The History of The Alchemy Press

The Alchemy Press was created in the 1990s by Peter Coleborn, with the aid of a National Lottery Grant. The first book published was The Paladin Mandates by Mike Chinn (ISBN 978-0-9532260-0-9), which appeared in 1998. The cover artist was Bob Covington. The Paladin Mandates included six stories featuring the pulp hero Damian Paladin.

The second book was also published in 1998: Shadows of Light and Dark (ISBN 978-0-9532260-1-6), a poetry collection by Jo Fletcher. This was a limited edition book, which was signed by Fletcher, Neil Gaiman (for the introduction), Les Edwards (cover artist), Seamus A Ryan (photography), and Michael Marshall Smith (design).

In 2000, the Alchemy Press published Where the Bodies are Buried (ISBN 978-0-9532260-2-3), a collection of four interlinked stories by Kim Newman. Again, this was a limited edition, signed by Newman, Peter Atkins (introduction), Sylvia Starshine (cover artist), and Randy Broecker (interior art). Where the Bodies are Buried won the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection, presented in the following year.

Both Shadows of Light and Dark and Where the Bodies are Buried were co-published with Airgedlámh Publications.

Swords Against the Millennium, edited by Mike Chinn, also appeared in 2000, and was co-published with Saladoth Productions. Swords was the press’s first anthology, collecting eleven stories by Ramsey Campbell, Simon R Green, Stan Nicholls, Lisanne Norman, and Anne Gay among others. The cover painting was by Bob Covington. This book was available in two editions, a regular paperback (ISBN 978-0-9532260-3-0) and as a limited edition (ISBN 978-0-9532260-4-7), signed by all the contributors.

Beneath the Ground (ISBN 978-0-9532260-5-4), edited by Joel Lane appeared in 2003. This anthology, with a cover painting by Jim Pitts, included thirteen stories by Tim Lebbon, Ramsey Campbell, Nicholas Royle, Simon Bestwick, and others.

After a gap of eight years the next Alchemy Press book to appear, in 2011, was Rumours of the Marvellous (ISBN 978-0-9532260-6-1), a collection of fourteen stories by Peter Atkins. Once again, this was co-published with Airgedlámh Publications. Rumours of the Marvellous was a limited edition, signed by Atkins, Glen Hirshberg (for the introduction) and Les Edwards (cover artist).

Sex, Lies and Family Ties, The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders and The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes all appeared in 2012.

Sex, Lies and Family Ties (ISBN 978-0-9532260-7-8) by Sarah J Graham (with cover art by Steve Upham) was a short novel, depicting the coming of age, and coming to terms, of a young woman growing up in the 1960s.

The Alchemy Press Book of Ancient Wonders (ISBN 978-0-9532260-8-5), edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber, collected fourteen stories on the theme of things from long ago, even if the story takes place in the far future or in outer space. Contributors included Adrian Tchaikovsky, William Mickle, Aliete de Bodard, Peter Crowther, Pauline E Dungate; Kari Sperring provided the introduction., The cover painting was by Dominic Harman.

The Alchemy Press Book of Pulp Heroes (ISBN 978-0-9532260-9-2), edited by Mike Chinn, featured seventeen stories by Mike Resnick, Peter Crowther, Peter Atkins, Anne Nicholls, Adrian Cole and others, exploring the heroes and villains from the heyday of pulp fiction. The cover art was by Bob Covington.

Scheduled to appear later in 2012 is Doors to Elsewhere, a collection of essays on some of the writers from the early twentieth century, by Mike Barrett.

Besides the above printed books, the Alchemy Press has released three eBooks: Sex, Lies and Family Ties; a revised Paladin Mandates; and Sailors of the Skies by Mike Chinn.


  1. Hi there.

    It was a joy to meet you at the BSF Xmas do the other week. I was the tall, bald dude in black escorting Barbie Wilde! I look forward to submitting to you in 2013.

    Best wishes

    Tim Dry

  2. Hi Tim -- it was good to meet you, too. Unfortunately there was little time for long conversations. Looking forward to seeing your work.
    --- Peter

  3. Hi,

    Quick question! Are there any plans to release a new 'physical' book of Damian Paladin stories?



    1. Mike says: I have a second collection in draft form - Walkers in Shadow (~84,000 words) - which will be the next thing I'll be getting onto once the current project is out of the way. So I have plans, yes. Otherwise, The Alchemy Press has no current plans to reprint The Paladin Mandates.

  4. When will DOORS TO ELSEWHERE appear?