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