Obverse Books

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Obverse Books
FounderStuart Douglas
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Headquarters locationEdinburgh, Scotland
DistributionUnited Kingdom, Australia, United States
Publication typesBooks
Fiction genresScience fiction, fantasy, horror, adventure
Official websitewww.obversebooks.com

Obverse Books is a British publisher initially known for publishing books relating to the character Iris Wildthyme,[1] and currently for the Black Archive series of critical books on Doctor Who, and two sister series - the Gold Archive, focusing on Star Trek, and the Silver Archive,[2] featuring other genre shows. The company also owns publishing rights for stories based on Faction Paradox, and previously held the license to Sexton Blake.[3] Obverse Books had an e-book only imprint named Manleigh Books between 2012 and 2016.[1]


The company was founded in 2008 in Edinburgh by Stuart Douglas.[4] Obverse's first book was a 2009 collection of short stories featuring the character Iris Wildthyme, first seen in the Doctor Who universe. Further volumes of Iris Wildthyme short stories have followed regularly.

In 2010 the company expanded their line to include story collections from single authors and collections that did not focus primarily on science fiction. That same year the company also acquired the rights to publish short story collections based on Faction Paradox.[5]

In 2011 Obverse launched The Obverse Quarterly, a series of paperback books aimed at genre fans.[6] The series contains stories by authors such as George Mann, Paul Magrs and Michael Moorcock, and new stories featuring Zenith the Albino,[7] Sherlock Holmes and The City of the Saved, amongst others.[8] That same year Obverse began publishing a series of tete-beche collections as part of the resurgence of such books in the speculative fiction market.[9] The following year Obverse launched an ebook-only imprint, Manleigh Books.

Obverse obtained the rights to the character of Sexton Blake in 2013 and relaunched the Sexton Blake Library in 2014 with Mark Hodder's 'The Silent Thunder Caper'.[3][10][11]

In 2015 Obverse announced The Black Archive, a series of book-length critical studies of individual Doctor Who stories, launched in March 2016. In 2017, a sister series The Silver Archive was announced. This Archive, edited by Stuart Douglas, covers series other than Doctor Who, including Sapphire & Steel, Dark Skies, Stranger Things and The Strange World of Gurney Slade.

In 2018, a charity book published by Obverse contained a section of the abandoned Steven Moffat script for The Day of the Doctor featuring the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston.[12]

In 2019, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the imprint, Obverse published six books, each featuring one of the most popular characters from their catalogue. These included Iris Wildthyme, Faction Paradox, The Manleigh Halt Irregulars, Senor 105, Seaton Begg and The City of the Saved.

The Black Archive #15: Full Circle by John Toon won New Zealand science fiction's Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Professional Publication in 2019.[13] Toon repeated the feat in 2022, when they won the same award for The Black Archive #61: Paradise Towers.[14]

In 2021, Obverse announced a new Gold Archive range, focusing on individual episodes of Star Trek.[15] The company also licensed the prose rights to the setting and characters from the Doctor Who story Paradise Towers.

In 2023, the photobook Dark Edinburgh by Scott Liddell won a Scottish Nature Photography Award as 'Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book' for 2022.[16]




  1. ^ a b Southall, J.R. (30 March 2012). "Books! The Best Weapons In The World! - A Guide to Independent Doctor Who Publishing". Starburst. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  2. ^ Cult, We Are (14 April 2017). "Obverse Books present The Silver Archive » We Are Cult". We Are Cult. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Sexton Blake back in print". scotsman.com. The Scotsman. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  4. ^ Douglas, Stuart (15 March 2013). "Interview: Obverse Books". Smooth Book Club (Interview). Interviewed by Lynn Parsons. London: Smooth Radio.
  5. ^ Douglas, Stuart (7 June 2010). "Obverse Books is..." Facebook. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  6. ^ Jones, Stephen (2012). The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 23. Running Press. ISBN 9780762445974.
  7. ^ Holland, Steve (2013), Zenith: Prince of Chaos, Bear Alley Books, p. 24
  8. ^ Southall, J. R. "Book News: Obverse Announce New Titles..." Starburst. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  9. ^ Barnett, David (27 July 2011). "Tête-bêche books make a speculative return". The Guardian. London.
  10. ^ "Sexton Blake returns with Obverse Books". Bookbrunch.co.uk. London. 19 May 2013.
  11. ^ Coming Pulp Attractions
  12. ^ "Steven Moffat publishes Christopher Eccleston version of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary script". 22 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Award Results - 2019".
  14. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Award Winners – 2023 – SFFANZ Inc". Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  15. ^ "Obverse announce Gold Archive Star Trek books". Sci-Fi Bulletin: Exploring the Universes of SF, Fantasy, Horror and Spy-fi!. 8 September 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book Vote 2022". 23 March 2023.

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