In the latest issue (#90) of Aurealis magazine, Robbie Colburn has written a review of Existence is Elsewhen. Although Aurealis is primarily a magazine about Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy they recognise the global nature of SF; and, of course, the line-up of authors in Existence is Elsewhen is itself distinctly global. Sydney-based author Steve Harrison’s satirical Earthsale was one of the stories that Robbie liked, but he also singled out Tej Turner’sThe Last Days, Stefan Jackson’sLuceria and Dave Weaver’sThe Copy. He complimented the diversity of the stories included in what he described as a “generous bumper collection of speculative writing”.
You should read all of Robbie’s review in issue #90 of Aurealis – and while you’re at it read the rest of the magazine too which also includes original short stories. You can get Aurealis here.
Tommy James has just written a review of Existence is Elsewhen for Starburst Magazine. Describing it as a “sharp collection” of short stories, Tommy writes that Existence is Elsewhen presents an “eclectic range of ideas” producing an end result that is “extremely well written” and “rich with a wide variety of material”. That variety is shown in the choice of tones of the stories with some “genuinely amusing pieces which nicely punctuate the darker stories”, while singling out Douglas Thompson’s Bird Brains as a “provocative tale whose ideas will manifest themselves long after you’ve finished reading”.
Tommy concludes that Existence is Elsewhen is a “smartly presented collection” that anyone who enjoys short fiction “would be well advised to familiarise themselves with”, awarding it 8 out of 10 stars.
You can read Tommy’s full review on the Starburst Magazine website here.
On Risingshadow.netSeregil of Rhiminee has just reviewed Existence is Elsewhen. He starts by saying that as an anthology it “wonderfully showcases” what Elsewhen Press has to offer and is “something special and mesmerising”. He especially liked the fact that there was a wide variety of stories “that highlight the imagination and writing skills of various authors” ranging from “entertaining stories to thought-provoking stories” with a diversity from “colonising new planets to reverse evolution”. He adds that it is “an interesting anthology to those who want to read something out of the ordinary and want to be thrilled by stories that push and stretch the limits of normality and strangeness in various ways”.
He then gives a brief overview of each story, with his comments on each (all good, I’m pleased to say), followed by a slightly more detailed review of some of the stories that particularly interested him. I won’t try to summarise his detailed review in any more detail, except to say that he concludes by describing it as “a perfect anthology for readers who want to experience something different. Some of the sights and wonders explored in these stories are seldom found in modern speculative fiction, and thus make for an intriguing reading experience”. You really should read his full review here.
Twenty stories from twenty great writers, also including Rhys Hughes, Christopher Nuttall and Douglas Thompson
DARTFORD, KENT – 18 March 2016 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication today of Existence is Elsewhen, an anthology of twenty science fiction stories from twenty great writers. According to Peter Buck, Editorial Director at Elsewhen Press, “The title paraphrases the last sentence of André Breton’s 1924 Manifesto of Surrealism, perfectly summing up the intent behind this anthology of stories from a wonderful collection of authors. Different worlds… different times. It’s what Elsewhen Press has been about since we launched our first title in 2011. We were thrilled when John agreed to headline.”
Headlining the collection is John Gribbin, with a worrying vision of medical research in the near future. Future global healthcare is the theme of J.A.Christy’s story, while the ultimate in spare part surgery is where Dave Weaver takes the reader. Edwin Hayward’s search for a renewable protein source turns out to be digital; and Tanya Reimer’s story with characters we think we know, gives pause for thought about another food we all take for granted. Evolution is examined too, with Andy McKell’s chilling tale of what states could become if genetics are used to drive policy. Similarly, Robin Moran’s story explores the societal impact of an undesirable evolutionary trend, while Douglas Thompson provides a truly surreal warning of an impending disaster that will reverse evolution, with dire consequences.
On a lighter note, there is satire as Steve Harrison uncovers who really owns the Earth (and why); and Ira Nayman, who uses the surreal alternative realities of his Transdimensional Authority series as the setting for a detective story mash-up of Agatha Christie and Dashiel Hammett. Pursuing the crime-solving theme, Peter Wolfe explores life, and death, on a space station, while Stefan Jackson follows a police investigation into some bizarre cold-blooded murders in a cyberpunk future. Going into the past, albeit an 1831 set in the alternate Britain of his Royal Sorceress
series, Christopher Nuttall reports on an investigation into a girl with strange powers.
Strange powers in the present-day is the theme for Tej Turner, who tells a poignant tale of how extra-sensory perception makes it easier for a husband to bear his dying wife’s last few days. Difficult decisions are the theme of Chloe Skye’s heart-rending story exploring personal sacrifice. Relationships aren’t always so close, as Susan Oke’s tale demonstrates, when sibling rivalry is taken to the limit. Relationships are the backdrop to Peter R. Ellis’s story where a spectacular mid-winter event on a newly-colonised distant planet involves a Madonna and Child. Coming right back to Earth and in what feels like an almost imminent future, Siobhan McVeigh tells a cautionary tale for anyone thinking of using technology to deflect the blame for their actions. Building on the remarkable setting of Pera from her LiGa series, and developing Pera’s legendary Book of Shadow, Sanem Ozdural spins the creation myth of the first light tree in a lyrical and poetic song. Also exploring language, the master of fantastika and absurdism, Rhys Hughes, extrapolates the way in which language changes over time, with an entertaining result.
Existence is Elsewhen, published today by Elsewhen Press on popular eBook platforms, will also be available in paperback from the 25th March with a launch at the 2016 Eastercon in Manchester.
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 at least the second part of that ambition 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. He 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.
On The Review Website, Robert Southworth has written a review of Steve Harrison’s nautical timeslip adventure TimeStorm. Robert starts by admitting that TimeStorm was very different from the usual type of novel he would read and he started reading with a “mixture of trepidation and excitement”. But, he goes on to say that any fears he may have had “were soon dispelled with the first few pages”.
Robert comments on Steve’s skill at presenting the story which “moves at a fine pace, keeping you turning the pages with a sense of anticipation”. He adds that this is helped not only by “an intriguing storyline but also the well-developed characters”. He also commends the way Steve creates an authentic atmosphere for the craft and crew in the 18th century, saying that Steve “delivers this skilfully”.
In his summary, Robert (himself an author) concludes that he “felt the novel was entertaining and well written, with diverse and interesting characters. The fact that time travel is involved is neither here or there, because the skill in which the author has written about the individuals and the trials they face is of such a high quality, that it is on them the reader concentrates.” Thanks Robert.
On the SydneyGen Reads blog, in the Sunday Spotlight, there’s an interview today with Steve Harrison talking about his novel TimeStorm as well as how he goes about writing. If you want to know what the soundtrack to TimeStorm should sound like, Steve tells us that he was usually listening to music by Two Steps from Hell as he worked on it. Anyone considering buying the film rights take note!
On the book review site Throw the Book at us, Australian writer Russell Proctor has reviewed TimeStorm by Steve Harrison. He gave it 5 stars (which they only give to ‘once in a lifetime’ books).
Russell starts by commending the level of research that Steve obviously did in order to “convey the sights, sounds and experiences of an Eighteenth Century sailing ship in vivid and realistic detail”, and also in “seeing Sydney in 2017 from the point of view of men from a time more than two hundred years earlier” once the ship has slipped forward through time. He says “I enjoy reading a book where the writer has taken on a subject they obviously know a good deal about”. He especially notes the details, such as the difference in the smell of the air. He says the characters are “well conceived and finely portrayed” and “realistic, too” and, although there are many of them, Steve manages to “keep track of them” and ensures the reader does as well. Russell was satisfactorily surprised by the ending, he says.
On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has just written a review of TimeStorm, the new adventure timeslip novel from Steve Harrison. Seregil starts his review of this “entertaining combination of classic sea adventure, fast-paced action and time travel” by commenting that it’s “a first-rate adventure novel that offers plenty of entertainment”. Mentioning the inevitable comparison of the hero Kit Blaney to Horatio Hornblower and Jack Aubrey, Seregil says that Steve Harrison’s fluent writing about life at sea means that “this novel is a modern equivalent to Forester and O’Brian’s classic adventure novels”. Lieuetenant Blaney is a “delightfully old-fashioned hero. He’s an honest, dutiful and courageous man who has achieved a lot by working hard”.
Seregil goes on to say that Steve “paints a vivid picture of life at sea and shows how the members of the crew work together. In my opinion he manages to create a believable vision of life on the ship”. As fas as the convicts are concerned, he says that Steve “writes unflinchingly about the punishments of the convicts and doesn’t shy away from brutalities involved in the punishments, which is good, because life was harsh during the 18th century”.
Over and above the thrilling adventure, this is also a timeslip novel. Seregil says that the “arrival of men from the 18th century to a near future Sydney is handled in a surprisingly entertaining and exciting way. When the men find themselves in the future, they wonder about many things, because lots of things have changed. The author shows how the men feel about their situation. The crew members and escaped convicts have to face a new society in which new social norms, different manners and unfamiliar technology causes problems and difficult situations for them. They’ve all been dragged to the 21st century against their will”. He adds that the author “creates an absorbing story by writing about policemen, reporters, hostage situations, shootings, rescue missions, bodies etc. Although there are many happenings, the author manages to keep everything under control (in my opinion the author clearly enjoyes writing this kind of entertainment and wants to entertain his readers).”
He concludes his review by saying that “this novel is good entertainment from start to finish and the ending is satisfying to the readers. TimeStorm is a perfect adventure novel for everybody who has read C. S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian. It’s also excellent entertainment for all who enjoy reading fast-paced and exciting time travel stories.”
You can read Seregil’s review on Risingshadow here.
On the Upcoming4.me website, Steve Harrison has written an article for their Story Behind the Story feature about the inspiration for his debut novel TimeStorm. From a chance remark by his brother, when they saw a replica frigate in Sydney Harbour, Steve gradually pieced together a plot that would allow him to explore the clash of cultures between the convicts and naval officers from an 18th century convict ship and the inhabitants of 21st century Sydney, while at the same time paying homage to the stories of heroes like Hornblower that thrilled him when he was growing up.