All posts by mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

Dimension6 – Issue 4 available now

Dimension6Medium term readers would remember that this site acts as an affiliate for Dimension6, a free magazine showcasing mostly Australian speculative fiction. Editor Keith Stevenson has brought together an impressive lineup of stories over the first four issues of the magazine.

There is a Dimension6 page under the “Links” menu item along the top of the screen, that contains links to the ePub and mobi files for all four issues.

This issue features stories by Jen White, Chris McMahon and Bren MacDibble and is excellent reading that I commend to you.

Cold Comfort & Other Tales by David McDonald – review

Cold Comfort and Other Tales

David McDonald is an Australian speculative fiction author on the rise, with a lot of short fiction credits to his name and even a recent announcement of a novelisation of a Canadian movie in the works.

Cold Comfort and Other Tales is a collection of three of his science fiction short stories from Clan Destine Press, consisting of two reprints (Cold Comfort and Through Wind and Weather) and an original story (Our Land Abounds).

The first story, Cold Comfort, is based on a post apocalyptic Earth where the planet is covered in snow and ice, with the remnants of humanity confined to a series of giant domes, each a heated oasis in a desert of cold. The main character, Vanja, is a trader, moving from dome to dome to make a living and in search of knowledge about the past. Vanja is a strong female protagonist, in a world where societies in each dome have reverted to more primitive forms and in many cases don’t smile on women taking an active role. She uses a mixture of guile and sheer competence to make her way, which makes her a very sympathetic main character.

I liked the world building here, with society reduced to “cargo cult” status, eeking out an existence utilising the technological infrastructure of the past without understanding how it works. It built to a very satisfying conclusion, and I could very well imagine a longer story set in the same world.

The second story in the book, Through Wind and Weather, is quite short, almost a vignette of a pilot, Nick, seeking the help of a sentient spaceship to deliver vital supplies to a colony world. In order to get there, they have to navigate their way through a massive solar storm. The story was originally written for a themed collection (I won’t tell you the theme – it would ruin the end). In some ways it is a flash fiction piece, built around a single idea. However, once again McDonald has sketched in a broader world with a few deft strokes. I could well imagine more stories set in the same world.

The last story in the collection, Our Land Abounds, is original to the collection. In current Australian politics, there is a lot of debate over our approach to immigration. As a country whose modern structures are built on an immigrant population (recognising of course that we have ancient structures built on the worlds longest continuing culture), we continue to debate levels of population and immigration as a fundamental building block of our future. Successive governments have grappled with controversial issues around unsanctioned immigration of different types. I’ve noticed that this debate has continued in the fiction of various Australian authors.

McDonald posits a world where Australia’s isolation has worked to its benefit, and in the face of global catastrophe the new Republic of Australasia has become an oasis of relative plenty. In order to deal with the swarms of refuges now trying to reach the country, Australia has adopted a strong military presence around their borders. Inside the country, a much more nationalistic culture has taken root. The story follows an officer in the border patrol, as he deals with a refuge’s story that hits a little close to home.

It is a good story well told, although I suspect that it needed a little more space to reach its full potential. The main character’s arc felt a little forced and with a little more space it may have resolved a little more naturally. I’d also be interested in how an international reader engaged with the story, if not exposed to the current Australian debate (feel free to leave a comment below!).

McDonald is an upcoming author to watch in Australian circles, and this short collection is an excellent way to engage with his work if you haven’t had a chance to before. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I do a small amount of work with McDonald on the Galactic Chat podcast. I don’t think that has impacted this review, but who knows? 

Update 29/3/2015

It turns out that McDonald’s new novelisation referenced above is out already (blame my faulty research). The novel is called Backcountry, and can be found here.

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews.


Creative Commons License
This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Some things I liked in 2014 that didn’t make the Ditmar ballot

I recently posted that the Ditmar ballot had been released, and focused in on some of the items that I really liked that were on the list. I’ve been subsequently dwelling on a few things that I would have liked to see represented in the shortlist. This takes nothing away from the nominees – they are all fine human beings and worthy selections to a woman/man. But if there had been an extra voting slot available in a few categories, there are a few endeavours I would have liked to see represented.

Coode St podcast. Seriously, when are these guys going to win a Ditmar? Jonathan and Gary come together week in and week out to bring some of the most in depth discussion of the speculative fiction genre there is, but as far as I can tell they haven’t ever got a Ditmar gong. Perhaps with their recent move to Tor.com they might get more recognition.

AntipodeanSF had its 200th issue recently and has been a stalwart of the Australian speculative fiction scene for so long, it would be great to see Nuke’s work recognised again. Maybe next year!

Horizon a science fiction novel by Keith Stevenson, mainly ’cause I liked it.

Ian Mond – I like his current project reading and reviewing award shortlists, with some emphasis on genre fiction. Maybe that will get him up on the nomination list next year.

So, what did you like that didn’t make the shortlist this year? Feel free to signal boost in the comments below.

2014 Aurealis Awards – shortlist

I’m a bit late to the party, but the Aurealis Award shortlist for 2014 was recently announced. The announcement article can be found here, but for your convenience the shortlist is replicated below.

The Aurealis Awards are Australia’s premier speculative fiction awards, and are judged rather than decided through a popular vote. My first reaction is one of surprise at how few of the finalists I have actually read. I will attempt to remedy that, at least partially, over the next few months.

2014 Aurealis Awards – Finalists

BEST FANTASY NOVEL

Fireborn, Keri Arthur (Hachette Australia)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette Australia)

Dreamer’s Pool, Juliet Marillier (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

Daughters of the Storm, Kim Wilkins (Harlequin Enterprises Australia)

BEST FANTASY SHORT STORY

“The Oud”, Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden, Crossed Genres Publications)

“Teratogen”, Deborah Kalin (Cemetery Dance, #71, May 2014)

“The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash (Phantazein, FableCroft Publications)

“St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter (The Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3)

“The Badger Bride”, Angela Slatter (Strange Tales IV, Tartarus Press)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL

Aurora: Meridian, Amanda Bridgeman (Momentum)

Nil By Mouth, LynC (Satalyte)

The White List, Nina D’Aleo (Momentum)

Peacemaker, Marianne de Pierres (Angry Robot)

This Shattered World, Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Allen & Unwin)

Foresight, Graham Storrs (Momentum)

BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Wine, Women and Stars”, Thoraiya Dyer (Analog Vol CXXXIV nos 1&2 Jan/Feb)

“The Glorious Aerybeth”, Jason Fischer (OnSpec, 11 Sep 2014)

“Dellinger”, Charlotte Nash (Use Only As Directed, Peggy Bright Books)

“Happy Go Lucky”, Garth Nix (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST HORROR NOVEL

Book of the Dead, Greig Beck (Momentum)

Razorhurst, Justine Larbalestier (Allen & Unwin)

Obsidian, Alan Baxter (HarperVoyager)

BEST HORROR SHORT STORY

“The Executioner Goes Home”, Deborah Biancotti (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 11 Issue 6)

“Skinsuit”, James Bradley (Island Magazine 137)

“By the Moon’s Good Grace”, Kirstyn McDermott (Review of Australian Fiction, Vol 12, Issue 3)

“Shay Corsham Worsted”, Garth Nix (Fearful Symmetries, Chizine)

“Home and Hearth”, Angela Slatter (Spectral Press)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

The Astrologer’s Daughter, Rebecca Lim (Text Publishing)

Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury (Allen & Unwin)

The Cracks in the Kingdom, Jaclyn Moriarty (Pan Macmillan Australia)

Clariel, Garth Nix (Allen & Unwin)

The Haunting of Lily Frost, Nova Weetman (UQP)

Afterworlds, Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Books Australia)

BEST YOUNG ADULT SHORT STORY

“In Hades”, Goldie Alexander (Celapene Press)

“Falling Leaves”, Liz Argall (Apex Magazine)

“The Fuller and the Bogle”, David Cornish (Tales from the Half-Continent, Omnibus Books)

“Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

“Signature”, Faith Mudge (Kaleidoscope, Twelfth Planet Press)

BEST CHILDREN’S FICTION

Slaves of Socorro: Brotherband #4, John Flanagan (Random House Australia)

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen Foxlee (Hot Key Books)

The Last Viking Returns, Norman Jorgensen and James Foley (ILL.) (Fremantle Press)

Withering-by-Sea, Judith Rossell (ABC Books)

Sunker’s Deep: The Hidden #2, Lian Tanner (Allen & Unwin)

Shadow Sister: Dragon Keeper #5, Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books)

BEST COLLECTION

The Female Factory, Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter (Twelfth Planet Press)

Secret Lives, Rosaleen Love (Twelfth Planet Press)

Angel Dust, Ian McHugh (Ticonderoga Publications)

Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, Simon Petrie (Peggy Bright Books)

The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings, Angela Slatter (Tartarus Press)

Black-Winged Angels, Angela Slatter (Ticonderoga Publications)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Kisses by Clockwork, Liz Grzyb (Ed) (Ticonderoga Publications)

Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Eds), (Twelfth Planet Press)

Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction, Dominica Malcolm (Ed) (Solarwyrm Press)

Reach for Infinity, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Fearsome Magics, Jonathan Strahan (Ed) (Solaris Books)

Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (Ed) (FableCroft Publishing)

BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL/ILLUSTRATED WORK

Left Hand Path #1, Jason Franks & Paul Abstruse (Winter City Productions)

Awkwood, Jase Harper (Milk Shadow Books)

“A Small Wild Magic”, Kathleen Jennings (Monstrous Affections, Candlewick Press)

Mr Unpronounceable and the Sect of the Bleeding Eye, Tim Molloy (Milk Shadow Books)

The Game, Shane W Smith (Deeper Meanings Publishing)

Australian Women Writers Reading Challenge – 2015

aww-badge-2015And here I go once again, diving into the wonderful world of the Australian Women Writers challenge for 2015. 2014 was a bit of a dip for me, unlike previous years I was reading and reviewing right up until the end of the year (and maybe an insy-winsy bit into 2015). But this year I have a good feeling. With that in mind, I’m still going to attempt the Franklin challenge with a small twist – read 10 books and try to review all 10. I should stray outside the speculative fiction realm – it would probably be good for me. But I suspect that I won’t.

So, if you have any suggestions for books to read or authors to check out, let me know in the comments below. And hopefully I’ll have my first review up very soon.

Monthly Roundup – January & February 2015

Welcome to the first monthly roundup post for 2015. Can you believe it is March already? The pace of year scares the bejeesus out of me, I don’t mind telling you.

Earlier in the month I reviewed The Marching Dead by Lee Battersby, and what an excellent read it was. Go and check out the review. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

I also went back a bit in time I read Garth Nix’s Abhorsen trilogy (plus bonus novella). I usually review Australian authors separately, however the trilogy is from a while ago and Garth Nix is popular enough that I very much doubt he needs my signal boost! The individual titles of the series are SabrielLirael and Abhorsen. I enjoyed the world building and background to the story, the late 19th-early 20th century feel of the non-magic land and the fantastic world “over the Wall”. The stories were interesting, but I must admit the head-hopping between characters was quite distracting and kept throwing me out of the story. I note that Nix has recently released a prequel Clariel - still deciding whether to purchase that one.

Brandon Sanderson’s latest YA novel Firefight was released and I had a quick read through. I enjoy Sanderson’s writing, and Firefight is another fast paced, interesting read with an interesting premise. Apart from the main character’s “bad metaphor” schtick (which was very distracting and felt quite forced) I enjoyed the ride. I also read his short novella Mitosis which is set between the two books in the series. I’ve probably succumbed to a shameless grab for cash from the hordes of Sanderson fans, but it was only a small amount of money and was a good read in and of itself. One of the things about Sanderson’s writing that I’m thinking a lot about is how he maintains a certain high octane pace through his books. It’s something that I think is missing from my own writing and reading these 1.5 books has given me a lot to think about.

My power drive through True Blood continued at lightening pace, and in late February we finished season 7, and therefore the whole series. I enjoyed True Blood more than I thought I would – the delivery of a few of the characters was hilarious (Eric, Pam and Jason in particular for those that have watched the show). The seventh season did feel like a bit of a clumsy add-on – I suspect it probably should have ended towards the end of season 6. Still, all up some great genre television.

I finally got the chance to listen to the sci-fi radio play series Night Terrace on a Sydney – Wollongong – Canberra – Sydney drive one weekend. My 6 year old daughter listened to it with me, and was quite taken by it all. “Is there any more of that Eddie show?” she asked me just the other week. If that’s not an endorsement for a second season, I don’t know what is. Very funny and clever writing, if you haven’t checked it out you should be very disappointed in yourself.

I’ve been to the movies more than normal over the last couple of months. Actually out to the cinema. I know, I was surprised too. I enjoyed the final instalment of The Hobbit although I don’t think I’ll need to see another CGI orc for quite some time. Penguins of Madagascar was hilarious – it is great that one of my kids has got old enough to justify me going to see goofy cartoons. Big Hero 6 was a surprisingly good super hero animation – Ms 6 loved it too. I definitely didn’t take her to see Kingsmen - that movie has a LOT of violence, but so over the top that it is hard to be too grossed out. Very much enjoyed that too. Most recently we saw The Imitation Game which is a very good bio-pic of Alan Turing’s life and well worth a look if you’re interested in the history of computing.

And it wouldn’t have been the holiday season without watching the Doctor Who Christmas special. I enjoyed it – some very funny Santa Claus action. But was it just me or did it seem like the ending was left open so Jemma Coleman could make up her mind about staying on with the show at the last minute? Probably just me.

I enjoyed Tansy Rayner Robert’s Musketeer Space prequel novella Seven Days of Joyeux, all about the lives of the three Musketeers pre-Dana. If you’re reading along with Musketeer Space, the novella adds some great depth to some of the main characters and fills in some interesting backstory. If you’ve been thinking of investing in this interesting experiment in serial novel writing, Seven Days of Joyeux is an excellent way of trying before you commit to a whole novel.

In preparation for watching the movie on Foxtel, I reread Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card during the holidays. It has been very many years since I read the book, and I was struck by the bleakness of the narrative and the extent to which Ender perpetrates such  atrocities in the name of survival. An interesting blast from the past, although I don’t feel particularly compelled to read any more of the series.

I’ve recently finished Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. I’ve read reviews that say “Pride and Prejudice with magic thrown in”, which about sums it up. Kowal is one of the presenters on the podcast Writing Excuses, and I’ve heard her talk about the series of books, in particular how she has combined the base characters with different styles of novels (e.g. regency “manners” novel, heist novel etc). I’m interested in reading more of them, to see how she does it. The writing was good and the story pulled me through – not normally my cup of tea but a refreshing change.

I also finished Cold Comfort & Other Tales by David McDonald, but I’ll write that up separately.

That’s all for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to?

The Marching Dead by Lee Battersby – review

 

The Marching Dead

The Marching Dead is the second book in the Marius don Hellespont series. I read (and very much enjoyed) the first book, The Corpse Rat King, a little while back, so was very pleased to get my teeth sunk into the sequel.

First up I have to say that the things I loved about the first book were very much present in the second. Marius was still an excellent bounder and cad, although slightly less reluctant than in the first novel. The Marching Dead had a much wider cast than the first novel, but all the characters were well drawn and engaging.

And the writing was just as captivating as I remembered from the first novel. Witty dialogue and excellent descriptive text and galloping along at a frenetic pace. The humour in this book really engaged me – dark and biting at some times, downright silly at others. In some ways I felt that this book was trying to make more serious points than the first, but it was done in such an engaging manner that I hardly noticed!

Apart from that, my comments are very similar to my review of The Corpse-Rat King, so I won’t repeat myself too much. I will say however that I liked the ending. It was not romanticised and artificially sweetened, which brought the story together for me very well.

An excellent story and well worth the price of entry. Highly recommended.

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews.


Creative Commons License
This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Zeroes – news

I usually leave news items to people that are better at it than me, like Sean Wright and Alex Pierce for instance. But one piece of recent Australian speculative fiction news has got me very excited, and I just had to share.

Long time readers of the blog might recall that I have a slight literary crush on the writing of Australian author Deb Biancotti, in particular her collection Bad PowerI also loved her other collection The Book of Endings. And don’t get me started on her contribution to Ishtar. I have long bemoaned the fact that she hasn’t published anything for a while, and I have been particularly interested in how she might extend her take on super powers into the novel format.

So imagine my delight when I recently read that Biancotti has co-authored a trilogy with fellow Australians Margo Lanagan and Scott Westerfeld. The announcements can be found here, here and here:

The first book is due out in September 2015, and I am all excitement. You can probably assume I will review the book.

As a side note, I was very interested to read about the writing process when three authors collaborate. Especially as it seemed to involve a significant investment of time at the local pub!

It’s available for pre-order at Amazon (but only in hardback at the moment).

Ditmars preliminary ballot – Galactic Chat!

The preliminary ballot for the Ditmars (Australian SF awards – a voted award not jury picked) has come out and I’m very pleased to say that Galactic Chat has been nominated for the Best Fan Publication in Any Medium category.

For new readers of the blog, I am a minor contributor to the Galactic Chat podcast, which aims to interview the people that make up the Australian speculative fiction scene. The podcast is led by Sean Wright (who is also nominated for a bunch of other stuff around his fan writing), and also includes contributions from Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce and Sarah Parker.

In 2014 I conducted two interviews. The first was with Ion Newcombe, the publisher of AntipodeanSF (which recently published its 200th issue) and the second was with agent extraordinaire Alex Adsett. I am very proud of both interviews – it was great to speak with such fascinating people and I’d like to take the chance once again to thank them both for subjecting themselves to my incessant questioning!

The full Ditmar ballot can be found here, and I’ve reproduced the list below (accurate as at 14/2/2014) with links to the embarrassingly few nominated books that I’ve reviewed on this site. I’d like to give a particular shout out to Sean Wright for his well deserved nominations, fellow podcaster Helen Stubbs for her Best New Talent nomination and other fellow podcaster Alex Pierce for her many nominations!

I should also note that I was interviewed for the 2014 Snapshot, which is a very deserving entry in the Best Fan Publication in any Medium category.

Best Novel

  • The Lascar’s Dagger, Glenda Larke (Hachette)
  • Bound (Alex Caine 1), Alan Baxter (Voyager)
  • Clariel, Garth Nix (HarperCollins)
  • Thief’s Magic (Millennium’s Rule 1), Trudi Canavan (Hachette Australia)
  • The Godless (Children 1), Ben Peek (Tor UK)

Best Novella or Novelette

  • “The Ghost of Hephaestus”, Charlotte Nash, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “The Legend Trap”, Sean Williams, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Darkness in Clara”, Alan Baxter, in SQ Mag 14 (IFWG Publishing Australia)
  • “St Dymphna’s School for Poison Girls”, Angela Slatter, in Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 9, Issue 3 (Review of Australian Fiction)
  • “The Female Factory”, Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, in The Female Factory (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Escapement”, Stephanie Gunn, in Kisses by Clockwork (Ticonderoga Publications)

Best Short Story

  • “Bahamut”, Thoraiya Dyer, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Vanilla”, Dirk Flinthart, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “Cookie Cutter Superhero”, Tansy Rayner Roberts, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • “The Seventh Relic”, Cat Sparks, in Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • “Signature”, Faith Mudge, in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press)

Best Collected Work

  • Kaleidoscope, Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2013, Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Phantazein, Tehani Wessely (FableCroft Publishing)

Best Artwork

  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in Black-Winged Angels (Ticonderoga Publications)
  • Cover art, Kathleen Jennings, of Phantazein (FableCroft Publishing)
  • Illustrations, Kathleen Jennings, in The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings (Tartarus Press)

Best Fan Writer

  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, for body of work
  • Tsana Dolichva, for body of work
  • Bruce Gillespie, for body of work
  • Katharine Stubbs, for body of work
  • Alexandra Pierce for body of work
  • Grant Watson, for body of work
  • Sean Wright, for body of work

Best Fan Artist

  • Nalini Haynes, for body of work, including “Interstellar Park Ranger Bond, Jaime Bond”, “Gabba and Slave Lay-off: Star Wars explains Australian politics”, “The Driver”, and “Unmasked” in Dark Matter Zine
  • Kathleen Jennings, for body of work, including Fakecon art and Illustration Friday series
  • Nick Stathopoulos, for movie poster of It Grows!

Best Fan Publication in Any Medium

  • Snapshot 2014, Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, and Sean Wright
  • It Grows!, Nick Stathopoulos
  • Galactic Suburbia, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Andrew Finch
  • The Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond
  • Galactic Chat, Sean Wright, Helen Stubbs, David McDonald, Alexandra Pierce, Sarah Parker, and Mark Webb

Best New Talent

  • Helen Stubbs
  • Shauna O’Meara
  • Michelle Goldsmith

William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review

  • Reviews in The Angriest, Grant Watson
  • The Eddings Reread series, Tehani Wessely, Jo Anderton, and Alexandra Pierce, in A Conversational Life
  • Reviews in Adventures of a Bookonaut, Sean Wright
  • “Does Sex Make Science Fiction Soft?”, in Uncanny Magazine 1, Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • Reviews in FictionMachine, Grant Watson
  • The Reviewing New Who series, David McDonald, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Tehani Wessely

Authentic Empathy now available in Antipodean SF – Issue 200!

I have a new story published and online today! Authentic Empathy is the 10th story I’ve had published at the long term online magazine AntipodeanSF, and to make it even better, it is in the bumper issue 200.

AntipodeanSF was started back in February 1998 by Ion “Nuke” Newcombe as a venue for using the new-to-most-of-us technology of the internet to bring a wider range of stories to the masses. The stories were pitched at 500 words long (flash fiction) because that’s the most Nuke felt people could read in one hit on the flickering CRT screens that were the norm at the time.

17 years later, he is publishing issue 200 and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it. Nuke has been excellent to me – taking the time to not only publish but edit my stories. But more than that, I’ve been astonished at what a wide array of Australian writers had early publication credits with AntipodeanSF. Nuke is a stalwart of the Australian speculative fiction scene, and if you haven’t had a chance to check out AntipodeanSF, make now the time that you introduce yourself to its bite-sized delights!

Issue 200 is a bit different from most. Rather than the 6 – 10 flash fiction pieces Nuke usually publishes, he has gone back to people who had early AntipodeanSF publishing success and asked them to provide a new story. The issue contains 22 stories from authors who owe Nuke a debt of gratitude, and as a bonus he has included (in most cases) the first story that the author had published on AntipodeanSF. In my case, that story was called Shipwrecked, which came from my wondering about why Earth may have never been visited by extraterrestrial life.

My new work, Authentic Empathy, is a short piece that was inspired by some questions I’ve always had about what would really happen if AIs were introduced to the world.

If you’re interested in hearing more about AntipodeanSF, I recently interviewed Nuke for the Galactic Chat podcast.

So, go get my story here and if you’re interested in seeing more of my flash fiction, see my bibliography page or my self-published collection of the flash fiction (A Flash in the Pan?)that has previously been published at AntipodeanSF.

(I should note that for the last couple of years I have been producing the simple eBook editions of AntipodeanSF, so when you combine that work with the fact that Nuke has published my work, you can see that I’m a little biased!)