Jeapes, Ben 1965-

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JEAPES, Ben 1965-
(Sebastian Rook)

PERSONAL:

Born 1965, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Education: Graduated from Warwick University.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, and publisher. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, England, editor, 1987-91; Learned Information Europe Ltd., Oxford, England, editor, 1991-97; Isis Medical Media, Oxford, editor, 1997-2000; founder and owner of Big Engine (publishing house), Abingdon, England, 2001-04; United Kingdom Education and Research Network Association, Oxfordshire, England, documentation officer, 2004—. Has also worked for Lawtext Publishing.

WRITINGS:

SCIENCE FICTION

His Majesty's Starship, Scholastic (London, England), 1998, published as The Ark, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Wingèd Chariot, Scholastic (London, England), 2000.

The Xenocide Mission, David Fickling Books (New York, NY), 2002.

The New World Order, David Fickling Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to Digital Dreams, edited by David Barrett, NEL, 1990; DECALOG 3: Consequences, Virgin Publishing, 1996; and DECALOG 4: Re: Generations, 1997. Contributor to periodicals, including Interzone, Aboriginal SF, Altair, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Odyssey, and Substance.

"VAMPIRE PLAGUES" SERIES; UNDER PSEUDONYM SEBASTIAN ROOK

Vampire Plagues: London, Scholastic (London, England), 2004.

Vampire Plagues: Paris, Scholastic (London, England), 2004.

Vampire Plagues: Mexico, Scholastic (London, England), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

British novelist and short-story writer Ben Jeapes is the author of a number of critically acclaimed works of science fiction and fantasy, among them His Majesty's Starship and The New World Order. Jeapes was introduced to these two genres through the television shows of his youth; as he stated on his home page, "An awareness began to creep in that Star Trek and Doctor Who contained ideas that couldn't really happen in the world as I knew it." "And it was this, I think," he continued, "that sparked in my infant mind the concept of what if? The ability to look at an aspect of our world and imagine it differently. This works just as well for fantasy as for science fiction: you can imagine what if magic were possible just as well as what if we could travel to the stars."

Jeapes made his literary debut in 1990, publishing the short story "Digital Cats Come out Tonight" in the anthology Digital Dreams. He contributed more than a dozen more stories to Interzone and other periodicals before his debut novel, His Majesty's Starship—published in the United States as The Ark—appeared in 1998. In the work, an alien race of quadrupeds, the First Breed, invites the people of Earth to share in the joint development of their home planet. Each nation will send a corps of diplomats to negotiate with the aliens, and the United Kingdom selects Captain Michael Gilmore, a self-doubting but capable leader, to carry the Prince of Wales aboard the starship Ark Royal. Suspicions abound, however; the humans mistrust not only the aliens but each other, and Gilmore must ultimately find a way to salvage the once peaceful mission.

Reviewers found much to praise in His Majesty's Starship. Lijana Howe, writing in SFX, called the work "a veritable fount of plot, characterisation and intrigue, with some astoundingly original ideas," and Times Educational Supplement contributor Jan Mark praised Jeapes's novel as characteristic of the "all solid traditional space fiction of the kind we see far too seldom now."

The Xenocide Mission, a sequel to His Majesty's Starship, concerns Joel Gilmore, an officer at an interstellar observation post which monitors a fearsome alien race called the Xenocides. After an attack on the outpost, Joel and his First Breed companion Boon Round flee to a dead planet while Joel's father, Michael, now retired, plans a rescue mission. "Told from the point of view of many characters and moving among the personalities, species, and power groups," a Kirkus Reviews critic described, The Xenocide Mission "allows details—historical, personal, and cultural—to emerge as the plot unfolds." The author's "imagination is at the service of a set of very real questions about how groups get on with each other," remarked a School Librarian contributor.

In Wingèd Chariot Jeapes introduces a future society wherein overpopulation no longer exists because of the Home Time, a system of time travel that allows humans to be redeployed throughout past eras and parallel timelines. The singularity that makes such travel possible is decaying, however, and the Home Time will end in twenty-seven years. The only hope for humanity, it appears, is to send someone to the past to deliberately alter the future. "The ideas being played with are hellishly complex, made more so by Jeapes's antic sense of humour," wrote Jan Mark in the Times Educational Supplement.

Set during the English Civil War of the seventeenth century, The New World Order is a "complex, ingeniously imagined alternate history," according to a critic in Kirkus Reviews. When a gateway opens to another world, allowing alien troops with modern weapons to join the conflict and seize power, it creates political intrigue, divided loyalties, and a clash of cultures. "There is a terrific cast of characters, which makes the political, religious, and actual battles that much more interesting," noted Kliatt reviewer Claire Rosser. According to a critic in Publishers Weekly, "Jeapes's novel is an admirable achievement on a technical and imaginative level."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2002, Sally Estes, review of The Xenocide Mission, p. 1416; January 1, 2005, Chris Sherman, review of The New World Order, p. 845.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2002, review of The Xenocide Mission, p. 369; January 15, 2005, Krista Hutley, review of The New World Order, p. 253.

Interzone, May, 1999, David Mathew, review of His Majesty's Starship; June, 2000, review of Wingèd Chariot; October, 2000, Molly Brown, "Memoirs of a Publisher," author interview.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of The Xenocide Mission, p. 658; January 15, 2005, review of The New World Order, p. 122.

Kliatt, March, 2005, Claire Rosser, review of The New World Order, p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, April 25, 2005, review of The New World Order, p. 57.

School Librarian, summer, 1999, review of His Majesty's Starship, p. 101; autumn, 2002, John Peters, review of The Xenocide Mission, p. 156; spring, 2005, Sandra Bennett, review of The New World Order, p. 47.

School Library Journal, June, 2002, John Peters, review of The Xenocide Mission, p. 140; April, 2005, Carolyn Lehman, review of The New World Order, p. 134.

SF Crowsnest, June, 2004, Stephen Hunt, "Big Ben," author interview.

SFX, June, 1999, Lijana Howe, review of His Majesty's Starship.

Times Educational Supplement, March 12, 1999, Jan Mark, review of His Majesty's Starship; March 10, 2000, Jan Mark, review of Wingèd Chariot; December 17, 2004, review of The New World Order.

Vector, January-February, 2005, review of The New World Order.

Voice of Youth Advocates, August, 2002, review of The Xenocide Mission, p. 202; April, 2005, Kevin Beach, review of The New World Order, p. 56.

ONLINE

Ben Jeapes Home Page,http://www.sff.net/people/ben-jeapes (October 20, 2006).

Emerald City Web site,http://www.emcit.com/ (March 1, 2004), interview with Jeapes.

SF Site,http://www.sff.net/ (October 16, 2006), David Mathew, "Ben Jeapes and Big Engine," author interview.