WELCOME TO WYRDSTAR! An email contact form and other ways to get in touch are below. Alternatively, you can subscribe to the WyrdStar News RSS feed or sign up to the WyrdStar mailing list by saying a quick hello via the email. If you've found the plaque on Pioneer 10 or 11 (below), please be reassured that humans are mostly okay. (If you've found the disc on Voyager 1 or 2, record players are back in vogue, honest!)
WyrdStar has moved from the London address shown in early paperback editions of Hollow Moon and Paw-Prints Of The Gods. Please do not write to that address!
Thanks for visiting! Steph Bennion.
Do you have a query about WyrdStar books or music? Would you like to offer Atomic Twitten a gig? (pretty please!). It would be lovely to hear from you! A contact form is below, or see further down for email details. Please do not use Facebook Messenger as notifications are getting lost. Unsolicited messages aiming to sell goods or services will almost certainly be redirected into a virtual black hole somewhere in the internet sky...
|Email WyrdStar if you wish to get in touch. If you're trying to sell something, you'll wait in vain for a reply. Unless you want to buy a few books first (hint). Did I mention that WyrdStar books are well-worth buying...?
|The WyrdStar website has no fancy blog for readers to leave comments, but there is always the literary-minded social network site Goodreads. Steph is living proof that having a social network page is not the same as having a social life, but reading books is good.
|The main retailer for ebooks published by WyrdStar is Smashwords, the world's largest distributor of indie ebooks to major retailers and thousands of libraries. Steph will randomly offer discounts and freebies.
|The Worlds of Hollow Moon on the internet-based behemoth that is Facebook. This gets updated even less regularly than the WyrdStar website (it will get updated at some point, honest!), so prepare to be underwhelmed...
|Steph Bennion and WyrdStar on Twitter @WyrdStar. It took years for Steph to join the Twitter crowd (as pointed out in Steph's first-ever tweet, it undoubtedly means Twitter is not cool anymore) - tweets are few, but it's another way to get in touch.
WYRDSTAR BOOKS is the self-publishing venture of writer Steph Bennion for her science-fiction novels and short stories. Steph writes primarily science fiction for young adults and adults young-at-heart. These stories can be categorised as 'New Space Opera'; tales of interstellar mystery and adventure with heroes and villains, talking spaceships, funny little aliens, horrible giant spiders and wondrous yet hopefully plausible technology.
PROZAKVILLE RECORDS is the indie label set up years ago to distribute recordings by the London folk-rock cabaret band Danse Macabre. The label has recently been resurrected to distribute recordings by Hastings psych-rockers Ditch the Demon, in which Steph plays bass and writes songs. Taylor and Steph of Danse Macabre are now performing as Atomic Twitten.
In case you hadn't guessed, the WyrdStar website is also written and maintained by Steph. It was originally created using FrontPage Express on an elderly PC running Windows98 (this isn't a joke). Steph is learning how to code better web pages (and frowning a lot). The website isn't as bad as it used to be, honest.
* * *
Writers get into the habit of writing about themselves in the third person for book biographies and so on, so to continue this confusion I will do so here...
Steph Bennion was born and bred in the Black Country: to the uninitiated, this is an urban area in the English West Midlands, famed for its role in the Industrial Revolution. After spending too many years living in the big bad city that is London she moved to Hastings, a very nice town by the seaside. Her latest novel, The Avalon Job (2020), is the fourth instalment in her Hollow Moon series of space-opera mysteries for young adults and adults young at heart (the fifth and final instalment, Hollow Worlds, is coming along nicely). Before that came The Luck Of The Devil (2018), a departure from her usual space-opera stories for younger readers, under the by-line of Stephanie M Bennion.
Steph has been writing stories and songs since an early age, most of which had some degree of oddness to them. Anyone who ever came to a Danse Macabre gig and heard such ditties as "Killer Squirrels" and "You Stole My Heart (So I Stole Your Leg)" will testify to that. (There is a video of the latter on YouTube; Steph can be glimpsed playing bass...). Many years back her novel Hollow Moon was chosen to be a 'young adult space opera' read on the website for book-lovers Goodreads and an interview with Steph can be found here.
Steph has a particular love of science-fiction, which from an early age instilled an interest in astrophysics, futuristic space technology, iconic movies (see "Influences from the silver screen" on the Paw-Prints Of The Gods page) and television programmes such as Blake's 7 (Steph: See my page!) and Doctor Who. The Worlds of Hollow Moon were written as a reaction to the dearth of alternative heroes amidst young adult bookshelves swamped by tales of the supernatural (not that there's anything wrong with a bit of fantasy now and again). For every aspiring vampire or wizard, she believes that the world needs an astrophysicist, an engineer, or at the very least someone who will one day work out how to make trains run on time.
* * *
Steph Bennion is an author of science fiction for young adults and adults young-at-heart. Born and bred in the Black Country, she spent far too many years living in the big bad city that is London before moving in 2015 to Hastings, a very nice town on England's south coast. In addition to writing, Steph plays bass for Hastings rockers Ditch the Demon, double bass for folk/pop duo Atomic Twitten and is also a policy advisor for the UK Government, having previously worked in a bakery, a bookshop, a garage, a warehouse and for three whole months as a staff writer for a local advertising journal.
Steph has a particular love of science fiction in all its forms and avidly follows developments in real-life space technology. She describes her books for young adults as an attempt to bring together the adventurous spirit of the 'messing about in boats' books by Arthur Ransome with the futuristic science-fiction visions of Arthur C Clarke. Wider literary inspirations range from classic science-fiction writers such as Clarke, John Wyndham and Ursula le Guin to modern practitioners Peter Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds and the very funny Toby Frost (who deserves to be better known). Steph embraced self-publishing after becoming fascinated with the do it yourself' mentality reminiscent of 1970s punk. Much of her work is influenced by a love of music, with her novel The Luck Of The Devil in particular borrowing from her time as a songwriter and bassist for a London folk prog-rock band that singularly failed to set the world alight.
Hollow Moon and its sequels are space-opera tales of interstellar mystery and adventure, set in a 23rd Century when humanity has learned to cross the cosmos and reach the nearby stars. Readers will encounter reluctant heroes, fiendish villains, talking spaceships, clumsy freedom fighters, funny aliens, horrible giant spiders and wondrous technology, with a deft touch of humour throughout. Her first novel Hollow Moonwas independently published in 2012, followed by Paw-Prints Of The Gods (2013), City Of Deceit (2016) and The Avalon Job (2020). The novels are about those who live on the fringes of society as they battle the upheavals caused by those in power. Ultimately they are tales of friendships and of how people come together in times of need.
Away from the worlds of Hollow Moon, Steph has published two books under the name of Stephanie M Bennion. The Luck Of The Devil (2018) is a tale of a transgender woman's battle against malign forces, a thriller of both comedy and tragedy, set in a contemporary world of superstition, psychiatry and the surreal. The Battles Of Hastings (2016) is a short science-fiction novella written to commemorate the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror's victory over King Harold, featuring feisty adventurer 'Catastrophe' Jane Kennedy braving multiple realities as she tries to unravel the meddling of a rogue time traveller.
Steph Bennion’s 'WyrdStar' self-publishing imprint has also published the multi-author science-fiction and fantasy short-story anthologies Wyrd Worlds and Wyrd Worlds II, as well as Democracy: An Epitaph and Brexit: A Haiku Diary collections by London-based poet Lallafa Jeltz.
* * *
Science fiction and fantasy are often lumped together in bookshops as the line separating the two is not clear-cut. Readers however have their preferences and what one may call science fiction, another may not. In my own writing, I've come to define it (in my own head, anyway) thus: "Science Fiction holds a mirror to reality; Fantasy holds a mirror to dreams."
A useful definition from TV Tropes of the difference between the two genres is that Science Fiction is about the social consequences of improbable events or technologies, whereas Fantasy is just about telling a good story. Space Opera (think Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc) tends to blur the lines; 'New' Space Opera nevertheless prefers to at least try and explain the science bit rather than just dismiss it as 'future stuff that works like magic'. I like a bit of scientific rigour; the story always comes first, but if you come away knowing how artificial gravity in a rotating space station works, even better.
For those thinking of buying or downloading books as a gift for younger readers, the Worlds Of Hollow Moon science-fiction novels and associated short stories are aimed at young adults (and adults young at heart!), with a reading age of 12+. There is no sexual content or profane language!
For further information and links to all publications, please see the Books page.
Thanks for reading! Steph.
* * *
Cartoon of yours truly, from the Hastings Independent Press, © Pete Donohue 2016
* * *