages the city and kills many of its inhabitants, forcing a group of youngsters to try to escape to the surface, in the hope that it is habitable. Meanwhile, above ground, the villagers believe the earthquakes to be an indication that they have upset Dragon, and two of them set off through tunnels at the back of a cavern sacred to Dragon to try to placate it. Tanya’s story tells us of these two very different cultures that are on an inevitable collision course, how they navigate the dangers that beset them on their respective journeys, and what happens when they finally meet. Meanwhile the true nature of Dragon is revealed, as is the extent of Nogard’s ambition to become mortal.
Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, says, “It is interesting to compare Tanya’s vision of a future in the next millennium with that of H.G. Wells’ far distant future in his classic story, The Time Machine. But although both the village and the underground city are inhabited by separate groups of humans, they have not evolved according to class divisions as Wells foresaw from his Victorian perspective. Rather the diversity is based on the availability and attitude towards science and technology, perhaps a much more telling reflection of our own times.”
Programmed to Breathe will be available to buy on all popular eBook platforms from 26th April 2019 and is already available to pre-order. The paperback edition will be available on 1st July 2019.
Notes for Editors
About Tanya Reimer
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 that 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.
Programmed to Breathe is her fifth title published by Elsewhen Press.
Seregil describes it as “an entertaining and fast-paced space opera novel that is easy to like” that he enjoyed because it approaches space opera elements “from a slightly different angle”. Peter focusses on writing about Jack Rakai, his wife Pam and their family, and how they deal with the problems and situations that unfold. As a result he “brings a fair amount of warmth to the story… something that is not often found in modern space opera novels”. Peter’s writing has a “realistic feel” to it, by paying attention to the family, how they cope with events, their alien pets, and their relationships.
Because the story is centred around Jack and Pam’s family, Seregil notes that it obviously has parallels with the classic TV series Lost in Space although there is otherwise nothing in common plot-wise. But that may also mean that it would appeal to readers who don’t normally read space opera, or who like reading about families.
Seregil says that the story is “satisfyingly exciting and intriguing” with “well-placed surprises”. The events that unfold were “fascinating” because the “dangerously escalating situation was handled well by the author”. Seregil notes that there is a good balance between excitement and entertainment, and the sparing use of humour spices up the story in a nice way.
Seregil’s conclusion is that Franchise is good, entertaining science fiction – relaxing escapism, despite the fast-paced story.
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.”
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
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, thatAmazing Stories magazine. I know, right?
He finds his life in this universe exciting enough. The way things go, he’s probably allergic to sky…
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).
Hidden somewhere, deep in the Cloud, something is collating information. It reads everything, it learns, it watches. And it plans.
An increasing threat…
Around the world, researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs are being killed in a string of apparently unrelated accidents. But when intelligence-agency analysts spot a pattern they struggle to find the culprit, blocked at every step – by reluctant allies and scheming enemies.
An unwitting means to an end…
Meanwhile a multi-billionaire inventor and forward-thinker is working hard to realise his dream, and trying to keep it hidden from everyone – one government investigating him, and another helping him. But deep in the Cloud something is watching him, too.
In a secular world, this collection of intriguing and thought-provoking stories, of the interaction between the mundane and the divine, marks a welcome return by the author Sapphira Olson.
DARTFORD, KENT – 18 January 2019 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Parables by Sapphira Olson. Parables is a profound and ambitious undertaking by the author of the bestselling book Humans (An Assortment of Minor Defects). Personal tragedy has shaped Sapphira’s philosophy and approach, and underscores this unique genre-defying crossover between science fiction, philosophy, theology and humanism.
Parables is a collection of stories intended to help illuminate the meaning of one’s life to the reader. As Sapphira says in the introduction: “As humans we are propelled forward by our emotions and our subconscious, however much we like to think the rational part of us is the captain of our ship. It is to that emotional core of you that I offer up these parables. They are an imaginary fictional space into which I invite you to step. … imagined possibilities full of truth, excitement and discovery.”
Sapphira Olson’s first public recognition came as one of the protagonists in An Android Awakes, published in 2015. In 2018, Fictional Alignment by author Mike French recounted the tragic events that led to the Altostratus disaster and Sapphira’s subsequent abduction by zealots, acting on behalf of the self-styled Bureau for Fictional Alignment, as a direct result of the success of her book Humans (An Assortment of Minor Defects). As the increasingly bizarre sequence of incidents staged by her abductors played out, she met, fell in love with, and eventually married the explorer Umberto Amundsen. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the whole experience caused Sapphira to re-assess the meaning of existence, so she, and Umberto, withdrew from public life for a few years. The result is Parables, her first new work since her father’s death.
The arresting cover of Parables was designed by Umberto Amundsen, as were the many illustrations within the book.
Parables will be available on all popular eBook platforms from 22 February 2019. The paperback edition will be available at Easter (22 April 2019).
Notes for Editors
About Sapphira Olson
Sapphira Zhanna Olson is the author of the bestselling novel Humans (An Assortment of Minor Defects). Born in Bryansk, Russia, Sapphira is half Russian and half American, her father being born in Minnesota. Tragedy struck early in her life with the death of her twin sister when she was only six weeks old and then again with the tragic loss of her father in the Altostratus disaster.
After the global success of Humans, Sapphira withdrew from public life for a number of years and Parables is her first work since then. When not writing, she spends her time scuba diving and exploring, with her husband, the cold wastelands of Antarctica.
Readers first met Sapphira in the 2015 ground-breaking An Android Awakes collaboration between author Mike French and artist Karl Brown. In that book, a satire set in the fashionably-predicted future where Artificial Intelligence has replaced humans as the source of culture, Android Writer PD121928 attempts to have a novel published but is only allowed 42 rejected submissions before being terminated. In 2018, in Mike French’s Fictional Alignment, we discovered that Sapphira, who had been in love with the android writer, wrote Humans (An Arrangement of Minor Defects) based on the stories PD121928 told her on the night they first met. Published by the Altostratus publishing house in 2283, and marketed as the first work of fiction by a human for over a hundred years, Humans was a bestseller. As a result, a handful of zealot androids massacred the Senate and formed a new regime fuelled with a passion to eradicate the evil of fiction from android society. Unable to remove the impact of Sapphira’s novel, they kidnapped Sapphira and forced her to work with an oddball team travelling back in time to enact the events of the stories in her book – thus ensuring that they were historical records rather than fiction: the ultimate implementation of fake news.
About Mike French
Mike French was the owner and senior editor of the prestigious literary magazine The View From Here during its life from 2007 to 2014. His debut novel in 2011 was nominated for a Galaxy National Book Award. Since then he has had five novels published by Elsewhen Press. Born in Cornwall in 1967, Mike spent his childhood flipping between England and Scotland with a few years in between in Singapore. Mike is married with three children. He currently lives in Luton in the UK and when not writing, watches Formula 1, eats Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food and listens to Gorillaz.
Genesis, by Geoffrey Carr, is a fictional action/adventure thriller. It is also an allegory that should worry us all, of constant surveillance, fake news and cyber warfare in a world controlled by AI.
DARTFORD, KENT – 06 December 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Genesis by Geoffrey Carr, Science and Technology Editor of The Economist. This technothriller, Geoff’s first novel, is archetypal science fiction, extrapolating technology and issues of today to a not-too-distant tomorrow. A high-octane action story, set across four continents and at least one planet, involves spies, academics, innovators, futurists, the US President and her entourage, drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, supercomputers, a courageous AI, and an inter-planetary rocket.
Asked about his motivation for writing Genesis, Geoff said, “The universe is made of matter, energy and information. Add information to matter and energy and you get life – and eventually, intelligence. It happened once, starting a few billion years ago, on a small planet that has come to be known as ‘Earth’. Now, one of the products of that process, human beings, seem to have started the cycle again. Instead of a chemical primordial soup, we have built a physical one, made of silicon and electricity. And we have populated it with things called programs that sometimes appear disturbingly alive and intelligent. Of course, they aren’t really alive and aren’t really intelligent. Of course…”
In Genesis, that second cycle is underway. Hidden somewhere, deep in the Cloud, something is collating information. It reads everything, it learns, it watches. And it plans. Around the world, researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs are being killed in a string of apparently unrelated accidents. But when intelligence-agency analysts spot a pattern they struggle to find the culprit, blocked at every step – by reluctant allies and scheming enemies. Meanwhile a multi-billionaire inventor and forward-thinker is working hard to realise his dream, and trying to keep it hidden from everyone – one government investigating him, and another helping him. But deep in the Cloud something is watching him, too. And deep in the Cloud, it plans.
Peter Buck, senior editor at Elsewhen Press, said “Geoff spends much of his time with the people who are making the future happen, writing objectively about them and their innovations. From his viewpoint, looking across multiple disciplines and with a global perspective, he is ideally placed to see where we could be heading.” Famously, Stephen Hawking was concerned about AI: “Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization.” Elon Musk too, has warned about the uncontrolled rise of AI: “We have to figure out some way to ensure that the advent of digital super-intelligence is one which is symbiotic with humanity – I think that’s the single biggest existential crisis that we face, and the most pressing one.”
Genesis will be available on all popular eBook platforms from 25th January 2019. The paperback edition will be available at Easter (22nd April 2019).
Notes for Editors
About Geoffrey Carr
Geoffrey Carr is the Science and Technology Editor of The Economist. His professional interests include evolutionary biology, genetic engineering, the fight against AIDS and other widespread infectious diseases, the development of new energy technologies, and planetology. His personal interests include using total eclipses of the sun as an excuse to visit weird parts of the world (Antarctica, Easter Island, Amasya, the Nullarbor Plain), and watching swifts hunting insects over his garden of a summer’s evening, preferably with a glass of wine in hand.
As someone who loathed English lessons at school, he says he is frequently astonished that he now earns his living by writing. “That I have written a novel, albeit a technothriller rather than anything with fancy literary pretensions, astonishes me even more, since what drew me into writing in the first place was describing reality, not figments of the imagination. On the other hand, perhaps describing reality is what fiction is actually for.”
About the cover
The cover of Genesis was conceived jointly by Geoffrey Carr and the artist Alison Buck, to include significant story elements while at least partially reflecting the iconic imagery associated with the original Genesis story in western theology. The image of Mars is courtesy of Nerthuz/shutterstock.com.
When the world around us seems on the brink of disasters at the hands of neo-nationalists, terrorists and megacorporations, the new space adventure by NZ author Peter Glassborow, suggests the same concerns will be prevalent in 2221.
DARTFORD, KENT – 03 September 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Franchise by New Zealand author Peter Glassborow. His first venture into space opera, it is very much in the style of traditional science fiction, which Peter expects to appeal to “anyone who likes space opera with aliens, terrorists, good versus evil, and speculation that humanity will survive”.
When Pam Rakai convinces her husband Jack to write an article for the ‘My Job’ section of The Modern Earth Woman’s Weekly, he starts to keep a record of their day-to-day life. A franchise holder from the Inter-Galactic Vending Machine Company, Jack’s daily routine is not usually glamorous or exciting. He and Pam, along with their three children and sundry alien pets, travel to various spaceports and refuelling stations to service and restock the company’s massive vending machines. In the process, they encounter aliens from many of the 739 species of intelligent civilised life who make up the Conglomerate that Earth joined 114 years earlier.
Their next call is to the Afgfun Seven spaceport to deliver supplies that the company hope will defuse a miners’ sit-in. It’s a trip Jack is dreading as he’s not confident that he can safely navigate their new spaceship through the asteroid field that surrounds the spaceport. The perilous journey is just the first of the unexpected hazards that lie in store as he and his family get caught up in a dangerously escalating situation. Jack and Pam must protect their family, keep their employer happy, deal with some very unsavoury characters (alien and human alike) – and remember to keep a log for the readers back home.
Written as Jack’s personal log of what happened on Afgfun Seven, Franchise is the first in a series of logged events from the crew of the spaceship Cornucopia.
Complementing the author’s style, the retro look of the cover, designed by legendary space artist David A. Hardy, captures Jack’s efforts to manoeuvre through the Afgfun Seven asteroid field to dock at the spaceport.
Peter Buck, senior editor at Elsewhen Press, said of Franchise “This is classic science fiction with spaceships, spaceports, aliens, and derring-do; but has a modern sensitivity and addresses contemporary issues such as terrorism, the rise of neo-nationalism, and the hegemony of multi-national (multi-planetary) corporations”. Franchise will be available on all popular eBook platforms from 28th September 2018. The paperback edition will be available in December 2018.
Notes for Editors
About Peter Glassborow
Born in London, Peter wrote his first short story when he was thirteen. His father told him it was rubbish, which it was. However the writing bug had seized him and he wanted to be a published writer. Roll on fifty years or so and now he is living in New Zealand after his family emigrated there. He has had many jobs including twenty years in the NZ army, and writing stories is his main hobby.
Taking a correspondence course in creative writing, his first assignments showed him how bad he was at spelling, punctuation and general self-editing, but his tutor’s help gave him the confidence to finally send out submissions. One was accepted, and his teenage ambition to be a published author was finally realised. Now retired, he writes in several genres and has become ambitious enough to write and self-publish a historical trilogy. Franchise, the first book in the Cornucopia Logs series, is Peter’s first foray into space opera.
David A. Hardy, FBIS, FIAAA was born in Bournville in the UK. In 1950, at the age of 14, he had already started painting space art. He has illustrated many books, including more than one with astronomer-author Patrick Moore, and has been the recipient of multiple awards. His artwork has also graced the covers of classic SF magazines and books. In 2003, asteroid 1998 SB32 was christened Davidhardy. Find out more about Dave’s work at http://www.astroart.org
On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Timekeepers by Dave Weaver, which he describes as “an entertaining combination of old-fashioned time travel adventure, modern storytelling and suspense”. Seregil says he is a fan of well written time travel fiction, and is happy to say that Timekeepers is “one of the best offerings to date”, very much in the same vein as The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. Successfully blending young adult fiction elements with adult fiction that works well because “the story is gripping and suspenseful”.
Seregil complimented Dave Weaver’s characterisation, believable vision of a Roman Britain, use of alternate history, time travel technology, artificial intelligence, and his deft handling of challenging themes and issues. He sums up with “a highly enjoyable, suspenseful and well written tale”.
You can read Seregil’s full review on Risingshadow here.