Monday, June 1, 2020

FROM OUR CREATORS: Travel to the City of the Saved with Kara Dennison

brown grass in front ocean at daytime

Last year, six authors from Obverse Books were asked to pitch in on an anniversary project. The Sextet would unite six of the publisher's most popular lines in six novellas, each making up one part of a greater whole. The Sextet could be read in whole or in part, but — and perhaps we're a bit biased — they're best as a set.

The Sextet includes stories from the worlds of Iris Wildthyme, Señor 105, Faction Hollywood, Seaton Begg, the Manleigh Halt Irregulars, and the City of the Saved. Bringing up the rear in book 6, Vanishing Tales of the City, is our own co-creator and author Kara Dennison.


The short anthology tells six stories of loss in the City of the Saved: a galaxy-sized civilization at the end of our universe where all humans will eventually end up. In a place where every human is bound to go and anything lost can easily be "Remade," a person simply disappearing is unimaginable. But that's just what's happening, and the gaps are becoming more and more evident... until some familiar faces fall into the story.

All of the Sextet's previous stars find their way to the City, whether they're "allowed" there or not. Is it the most ambitious crossover ever? Maybe third or fourth... but you will get to see Señor 105 bodyslam a Faction member while Iris watches.

Vanishing Tales is technically a stand-alone read, but it works best if you've read the full Sextet. But why wouldn't you? There's a magical new Iris story by Nick Campbell, an epic Señor 105 adventure by Blair Bidmead, a set of Seaton Begg mysteries by Simon Bucher-Jones, a sentimental Manleigh Halt Irregulars story by Nick Wallace, and modern-day political intrigue with Faction Hollywood by Jonathan Dennis. Loose threads are waiting to be tied up in the City, and a certain evil force doesn't stay defeated for long.

Plus, supporting Obverse — much like supporting us here at Altrix — is a big boost for indie writers and publishers. Obverse is helping to promote lots of new talent with their various series, and the Sextet celebrates the characters you've come to know and love over the years.

In the meantime, if you'd like more from Kara, check out her essays in Army of Ghosts — and look forward to Eleanor's Tears, her first entry in The Chronosmith Chronicles.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Altrix Q&A: Where Are Our Books Available?

aerial photography of body of water between buildings during golden hour


One of the main questions we're asked — especially when a new book is out — is where our books are available... that is, by nation. We're currently not available in your local bookshop, but that's for another day.

In particular, we're asked: are our books available in the US and the UK? The answer is yes... and anywhere else Amazon serves!

As a team working on opposite sides of the Atlantic, we're understandably both keen to have our work easily accessible to people near us. And considering the state of shipping (and the fact that we have lost our share of packages over the ocean), we wanted to make sure that there were as few issues with getting books to you as possible.

aerial photography of city buildings during dawn

In short, yes, we are available to ship within your country. The longer answer is that we don't actually do anything special to make that happen — we just change the sales links to "amazon.com" for the US, and "amazon.co.uk" for the UK. Which means that if you're not in either of those places, you can alter the URL to match your country of origin and make your life much easier.

What about digital copies? Well, those go everywhere, obviously: no shipping and instant gratification! However, the system is slightly different for our charity anthologies. If you're picking up one of our limited-run charity books, like the previously-published Unearthed or Master Pieces, the ebook edition will come to you from us. That means rather than an instant download, you'll get it from us in an email. If it's been more than a couple days if you've heard nothing, please get in touch to make sure you've not slipped through the cracks. But if it's only been an hour or two, we're on our way to you!

black framed eyeglasses on book page

Speaking of charity publications: we do not keep charity books available beyond a certain specified date. This is both so we can have a final tally of funds for the charity in question, and out of respect to both copyright holders and writers who gave of their work freely. Once a charity book goes out of print, the stories revert to their respective authors; and it's their decision from there what happens to them. Some may share them freely, others may adapt and re-publish them elsewhere, and others still may opt to keep them special to the anthology.

The short version is: if an author you like is in one of our charity books, be sure to grab a copy while you can! After that, it is entirely up to them what happens to the story.

If you have any questions you'd like us to answer — serious or frivolous — feel free to tweet us @AltrixBooks or look us up on Facebook. We're always happy to hear from you!

Monday, April 20, 2020

The Art of AFTER VINCENT

Van Gogh - The Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV 1888 - art-vanGogh.com

Paul Driscoll's After Vincent is filled with the works of Vincent van Gogh, from his iconic Starry Night to his less-known Poet's Garden and skeletal self-portrait. If you're not familiar with Vincent's broader body of work, it's a great way to learn about them... though the involvement of Mordicai, Savalia, and the rest are not necessarily what you'll see in history books!

Paul worked many of these pieces into After Vincent, in which our heroes travel back in time to meet the artist and forward in time to learn about the Goghians — the religion founded around the artist's life. How many will you spot along the way?

You can pick up a copy now, either in paperback or digital, and make the journey yourself. You can also get a taste of the book, as well as some of the art that features in the narrative, in this collection of extracts. Peruse lines from the story paired off with some of Vincent's works!

Also, keep an eye on the blog — news on Eleanor's Tears, the second outing for the Chronosmiths, is on its way!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

New Book Announcement: Army of Ghosts




Altrix Books is delighted to announce that the critical essay collection Army of Ghosts will shortly be available to purchase from Amazon. 

Covering over forty Doctor Who adventures from Hartnell to Capaldi, the essays explore those stories that tend to get lost in the crowd. Between the renowned and the notorious lie plenty of undervalued treasures in the Doctor Who canon. Our ten writers consider the reasons behind their obscurity and whether or not they worth revisiting again.

Writers include Martin Ruddock (Doctor Who Magazine, SHiNDiG!), Kara Dennison (The Black Archive, Crunchyroll), Paul Driscoll (The Black Archive, WhatCulture), Matt Nida, David Cromarty, Steven B, Richard O’Hagan, Tom Marshall, Jim Hall and Tony Green.

Includes a bonus section on such official curios as Dimensions in Time, The Curse of Fatal Death, The Pertwee Radio Plays, Shada in its various incarnations, The BBCi webcasts, The Infinite Quest/Dreamland, and the video games Destiny of the Doctors and Lego Dimensions.

Foreword by the editor of Obverse Books’ Black Archive series, Philip Purser-Hallard.

Cover illustration by Sophie Iles (Big Finish, Doctor Who Magazine).

The book was originally conceived and commissioned by JR Southall (Watching Books) as a follow up volume to Hating to Love (Watching Books) which explored those stories often considered the worst. A revised edition of Hating to Love and a third volume – Stitches in Time, covering the most groundbreaking Doctor Who stories, will be released at a future date.

The collection is dedicated to Kenny Davidson, a fellow fan and admin of the Book of Fab Facebook group who tragically died last year. In Kenny’s memory, a proportion of the proceeds will be going to The Meningitis Foundations.



Sunday, March 15, 2020

The Chronosmith Chronicles: A Primer Before AFTER VINCENT


As far as we're concerned, you won't have to do anything special to dive straight into the first book of The Chronosmith Chronicles. With After Vincent, Paul Driscoll introduces the team of four to a new readership — which is just about everyone! — and a new universe.

But just in case you'd like a jump start on the series, here are a few places to get started.


Who Are the Chronosmiths?

Hailing from the planet of Percusia, the four Chronosmiths were swept into our universe on the Time Winds in their time machine, the Hexachron. But in the 83rd century Humanian settlement of Kat A, things are very different from back home. For starters, time travel is heavily regulated, and their brand of heroics is frowned upon. But that's not the only difference between our universe and theirs...

Check out previous posts to learn about the team:

Tor Fasa: With his mysterious connection to the Altrix and a repository of super powers yet to be explored, he is the most mysterious of the Chronosmiths.

Kendo: The "face" of the Chronosmiths, a retired politician with big ideas and a love of the upper hand... both of which hide a constant hum of anxiety.

Savalia: The soldier-poet. A war hero with an artistic soul, a keen eye, and a tendency to shoot first (whether she'll ask questions later is variable).

Mordicai: The engineer. He takes pride in his knowledge, creates clever invention, and is overall smarter than he acts... partly because he'd almost have to be.

The Hexachron: The "fifth Chronosmith," the quartet's time machine is much more an active hand in their adventures than they often realize.


What is After Vincent?


The Chronosmiths' adventures in our universe begin with a visit to legendary artist Vincent van Gogh. In the 83rd century, Vincent is worshiped as a god — but there is unrest among the Goghians as a new leader begins changing things. Though initially in the employ of Aliens for Hire, the Chronosmiths change plans: directing their attention to the true story of Vincent, in danger of becoming even more lost under the legends, if not changed forever.


What's next?

green field

From an artist worshiped as a god to a skeleton in a family's closet — Eleanor's Tears by Kara Dennison will see the Chronosmiths encountering a ghost, an intergalactic freelancer, and the people whose job it actually is to keep the timeline tidy. Keep an eye on this site and our social media for news on this and the rest of the books in the series.

Get your copy of After Vincent!

Sunday, March 8, 2020

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES #1: AFTER VINCENT Is Now on Sale!


The Hexachron is taking off at last!

The Chronosmith Chronicles #1: After Vincent is now available to buy from Amazon. The book, written by Altrix co-founder Paul Driscoll, kicks off a new series of adventures for Savalia, Mordicai, Kendo, and Tor Fasa. Last seen in Season of War: Gallifrey, the characters are entering a new universe with a new history, new methods of time travel, and a whole new set of rules for would-be heroes.

Interested news and review sites can email altrixbooks@virginmedia.com to inquire about a review copy and/or press packet.

>> Interview with Paul Driscoll
>> Purchase After Vincent

Keep an eye on our blog and social media for news on future books in The Chronosmith Chronicles. Book 2, Eleanor's Tears by Kara Dennison, is next in line.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES: 6 Facts about the Hexachron


The Chronosmith Chronicles will be reintroducing characters from one of our past charity novels in a whole new universe, as well as bringing in brand-new characters for both the long and short haul. But there's one more name to commit to memory: the Hexachron!

Time travel takes many forms in the new series, from actual crafts to personal devices, from stolen tech to science projects. But the Hexachron is a good old-fashioned space and time ship, with her own quirks. She may seem similar to certain other crafts, but there's plenty that sets her apart.

You'll witness the Hexachron in action in the upcoming After Vincent, but here are a few things to know to tide you over:


1. The "Hex" of "Hexachron" refers to the shape.

turned-on chandelier

The Chronosmiths' craft consistently has six sides inside and out, and is the size of a small hall. In other words, not infinite, but not a simple four-seater, either.

That's also why you'll see a hexagonal shape in the Chronosmith Chronicles logo: a reference to their ride.


2. There's nothing else in the universe like it.

snow covered mountain with aurora borealis

Well, not in this universe, at least. You'll see time travel devices of all shapes and sizes other than the Hexachron, but they all have a common origin. What it is, you'll have to wait and see... but it's completely alien (as it were) to the Chronosmiths.


3. There's (allegedly) a prison on board.

black window frame on dim light

What do the Chronosmiths need with a prison? We'll hopefully never have to find out. (Or maybe we hopefully will...)


4. It looks a bit like home.

grayscale photo of round stadium

Amongst the Hexachron's highly-customizable dimensions, there are at least two that are copied directly from the Chronosmiths' home planet. One is the main console room, which looks like the outdoor theatre where two of our heroes would meet regularly. The other, you'll have to wait and find out for yourself.


5. She's the "fifth Chronosmith."

selective focus photography of person holding lighted brown string light

We know our lineup is Mordicai, Savalia, Kendo, and Tor Fasa. But the Hexachron is just as much a part of the team. This is most evident to Mordicai — and while it can sometimes seem he's personifying her a bit more than is valid, there are some times when it's all but undeniable.


6. There are things about her even the Chronosmiths don't know.

open door beside white paint wall

You should probably know everything possible about your ride before getting in, but even the Chronosmiths' beloved Hexachron is hiding a few secrets. Readers may become privy to a few of them even before our heroes!

The first book of the series, After Vincent, will go on sale soon. How will the Chronosmiths and their Hexachron fare in a world where time travel is regulated and vigilantes need a license? Find out soon — keep an eye on the blog and our social media for announcements!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

AFTER VINCENT - An Interview With Author Paul Driscoll


The Chronosmith Chronicles is about to kick off with its first book, After Vincent! Altrix co-founder Paul Driscoll pens the first installment in the new series — bringing four Altrix characters into their own world.

We're sitting down with Paul for his gateway into the new adventures:



Who are the Chronosmiths?
Following on from the huge success of the Doctor Who charity spin-off Seasons of War, Kara Dennison and I were commissioned by Declan May to write a Seasons of War novel. The result was Gallifrey, published in 2017, a Time War novel set in the Doctor Who universe, but featuring our own characters. Tor Fasa, Mordicai, Kendo and Savalia were such fun to write that Kara and I decided to continue their adventures. Those who enjoyed Gallifrey will be able to make links between the new series and what has now effectively become a prequel, but we were keen to remove them entirely from the Doctor Who universe, making them accessible to non-fans and newcomers.

Is After Vincent a reboot?
Not exactly. Gallifrey ended with our four leads having to flee Gallifrey and go into hiding on a planet called Percusia. To protect their anonymity they have buried the truth about their origins and have made a pact to implant alternative backstories into their memories. The process is similar to the chameleon arch used in Doctor Who. They see themselves as Percusians by birth now.

Is The Chronosmith Chronicles a Doctor Who Spin-Off?
That is down to the reader to decide. We won’t be marketing it as such, but you will see a few nods to Doctor Who and indeed to other franchises. The Chronosmiths think they have fled from a war played out between the Percusians and a race of rhino-like warmongers called the Zechos. They have travelled across the Time Winds into a whole new universe. There they will encounter various races and species unique to the series, as well as an Earth that roughly corresponds to our own. There will be no mention of the Doctor, the TARDIS, Daleks, Cybermen and Time Lords etc., but that doesn’t mean they could never exist in the Chronosmiths’ universe.

Isn’t this just Doctor Who by another name?
The Chronosmiths travel across time and space in a semi-sentient ship called the Hexachron that can change its external appearance using perception filtering technology. Internally, it has the potential to house an infinite number of rooms. Sounds like Doctor Who, right? Inspired by the show and some of its core ideas, the ship and the mission of the Chronosmiths is, nonetheless, quite different. Unlike the TARDIS, the Hexachron has a fixed internal dimension, one that can be occupied simultaneously by all kinds of rooms. The Chronosmiths' mission is to correct and respond to false and misleading history. This could be anything from a lie passed down within a single family to a myth that has propped up a centuries-old intergalactic war.

So book one of the series is about Vincent Van Gogh, the man and the myth?
In the 83rd Century, there is a religious movement known as Goghianism which has elevated the artist to the status of a god. The Chronosmiths will travel back in time, meeting the real Vincent. They are on a specific mission from an employment agency called Aliens for Hire, but will also get the opportunity to challenge some of the tenets of the religion, propagated across the universe in the artist’s name. Some of those beliefs are not all that far removed from contemporary portraits of the artist, as seen for example in the Kirk Douglas movie, Lust for Life, and the many others that have followed it.

Why did you chose to write about Van Gogh?
There are so many links that can be made with the Chronosmiths and Vincent. Mordicai and Savalia are in a Romeo-and-Juliet type relationship, with Mordicai hailing from the city and Savalia from the village where never the twain shall meet. This reminded me of the 19th century artist, specifically his relationship with the prostitute Sien Hoornik. Many of Vincent’s struggles with mental health are rooted in the fact that his family was part of the bourgeoisie. There is a narrative of mutual disownment that chimes with what all four Chronosmiths have done with their own past. Savalia has an artistic spirit and I could see great potential in her meeting the painter, but there is also a dangerous side to both characters. This leads to Mordicai identifying with Paul Gauguin and others who tried to be friends with Vincent. Kendo, Savalia’s cousin, has anxiety issues and so there was a possible connection with Vincent for her too. And as for Tor Fasa, well, he like Vincent has gifts that sometimes feels like a curse to him.

Did the Doctor Who episode Vincent and the Doctor influence your thinking?
Not really. There may be a sly reference or two, but you’d have to read carefully to spot them. Unlike the Richard Curtis story, this one is on an epic scale as we flit between the past and the future and travel along various points in Vincent’s life.

What myths about the artist are you challenging?
Primarily the myth of the tortured genius and the way in which mental illness can be romanticised as a reason for an artist’s brilliance. But the book also looks at religious belief, and the protestant ethics that Vincent both lived by and fought against. Poverty, the treatment of asylum seekers, and the nature of charity with a big C are also under the microscope. I’ve tried to present the artist in all his brilliance, without overlooking his faults. I adore Don McLean’s song, Vincent, in particular the cover version by one of my favourite folk singers, Martyn Joseph, but it wouldn’t make it onto the soundtrack for the movie adaptation!

Which of Vincent’s paintings feature?
Oh, there are plenty that are name-checked, some we get to see him working on, and others take on a special role in the 83rd century. One in particular is important, Vincent’s early self-portrait which is of a skull smoking a cigarette. One of my hopes is that some readers will want to check out Van Gogh’s portfolio and look up some of the lesser known works. But don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten the sunflowers and the starry, starry night.



That cover suggests that the Chronosmiths are directly involved in Vincent’s death. Aren’t you simply inventing a new myth?
Spoilers! All I can say is that I have endeavoured to avoid sensationalising Vincent’s story, or making out that aliens had any substantial influence on either his work or his mental state. So if they are around in the fields of Auvers or thereabouts, we will find them experiencing Vincent’s story, not shoehorning him into theirs. That said, the circumstances surrounding Vincent’s death remain the subject of much debate.

How will the rest of the series play out?
Did I mention spoilers? One of the tasks of After Vincent was to do some world-building work, hence the novel being a fair bit longer than the other books.  I have also introduced a number of recurring supporting characters, from the multi-species Aliens for Hire to rival time travellers, the Time Riders, whose noses are severely put out of joint by the arrival of the Chronosmiths. But that world building will continue throughout series one with Kara, Jon and MH’s books as well as my own second offering. Watch out for other returning characters who will be introduced later in the run, beginning with a very significant figure who makes a dramatic entrance in Kara’s book, Eleanor’s Tears. It is all leading up to a dramatic finale in book six.

What are you working on next?
My next Chronosmith book is Sceptre of the Innocents, set right at the end of the Middle Ages in County Durham. It features a new alien species, plus the Zechos taking centre stage for the first time, an alien artefact that causes mayhem on the streets of Medieval England, rebellious nuns with a penchant for magic, and a leper turned boy bishop.


The Chronosmith Chronicles #1: After Vincent will be available soon!

Monday, February 10, 2020

THE CHRONOSMITH CHRONICLES: After Vincent Cover Reveal!

Altrix is proud (and more than a bit excited!) to announce that the first Chronosmith Chronicles installment, After Vincent, is about to launch! Edits are done, formatting is done, and the cover is also done.

Who'd like to see it?

Ginger Hoesly drew and designed the cover — following up on her work for Seasons of War: Gallifrey, Unearthed, and the currently-available Master Pieces.


More information on the book will be available shortly, including (soon!) purchase information! We're looking forward to finally kicking off this new series.

Look forward to more on After Vincent... and following that, news on the second book in the series, Eleanor's Tears!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

This Week: LAST CALL FOR MASTER SWITCHES!

black and gold roman numeral analog clock

Time is almost up! We're closing submissions for Master Switches, the follow-up to charity anthology Master Pieces, this Friday, January 31.

Check out the submission guidelines for a full briefing on the types of stories we're looking for. In short, where Master Pieces brought us stories of the Master on their own, Master Switches will bring the Doctor into the mix on the back foot.

In our first book, we examined what the Master does when the Doctor is away. Now, we want to know how the Doctor has inadvertently assisted them in their machinations. Like Master Pieces, the Master reigns supreme; unlike Master Pieces, the hero is now in the mix.

A full brief is given in the pitch materials, which you can find linked in the submission guidelines. But a few quick notes:

- Pairing Doctors and Masters from different eras is both allowed and encouraged.

- No multi-Doctor or multi-Master stories.

- Original Masters are allowed, but no original Doctors.

- Doctors and Masters up until the end of Series 10 era will be considered. We will not be publishing material featuring Doctor or Master appearances from Series 11 onward.

Reading Master Pieces is not required to take part in Master Switches; however, should you be interested, copies are now available. You can always pick up a digital copy if you want to read it quickly before you pitch!

Thanks to everyone who's responded so far, and we look forward to seeing what else comes in this week!

Monday, January 20, 2020

On the Black Archive

No photo description available.

If you've been following Altrix Books for a while, you'll know that both Paul and Kara have had the pleasure of working on Obverse Books's Black Archive line. For those unfamiliar, The Black Archive is a line of scholarly and critical works tackling individual Doctor Who stories from all eras of its run. The series has received praise from Doctor Who Magazine, Sci-Fi Bulletin, and many other places.

We're pleased to announce that our own Paul Driscoll has been brought on as an editor for the line! What that means for Altrix is... that we're very proud and looking forward to his work on it. While it's a big undertaking, it's not one that's going to upset the Altrix flow.


When The Black Archive started out, the intent was to have a book come out every few months. Philip Purser-Hallard headed up the line solo, in addition to putting out some installments of his own. Paul Simpson was brought on board to assist, and in turn the publishing schedule ramped up considerably. There are now nearly 40 titles out, with 50 and beyond already planned out into 2021.

Paul Driscoll has contributed Black Archives on The God Complex and the 1996 TV Movie, as well as a take on Stranger Things season 1 for the Black Archive's sister line. Readers following the beginning of The Chronosmith Chronicles won't be surprised to hear that, in addition to his new editorial status, Paul will be contributing another installment on Vincent and the Doctor in future.

If somehow our readers haven't delved into The Black Archive (and something tells us it would be of interest to you), now is a good time! Check out their back catalogue and pick something out to enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2020

STATE OF THE ALTRIX: A New Celestial Toyroom Annual, Sextet, and More!

Thank you to everyone who's currently enjoying our Master Pieces! If you've not picked your copy up yet, may we suggest that now is a perfect time to do so? Physical and digital copies are currently available, so you can hold it in your hands or start reading right away.


Speaking of reading right away, the 2020 Celestial Toyroom Annual is now available to download free from the Doctor Who Appreciation Society! This year's annual is focused up on Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, featuring reviews of each of his stories and a foreword by Katy Manning. Look for a review of "The Green Death" by Paul and Kara, and look-ins from other friends and associates of Altrix!


The Obverse Books anniversary sextet is also out in its entirety! The Sextet features works by Nick Campbell, Blair Bidmead, Nick Wallace, Simon Bucher-Jones, Jonathan Dennis, and our own Kara Dennison. Celebrate a decade of Obverse's most beloved characters. Books can be purchased individually or in a lovely set (with matching covers by Cody Schell).


Finally, don't forget we currently have two open calls!

The call for You Goes for the Remote is ongoing (at least for the time being). We want your essays on your interaction with your favorite British TV shows. If you've read the You and Who series and other related books, you know what to expect. Paul and Kara are editing the book in association with Watching Books, and we'd love to see what you have to say! Find out more here.

We're also still open for pitches for Master Switches, the upcoming sequel to Master Pieces. The new charity anthology will once again be raising funds for the Stroke Association — but this time, we invite you to mix and match Doctors and Masters to bring us devilish stories of the times our hero inadvertently helped his nemesis get a win. Pitches must be submitted by 31 January, so be sure to get them in!