It is with great pleasure that IFWG can announce the three-book deal with Janeen Webb and Andrew Enstice, of their City of the Sun alt-history series. “I have huge respect for these wonderful authors,” said Managing Director Gerry Huntman, “and the scale and world-building that comprises the series ensnared our imaginations and drew us in from page 1 of the first manuscript, Five Star Republic. As an Australian, and interested in its history, there are amazing what-if moments that have left me gobsmacked, and wanting more. These books will, nevertheless, be of major interest on the international stage, as the series will encompass world history and science.”
This is the future you’ll wish we’d had.
The first book, Five Star Republic, is the story of a revolution. It begins with a stockade. The flag of independence is unfurled. Men driven beyond endurance by violently enforced and oppressive taxation take arms against British redcoats. At the forefront are two hundred Colt-wielding California Rangers, led by the charismatic and idealistic Captain James McGill.
But this is not America. The date is 1854. And the place? The Eureka Stockade, part of the richest prize on earth – the goldfields of the British colony of Victoria.
This is not a revolution that will be won by force of arms. The stockade falls. The Rangers are scattered. The British Empire – it seems – has triumphed.
But from the ashes will rise a new Revolution – a green revolution, powered by the sun. And this one will not fail.
This series is firmly grounded in the detail and technology of the time. Some of the period’s most colourful characters are integrated with the fictional ones: the cast includes James McGill and Charles Ferguson, and their California Rangers; Lola Montez and her infamous “spider dance”; the eight-foot Chinese giant, Chang Woo Gow; former courtesan Celeste, Countess de Chabrillan, who has spent her husband’s fortune and travelled with him to the goldfields to seek another one; flamboyant and eccentric millionaire (and US presidential candidate) George Train; entrepreneur and publisher E.W. Cole; Clara Seekamp, publisher of the Ballarat Times; US Consul to Melbourne, James Tarleton; and, of course, Captain John Ericsson, designer of the first iron battleship, the USS Monitor – and the solar-powered steam engine.
Janeen Webb is a multiple award winning author, editor, and critic who has written or edited a dozen books and over a hundred essays and stories. She is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award, the Peter MacNamara SF Achievement Award, the Australian Aurealis Award and four Ditmar Awards. Her most recent book is The Dragon’s Child (PS Publishing, UK, 2018). Her short story collection, Death at the Blue Elephant, (Ticonderoga, WA) was shortlisted for the 2015 World Fantasy Award.
She has taught at various universities, is internationally recognised for her critical work in speculative fiction, and has contributed to most of the standard reference texts in the field. She holds a PhD in literature from the University of Newcastle.
She has lived in numerous countries, and currently divides her time between Melbourne and a small farm overlooking the sea near Wilson’s Promontory.
Andrew Enstice won the Bridport Prize for poetry at the age of nineteen. He was awarded a scholarship to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, graduating MA, and holds a PhD from Exeter University. His first book, Landscapes of the Mind (Macmillan, UK) remains the definitive study of Thomas Hardy’s literary landscape in his Wessex books.
He swapped the academic world for life as a scriptwriter and producer with Granada Television in Manchester, UK. He lived for a while in the mountains of Northern Italy, hiked in Sumatra and northern Thailand, and travelled round Australia before settling in Melbourne, where he taught in various universities.
He now lives in rural Victoria. He has written and directed for the theatre – his play about the nineteenth century gold rush, Crossing the River, premiered in Melbourne. He has published numerous works, quite a few with Janeen Webb.