Mercury Rapids Reviews




Reviews at

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

(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.

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 comedy.

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, actually, grey).

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 on.


Q) 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?

A) 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!

Q) Are you a bit of a conspiracy buff?

A) I like a good conspiracy as good as the next man, but I wouldn't consider myself a buff.

Q) Print on Demand is becoming an increasingly popular form of publishing. Why did you choose it?

A) Well, after receiving my umpteenth rejections letter from a 'traditional' publisher, I stumbled upon 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.

Q) Any tips for people considering POD?

A) 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.

Q) What's an average day of writing like for you?

A) 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 distracted!

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!

Q) With regards to writing, what are your plans/hopes for the future?

A) I just want to write what I want to write. I'd hate to be hassled by deadlines and such.

Q) Is there a sequel to Mercury Rapids on the horizon?

A) Yep!

Q) The writing in this novel is very lighthearted. Is your work inspired by other humourists, such as Terry Pratchett, or do you read widely?

A) 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 bunny.

Q) What's your opinion on the state of British commercial fiction today?

A) 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.

Q) 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?

A) 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)


•PRICE: $8.95
•ISBN 1-59281-016-0

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 him.

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 Also through, Barnes & Noble and Borders


Review in Dewsbury Reporter


Mercury is rising

Mercury Rapids

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 book, Mercury Rapids.

The 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.

As he 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.

Mercury Rapids has it all; believ­able characters, action, romance and plenty of conspiracy.

The story, which has a Men In Black feel to it, never has a dull moment and a new twist is always around the corner.

Due to popular demand, Steven is working on a sequel, and I for one can't wait to get my hands on it.

Mercury Rapids is available to order now from most book shops and through the internet. It can also be bought direct from his publisher, Bookbooters, on It is also available at Dews­bury Books, on Crackenedge Lane. Samantha Porter







Reviews at

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 “actionman” Johnson.

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' )


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!






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 these!

I'm looking forward to more books from this author!

Katherine Reece ( Owner of 'In The Hall of Ma'at' )





UPDATED 15th September 2005