Author Archives: E J Swift

Paris Adrift is out this week!

Paris AdriftIt’s here! Paris Adrift is finally out in the world, available from Solaris in the UK and North America. Here’s the synopsis…

Paris Was Supposed to Save Hallie. Now… Well, Let’s Just Say Paris Has Other Ideas. 

There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. 

Soon, Hallie is tumbling through the turbulent past and future Paris, making friends, changing the world — and falling in love. 

But with every trip, Hallie loses a little of herself, and every infinitesimal change she makes ripples through time, until the future she’s trying to save suddenly looks nothing like what she hoped for…

I’m delighted that Paris Adrift has been selected by KirkusAmazon and Barnes & Noble as a best of February SF/fantasy! Here are a few of the early reviews…

an effervescent blend of revisionist history, fantasy and science fiction.’ Washington Post

‘E. J. Swift’s PARIS ADRIFT is her best novel yet: a time-travelling adventure that, despite the cosmic stakes, is bravely and beautifully intimate. Despite the apocalyptic backdrop, PARIS is also wistfully hopeful – a novel of ordinary, extraordinary heroism… PARIS ADRIFT uses science fiction’s largest and most unwieldy mechanic for its smallest and most intimate stakes: this isn’t about the world, it is about Hallie. PARIS is a story about significance at every level, individually and collectively; ultimately, whether that’s in time, life, or simply one’s outlook – this is a poetic demonstration of how little changes make big differences. Despite being a novel that’s – literally! – timeless, you couldn’t find a work more wonderfully fitting for 2018.’ — Pornokitsch

‘A great time travel story, inventive and at times overwhelming. Hallie is a compelling character to read, as she is not all-knowing and manages to keep her sense of disbelief for as long as possible. Hallie through the book comes to find an inner strength that she didn’t know existed as she faces challenges without a lot of resources. I can’t really express how much I enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more from E. J. Swift soon.’ — Fantasy Book Review (9/10)

‘A great protagonist in a fascinating plot, with some refreshingly original takes on the mechanics and mechanisms of time travel, this was a very enjoyable read… This is a great book. Fantastic characters in an interesting story, excellently paced.’ — Strange Currencies

‘Swift (the Osiris Project series) delivers both an unusual take on time travel and solid characters, including a fantastic protagonist… Swift keeps things moving briskly, throwing out innocuous tidbits while scene setting that lead to surprising later payoffs.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘[A] really gripping book that was also really thought provoking and moving… [The novel] deals with many themes which are very relevant right now and Hallie’s time travel to a bleak 2042 felt too plausible… [I] loved reading about Hallie’s expeditions to 1875. Paris really came alive for me and I just loved all the sub stories going on, particularly Millie’s. PARIS ADRIFT also touches on what it’s like to feel adrift and alone in this big world, whether we’re living the best versions of ourselves. This story is about getting lost in order to find yourself. There’s a good message in this book, that doing small deeds to help strangers can have huge effects later on and the future is something we should all be thinking about.’ — British Fantasy Society

Thanks to lots of wonderful bloggers, there has also been a week-long blog tour to celebrate the book’s release.

You can read an extract of the book over on Pornokitsch.com.

If you’d like to get your hands on a copy, you can order online through Amazon.co.ukHive (UK), or Amazon.com. Signed copies are also available in the Forbidden Planet store on Shaftesbury Avenue, London – with thanks to the lovely team for having me in yesterday!

 

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Reading recommendations from 2017

Once again December has crept up, and it’s time to look back on the past twelve months’ reading. For 2017 I set myself a goal of 50 books and at the time of writing I’m up to 46. In the meantime, here are a few recommendations of books I’ve loved this year.

The Natural Way of Things –  Charlotte Wood
Allen & Unwin, 2016

Ten young women wake to find they have been drugged and transported to a remote station in the Australian outback. Watched over by guards, they discover that what they have in common – and the apparent reason for their incarceration – is a past involvement in sex scandals with powerful men. A fiercely feminist novel which veers in unexpected directions, with a searing depiction of one woman’s descent into feral life.

The Swan Book –  Alexis Wright
Constable, 2015

An Aboriginal teenage girl, Oblivion Ethylene, is found in the roots of a eucalypt tree by an old woman who is fleeing climate change wars in the northern hemisphere. Alexis Wright’s prose leaps from surreal to luminous to mythical to deeply satirical, in an extraordinary exploration of the legacy of colonialism and impacts of climate change unlike anything else I’ve read. I can’t possibly do this book justice in few lines, so for a detailed review, take a look at the Sydney Review of Books.

Speak Gigantular – Irenosen Okojie
Jacaranda, 2016

Okojie’s debut collection weaves the familiar and the unknown in new and unexpected ways. The writing is bold, surreal, erotic, often disturbing and always original, and I loved seeing London anew through the lens of many of these stories, including an encounter between two Londoners haunting the Underground.

The Queue – Basma Abdel Azim
Melville House, 2016

A clever, subtle, Kafka-esque exploration of authoritarianism set in an unspecified Middle Eastern city in the wake of the Arab Spring. A cast of characters meet, share and conceal their stories while waiting in the eponymous queue for their requests to be granted by a sinister government.

Exit West – Mohsin Hamid
Hamish Hamilton, 2017

A bittersweet love story of two people fleeing war in an unnamed country. Hamid’s latest novel takes a speculative departure, with the guise of mysterious doors which allow people to move instantaneously between countries. Timely depiction of the refugee crisis with wonderful characterisation.

Stories of Your Life and Others – Ted Chiang
Picador, 2015

There’s so much to admire about Ted Chiang’s short fiction, but what has stayed with me about this collection is the way form is so perfectly aligned to subject matter in each of these immaculately constructed, evocative tales.

 

Open City – Teju Cole
Faber & Faber, 2012

An American psychiatrist of Nigerian and German descent is undertaking his training in New York. Rootless, trying to make his way in the city, he walks compulsively. From the first lines you know you’re in for a treat: this is a gorgeous, meditative read which has stayed with me all year.

You Will Know Me – Megan Abbott
Picador, 2016

Superb psychological portrait of teenage gymnast and Olympic hopeful Devon, and the toll her ambitious regime takes on Devon herself and the family pushing her to glory. Told from the perspective of her conflicted mother Katie, this is a cleverly plotted, compulsive read.

Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer
Fourth Estate, 2015

One of my favourite reads this year, encompassing all the things I love in literature: great characterisation, luminous writing, an unreliable narrator and the mysterious, surreal setting of Area X. I enjoyed the rest of the trilogy very much but this remains the standout.

The Forty Rules of Love – Elif Shafak
Penguin, 2015

Shafak deploys the frame of an American woman trapped in an unhappy marriage, who is reviewing the novel ‘Sweet Blasphemy’ by a mysterious writer about the scholar and poet Rumi and his muse Shams of Tabriz. Their story is told by a large cast of characters including Rumi and Shams themselves, Rumi’s family, and the various people they encounter from fellow travellers to the local drunk. Glorious storytelling and I can’t wait to read more from Shafak’s (happily lengthy) backlist.

The Sixth Extinction – Elizabeth Kolbert
Bloomsbury, 2014

A lot of my reading this year has been research for the next writing project. If you read one non-fiction book this (or rather next) year, make it The Sixth Extinction – Kolbert’s reporting on the mass extinctions already underway is timely, informative, heartbreaking and imperative reading.

Sapiens / Homo Deus – Yuval Noah Harari
Vintage, 2015 and 2017

There’s been plenty of hype around Harari’s bestselling Sapiens and the follow up Homo Deus, and happily they live up to it. Immensely enjoyable, thought-provoking history which interrogates humanity’s place on the planet past, present and future. A new book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, is due next year – I can’t wait. 

Finally, shout-outs to two superb novels, both of which I read in advance copies last year but were published in 2017: Anne Charnock’s multi-stranded Dreams Before the Start of Time and Nina Allan’s haunting The Rift are science fiction at its best.

Here’s to 2018 reading!

Infinity Wars, 2084, and ZUI Found

Two anthologies which I’ve contributed a story to arrived on the shelves in the last week, and here are the lovely print editions looking very smart indeed.

Infinity Wars (Solaris) is the latest in the Infinity science fiction series edited by Jonathan Strahan with a focus on military SF, and includes my story “Weather Girl”.

‘We have always fought. Tales of soldiers and war go back to the very roots of our history, to the beginnings of the places we call home. And science and technology have always been inextricably linked with the deadly art of war, whether through Da Vinci’s infamous machineries of war or the Manhattan Project’s world-ending bombs or distant starships fighting unknowable opponents.

Oppenheimer once wrote that “the atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.” But unendurable or not, future always comes. War was integral to science faction at its birth and remains so today, whether on the page or on the screen.

Infinity Wars asks one question: what would Oppenheimer’s different country be like? Who would fight it? Because at the end of it all, it always come down to a soldier alone, risking life and limb to achieve a goal that may never really make sense at all. How would those soldiers feel? What would they experience?’

And here’s the table of contents:

  • Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
  • Evening of the Span of Their Days, Carrie Vaughn
  • The Last Broadcasts, An Owomoyela
  • Faceless Soldiers, Patchwork Ship, Caroline M Yoachim
  • Dear Sarah, Nancy Kress
  • The Moon is Not a Battlefield, Indrapramit Das
  • Perfect Gun, Elizabeth Bear
  • Oracle, Dominica Phettaplace
  • In Everlasting Wisdom, Aliette deBodard
  • Command and Control, David D. Levine
  • Conversations with an Armory, Garth Nix
  • Overburden, Genevieve Valentine
  • Heavies, Rich Larson
  • Weather Girl, E. J. Swift
  • Mines, Eleanor Arnason
  • ZeroS, Peter Watts

2084 is published by Unsung Stories following a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign and includes my story “The Endling Market”.

‘Fifteen predictions, seventy years in the future. By 2084 the world we know is gone. These are stories from our world seven decades later.

In 1948 George Orwell looked at the world around him and his response was 1984, now a classic dystopian novel. Here eleven writers asked themselves the same question as Orwell did – where are we going, and what is our future?

Visit the dark corners of the future metropolis, trek the wastelands of all that remains. See the world through the eyes of drones. Put humanity on trial as the oceans rise. Say goodbye to your body as humanity merges with technology.

Warnings or prophesies? Paradise or destruction? Will we be proud of what we have achieved, in 2084? Our future unfolds before us.’

2084 features original fiction from: 

  • Christopher Priest (author of The Prestige, The Gradual and many more)
  • Courttia Newland (author of The Scholar, The Gospel According to Kane and more)
  • Lavie Tidhar (author of A Man Lies Dreaming, Osama and Central Station)
  • Dave Hutchinson (author of The Fractured Europe Sequence)
  • James Smythe (author of The Australia Trilogy and The Anomaly Quartet)
  • Anne Charnock (author of Sleeping Embers of an Ordinary Mind and A Calculated Life)
  • Jeff Noon (author of Vurt, Automated Alice, Pollen and many more)
  • Aliya Whiteley (author of The Beauty and The Arrival of Missives)
  • E. J. Swift (author of The Osiris Project trilogy)
  • Oliver Langmead (author of Metronome and Dark Star)
  • Irenosen Okojie (author of Speak Gigantular)
  • Malcolm Devlin (author of You Will Grow Into Them)
  • Cassandra Khaw (author of Hammers on Bone)
  • Desirina Boskovich (author of Never Now Always and co-author of The Steampunk User’s Manual)
  • Ian Hocking (author of Deja Vu)

I was also thrilled to receive a copy of Chinese SF magazine ZUI Found, which contains Geng Hui’s translation of my story “Front Row Seat to the End of the World” (first published by NewCon Press in Now We Are Ten). This is the first time I’ve seen my fiction published in another language, and after the first copy went missing in the post, I was hugely grateful to Geng Hui and fellow writer Anne Charnock who orchestrated an exchange of the magazine at this year’s WorldCon in Helsinki.

As to which piece was mine, the evidently untranslatable Instagram and Tinder were the crucial giveaway…

Bradford Literature Festival

I’m very much looking forward to joining the line-up for this year’s Bradford Literature Festival, a fantastic programme of events running from 30 June to 9 July:

“With over 300 events packed into iconic venues across 10 days, we celebrate the written and spoken word in all its wonderful forms. Every year we invite world-renowned authors, poets, musicians and artists to visit our spectacular city and share their expertise and passions with you, the audience.”

I’ll be taking part in two events:

The Reality Behind Dystopian Futures
Sarah Govett, Oliver Morton, E. J. Swift with Jon Turney
Saturday, 1st July 2017 | 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
University of Bradford – Norcroft Auditorium

Claire North, Jared Shurin, E. J. Swift with Shanon Shah
Sunday, 2nd July 2017 | 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm
Bradford College – Dye House Gallery

Solaris signs Paris Adrift!

I’m thrilled to share the news that award-winning publisher Solaris have signed my new novel, Paris Adrift, a tale of time travel set in the City of Lights. The deal, for World English rights, was negotiated with John Berlyne at Zeno Agency Ltd. 

Paris AdriftHere’s a few words about the novel from Solaris Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Oliver:

“E. J. Swift’s extraordinarily rich time travel novel is a real treat of a read. Paris is evoked in all its grubby yet shiny glory, and the characters will make you fall in love with this city, its past and its misfits. An extraordinary accomplishment, bringing to mind the work of authors such as Claire North and Audrey Niffenegger.”

Solaris are a fantastic team and I’m very much looking forward to working with them over the coming months. Paris is a city close to my heart, and I can’t wait for readers to join Hallie – and her bartending friends – as she is unwittingly thrust into a journey that will take her through the city’s turbulent past and possible futures, forcing her to come to terms with love, loss and her own precarious sense of self.

Today I am also able to share the beautiful artwork for the novel. The first sighting of a cover can be a nerve-racking moment, so I couldn’t have been happier when Solaris said they would approach the brilliant Joey Hi-Fi, whose work I’ve admired for a long time. It’s fair to say Joey’s artwork for Paris Adrift has surpassed all my expectations.

Paris Adrift will be published in February 2018.

About Solaris

Solaris is the cutting edge science fiction and fantasy imprint of Rebellion Publishing. Founded in 2007 and acquired by Rebellion in 2009, Solaris has built one of the strongest and most diverse lists in genre fiction. Titles from authors such as Yoon Ha Lee, Dave Hutchinson and Gail Z Martin have been nominated for the Hugo Awards, the Nebula Awards, the Arthur C Clarke Award, and many more. For more information, visit www.solarisbooks.com.

About Zeno

Zeno Agency Ltd is a London-based literary agency specialising in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. For more information, please visit zenoagency.com.

The White Fox and the Red

I have a new short story, “The White Fox and the Red”, now available to read over on Pornokitch. A big thank you to the artist 12 Orchards for the beautiful illustration!

I read this story at Unsung Live #7 on 23 February, and you can also listen to the recording over on Unsung Stories here.

The story was inspired by this beautiful but heartbreaking image by Don Gutoski, the winner of the 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

The Djinn Falls In Love

The Jinn Falls in LoveThe Djinn Falls In Love & Other Stories, edited by the brilliant Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin, is out today from Solaris!

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviours, victims, childhood friends.

These are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.

They are the Djinn. They are among us.

An anthology of twenty new stories of djinn, I’m thrilled to be part of the contributor list below:

Amal El-Mohtar, Catherine King, Claire North, E.J. Swift, Helene Wecker, Hermes (trans. Robin Moger), Jamal Mahjoub, James Smythe, J.Y. Yang, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J. Parker, Kuzhali Manickavel, Maria Dahvana Headley, Monica Byrne, Neil Gaiman, Nnedi Okorafor, Saad Hossain, Sami Shah, Sophia Al-Maria and Usman Malik.

My story, “The Jinn Hunter’s Apprentice”, features a haunted spaceship, a Martian spaceport, and a ring-tailed lemur.

For early reviews, events, and order links for The Djinn Falls In Love, take a look at the Pornokitsch website here.