First off, folks, many thanks (and hearty congrats one and all)

. . . for all the books you bought over Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Mauve Monday and all the other colourful phrases we employed for your edification and amusement. Let me tell you, we had to frog-march the entire PS Towers staff across the greensward to the warehouse where they have been busy wrapping and packing for the best part of a week. Bless 'em all. Enjoy your books and lap up the stories: a lot of good stuff went your way last week but hey, fear not, mi compadres cos there’s a heap more new excitement heading your way. Like this one . . .

You know—and stop me if you’ve heard this before . . .

Every once in a while in this crazy bidness something comes along out of left field, powered like a meteor and side-swipes you for all its worth. We’ve had more than our fair share here at PS but I have to say one author has tallied a dizzying run: I’m talking here about the remarkable Lavie Tidhar.

And so it is that, on the back of (in no particular order and all of ‘em with PS motifs on their spines)


he’s turned in UNHOLY LAND.

“Lavie Tidhar does it again. A jewelled little box of miracles. Magnificent.”

—Warren Ellis, author of GUN MACHINE

“Extraordinary, confronting, intriguing. UNHOLY LAND is a dream of a home that’s never existed, but is no less real for that: a dream that smells like blood and gunpowder. It’s precisely what we’ve come to expect of Tidhar, a writer who just keeps getting better.”

—Angela Slatter, author of the World Fantasy Award-winner THE BITTERWOOD BIBLE

“There are SFF writers. There are good SFF writers. And there is Lavie Tidhar. In a genre entirely of his own, and quite possibly a warped genius, he rummages in the ruins of our centuries and our genres and makes out of them something strange, dark and utterly unique. There is no one like him writing in genre today. UNHOLY LAND is a twisted piece of alt-history/geography that refuses to go where lesser writers would drive it. Bold and witty and smoky, it plays games and coquetries, makes dark dalliances, and will leave you dazzled and delighted.”

—Ian McDonald, author of TIME WAS

“Lavie Tidhar’s daring UNHOLY LAND brilliantly showcases one of the foremost science fiction authors of our generation.”

—Silvia Moreno-Garcia, World Fantasy Award-winning editor and author of CERTAIN DARK THINGS.

“Lavie Tidhar takes us through a haunting, mesmerizing Judea, across multiple timelines into the promised night shelter in British East Africa. Here is an expedition at once proposed and taken, an alternate reality in which the holocaust is averted but the mechanics of displacement remain the same, where people are oppressed and oppressor at the same time. A genius, dreamlike fantasy for those who slip across might-have-been worlds.”

—Saad Z. Hossain, author of ESCAPE FROM BAGHDAD

“By combining spatiotemporal mind games reminiscent of Steven Hall’s THE RAW SHARK TEXTS with a cosmopolitan wit evocative of Graham Greene’s screenplay for THE THIRD MAN, Lavie Tidhar has given us a mystically charged, morally complex vision of Theodor Herzl’s famous Jewish state that might have been.”


UNHOLY LAND is a stunning achievement. It is packed to the brim with engaging ideas and features a captivating story . . . beautiful and thought-provoking.”

The Speculative Shelf

Here’s a sneak preview:

Years ago, prompted by the vague recollection of a childhood story, I visited the Wiener Library in London. There, stored on microfilm, I found the 1904 report of an ill-fated expedition to the Uasin Gishu region, in what was then British East Africa. The expedition was sent by Theodor Herzl, the ailing leader of the Zionist movement, due to an extraordinary offer extended to him by Joseph Chamberlain, the British colonial secretary at the time.
The offer: a piece of land on the border of Uganda that would be set aside as a Jewish homeland.
  In the midst of a vigorous debate in the Zionist Congress—between the “Territorialists” who favoured any available land and the “Holy Landers” who were determined on settlement in then-Ottoman Palestine—Herzl saw fit to nevertheless commission a small expedition to the territory.
  In 1904, a young Russian Jew named Nahum Wilbusch departed Trieste on board the S.S. Africa, bound for the port of Mombasa. There he was joined by two unlikely companions: Major Alfred St. Hill Gibbons, a noted British explorer and old “Africa hand,” and Alfred Kaiser, a Swiss naturalist.
   The three men arrived in Nakuru, on the border of the proposed settlement, on the 18th of January. There they were delayed waiting for their luggage and while Gibbons attempted to round up porters for the expedition. It kept raining. By the 28th they had made camp in the territory.
    The expedition did not fare well. In their two months traversing the Uasin Gishu plateau, Wilbusch became lost and separated from the others, while a hostile force of Nandi attacked the men toward the end of the journey.
    Their reports are striking in difference: where Gibbons sees a pleasant, fertile land, Wilbusch sees no sign of water or pasture. Both reported the settlement of native tribes in the area.
    From Mombasa, Wilbusch travelled to Palestine. He returned an overwhelmingly negative report on the possibility of Jewish settlement in British East Africa, an offer seen, by its proponents, as a
Nachtasyl, or “night shelter,” for the beleaguered Jews of Europe. By the time the members of the expedition returned their reports, Theodor Herzl was dead, and the “Holy Landers”—to whom Wilbusch, it seemed, had belonged all along—had won sway over the Zionist Congress. The plan for Jewish settlement in Africa was abandoned, and today remains merely a curious footnote to history. A perhaps apocryphal story tells of an aging Wilbusch flying over the territory many years later, ruefully reflecting that the Holocaust might never have happened had the plan gone ahead. But this is the nature of what-ifs: that they are merely flights of fancy, and not to be taken too seriously.

* * *

A decade after I’d first read the Expedition’s report I was living back in Israel for a time. There we inhabited a small, cramped apartment a stone’s throw away from the old city of Jaffa. Set in the ruins of an old Arab cinema, it was joined together with the other flats by a small stone courtyard in which grew a solitary orange tree, planted there by the original owner many years before.
    We lived next door to the old Alhambra Theatre, a giant art deco building where Umm Kulthum and Farid al-Atrash both once performed. It stood abandoned for years and was now undergoing construction work. Twice we were woken up to the sound of gunfire. The first time someone had attempted to set the place on fire. The second, they tried to ram a truck full of explosives into the building. No one was entirely certain why this was happening.
    I walked through the Jaffa flea market nearly every day, stopping at a café on the corner by the old Ottoman clock tower, from where I could hear and smell the sea. Traffic moved sluggishly across the road in the heat. Once I arrived to find the waiter crying soundlessly, all the while carrying out his duties. I never did find out why.
   The flea market itself was vast, and filled with hard-lived people selling every manner of abandoned and unwanted things. It lay in the shadow of the old town and its ancient Egyptian fort on the hill. There was too much history all mangled together in that place.
    It was here that I picked up treasures of dubious provenance. Old Hebrew erotica and westerns, a Zionist romance pamphlet and an early adventure of
David Tidhar: The First Hebrew Detective, from 1938 or so, with an advert at the back for the Landwer Café in Tel Aviv, for which the great draw was a new, electric radio.
    One night, it might have been spring, I dreamed of Palestina. It was a nation in a world that’s never been, a Jewish state founded in East Africa. I saw for myself the white buildings of Ararat City, the refugee camps across the newly-built separation wall in Nakuru, and the mercenaries fighting under the shadow of Mount Elgon as a herd of elephants silently trespassed under a full moon. The dream lingered in my mind. A few months later, I left Israel once again. By then they’d just arrested the man behind the attempted attacks on the Alhambra next door. He turned out to be a Jewish lawyer from north Tel Aviv, who’d hired a group of Arab bombers to carry out the job simply so that he could claim the extra money on the insurance. In the event, he wasn’t even convicted. Some things, I’m afraid, you just can’t make up.
    But by then I was living elsewhere.

Gang, you need to read this!

Like John Peel said on the radio, one long-ago Sunday while Paul and I and the rest of our chums laid on the greensward at Roundhay Park, saying it about Love’s then brand new single, ‘The Castle’ “you need to buy two copies . . . one to play and one to wear around your neck”.

So I now need to say go buy two copies of UNHOLY LAND . . . one for your shelf and one for your pocket, to carry it wherever you go. Tidhar’s prose sings to you and he’s the finest crooner there ever was. Okay, okay . . . I hear some muttering that I’m going a little over the top. Well, Cisco, go find Pancho and ride the hell outta here. If anything, I’ve undersold it.

UNHOLY LAND will be available as a limited numbered edition (100 copies signed by Lavie Tidhar) housed in an illustrated slipcase and including:

  • "The Road to Unholy Land" —a postscript  by Lavie exclusive to our edition (1000 words)
  • "The Time-Slip Detective" — by Lavie Tidhar — a short 'seed' story (3000 words) for the novel, also exclusive to our edition.

And I’ve waxed pretty lyrical this past few weeks about Stephen Volk’s wondrous THE DARK MASTERS TRILOGY.

But, hey, it’s a week of talking about great books, so here are three more resounding thumbs-ups . . . but surely you’ve bought this baby already by now!

"Volk touches on dark and difficult themes - and he does it with carefulness, realism and respect. He stresses the importance of heroes and monsters and that often people are scarier and more dangerous than any supernatural villain . . . The Dark Masters Trilogy is a unique book and a fantastic read, and definitely a must-read for any horror fan"

—Magdalena Selata, Diabolique Magazine

"I beg you to purchase this gorgeous trilogy and be devoured by the words of a true master . . . The dialogue is seamless, the plots have an addictive pace that urges you to turn pages quicker than your fingers can manage. This is a writer that is absolutely at the top of his craft"

Black Sunday Magazine

“For aficionados of the macabre, this is industrial-strength catnip—a truly beguiling trilogy of novellas by a writer who has long been a master of the genre.”

—Barry Forshaw

And now I’ve rambled enough. I’ll hand you over to Nicky for her weekly “where we’re at” update.

Production for the next edition of BEST NEW HORROR (#29) edited by Stephen Jones is well underway The two signing sheets have been posted out to their various destinations and Mike is busy working on the design as I write this.

Meanwhile, the signing sheets for BY THE LIGHT OF MY SKULL have been signed by Jeff Potter and he’s already popped them in the post to PS.

The signed edition for THE LONG WAY HOME is moving along nicely. The slipcase manufacturers are now working on the slipcase and the signing sheet should be going out to the author very soon.

Many of you have ordered the unsigned edition of this title from Cemetery Dance. The books have set off on their travels. Hopefully they won’t take too long to reach you.

And finally, the deluxe edition of THE WIND IN HIS HEART is almost ready to be printed but as this book needs a traycase then it’s certainly not going to be ready until early spring.

But before I pass you back to Pete, a quick update on orders. Carole tells me she needs just one more shift at the unit to clear the last of the mountain of orders that came in over the weekend. Some of you have informed us your books have arrived already. If yours haven't landed yet, you should be recieving them very soon.

The exception of course is Canada, who we understand is at a standstill due to some industrial action with the postal service. Hopefully, the situation will be resolved soon and we will update you as and when we receive more information.

Postage deadlines over the festive period.

The Royal Mail have given us some guidelines on the deadlines for international posting. So if you are thinking about buying books as gifts (and why wouldn't you!) then please bear these dates in mind.

December 7th - Asia, Cyprus, Far East, Eastern Europe (except Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia), Malta

December 8th - Caribbean, Central and South America

December 10th - Australia, Greece, New Zealand, Turkey

December 14th - Canada, Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, USA

December 15th - Finland, Sweden

December 17th - Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Portugal, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland

December 18th - Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg

Thanks, Nicky.

Lots of good stuff to talk to you about so get ready! Meanwhile, only three and a bit weeks to the shortest day . . . and already we‘re working on new thrills ‘n’ spills. Have a fab weekend, look after each other . . . And happy reading.


PS Publishing

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United Kingdom