“It creased me up” – Des Lewis review of Mirrors in the Deluge

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

On his website, Gestalt Real-Time Reviews, Des Lewis has recently been reading the stories in Rhys Hughes’ collection Mirrors in the Deluge and writing a review of each as a ‘thought-stream’ over the last month. It has been fascinating to watch the reviews of these stories pop up on the page on a more-or-less daily basis, in an approach that lends itself well to a book, such as Mirrors in the Deluge, full of 32 such diverse stories. It’s not really feasible to do justice to the extent of Des’ often detailed, and always incisive, review in such a brief summary here, so I hope Des won’t mind me picking out a handful of highlights and then recommending that you go over to his website and read it all for yourself. One general comment that I’d like to pick out first, though, is that Des believes that for many of the stories in the book, “if they had been published separately in high profile anthologies each would have made a name for itself as a literary classic, but they seem lost here gathered together, shame to say.” It is indeed a shame, but hopefully Des’ review will help encourage more people to embrace Rhys (or at least his stories!)

On The Soft Landing
“The autobiography of a deep space photon…
This is so eye-opening, I feel it would not have been out of place as a work in ‘The Big Book of Science Fiction’ that I read recently. Seriously.”

On Najort Esroh
“Only in Rhys Hughes do things happen that make you think more laterally than any other author whom I read makes you think. And I read a lot!”

On The Mouth of Hell
“It creased me up. Seriously.”

On Arms Against a Sea
“This is probably the nearest you will get to reading literature written by an extraterrestrial.”

On The Apple of My Sky
“This light piece with distractive silly names for characters did actually cause me to laugh out loud on more than one occasion (e.g. The Big Apple joke) and that is no mean feat.”

On The Taste of Turtle Tears
“This is a Rhysian classic. If not THE Rhysian classic.”

On The Bones of Jones
“A major Rhysian work that I would love to read aloud, to see if it it is utter rubbish (a stream of word association?) or pure genius. Amazingly, it could be both. It’s certainly set my mind buzzing, as you can tell.” Rhys maintains this is the best story in the book, with which Des does not disagree.

You can review Des’ full thought stream here.

 

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“Outstanding” – review of Sailor to a Siren on Marian L Thorpe’s Words and Birds blog

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

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.

 

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Tej Turner interviewed on RisingShadow

Tej TurnerOn the RisingShadow website, Seregil of Rhiminee has posted an interview with Tej Turner author of The Janus Cycle and Dinnusos Rises.

Tej talks about some of his experiences and influences when he was growing up, that have left their mark on him and his fiction; he illuminates some of the motivation behind his latest book Dinnusos Rises; he talks about his deliberate structuring of both books to enable him to encompass diversity more effectively; and he tells us a little bit about what else he is planning to do.

The Janus Cycle cover imageArtwork: Alison BuckIf you enjoyed The Janus Cycle, then this interview should make you even more keen to read Dinnusos Rises, which is already available for pre-order on most eBook platforms (see here for details). If you haven’t read any of Tej’s work yet, but are a fan of classic urban fantasy or magical realism then this interview should convince you to give Tej’s books a place on your bookshelf (real or digital).

Either way, you should read the interview (click here to read it on RisingShadow) for an enriching experience!

 

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Collection of SF stories addresses issues especially relevant in a time of dubious politicians

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.

Artwork: David A. Hardy

Artwork: David A. Hardy

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 GribbinJohn 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.
visit http://bit.ly/DontLookBackJohnGribbin

About David A. Hardy

David A. HardyDavid 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

 

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Mandigo and the Hellhounds announced as finalist in Independent Book Awards

Artwork: Alison BuckThe finalists of the 2016 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards have been announced. They include Mandigo and the Hellhounds by Anders Reemark in the Books for 9-12 Year Olds category.

WSA 2016 Finalist LogoThe Wishing Shelf Awards are awarded based on the results of groups of readers rather than a judging panel. The children’s books were this year read and judged by children in 8 UK primary and secondary schools; the adult books by 2 Reading Groups, 1 in London and 1 in Stockholm. The books were marked according to EDITING, THEME, STYLE, COVER and, in the case of many of the children’s books, ILLUSTRATIONS. Only books that were awarded over 30/40 are finalists.

The winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in each category, picked from the finalists, will be announced on April 1st 2017.

 

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Thomas Silent announced as finalist in Independent Book Awards

Cover by Alison BuckThe finalists of the 2016 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards have been announced. They include Thomas Silent by Ben Gribbin in the Teenager category.

WSA 2016 Finalist LogoThe Wishing Shelf Awards are awarded based on the results of groups of readers rather than a judging panel. The children’s books were this year read and judged by children in 8 UK primary and secondary schools; the adult books by 2 Reading Groups, 1 in London and 1 in Stockholm. The books were marked according to EDITING, THEME, STYLE, COVER and, in the case of many of the children’s books, ILLUSTRATIONS. Only books that were awarded over 30/40 are finalists.

The winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze awards in each category, picked from the finalists, will be announced on April 1st 2017.

 

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“exciting, intriguing and well written” – review of Reimar Breaking on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

Seregil of Rhiminee has posted a review on the RisingShadow.net website of Reimar Breaking: The Prelude to the Iberan War, the first book in The Iberan War series by Jonathan Rivalland. He starts by saying that it’s a “welcome addition to fantasy fiction, because it’s an entertaining and well-told story with a promise of more greatness to come in the next instalments”. Although it is Jonathan’s debut novel, Seregil says that it “feels satisfyingly rich and robust”, the story is “intriguing” and “well-written” and Jonathan’s “enthusiasm to tell stories shines through the text”.

One of the aspects of this novel that Seregil singles out for comment, is the world-building which he says “works well” because Jonathan provides detailed information about certain areas but leaves plenty of room for further world-building. Seregil says this is to his liking because not everything is revealed in the first novel. He also liked the fact that there is a detailed map as well as a useful appendix with information about Reimar. He observes that Jonathan “manages to lay a good foundation for further stories” by introducing the world and characters to the reader, but the “story moves swiftly forward, because there’s a nice balance between characterisation, worldbuilding, politics and action scenes”. The characterisation is “fluent and entertaining”, as is the handling of military issues, and the “political matters are fascinating in this novel”.

Seregil likes the way that Jonathan uses both humour and action, at which he succeeds well. He says that the humorous elements “lighten the story in a nice way” while the action scenes “keep readers entertained”. Jonathan is, he says “quite adept at adding a bit of humour into the dialogues without making it seem superficial”. Seregil also enjoyed the surprises that Jonathan delivers, especially the “unexpected act of violence” which acts as the catalyst to the rest of the story and pushed everything into motion.

Seregil concludes by saying that Reimar Breaking is a promising start to The Iberan War which he hopes will be a long series, and he is looking forward to reading the next novel. “It’s an exciting, intriguing and well written novel” he says, which he recommends to anyone who enjoys adult fantasy novels “because the author shows lots of promise for creating complex stories”.

You should read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow.net here

 

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“Excellent, thought-provoking and well written” – review of Legends on the Prairies on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alison Buck

Artwork: Alison Buck

On RisingShadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Tanya Reimer’s latest Sacred Land Story. An “excellent prequel” to her first Sacred Land Story, Ghosts on the Prairies, Seregil says that Legends on the Prairies “captures the reader’s attention from the first page”. He says that he considers Tanya’s novels to be “hidden treasures” waiting to be found by readers, because they’re wonderfully different from other speculative fiction novels due to their blend of literary fiction, speculative fiction, historical elements and paranormal elements.” he goes on to say that Tanya “has her own original literary voice and she uses it well”.

Seregil was eager to read Legends on the Prairies because he had enjoyed reading Tanya’s previous novels Ghosts on the Prairies and Can’t Dream Without You, and was not disappointed. He was impressed by the story and found it “entertaining and thought-provoking”, adding that in his opinion it is “better and more rounded” than Ghost on the Prairies because it “has plenty of depth and the author writes more fluently about the happenings”. It is, he says, a “successful combination of several elements” including historical fiction and speculative fiction, and “The story pulses with substance and has clearly been written out of passion for storytelling”.

He compliments Tanya’s characterisation which is “satisfying and believable” as she fleshes out her protagonists’ traits in an “engaging” way, fluently conveying “their inner turmoil and conflicted emotions to her readers”. It’s great that she has “created realistic protagonists who are not perfect and flawless cookie-cutter characters”, such that the reader wants to find out more about them because she writes so “intensely about their feelings, lives and problems”.

Seregil says that Legends on the Prairies is a “powerful exploration of friendship, hope, love and growth”, and that Tanya writes “fluently about believing in yourself and what you’re capable of doing” while creating a “good story that has plenty of tensions and substance”. She has an “insightful way of writing about change and growth” and lets her characters “make mistakes along the way”. He also says that he enjoys the way she “writes about legends. She infuses her story with them, but doesn’t let them hinder her from concentrating on achingly realistic storytelling”.

Seregil concludes by saying Legends on the Prairies is “an accessible novel that can be recommended to many readers”; and, like Ghosts on the Prairies, “will appeal to both mainstream fiction readers and speculative fiction readers” – filled with “life and turmoil” it will “intrigue and please both readerships”. Inviting readers into a world where “myth and legend meet everyday life and the harsh and painful reality of existence in a powerful way”, it will “entertain and thrill” readers. His final verdict is “Excellent, thought-provoking and well written entertainment for adults”.

You should read Seregil’s full review on RisingShadow here.

 

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“something special for readers who love dystopian stories” – review of Freedom’s Prisoners on RisingShadow

Artwork: Alex Storer

Artwork: Alex Storer

Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Katrina Mountfort’s third novel in The Blueprint Trilogy. Eager to read it, as he enjoyed Future Perfect and Forbidden Alliance the first two novels in the trilogy, Seregil says that Freedom’s Prisoners is a “stunning conclusion” to the trilogy that was both “immensely satisfying and intriguing” and “one of the best and most entertaining young adult science fiction novels I’ve ever read”. He says that the trilogy as a whole is a “rewarding reading experience” because Katrina has created a “terrifying vision of dystopian future and doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readership”, adding that The Blueprint Trilogy stands out from the many new young adult science fiction novels and series, as a “prime example of what can be achieved when an author pays attention to writing an emotionally challenging story, creates realistic characters and has courage to write thought-provoking prose”, outshining others “in terms of depth, prose and storytelling”. Seregil recommends all three novels in the trilogy to adults and young adults alike, describing it as “an evocatively written novel that will charm its readers with a good story and interesting characters who have to deal with real problems”.

Seregil compliments Katrina’s ability to write believable characters, and says she “excels at writing about what her characters feel and what kind of choices they make”. The story is “thrilling and thought-provoking” as it explores “guilt, endurance, love, loss, fear and hope in a spellbinding way”. He says that Freedom’s Prisoners contains “many exciting and thrilling scenes which will impress readers and fans of the series”. But Katrina’s vision of this dystopian future is “evocative and terrifying, because humankind and society has changed a lot and people have almost forgotten what it means to be human”.

Seregil says that one of the most impressive things about the whole trilogy is that Katrina has written “a story that reveals a lot about human nature and what humans are capable of doing to each other. There’s quite a lot of underlying wisdom in this story and also plenty of sharp commentary about our way of life and what may happen to mankind.” The story has a strong emotional impact on readers, and Seregil loves it because it is “captivating to read about the characters and their complex lives”.

Seregil recommends The Blueprint Trilogy to readers who have enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games or Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, or indeed anyone who loves “emotionally challenging and thought-provoking stories”, and concludes by saying “There’s a strongly beating human heart at the core of each of these novels that will make you fall in love with the story and the characters. They’re something special for readers who love dystopian stories.”

But don’t just rely on this précis of Seregil’s review, you should read the full review on RisingShadow here.

 

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“fantastic, inventive and entertaining” – review of It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should on RisingShadow

Artwork: Hannah B. Farrell Photograph of Dingle Dell: Jose Manuel Revuelta Luna/shutterstock.com

Artwork: Hannah B. Farrell
Photograph of Dingle Dell: Jose Manuel Revuelta Luna/shutterstock.com

On the RisingShadow.net website, Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should, the fourth in Ira Nayman’s series of Trandsimensional Authority novels. He starts by saying it is “one of the funniest and most inventive humorous science fiction novels” he’s ever read, because Ira blends “absurdism, satire, parody and sarcasm in a uniquely entertaining way”. He adds that Ira is a “one-of-a-kind author who has no rivals”.

Seregil, who has read and enjoyed (and reviewed) the previous novels in the series points out that “Extraordinary happenings and things have been an essential part of this series ever since the beginning and they’re also an essential part of this novel” and says he was delighted that Ira was once again in “excellent form” and mesmerising his readers with “strange things”. Seregil likes Ira’s writing style because he has “his own unique way of writing about the characters and the happenings. He boldly writes his own kind of fiction and stays true to his own style.”

He also admires Ira’s “sharp sense of humour and his ability to write original stories, because he never seems to run out of ideas.” He goes on say that it’s great that Ira “has a gift of adding amusing references to popular culture, because only a few authors are capable of doing so” and Ira does it “ in a delightfully sharp and witty way”.

Seregil concludes by recommending It’s Just the Chronosphere Unfolding as it Should because it’s a “fantastic, inventive and entertaining novel for readers who want to laugh out loud while reading a novel”. In a final summary that is reminiscent of Bill and Ted, he says “Excellent humorous science fiction!”

This was a very brief overview of Seregil’s review which you should read in its entirety on the RisingShadow website here.

 

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