Lisa writes that Ira’s novel “blends the elements of a police procedural with madcap humor and imaginative characters and locales” and the reader is “treated to humor that leaves no stone unturned” where “everything and everyone is fair game for Nayman’s wit” including employing “absurdity to good effect” and “a knack for giving old expressions a new twist”.
The book is liberally sprinkled with references to popular culture and Lisa specifically picks out the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Star Trek, Mel Blanc, Jack Ryan and Canadian icons such as Margaret Atwood, Celine Dion and Tim Hortons. Aliens are also fair game for Ira’s fun, ranging from sparkling word play to slapstick humour. While some of the humour is purely for entertainment, some is intended to “pack a satirical bite based on Nayman’s observation of human nature” and “politics” as well as “observations about relationships, workplace dynamics, and our interface with technology that hit close to home”.
Lisa found the book to be “an enjoyable read, although I found myself reading carefully rather than quickly so as not to miss any of the sometimes-subtle humor”. It was, Lisa says, “entertaining, and the variety of types of humor and original turns of phrase kept things fresh”, there are “strong female as well as male characters, inventive and creative scene-setting, and some dead-on satire”.
Thanks for the review Lisa, we’re very happy that you enjoyed Ira’s book.
On her blog Axes’n’Yarn, Pen Tynan has just written a very thoughtful (and thought-provoking) article, which is partially a review of SmartYellow™ by JA Christy but also a commentary on the current welfare state in the UK. SmartYellow™ is set in contemporary Britain, although when we read it we hope that it is an alternative reality and not ours!
I am not going to try to précis Pen’s article, nor do I want to attempt to reduce it to merely a review of SmartYellow™ as it is so much more. I will say that Pen finished reading SmartYellow™ a month ago and says it is still haunting her. The description of life in a council estate, Pen says, is meticulous and painfully familiar. The science alluded to, that enables the inhabitants to be monitored and ultimately controlled, probably does not exist (says Pen) but that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine those who have control using more mundane methods for achieving the same goals.
Pen concludes by saying that the “real thing that left me shaken and melancholy from reading SmartYellow was a real, deep and darkly certain feeling not that this could happen, but that it already is happening.” She says that she desperately wants to recommend this book to people but with the warning that it might affect the reader (or as she puts it “it might leave you feeling like shit”). I’m going to interpret that as a positive recommendation!
You should read, and think about Pen’s article (click here to read it), whether or not you have read or might read SmartYellow™. Of course we hope you will read the book too.
Ricky describes Ira’s series as “a collection of humorous examinations of the social interactions between a wide range of colorful characters who travel between alternate realities”, which is a pretty succinct outline. He says that this latest addition to the series is “compelling” because the events that are being investigated involve people having their consciousness exchanged with somebody else in a different reality. He finds the idea of a multiverse fascinating enough, he says, but add “Nayman’s penchant for literary wit to the mix” provides the reader with a “non-stop whimsical adventure that is both thought provoking and difficult to put down”.
Ricky draws the inevitable comparisons with Douglas Adams. Both Nayman and Admas, he says, “employ the same dry humor and ability to make the most irrational situation seem, well, commonplace”. His analysis of both is itself thoughtful and insightful and he concludes that “Adams’ work seemed limited to cultural and social issues dropped in a fantastic setting, but Nayman takes these concerns in a different direction by drawing on the fandom of science fiction and relying on the strength of his target audience’s knowledge of the genre to understand the humor”.
This is an interesting and well constructed review, not just of this book but of Ira’s approach to humour and storytelling. He concludes by saying that this book is “a fun read and a fine introduction to author Ira Nayman if you’re not already familiar.” He says he will now be adding the earlier books in the series to his “must read” list.
You can (and should) read Ricky’s full review on the Amazing Stories website here.
On RisingShadow, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Don’t Look Back by John Gribbin. He starts by saying that he considers it to be “one of the best sci-fi short story collections of the year” adding that he found John’s way of “combining science and fiction highly effective”. He goes on to say that because John is a science writer and an astrophysicist he has “invaluable insight into the source material and he’s capable of writing stories that intellectually stimulate readers. This truly makes a difference, because his stories have … an element of credibility that can’t be found in many other stories.”
Seregil then lists the stories (and two essays) in this collection, with a brief outline of the essence of the story followed by his own comments on each one – comments that frequently include “excellent”, “intriguing”, “fascinating” and “wonderful”. I will just single out one, Something to Beef About, which Seregil says “perfectly demonstrates how good a storyteller the author is”. He says that what is best about these stories is that they use “science and scientific facts as a basis” but don’t “forget the value of imagination, storytelling and surprises”. Seregil also liked John’s “effortless way of adding humour, sharpness and … subtle wittiness”.
Although this is a retrospective and definitive collection of John’s short stories originally published over many years, Seregil observes that “they have stood the test of time well, because they contain themes and issues that are still relevant”. He compares John’s writing style to Arthur C. Clarke and Isaac Asimov, and says that “his prose is simultaneously intellectual, imaginative and unornamented”, adding that this is good because “this kind of ‘hardcore’ science fiction doesn’t need florid literary expressions and complex prose to be intriguing”.
Seregil suggests that these stories would appeal not only to science fiction fans who “know a thing or two about science” but also to those who are “not familiar with sci-fi stories, because its contents will appeal to the intelligence of many readers”. He also hopes it may entice readers to seek more knowledge about science, physics and the universe. In conclusion Seregil gave Don’t Look Back five stars because “it contains stories that appealed to my intelligence. It felt satisfying to read these stories, because the author had interesting ideas and views about life, technology and universe.” He finishes by suggesting that readers will “find this collection fascinating”.
Seregil also commented that the “cover art by David A. Hardy looks atmospheric and evokes a sense of awe and wonder”.
You can read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadowhere.
The fifth book in Ira Nayman’s Multiverse series investigates anomalies within the reporting of news events, but becomes the subject of a news story itself as theories abound to account for a missing chapter.
DARTFORD, KENT – 16 June 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There by Ira Nayman. In this, the fifth novel in Ira’s Transdimensional Authority series, (now more accurately called the Multiverse series as the fourth book in the series was mostly about the Time Agency – honestly, if you blinked, you would have missed the appearance of the Transdimensional Authority, and if you didn’t blink, well, Elsewhen Press accepts no responsibility for the cost of the surgery to rehydrate your eyes), we once again follow the intricate web of events that unfold in a Transdimensional Authority investigation (oh! – so we could have stayed with the other series name after all – it’s not easy keeping track when these sentences can be the size of a Sherman tank!).
However, conspiracy theorists have been conjecturing why there is apparently no chapter 17 in the book. We categorically deny that it was removed under instructions from an inter-governmental agency. Sources say: “It never existed. Suggesting it was removed under pressure from officials is fake news. Sad. Even without chapter 17 this is a great book, the greatest book ever published. It has no need for a chapter 17. Chapter 17s are overrated – covfefe is much better.”
So, let’s get back to the book. Why would someone, apparently chosen at random, have their consciousness swapped with someone else in another reality? How would someone, apparently chosen at random, have their consciousness swapped with someone else in another reality? Why would another three persons, apparently chosen at random, have their consciousness swapped with three other someone elses in another reality? Why would the entire bridge crew of a starship, apparently…well, you get the picture. What will happen to all these very confused people? How does the Alternate Reality News Service get scoops on these events so quickly? Why are their reporters acting so dodgy – do they have something to hide, or just issues? Who are the Pops, and can they help? Does the editrix-in-chief know what’s going on, and if she does would she even tell Noomi (our favourite TA investigator)? What was that noise from her office when Noomi was ‘interviewing’ her? Why am I asking you these questions when you haven’t even read the story yet? Or have you? Why are you reading this blurb if you’ve already read the story? Are you looking for an alternate reality, or just alternative facts? This is fiction you know, we tell it like it is. If you want alternative facts you better try a news service…or a politician. Oh, and if you’re looking for a news service, you could always consider the Alternate Reality News Service.
The Multiverse is a Nice Place to Visit, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There is available on all popular eBook platforms from today. It will be available in paperback in August.
Notes for Editors
About Ira Nayman
In his past lives, Ira Nayman was, among other things: a cave painter whose art was not appreciated in his lifetime; several nameless peasants who died before their 20th birthday during the Dark Ages; a toenail fungus specialist in the court of Louis XIV; and Alan Turing’s scullery maid. In his current incarnation, Ira is the creator of Les Pages aux Folles, a Web site of political and social satire that is almost 15 years old (that’s positively Paleolithic in Internet years!). Five collections of Alternate Reality News Service (ARNS) stories which originally appeared on the Web site have been self-published in print. Ira has produced the pilot for a radio series based on stories from the first two ARNS books; “The Weight of Information, Episode One” can be heard on YouTube. Ira has also written a series of stories that take place in a universe where matter at all levels of organization has become conscious. They feature Antonio Van der Whall, object psychologist. Ira’s Web Goddess tells him he should make more of the fact that he won the 2010 Jonathan Swift Satire Writing Contest. So, Ira won the 2010 Jonathan Swift Satire Writing Contest. He is currently President of SFCanada, and Managing Editor for the Amazing Stories Web site. In another life (but still within this incarnation) Ira has a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School for Social Research which was conducted entirely online. He also has a PhD in Communications from McGill University. Ira taught New Media part-time at Ryerson University for five years. Whoever created the Karmic wheel has a lot to answer for…
Futures, the UK’s first science fiction colouring book for adults, caught the eye of Danish publisher Lars Stender who snapped up the Danish rights in a bid to launch de-stressing for Danish scifi fans.
DARTFORD, KENT – 12 June 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the sale of the Danish rights of Futures by Alison Buck. Originally published in early 2016, Futures was the UK’s first colouring book specifically for adult fans of science fiction. The rights have been bought by L. Stender e-books (LSe), a Danish publisher specialising in science fiction and fantasy. LSe and Elsewhen Press have been maintaining contact since meeting at the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in London.
Alison is delighted that her book is being made available in a Danish edition. “A colouring book for adults is not really limited by language or national borders. Especially in science fiction where we’re not even restricted to one planet!”
Futures was conceived when there had been a surge of interest in adult colouring books, accompanied by a range of claims about how they can de-stress one’s life, help one unwind, relax, self- express, achieve mindfulness, banish anxiety or even deal with a traumatic experience. But many of the colouring books that were available had been filled with abstract images such as mandalas, or natural objects such as flowers and butterflies, leaving fans of science fiction with no way to participate while remaining immersed in their chosen genre.
Futures contains science fiction artwork for the reader to colour. The images range from the retro feel of 50s pulp paperback covers, to simplified but accurately rendered views of the heavenly bodies of our solar system as a space probe passes through on a fly-by; from androids that look human, to humans that look alien; aliens that look alien; aliens that are trying to blend in; and both sides in a space war. All 31 of them are original artwork by the artist Alison Buck, creator of many science fiction and fantasy book covers.
Therapy? Fun? Escapism? That depends on the reader’s imagination. Pages can be coloured in the book, or cut out to colour in and frame. Each image is on a separate page with nothing on the back apart from the image title and some space for the colourist to sign it. Once coloured they can even be given as a gift to that special someone (man, woman, child, cyborg). The colourist can use the appropriate colours (we all know aliens are green, right?) or they can let their imagination and creativity guide them to colour them in any way they like. There is plenty of room for them to add their own creative elements – a bird in the sky flying over an alien landscape, a logo on a military uniform or spaceship…
The Danish edition of Futures will be available later this year from L. Stender e-books.
Notes for Editors
About Alison Buck
Alison is a figurative and landscape artist and has exhibited and sold paintings of various styles throughout her career. Latterly she has increasingly been working on larger canvases, focusing on the natural world, trying to capture the transient and transforming effects of light and movement within landscapes. For almost twenty years she has also been working as a commercial graphic designer, running a design studio and producing graphics and artwork for corporate clients, book covers and illustrations. Alison is also an accomplished author.
Elsewhen Press is an independent publisher of Speculative Fiction. Based in the UK, in the South East of England, Elsewhen Press publishes titles in English in digital and print editions, adopting a digital-first policy for most titles. Elsewhen Press is an imprint of Alnpete Limited.
Founded in Denmark in 2013, by Lars Stender, LSe (L. Stender e-books) publishing company specialises in science fiction and fantasy ebooks with stories that endeavour to redefine and revive both genres by widening the scope of stories and by targeting a wider audience. The human imagination is boundless, and L. Stender e-books intends to provide readers with a universe that reflects just that.
Following on from the success of her debut novel, this latest instalment introduces an interplanetary murder mystery into the ‘space opera meets gangland thriller’ series
DARTFORD, KENT – 09 June 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of The Wages of Sin by exciting young science fiction author Zoë Sumra. Her impressive debut Sailor to a Siren was the first in the Underside series, which introduced science fiction fans to a credible universe of incredible depth and detail. Bringing an element of gangland thriller to the space opera genre was an inspired innovation, delivering some amazing characters as well as an exciting adventure. With The Wages of Sin, Zoë has brilliantly brought another thread into the mix with a murder mystery that starts off apparently very parochial but soon encompasses some of the most significant players in the galaxy.
The stunning cover was designed by artist Alex Storer.
In The Wages of Sin, one young woman dies and another vanishes on the same chilly spring night. Connor Cardwain sees no reason to link his cleaner Merissa’s murder to a mystery anchored within a high- end warship sales team, but reconsiders his position when he realises both women were connected to a foreign runaway.
Armed with an enterprising widow, an imperial spy and his own wits, Connor sets out to find the missing woman, in a city streaked with vice and a planet upturned by other ganglanders’ ambition. If he fails to beat arms dealers, aristocrats, pirates and human traffickers at their own game, he and all his team will pay the price – and the wages of sin are death.
We were introduced to Zoë’s universe, not to mention Connor Cardwain et al, in her acclaimed debut novel Sailor to a Siren, the first book in the Underside series:
“If you like your space opera fast and violent, [Sailor to a Siren] is for you” – Jaine Fenn
“[Sailor to a Siren is] a perfect example of how to write entertaining and fast-paced space opera for adults with compelling characters and gritty scenes … she is a talented author who has managed to pack a lot of story into a single novel and she has done it well. (More, please!)” – RisingShadow
“Zoë Sumra’s world-building is the best I have seen in a very very long time … an outstanding debut novel” – Marion L. Thorpe
The Wages of Sin is available from today on popular eBook platforms. It will be available in paperback from July 31st.
Notes for Editors
About Zoë Sumra
Zoë Sumra was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband, their daughter and a collection of swords. Zoë writes when she’s not fencing, looking after her daughter, or working as a print controller for an advertising company. Sailor to a Siren, her first novel, was published by Elsewhen Press in July 2015.
About Alex Storer
Alex Storer is a graphic designer, artist/illustrator and musician from Sheffield, UK. The advent of pixel art and the vibrant graphics of the Commodore Amiga in the early 1990s was a turning point for Alex, giving him his first taste of digital artwork, leading to a career in graphic design. However, a lifelong interest in science fiction came full circle in 2010 when Alex began producing his own brand of science fiction artwork. Taking influence from classic science fiction and the space art greats of the 1970s and 80s, his work pays homage to yesterday’s visions of tomorrow yet remains contemporary and distinctive in style. In 2012, Alex was invited to join the Initiative for Interstellar Studies as an honorary musician and artist. Alex first produced cover art for Elsewhen Press in 2015.
Don’t Look Back, the definitive retrospective collection of short stories by John Gribbin is now available to pre-order from major eBook retailers. Many of the stories in this collection were originally published in Analog and other magazines. Some were precursors to John’s classic novels Innervisions, Double Planet, The Alice Encounter and Father to the Man. As well as 23 Science Fiction short stories, three of which John wrote with his son Ben Gribbin, this collection includes two Science Fact essays on subjects beloved of science fiction authors and readers. In one essay, John provides scientifically accurate DIY instructions for creating a time machine; and in the other, he argues that the Moon is, in fact, a Babel Fish!
A real scientist writing science-fiction with real science ￼￼￼￼￼￼– what more could one ask? John Gribbin is a visionary, ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼and one heck of a good storyteller. – Robert J. Sawyer Hugo Award-winning author of QUANTUM NIGHT
Complementing John’s stories is the fantastic cover designed by legendary space artist David A. Hardy.
Don’t Look Back will be published in eBook formats on the 5th May and in paperback on the 7th August.
On her blog Words & Birds, Marian L Thorpe (writer, birder, reviewer, artist) has just posted a review of Sailor to a Siren by Zoë Sumra.
Marian starts by describing Sailor to a Siren as “classic science fiction, belonging to the genre that gave us Dune and The Sardonyx Net”, then compliments Zoë by saying her “world-building is the best I have seen in a very very long time” while the characters are “fully-realized people”. She goes on to describe the complexity of the universe that the characters inhabit, yet the ease and subtlety with which Zoë conveys it. Punctuated, she says, “with descriptions of stunning precision and beauty”.
She adds “This is one of the rare books where I have no ‘niggle’ to report” and concludes by awarding 5 stars “five stars plus, if I could” for an “outstanding debut novel”. Thanks Marian.
You should read Marian’s full review on her blog here.
Science Fact joins Science Fiction in Don’t Look Back, the definitive collection from pre-eminent writer and broadcaster, John Gribbin
DARTFORD, KENT – 10 March 2017 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of Don’t Look Back, the definitive collection of science fiction short stories by science writer and broadcaster, John Gribbin.
John Gribbin, widely regarded as one of the best science writers of the 20th century, has also, unsurprisingly, been writing science fiction for many years. While his novels are well-known, his short stories are perhaps less so. He has also written under pseudonyms. Here, for the first time, is the definitive collection of John’s short stories. Many were originally published in Analog and other magazines. Some were the seeds of subsequent novels. As well as 23 Science Fiction short stories, three of which John wrote with his son Ben, this collection includes two Science Fact essays on subjects beloved of science fiction authors and readers. In one essay, John provides scientifically accurate DIY instructions for creating a time machine; and in the other, he argues that the Moon is, in fact, a Babel Fish!
The stories, many written at a time when issues such as climate change were taken less seriously, now seem very relevant again in an age of dubious politicians. What underpins all of them, of course, is a grounding in solid science. But they are also laced with a dry and subtle wit, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who has ever met John at a science fiction convention or elsewhere. He is, however, not averse to a good pun, as evidenced by a song he co-wrote for the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: The Holey Cheeses of Nazareth.
Peter Buck, editorial director of Elsewhen Press said “we were honoured when John approached us with the idea of putting together a collection of his short stories. For anyone familiar with John’s scientific writing, they will be a fascinating insight into his interests, while existing fans of his novels will find superb stories here, including some which ultimately led to his best known novels. Anyone unfamiliar with John’s writing is in for a real treat. Despite the exhortation of this collection’s title, this IS a perfect opportunity to look back at John’s short stories. If you’ve never read any of his fiction before, now you have the chance to acquaint yourself with a body of work that, while being very much of its time, is certainly not in any way out of date.”
Elsewhen Press are also very proud that legendary space artist David A. Hardy agreed to produce the cover art for the book, much to John’s delight.
Don’t Look Back will be published in digital formats in May 2017 and in paperback in August 2017.
Notes for Editors
About John Gribbin
John Gribbin was born in 1946 in Maidstone, Kent. He studied physics at the University of Sussex and went on to complete an MSc in astronomy at the same University before moving to the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, to work for his PhD.
After working for the journal Nature and New Scientist, and three years with the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University, he has concentrated chiefly on writing books. These include In Search of Schrödinger’s Cat, In Search of the Big Bang, and In Search of the Multiverse.
He has also written and presented several series of critically acclaimed radio programmes on scientific topics for the BBC (including QUANTUM, for Radio Four), and has acted as consultant on several TV documentaries, as well as contributing to TV programmes for the Open University and the Discovery channel.
But he really wanted to be a successful science fiction writer, and has achieved that with books such as Timeswitch and The Alice Encounter, and stories in publications such as Interzone and Analog. But as John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi so nearly said “Sf is all very well, John, but it won’t pay the rent”. Another thing that doesn’t pay the rent is his songwriting, mostly for various spinoffs of the Bonzo Dog Band.
John is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, as well as being a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical and Royal Meteorological Societies.
About David A. Hardy
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