Luna Press Publishing publishes books in the SFF genres. You'll find not only novels, but also their remarkable range of novellas and some non-fiction related to science-fiction and fantasy.
The reason I come back to Luna again and again is the tone of the stories Francesca Barbini, the publisher, picks. More often than not, they blur the genres, they offer nuance in their treatment of relationships, and they all have a strong sense of place or an original world building. I've found myself more than once mesmerised reading one of Luna's books and it's a feeling I love.
I've asked Francesca three questions so that she can introduce her press to you.
1. What can a reader expect to find in Luna Press books?
A bridge to their own emotions. I want each book to speak to its reader: we all approach a book for different reasons, hoping to draw something from it that will make us feel.
Our stories have all spoken to me in one way or another, regardless of the latest trends. Original, enchanting, epic, multi-layered, raw stories.
And of course, you will find a little bit of me! When you have a small press run by one person, you can catch a glimpse of their funder in the stories they choose to publish.
2. Tell us about two books you've published in 2022.
That’s a tough question! We published 13 books so far, 6 novellas, 3 novels and 4 non-fiction books … OK, I’ve gone heads or tails here, from the two sides of Luna.
Academia Lunare publishes speculative non-fiction and we’ve released 3 books so far. The lucky coin has chosen Gillian Polack’s Story Matrices: Cultural Encoding and Cultural baggage in Science Fiction and Fantasy. The heart of cultural transmission is how stories and the way we shape knowledge come together and make a novel work. Science fiction and fantasy illustrate this through shared traditions and understanding, colonialism, diasporic experiences, own voices, ethics, selective forgetting and silencing. They illuminate ways in which speculative fiction is important for cultural transmission. In this study, Gillian uses cultural encoding and baggage within speculative fiction to decode critical elements of modern English-language culture.
Must mention Cristina Casagrande’s Friendship in The Lord of the Rings, and Not the Fellowship. Dragons Welcome! as well, as they are totally fabulous.
As for our fiction, I’m going with Lorraine Wilson’s second novel, The Way the Light Bends. We published her debut novel last year, This Is Our Undoing, and although Light is dark fantasy, it is still as captivating. Set in Scotland, it tells the story of three siblings. When their brother Rob dies, two sisters lose the one thing that connected them. But then a year after her twin’s death, Tamsin goes missing. Despite police indifference and her husband’s doubts, Freya is determined to find her sister. But a trail of diary entries reveals a woman she barely knew, and a danger she can scarcely fathom.
Lorraine’s skills with bringing the characters to life is incredible; each page is packed with emotions which will stay with you long after you finish the story.
I must mention John Dodd’s debut SF novel Ocean of Stars, and Cat Hellison’s Fantasy Cast Long Shadows. They are absolutely amazing stories as well.
And you know how much I love the Luna Novella series, so a huge shout out to the talented authors of 2022: DJ Daniels, Nina Oram, Tiffany Jimenez, Russell Hemmell, Or luca, and Rhiannon A Grist.
3. What are the plans for 2023?
Next year will open with 6 brand new stories in the Luna Novella series – I started the series in 2020 and I was totally blown away by its success. Look out for future open windows!
At the start of April we will release Anna Smith Spark’s new novel, A Woman of the Sword, an epic fantasy seen through the eyes of an ordinary woman. Lidae is a daughter, a wife, a mother — and a great warrior born to fight. War is very much a woman’s business, but it’s certainly not kind to women. And not kind to mothers and their sons. I am so excited to publish this story: it’s challenging, and it deals with important gender-based issues.
On the non-fiction front, we will release the expanded and revised second edition of award-winning Tolkien’s Library: An Annotated Checklist, by Italian scholar Oronzo Cilli. Foreword and Afterword by the excellent Tom Shippey and Verlyn Flieger. This book is truly a rare contribution (and now a set text) in Tolkien studies, collecting what is known about the books that Tolkien owned and read. This will be a February release.
In April, we will release the fun…tastic Spec-Fic For Newbies, by Tiffani Angus and Val Nolan. Every year they see new students who want to write SFF/Horror but have never tried the genres, or have tried but found themselves floundering, or, worse, have been discouraged by those who tell them Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror are somehow not “real” literature. This book is for all those future writers. Tiffani and Val are approaching these three exciting fields by breaking them down into bite-sized subgenres with a fun, open, and contemporary approach. Each chapter will contain 8-10 subgenres, with a quick and nerdy history of each derived from classroom teaching practices, along with a list of potential pitfalls, a description of why it’s fun to write in these subgenres, as well as activities for new writers to try out and to get them started.
Finally, there is one more non-fiction project destined for September 2023. BUT… I can’t talk about it yet. Trust me though, the SF community will be really enriched by it.
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If you want to have a look at the Luna Press books I've reviewed, here they are! (Click on the cover to go to the review.)
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