Latest JJLA news


Cheryl Morgan, publisher of Wizard’s Tower Press, has acquired World English and ebook rights to three Crater School novels, a story collection and a school cookbook from Chaz Brenchley.  The agent was John Jarrold.

Chaz gives the background to this world:


“When I got married and moved to Silicon Valley, I found a NASA base just a couple of miles down the road, so of course that’s where I went to watch the transit of Venus.

“SETI headquarters is a short walk from our door, and they were holding weekly public symposiums where scientists would talk about their latest projects or discoveries or theories, and there was always a fair chance of finding more Nobel prizewinners in the audience than there were on the stage.

“Meanwhile, Curiosity had just landed on Mars, and that’s where all the conversation was focused. And I was an SF writer suddenly bumping elbows with planetary scientists, talking about the colour of the Martian sky, and is it any wonder that my creative mind started looking that way?

“At the same time, a parallel conversation was happening in steampunk circles, critiquing the way that Victorian England seemed to have become the default environment and the default aesthetic for the whole genre, and it didn’t really need to be that way. Which was both true and necessary to say, but it left me wondering what effect a different technology might actually have had on imperial ambitions and colonial history. If, say, the British had Mars—old Mars, a steampunk-adjacent Mars, with canals and breathable atmosphere and alien life and all—while the Russians got Venus…

“I’ve been writing stories for a few years now, where the rubric is essentially ‘If Mars were a province of the British Empire, then so-and-so would so have gone there,’ where so-and-so might be Oscar Wilde or T E Lawrence or A E Housman or any number of other candidates. And you don’t know this, but I am also a lifelong devotee of the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer; and if Mars were a province of the British Empire, then that cherished institution would absolutely have a sister-foundation there. It was already established in the canon that boys were sent back to England for their education, but girls were not; there would clearly be a need for boarding schools for the colony’s daughters.

“And hence—thanks to the generous support of my Patreon backers—the Crater School, offering an English education on an alien world. Set firmly within the school-story tradition of the 1930s, while at the same time equally firmly within the traditions of Old Mars. These books may be the most fun I’ve had at the keyboard in a great while, and I’m delighted to be able to bring them to a wider audience at last.”

Cheryl Morgan said:


“I have been a fan of Chaz’s work for a very long time. I am absolutely delighted to welcome him to Wizard’s Tower, and be able to bring the Crater School books to the wider audience that they deserve.”

The novels and collection will be published in spring 2021, autumn 2021, spring 2022 (collection) and autumn 2022.

More details about the cookbook will come in a separate press release.







• October 21st, 2020 • Posted in News

Michael Joseph/Penguin acquires ‘irresistible’ revenge thriller by Ashok Banker

Michael Joseph has acquired the revenge thriller A Kiss After Dying by Ashok Banker.

Publisher Joel Richardson acquired world rights in the novel from John Jarrold at the John Jarrold Literary Agency.

The novel begins with the chance meeting of two young people, Ricky and Hannah – or so Ricky thinks. Soon he finds himself falling for this enigmatic young woman, but we already know the danger he’s in: Hannah has revenge on her mind. And Ricky is only the beginning…

Banker is an Indian author born in Mumbai, now living in Los Angeles. The novel marks his international thriller debut, and was inspired by Ira Levin’s classic A Kiss Before Dying.

Richardson said: “You will never have read a thriller like this one, and you’ll never have met a heroine like Hannah. The cool fresh voice of this reminded me of My Lovely Wife, the audacious set up has echoes of The Kind Worth Killing, and the twist is genuinely jaw-dropping. I’ve had a long wait for an irresistibly good thriller, and I’m so delighted to be publishing this one.”

Banker said: “I’m an avid fan of psychological thrillers. I always wanted to write one that would deliver all the twists, suspense, thrills and drama of my favourite authors. I’m over the moon that Joel Richardson and Michael Joseph are publishing A Kiss After Dying. I wish Hannah good hunting as she goes out into the world!”

A Kiss After Dying is scheduled to be published in spring 2022.

• October 14th, 2020 • Posted in News



Peter Swirski 2020 Photo 1


The latest author to join the John Jarrold Literary Agency is Peter Swirski. His new book – soon to be submitted to major publishers in the UK and US – is a witty, intelligent SF thriller, Eureka. It’s the first in a series featuring Penser Hasso.

We are in the near future, on the moon. A permanent helium mining colony is on red alert. Even before a couple of miners get crushed in a suspicious landslide, one by one machines have begun to suffer from insanity attacks. This is, of course, absurd. Machines can’t go crazy. You must have a mind before you can lose it. Eureka puts a lie to this premise.

Penser, an expert in behavioural logic, is flown in to get to the bottom of the mystery. As the crisis deepens, he meets an old friend, makes new enemies, investigates Luna Mall and the helium mines, crosses paths and wits with a brilliant mysterious woman, investigates a runaway train crash that costs more lives and stokes more fear of sabotage in the outpost, and becomes a pawn in the local power plays – all while working towards a totally unexpected solution.

Early quotes:

“Fresh, smart, witty, original—sci-fi meets Chandler.” Alistair Beaton, author of Feelgood and Planet for the President

“A joy to read… William Gibson, Michael Crichton, and Groucho Marx combined.” Nicholas Ruddick, Canada’s leading scholar of science fiction

“EUREKA is a voice-driven and character-driven, darkly funny, scientifically grounded mystery set in a very cool place: the Moon. Peter Swirski’s writing is intelligent, funny, and crisp. Reads like a thriller, hits like a runaway train, leaves you aching for a sequel.” Nelson DeMille, perennial New York Times’ fiction best-seller

“Fast, stylish, and rudely funny—a classic space adventure!” Greg Bear, best-selling and award-winning SF novelist



And here is Stanislaw Lem, SF Grandmaster, on Peter Swirski: “Brilliant… deserves wide recognition… warrants complete faith in his work.”


Peter Swirski is a Canadian scholar and literary critic, featured in Canadian Who’s Who. A specialist in American literature and American Studies, he is the author of many books, including the prize-winning Ars Americana, Ars Politica (2010) and the staple of American popular culture studies From Lowbrow to Nobrow (2005). His other studies include American Utopia and Social Engineering (2011), American Political Fictions (2015), American Utopia: Literature, Society, and the Human Use of Human Beings (2020, Routledge textbook), and the digital-futurological bestseller From Literature to Biterature (2013). Among many others, it’s been reviewed by Times Literary Supplement (TLS):

zigzags across the fields of artificial intelligence, computing history, cognitive science, narrative theory, the evolution of men and machines, and post-Turing attempts to figure out how to identify computer intelligence if (Swirski would say when) it arises… a modern adventure story for the mind

and by The Montreal Review: “brilliant, cogent, erudite, and articulate… fascinating, unsettling, and profound… I can hardly think of anyone else who could so effortlessly and colorfully integrate philosophy of mind, robotics, literary studies, cultural trends, futurology, evolution and many other areas of intellectual analysis: names like Steven Pinker, Mat Ridley, or Douglas Hofstadter spring to mind.

His work has been praised by the likes of Jaakko Hintikka,  David Attenborough, Stanislaw Lem, E. O. Wilson, Douglas Hoftstader, Christopher Hitchens, Steven Brams and others. He is also the leading scholar on the late writer and philosopher Stanisław Lem.

Eureka is his first novel.

• October 2nd, 2020 • Posted in News


T R Napper


George Sandison of Titan Books has acquired World English Rights in a debut novel from Australian SF writer T R Napper. The agent was John Jarrold

Thirty-Six Streets is a cyberpunk thriller with lashings of military SF: Ghost in the Shell meets Apocalypse Now, set around 150 years in the future.

Lin ‘The Silent One’ Vu is a gangster and sometime private investigator. Born in Vietnam, raised in Australia, everywhere an outsider. She lives in Chinese-occupied Hanoi, in the steaming, paranoid alleyways of the Old Quarter – known as the Thirty-Six Streets.

Through grit and courage Lin has carved a place for herself in the Vietnamese underworld. But when an Englishman comes to Hanoi in search for answers over the murder of his dear friend, Lin’s life is turned upside down. She is drawn into the grand conspiracies of the neon gods: of regimes and mega-corporations, as they unleash dangerous new technologies in a quest for absolute power. Lin must confront the immutable moral calculus of an unjust war. She must choose: family, country, or gang. Blood, truth, or redemption. No choices are easy on the Thirty-Six Streets.

T R Napper was an aid worker for more than a decade, living throughout East and Southeast Asia. He designed and managed programs that enabled ethnic minority children in remote areas to receive an education, in communities where they never would have set foot in a school otherwise. During this period, he received a commendation from the Government of Laos for his work with the poor.

More recently he has been a stay-at-home dad and writer. He has returned to Australia after three years in Hanoi, where all he did was read battered science fiction paperbacks, explore the city with his son, and write, write, write in all the spaces in between.

T R Napper began writing fiction in 2013. Since then he’s sold short stories to the prestigious Asimov’s magazine, several to the excellent Interzone, and numerous others. His short fiction has been translated into Hebrew, French, German, and Vietnamese.

In 2017 he won the Aurealis Award for Best Short Story for “Flame Trees”, (Asimov’s Science Fiction, April/May 2016); and another of his stories “A Strange Loop” (Interzone, January/February 2016) was included in Neil Clarke’s Best Science Fiction of the Year. He was awarded a creative writing doctorate in 2019 for his thesis The Dark Century: 1946 – 2046. Noir, Cyberpunk, and Asian Modernity.

Among several current jobs, he works as a dungeon master for the local community centre, running a D&D campaign for young people with autism.

Bestselling novelist Richard Morgan has been fulsome in his praise of Napper’s debut short fiction collection, Neon Leviathan (2020):

“Haunting and iridescent – combines the paranoid weirdness of the best Philip K Dick, the chilly but cool-as-fuck future gleam of cyberpunk, and an achingly beautiful literary inflection reminiscent of mainstream heavyweights like Murakami or Ishiguro. T. R. Napper’s futures feel at once gritty and vertiginous and close-focus human in the way only the best SF can manage. Whatever roadmap he’s working from, I can’t wait to see where he’s taking us next.”

• July 30th, 2020 • Posted in News


Are you looking for the next big epic fantasy series? Orbit is thrilled to announce the acquisition of a brand-new trilogy from author R. S. Ford. With a unique magic system inspired by inventors and artificers, and a compelling cast of characters, this new series follows one family as they struggle to stop a dark revolution from tearing their country – and their family – apart.

The nation of Torwyn is ruled by the Guilds – a powerful group of families who control the country’s varying magical and mechanical industries. Over centuries the influence of the Guilds has grown, and now the people of Torwyn revere these idols of industry more than their history. But the once powerful Draconate Ministry has a new leader, and he is determined to restore the power of his faith. When a foreign emissary travels to Torwyn to broker peace, Lady Rosomon, matriarch of the Hawkspur Guild, is summoned to the capital with her children. Before she knows it, her heirs – an artificer, a mage-turned-diplomat, and a military captain – are sent to the far reaches of the nation, each with their own personal quest to defend Torwyn from those who would see it burn.

This trilogy is truly epic in scale, engineering a brilliant tale of impending revolution, prophesied draconic gods, magical artifice creations, loyalty, family, and more—a real doorstopper. You don’t want to miss out on this one, publishing in early 2022. Follow the author on Twitter to learn more about the lore.

Orbit US editor Bradley Englert acquired the trilogy for World rights from John Jarrold.

• July 30th, 2020 • Posted in News