By Carl Slaughter: Project Elfhome, the latest installment of Wen Spencer’s Elfhome series, came out September 6 from Baen. Tinker, the first story in the series, won the Sapphire Award for Best Science Fiction Romance Novel. Spencer won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2003. Her Alien Taste, the first in her Ukiah Oregon series, won the Compton Crook Award in 2001.
BACKGROUND ON THE ELFHOME SERIES:
Pittsburgh: a sprawling modern Earth city stranded in the heart of a virgin forest on Elfhome. Sixty thousand humans, twenty thousand black-winged tengu, ten thousand elves, an unknown number of invading oni, four unborn siblings of an elf princess, three dragons, and a pair of nine-year olds geniuses.
For every story written, there’s a thousand others not told. Lives interweave. Fates intersect. People change one another, often without realizing the impact they’ve made on others. They come together like a mosaic, little pieces creating a greater picture.
Project Elfhome tells the stories of those impacted by Tinker and Windwolf as they struggle to make Pittsburgh a safe haven. Some of the characters are familiar: Stormsong, Pony, Blue Sky, and Lain. Others are new to readers.
PROJECT ELFHOME JACKETCOPY
Law forages for wild plants and fish to sell to elf enclaves. A social misfit, she drives a hundred-year-old Dodge, has a pet porcupine, and saves damsels in distress in her spare time. A mysterious phone call sets her on a collision course with danger as she races to save a young female elf.
Jane Kryskill is the producer for the popular TV series Pittsburgh Backyard and Garden. She spends her days keeping her host, Hal Rogers, from getting himself killed as he takes on man eating plants. She’s not happy when the network drops famed naturalist Nigel Reid and his cameraman in her lap to film Chased by Monsters.
Olivia is sixteen, a runaway wife of a religious cultist, illegal immigrant, and soon to be mother. As Pittsburgh plunges into war, she makes a desperate bargain with the mad elf lord, Forest Moss.
As the war between the elves and the oni builds to a head, these three women struggle with their own problems, supported by a circle of unique
PRAISE FOR WEN SPENCER AND ELFHOME:
About Wen Spencer’s Elfhome series:
“Spencer’s intertwining of current Earth technology and otherworldly elven magic is quite ingenious.” —Booklist
“[M]aintains the series’ solid quality. . . . The girls are endearing without being twee, and bright but not implausibly brilliant, and Spencer’s prose remains engaging. The melange of science fiction and fantasy tropes, starships rubbing shoulders with proud elf warriors, is uncommon but tasty. Established fans will enjoy this installment, and those unfamiliar with the series or Spencer may find it an intriguing introduction to her work.”—Publishers Weekly
About Wen Spencer:
“Wit and intelligence inform this off-beat, tongue-in-cheek fantasy. . . . Furious action . . . good characterization, playful eroticism and well-developed folklore. . . . lift this well above the fantasy average. . . . Buffy fans should find a lot to like in the book’s resourceful heroine.”—Publishers Weekly on series debut Tinker
About Wen Spencer’s Eight Million Gods:
Eight Million Gods is a wonderfully weird romp through Japanese mythology, culture shock, fan culture and the ability to write your own happy ending. It is diverting and entertaining fantasy.”—Galveston County Daily News
- Tinker (2003)
- Wolf Who Rules (2006)
- Elfhome (2012)
- Wood Sprites (2014)
- Project Elfhome (2016)
- “Wyvern” in Faire Tales (2004), Elfhome #0.5
- “Bare Snow Falling on Fairywood” (2014), Elfhome #0.9
- “Pittsburgh Backyard and Garden” in Free Short Stories 2013 (2013), Elfhome #1.1
- “Blue Sky” (2012), Elfhome #2.5
- “Peace Offering” in Free Short Stories 2012 (2012), Elfhome #3.1
SPENCER’S INTRODUCTION TO THE ELFHOME SERIES:
I learned how to read before I started kindergarten. I was an avid reader, devouring entire libraries’ worth of books. Unfortunately, since I read quickly, as soon as I found something I loved, I would have read all that was available.
Eventually I realized that if I wanted an unending supply, I was going to have to make it up myself. So I did.
The problem with being a writer is it’s a skill that doesn’t turn off easily once you have it ramped up to novel-a-year speed. It kind of goes into overdrive and every chance it gets, it spits out more ideas than you can possibly use. How did these established characters first meet? How did that person get his name? What was it like building a railroad through virgin forest filled with monsters? What if your brother was half-elf? What would a garden DIY show be like on a world with man-eating plants?
I write down all story ideas because a year goes by faster than I ever thought possible. At the end of the year, the next novel has to be queued up. At some point, I decided to make the ideas that didn’t fit into novels into short stories. Some of the short stories grew into novellas. Some ideas, however, stayed less than short stories.
Meanwhile I started to read fiction online. Okay, to be totally truthful, I started to read fan fiction online. There were a handful of worlds and characters where I once again devoured everything the author wrote. Other fans, however, had stepped forward to explore all the possible angles. I loved the explorations into lives of characters who didn’t have a point of view in the original story. I liked it when the fans took the plot in different directions just to see what it might have been like. And most of all, I was envious of the idea of dribbles and drabbles and such, where a moment is explored and yet not expanded. They were little snapshots of fiction—dependent on the knowledge of the original work—and yet always so vividly drawn.
I wanted to be able to use that freedom to weave something that wasn’t a novel, but something more than just a collection. With drabbles and short stories and novellas, I wanted to make a mosaic of the world of Elfhome. I titled it Project Elfhome and started to collect bits and pieces.
What you hold in your hands is the end result. This is a collection of novellas, short stories, and drabbles that join together to make a cohesive picture of four worlds colliding in one space. The City of Pittsburgh on Elfhome.