Mercury Rapids (Simon Murphy)
Customer Rating: (5 stars)
Posted on 10/4/2002
I found the book very well written and very interesting. Excellent characters
and locations. A very well written piece from a talented author.
Mercury Rapids (Pete Mayor)
Customer Rating: (5 stars)
Posted on 10/2/2002
I very enjoyable read. I liked the English setting. The characters had realism
to them and you felt drawn towards them making you feel for them. Look forward
to some more from a very talanted author.
Reviews at Amazon.com
FAST & FLOWING THROUGH A RIVER OF QUICKSILVER., January 7, 2003
(5 stars) Reviewer: MR SIMON MURPHY from Dewsbury, West
Yorkshire Great Britain
This book may sound like just another 'alien abductee, conspiracy, aliens taking
over the world' story. But its not. It is light and humorous yet thought
provoking. I found this book well written and well thought out with-yes the
aliens are trying to wipe out mankind and yes there are mysterious 'men in
black' but why they want to wipe us all out is well out of the ordinary not your
usual we need your planet for water, food etc.
The setting of this book is wonderful, old rural England with quaint locations
and very English characters, the main character is brilliant, a man who may seem
slightly gutless but when the chips are down...
All in all MERCURY RAPIDS is a fine read from begining to end and definitely a
must for SCI-FI fans.
I look forward to more from a talented author with much promise.
SIMON MURPHY AUTHOR OF THE VALENTINE ROSE.
Light and Witty., December 2, 2002
(3 stars) Reviewer: Christopher B. Jonnes from Stillwater, MN United States
Mercury Rapids makes a good beach read for a short vacation. Author Steven
Johnson has a witty, unique voice, which plays well with his irreverent
protagonist, astronomer Bill Lewis. The prose flows fast and easy with a
consistent cadence and enough action and mystery to keep the pages turning.
Lewis's comebacks elicit chuckles at a one-per-page rate. This is almost a space
And it's a good thing that Johnson wrote a funny book, because Isaac Asimov this
is not. The plot--alien Greys are abducting humans for experimentation and
eventual extinction, with a few embellishments--covers no new ground. Rod
Serling was doing this stuff fifty years ago.
The tale starts out strong. Lewis is a UFO skeptic who likes to have fun
debunking believers--at the expense of his ufologist ex-wife. But then he
himself is abducted, incised, and later visited by the ubiquitous Men in Black,
who warn him to keep his mouth shut. Nothing new, but so far so good.
Unfortunately, suspension of disbelief collapses as the MIB conspiracy expands
to include virtually everyone in British and American government and military.
Then, oddly, the protagonist and his now-friendly-again ex-wife get all
sentimental and decide to help some captured aliens (who've vowed to destroy
Earth) escape. This nice gesture alone seems to change the minds of the Greys
who have traversed millions of light years of space in their black triangles to
carry out God's will: destroy their errant genetic experiment, mankind. This is
"Can't we all just get along?" on a galactic scale.
If you can get past the lukewarm plot and any expectations of mind-bending
conspiracies, Mercury Rapids is a fun and worthwhile read. Steven Johnson is a
writer with tons of potential. --Christopher Bonn Jonnes, author of Wake Up Dead
Review at Sci-Fantastic
“‘There are no unidentified flying objects…no alien abductees…[and] no
extra-terrestrials visiting our planet.’” Dr Bill Lewis is absolutely adamant
that little green men exist only in the minds of movie makers and media moguls.
Unfortunately, his theories get debunked in the most radical of styles when he
is unceremoniously abducted by the aforementioned little green men (who are,
What follows is a fast-paced, light-hearted adventure which sees Lewis running
from the mysterious and machiavellian Men In Black. Cattle are slain, his house
is ransacked and his poor ex-wife’s house is blown up. Homeless and unable to
trust anyone, Lewis and Anne (Lewis’ ex-wife and a leading ufologist with a
penchant for “Roswell” earrings) are on the run. I’m not in the business of
giving away endings, but I will say that Johnson provides a thoughtful theory to
explain the alien’s ‘borrowing’ of humans to experiment upon.
But enough of the story. What of the writing quality? Well, Mercury Rapids is
Johnson’s debut novel and published by American print on demand press,
BookBooters, that fact is quite clear. There are annoying mistakes in the text
and layout that would surely have been ironed out by a conventional publisher.
Also, an editor might have given some constructive criticism on the plot, which
at times, requires a little more suspension of disbelief than one can summon.
It’s a shame, because I think with that extra guidance then this novel could
have stood up to its professional cousins.
However, don’t let that put you off. With the publishing industry becoming
harder to get into than Fort Knocks, it is inevitable that many quality writers
will be overlooked. As it stands, Mercury Rapids is a quick, refreshing read
that has several laugh-out-loud moments, a quirky, well-drawn protagonist and
the prose gets better and better with every page. With a little hard work, I’m
sure Johnson could break into traditional publishing. Definitely worth a look,
whether you’re a ufo enthusiast or you just want a laugh. At $8.95 it’s not
going to snap your credit card either.
© Sarah Dobbs
Interview at Sci-Fantastic
Steven Johnson is a British writer who lives with his young son, Aiden and
writes purely for pleasure. To find out more about his experiences with print on
demand publishing and whether we can expect a sequel to his debut novel, read
Many authors write from experience and Mercury Rapids is about government
conspiracies, cow mutilations and alien abductions. Do you write from first or
second hand experience?
Crikey, there's nothing like starting with the sixty-four thousand dollar
question!! Sorry to dash any hopes that I may be a government whistleblower,
though. I'm just an ordinary bloke with an interest in UFOs. I've read quite a
bit about the subject and seen countless documentaries, but I got a little fed
up with the grave seriousness with which other authors treated the subject and
decided to try and 'lighten it up'.
I wanted to write a story that was exciting and covered many UFO-related topics,
but to inject a little humour into it also. The subject of UFOs and what our
governments may or may not know about them is a genuinely important and serious
matter, but we all need to kick back and take things easy once in a while!
Are you a bit of a conspiracy buff?
I like a good conspiracy as good as the next man, but I wouldn't consider myself
Print on Demand is becoming an increasingly popular form of publishing. Why did
you choose it?
Well, after receiving my umpteenth rejections letter from a 'traditional'
publisher, I stumbled upon Bookbooters.com and decided to give them a go. The
initial outlay is not as much as one may think. The only difference between POD
and 'traditional publishing' is that POD houses don't have the financial clout
to really push a book by paying for signing tours, large scale advertising
campaigns etc. Much of the hard work is down to the author plugging their work
at every opportunity... heh heh.
Also with my publisher, Bookbooters, you have an open, non-exclusive contract
with them, so that if one of the big publishing houses shows an interest in your
work (hint hint), you aren't tied down and can change publishers quickly and
without any legal hassles.
Any tips for people considering POD?
POD is a good way to get to see how your work looks in print, but as with
'traditional' publishing, it is getting more difficult to get one's work
accepted. Gone are the days when you could write any old trash, fork out some
money and have a book in your hands within a couple of weeks. POD publishers are
getting more and more discriminating in only accepting works of a certain
quality. After all, they have their own reputations to uphold as well.
So, if you get knocked back by the big names, you can try POD, but it's no
guarantee that you'll definitely see your work in print.
What's an average day of writing like for you?
I'm not a 9-to-5 writer. I couldn't sit down for eight hours a day trying to
squeeze a story out of my brain, it would drive me bonkers! I try and aim for at
least a couple of pages per day, but if I don't hit that target, I'm not
concerned. Writing is still a hobby with me, you see, so I can do it whenever I
like, however I tend to do more when my little boy is at school. I'm easily
I am also terrible at thinking of something, NOT jotting it down and then
forgetting about it. I couldn't tell you the number of international bestsellers
that have slipped my mind! I even tried the old trick of sleeping with a notepad
by the bed (in case of midnight inspiration), but it just gathered dust!
With regards to writing, what are your plans/hopes for the future?
I just want to write what I want to write. I'd hate to be hassled by deadlines
Is there a sequel to Mercury Rapids on the horizon?
The writing in this novel is very lighthearted. Is your work inspired by other
humourists, such as Terry Pratchett, or do you read widely?
I'm a big fan of Douglas Adams and Harry Harrison. I think Harrison's Stainless
Steel Rat novels are Mercury Rapids' biggest inspiration (the humour, not the
plots). I'm essentially a lazy person, so I tend to veer away from huge,
ponderous novels. I did finish Dune once, though. If I can rattle through a
novel, enjoy reading it and look forward to more of that type, then I'm a happy
What's your opinion on the state of British commercial fiction today?
There seems to be more books on the shelves these days from more publishing
houses. Personally, I believe that's down to POD technology. It has become much
easier to get a novel prepared for publication - you just sort out your format
and use the wonders of the internet to zip a manuscript to the printers'!
I don't follow the trends, though, so I couldn't tell if it's better or worse
these days than it has been in the past.
Lastly, Mercury Rapids is dedicated to your young son. Is writing, what with all
its trials, tribulations and heartache, something you'd actually encourage your
son to do, should he be so inclined?
I think EVERYBODY should have a go at writing something, be it fiction, fact,
their life story or whatever. If my son ever said he wanted to take up writing
full time, I'd be behind him all the way. As with everything, it's always good
to have something to fall back on, so I'd remind him to always keep his options
open. Not that I ever have - ha ha!
Mercury Rapids is available from Bookbooters Press and you can visit the
author's website here.
© Sarah Dobbs, 2003
Review in UFO Magazine
(February 2003 issue)
•AUTHOR: STEVEN JOHNSON
•PUBLISHER: BOOKBOOTERS PRESS
•PAPERBACK 215 PAGES
Although published in the United States, Mercury Rapids is a new novel by debut
author Steven Johnson, who lives in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire with his young son,
Aiden. Mercury Rapids is the story of Bill Lewis. An astronomer by profession,
he has made a career out of debunking UFO sightings... until he encounters a UFO
for himself. As he struggles with his own beliefs, Lewis finds himself becoming
drawn into a war between the alien Greys and the secretive Orion Committee,
Britain's equivalent of Majestic Twelve.
Now he must fight not only for his own life, but for the lives of those around
Set in the United Kingdom, a credible set of characters caught up in a scenario
which relies almost totally on the official UFO cover-up premise, and whose
struggle against agencies more suited to combating terrorists, produce an
enjoyable, if at times, unbelievable plot. A cracking first novel, however, and
one that will strike a chord with readers.
Available online in paperback and e-Book format at www.bookbooters.com Also
through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Borders
Mercury is rising
by Steven Johnson
DEWSBURY could well have a bestselling author on its
hands - if Steven Johnson's debut is anything to go by.
Steven, who lives in [the town] with his son, Aiden, has written his first
sci-fi novel tells the story of Bill Lewis, an astronomer who has made a career
out of debunking UFO sightings until he encounters a UFO himself.
struggles with his own beliefs, he finds himself becoming embroiled in a war
between the alien Greys and the secretive Orion committee. Now he must fight
not only for his own life, but for the lives of those around him.
all; believable characters, action, romance and plenty of conspiracy.
story, which has a
feel to it, never has a dull moment and a new twist is always around the
popular demand, Steven is working on a sequel, and I for one can't wait to get
my hands on it.
available to order now from most book shops and through the internet. It can
also be bought direct from his publisher, Bookbooters, on www.bookbooters.com.
It is also available at Dewsbury Books, on
THE THOTH IMPERATIVE
Reviews at Amazon.com
Strap yourself in!,
March 18, 2004
Reviewer: Katherine Reece (Clanton, AL United States)
As a long time fan of science fiction I realize that there are two sorts of
scifi books. The first fills the pages with so much technology jargon that the
reader feels that having degrees in electronics and physics are a prerequisite,
the second type concentrates on the characters and leaves the engineering
schematics as a background. Happily the Mercury Rapids series by Steve Johnson
fits into this second type.
Mercury Rapids: The Thoth Imperative is the latest book by Steve Johnson and the
second book in his Mercury Rapids series. When reading this series you should be
advised to find a nice quiet nook and most importantly a comfy chair with
seatbelts. I think the author should officially change his name to Steve
The Thoth Imperative takes the reader for a rollercoaster ride as the hero, Bill
Lewis, races from England to a secret area in the U.S. surviving attacks and
abductions by aliens along the way. The plot twists and turns while the reader
is left gasping and thankful for seatbelts on comfy chairs.
However the two things that impress me the most about the writing of Steve
Johnson is the dialogue between his characters which is superb and utterly
realistic, and he has an incredible sense of humor that shines through.
If you like science fiction, action, or just plain out and out good reading then
this series is a must have! Just don’t forget to install those seatbelts first!
Katherine Reece ( Owner of 'In
The Hall of Ma'at' )
IMPERATIVE YOU GO AND GET A
COPY!, March 18, 2004
Reviewer: Simon Murphy (Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, Great Britain.)
Part II of Mercury Rapids by Steven Johnson. What can I say!
I loved it! A really good read that followed smoothly from the first book. The
author has kept all the main characters true to the first read so you can pick
it up and feel right at home with them. The story is exciting and keeps you
wanting to turn that page to read more! If you have read Mercury Rapids
then you will know that Steven Johnson's writing style is excellent and this
second instalment is no exception, another top read. Can't wait for part III!
Simon Murphy Author of: THE VALENTINE ROSE & THE MURDERS OF MUTCHROSE VILLAGE.
THE MOUNTAINS OF
Another Fantastic Book from
Steven Johnson, September 15, 2005
Reviewer: Katherine Reece (Clanton, AL United States)
The Mountains of Tomorrow is a deeply satisfying conclusion to the
Mercury Rapids trilogy. Filled with action and drama it rockets the reader
from secret bases in the United States to England and then off into space to
battle The Others. Would the Greys survive? Will Earth survive? Who is The One?
And will Bill and Anne ever be able to have a quiet cuppa?
Steven Johnson is an extremely talented writer. Reading the series I've been
most impressed especially with his dialogue between the characters. In many
books the interaction between the characters is flat and seems forced, but not
I'm looking forward to more books from this author!
Katherine Reece ( Owner of 'In
The Hall of Ma'at' )
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