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.
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.
The Den of Geek website is featuring Elsewhen Press and some of our authors in an article about The trailblazing female authors of science fiction. The article not only looks at some of the great names from the past but at what is happening today. As Alison says “Stereotype-busting is one of science fiction’s great contributions to culture and society”.
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.
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.