Nov 30, 2013

Focus 2012 from Fablecroft

Fablecroft have released Focus 2012, an anthology of Australian shorts here’s the lowdown from Tehani:Focus2012-Cover2

We are very pleased to announce that Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction is now on sale! This ebook-only special anthology is the first of a series of yearly collections which will collect the previous year’s acclaimed Australian works. Containing only the most recognised speculative work of the year, Focus 2012 packs a big punch, for just $4.99USD.

So who’s in it?

    Joanne Anderton – "Sanaa's Army"
    Thoraiya Dyer – "The Wisdom of Ants"
    Robert Hood – "Escena de un Asesinato"
    Kathleen Jennings – illustrations and cover art
    Margo Lanagan – "Significant Dust"
    Martin Livings – "Birthday Suit"
    Jason Nahrung – "The Mornington Ride"
    Kaaron Warren – "Sky"

I have read all bar two of these stories and if you are looking for a quick read of some fine Australian speculative fiction then this is great electronic stocking filler.  Available at all good ebook stores.

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Trucksong Soundtrack

Yes because Andrew Macrae is talented there is a soundtrack to his book and you can play it below.

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Support a diverse, paying, Lit Journal - Tincture

Just want to give a shout out to Tincture Journal, who despite the apparent decline in Lit. journals in Australia bravely decided to start up a digital journal.  It’s an eclectic mix, Issue one featured speculative fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry.  Issues 2,3,4 are on my digital TBR pile. 

But considering all the noise about pay the writers lately, you should know that they pay their contributors (of which, in the interests of full disclosure, I will be in an upcoming issue).

So here’s a preview of Issue four.

Book available at Tomely

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Nov 29, 2013

Twelfth Planet Press – Trucksong in eBook form


Andrea Macrae’s Trucksong is now rolling out in digital form across a number of platforms.  You can get it from the publisher at Twelfth Planet Press – Trucksong.  Or from any number of reliable online retailers.

What’s it about?

In a post-apocalyptic Australian landscape dominated by free-wheeling cyborgs, a young man goes in search of his lost lover who has been kidnapped by a rogue AI truck – the Brumby King. Along the way, he teams with Sinnerman, an independent truck with its own reasons for hating the Brumby King. Before his final confrontation with the brumbies, he must learn more about the broken-down world and his own place in it, and face his worst fears.

What are the cultural touchstones?

This genre-bending work of literary biopunk mixes the mad fun of Mad Max II with the idiosyncratic testimony of works like Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang or Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting.- (source: lifted from the TPP webstore)


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Nov 26, 2013

Cargo – Australian Tropfest finalist

Fans of The Walking Dead will appreciate this finalist from the 2013 Tropfest


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The Memory of Death by Trent Jamieson

If you thought that with the Business of Death we had seen the end of the Death Works series by Trent Jamieson, you were mistaken.  Trent has been writing away and will be releasing a 4th book in the series called The Memory of Death.  It will be released by Momentum early next year.  Until then you can stare at the lovely cover below.



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Nov 16, 2013

eBook Review – Tales of Australia: Great Southern Land by Stephen C. Ormsby and Carol Bond (eds.)

GSLCoverBookweb-286x300The first release from new publisher Satalyte,  Tales of Australia:  Great Southern Land, is a curious collection of stories.  This particular volume is  a mix of the fantastic and the mundane and on reflection I am not convinced that this was the best choice for the anthology or at least for some stories in the collection.

The anthology kicks off with a brutal reimagining of the history of the ill fated Batavia , in Disciple of the Torrent, by Lee Battersby.  I haven’t read Battersby before and if this story is anything to go by I’d be inclined to pick up more of his work.  It’s a dark and violent story (trigger warning) and I did feel uncomfortable at certain points,however,  if your thing is dark historical fantasy I think you’ll like Battersby’s take.

To go from Battersby’s gruesome story to This Corner of the Earth by Dean Mayes was a curious choice.  They are like chalk and cheese in tone and style.  I enjoyed Mayes’ writing but I’d been taken to the depths of human depravity by Battersby and Mayes nostalgic tale of a return to the narrator’s hometown, left me constantly waiting and expecting that a body or bodies would be found.  When they didn’t turn up I felt slightly deflated.


Acts of Chivalry by Sean McMullen, saw a return to the fantastic with a tale of a French werewolf on a rampage in a small town.  It’s a black comedy and once I clued into that fact the characterisation which had seemed overdone at first impression, made perfect sense - if you like the humour and dialogue present in shows featuring Simon Pegg, you’ll appreciate McMullen’s humour here.

Bobby, Be Good by H.M.C., saw a return to the mundane or realistic.  A slice of life piece about the young son of dead Bikie club president told from the perspective of the young Bobby.  At this point I was aware that the editors were alternating between the fantastique and mundane.  Bobby, Be Good I think suffers for its placement next to a comedy piece.  I felt that I just couldn’t get close to the character of Bobby and despite his losses and triumphs I didn’t engage with the character.

Charmaine Clancy’s After the Red Dust was a nice surprise that managed to reference Aboriginal myth and approach to land while providing a unique post apocalyptic Australia without resorting to cultural appropriation. It reminded me of Cat Sparks’ work in some respects.

The collection finishes on David McDonald’s Set Your Face Towards the Darkness and having read his work before, this story is a bit of a departure from his normal style.  It is written in journal format - the secret journals of explorer John McKinlay, who was sent to find Burke and Wills.  McDonald does a good job of capturing a reserved 19th century style in these entries written to McKinlay’s sweetheart, Jane.  I think the most challenging thing in writing fiction in journal and letter form, is building and maintaining tension and McDonald does this in his interesting mix of alternative history and pop culture horror trope. If you like Australian gothic horror and reading between the lines of historical journals you’ll appreciate Set Your Face Towards the Darkness.

Satalyte’s vision is to bring Australian writing to the fore, regardless of genre.  As I stated above I am not sure that that theme of Australian writers writing about Australia is strong enough to bind this one together.  It’s something of a liquorice allsort and I think my own preferences for the dark chocolate of the fantastic shapes my reaction to Great Southern Land - it was delicious in parts but confused my palate in others.

For the works that hit the spot for me, $5 seems a fair price for admission.

Note: The book was provided by the publisher

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Nov 5, 2013

Book Review – King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniells

king-breaker The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin was my first introduction to Rowena Cory Daniells and as such holds a special place, because I think Rowena is one of Australia’s best writers of adventure/grimdark fantasy and I have thoroughly enjoyed having the chance to read this and her later series, The Outcast Chronicles.

King Breaker rounds out a chronicle of four novels, plus a novella.  The chronicle is a tale of the fortunes of the royal family of Rolencia after their parents and the heir to the throne are murdered and the crown usurped. 

In King Breaker, Byren, the remaining heir has managed to defeat the invading army and is betrothed to the Myrofinian Queen, the 15 year old Isolt.  So technically he is now king-in-waiting to the country that invaded his own; while the bastard, Cobalt the Usurper, sits on the throne of Rolencia.  The Merofynian nobles, like all self centred aristocracy resent him and when he has to leave his younger brother Fyn (who has developed feelings for Isolt )as Lord Protector, the scene is set for some opportunistic politicking and potential family feuding. Piro the youngest, continues her adventures as the Mage’s apprentice and manages to almost shake her reputation for putting her foot in it.  We also see the return of Garzik, Orrade’s brother, who struggles with loyalty to Rolencia or the Utland raiders.

I felt more keenly than ever, the tension in the interpersonal relationships in this novel.  Indeed much of the fighting, much of what would usually be set battles is glossed over fairly quickly. That’s not to say there isn’t action, but that of the three or four large battles that took place, most were quickly resolved or happened off page.  One of Daniells’ strengths though, is making you care about the characters and she is equally well versed in placing them in physical or emotional danger, so don’t think a lack of gutsy battles is going to give you an easy ride.

If I had to find fault, I did feel in a couple of places that Daniells may have had to cut material too sharply.  King Breaker is the largest book in the series, coming in at 774 pages and there were two distinct points that I felt that Daniells’ usual style felt a bit truncated i.e. she had to cut harshly to get the page count down. 

I  would suggest that King Breaker could have been two(if we ignore the realities of publishing) or maybe three books.  I certainly think there were enough subplots to continue without padding the tale out.  But that’s a minor quibble and to be fair I think Daniells has done a brilliant job of wrangling the material down into the one tome to round off the tale. 

King Breaker has all the qualities that I have come to expect of the series – excellent pacing, interesting interpersonal relationships and a good portrayal of a gay character in Byren’s companion Orrade.  The King Rolen’s Kin chronicle is a nice introduction to Daniells’ work and when you have recovered from the rollercoaster ride I suggest you take up the Outcast Chronicles which I think is grittier and better paced than Game of Thrones.

Note: The King’s Man novella is only available as an ebook, and while not necessary to read before embarking on King Breaker, it will enhance your enjoyment.  It’s also one of the best novella’s I have read over the past two years – see my review here.

This book was provided by the author.

Australian’s can purchase the entire series through Booktopia and if you use the following code ( EARLY) midnight Saturday(November 9) you can get free shipping.

The King’s Bastard

The Uncrowned King

The Usurper

King Breaker

To purchase the ebook novella The King’s Man you will have to look online at Amazon, Kobo, or Rebellion


This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013.  Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women..awwbadge_2013[4]





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Nov 3, 2013

Galactic Chat 37 Patty Jansen

Such a busy weekend I forgot to tell you all about the latest Galactic Chat:

This week Sean chats to Australian Speculative Fiction novelist Patty Jansen.  Patty  is a member of SFWA and winner of the second quarter of the Writers of the Future contest. She has published fiction in various magazines such as Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Aurealis, Redstone SF and the Universe Annex of the Grantville Gazette. She has also successfully self  published a number of novellas and novels. 

In this chat they talk about Patty's newest novel, Ambassador,  to be published by Australian Press Ticonderoga, the importance of diversification for any writer and current issues in the field, such as sexism and diversity



Patty's Website

Patty on Twitter

Purchase Options for Ambassador - here


Interviewer: Sean Wright

Guest: Patty Jansen

Music & Intro: Tansy Rayner Roberts

Post-production: Sean Wright


Twitter: @galactichat

Email: galactichat at gmail dot com

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