A Scattering of Significant Books

Click on an Author to jump to the section concerned

Martin Booth Samuel R Delany
John Christopher Eloise Aascher
Adam Dreaming M John Harrison
Norman Stanley Porter Rodger Ansull


Hiroshima Joe

Book jacket hiroshima joe

Black Chameleon

Book jacket black chameleon

Dreaming Of Samarkand

Book jacket dreaming of samarkand


A Wrinkle In The Skin

Book jacket wrinkle in the skin

Sphere Books

The Death Of Grass

Book jacket death of grass

Sphere Books

The World In Winter

Book jacket world in winter

Sphere Books


Rodger Ansull is the food critic for the Birmingham Sunday Tribune. He is responsible for two of the more bizarre culinary publications in the past few years - Daddy Was An Ostritch (2000) and Love & Lard (2002) - both were widely serialised in the main broadsheets at time of publication. Less widely known are his love of mediaeval history and psychology (he holds a doctorate in the latter) which he put to good use in M is for Fish (2004). He maintains he is currently writing an autobiography.

M is for Fish

Book jacket m is for fish

Festivale, 2004

One fine November morning Sigmund Freud wakes to discover himself marooned in late fourteenth century England where he embarks on a voyage of discovery. No sexual more remains untouched and Ansull appears to have researched this part of history in remarkable detail. There are of course the obligatory jokes on codpieces and Freud's analysis of dreams - the tagline on the front cover is possibly by Ansull himself although the word 'Birmingham' is conspicuously absent from the newspaper name. Jokes aside this is a serious novel and the author's fondness for food also comes across in the banquet and market scenes. Wisely he has chosen to ignore the obvious Tom Jones parallel in preference to something far more unexpected.


There is so little biographical information on Norman Stanley Porter that it is very easy to come to the conclusion the author is exceptionally publicity shy. The black and white photograph on the back cover shows the author collecting an award for this only novel Damaged Gods. There are no other personal details.

Damaged Gods

Book jacket damaged gods

ffoulkes Press, 1997

A story of unrequited love between a carer and his charge, a young man badly injured in a sporting accident. Porter writes with such intensity than the reader begins to wonder if this story is wholly fictional. Like a moth to a flame the two protagonists circle each other, growing closer by stages; yet nothing in this relationship is easy: anger, rejection and desperation lie just beneath the surface. It is only obvious to the reader that these two people need each other badly, however the author avoids simplistic resolutions and instead concentrates on the rationales and guilt behind each action, weaving a taut line between them.

ADAM DREAMING (Jeroen Kascht)

Allegedly born under the shadow of the Statue of Liberty on a liner outbound from Rotterdam after the War, Jeroen Kascht was a typical aspiring author of the late sixties/early seventies sci-fi scene. A Detroit town reporter by profession he spent most of his spare time writing short stories under the (now very dated) pseudonym Adam Dreaming. Only a few such works made the leap from fanzine to mainstream anthology, viz.: Serpent Warlords of the Italbad [Best of Pulp SciFi 1968], Jason Storm [The Star Trawler and Other Tales, 1970] and probably his best known short work, Miss Lugubrious at the Electric Prom [in the cringingly-named StarSisters! 1971] where a time-travelling Quaker from the 1800s lands in a provincial high school in 1991. Indeed the latter was so highly praised for its depiction of a woman's point of view that many fans from the era refused to believe that Adam Dreaming was a man. Buoyed by the success of Miss Lugubrious he went on to write his only credited full-length novel, Miss Lugubrious on Mars, in which the heroine finds herself catapulted from rural Pennsylvania to a savage Mars, full of fire-breathing lizard men and slave girls. Unfortunately for the author, Edgar Rice Burrough's Estate found so many similarities between Dreaming's book and Thuvia, Maid of Mars that Boro Books felt obliged to withdraw Miss Lugubrious after only six months of sales. According to The SF Encyclopaedia Dreaming never wrote again, however there are unconfirmed rumours that he tried to publish a second novel titled variously The Paper Pygmies of Italbad or Jason Storm and the Paper Pygmies.

Miss Lugubrious on Mars

Book jacket miss lugubrious on mars

Boro Books, 1973

Whisked from her school by a cosmic maelstrom, Miss Charity Clayton Booth, a young teacher of some standing in Hope Town, Pennsylvania, finds herself marooned on a lush, verdant Mars. Soon captured by a barbarian king, Bybar the Thrent, she takes it upon herself to teach him the finer points of 'gentlemancy' whilst avoiding his amorous intents. The book ends when Charity finds the king a modest, though strong-willed, wife from among his former slave girls, and returns to earth riding a huge flying lizard - side-saddle, of course - to resume her former career.


Mainly known for her non fiction work on Radical Feminism (The Persistance of Vision: Women in Late Mesopotamia (1981), A Blind Eye to Logic (1986), Hairy Mary: A Modern Tragedy (2001)) Eloise Aascher has written three novels to varying degrees of acclaim. The Derogatory Dragon is perhaps the most mainstream and certainly the simplest one to shoehorn into the science fiction category. Unfortunately due to her outspokenness and unwillingness to compromise her fiction is only published by a small New York Women's Collective and thus has never had widespread distribution. Aascher's two other novels are romances of a sort: The Echoing Womb (1995) is the story of a young male-to-female transsexual and her struggle to come to terms with her inability to have a child. Lilith in the Forest (2003) is a fictional take on her case study of Mary Margaret Shoner who committed suicide after being ridiculed at school for her hirsuteness. Eloise Aascher currently works as a therapist in Jersey City.

The Derogatory Dragon

Book jacket derogatory dragon

Cherub2Cherub, 1987

Set in a neo-Victorian dystopia some two centuries into the future the hero, Mark Spermantus, stumbles across the remains of a twentieth century library whilst excavating the foundations of a new hospital for foundlings. This is his journey into the strange social setup of the past with its emanicpation of women and the equality of the sexes. He comes to see just what has been lost in two hundred years and begins slowly but inexorably to change his surroundings. The final stages of the novel tell of his cousin, Emeline Smith, and her struggle for suffrage, eventually throwing herself under the wheels of the Archbishop's perambulator on the evening of the Debutantes' Ball.


They Fly at Çiron

Book jacket they fly at ciron

Tor, 1993


The Pastel City

Book jacket the pastel city


Book jacket viriconium