Wild Readings in Brisbane and a group hug

Wild Readings reading event in BrisbaneI emerge from the three-and-a-half-year cocoon that has been the PhD* to catch up with a bunch of pals, and what a better way to do it than at a reading.

I’m grateful to be asked to share some words in my old stomping ground of Brisbane, at Wild Readings on Tuesday 20 November. It’ll probably be an excerpt from one of the thesis stories — climate change in Brisbane, seems to fit — but it might be a palate cleanser from the past, too. I dunno yet.

I’m keen to hear what other people are doing, and of course, just enjoy the vibe of being in a room of writers.

I’ll be kicking around Brissie for a couple of days with not much to do other than catch up with people, so drop me a line if you’re at a loose end.

Wild Readings is at Mu’ooz, 54 Mollison Street, West End, 6.30pm for 7-8pm. Free.

Here are the Facebook details for Wild Readings — I hope to see some familiar faces there!
 
* The thesis has been submitted. Just waiting for the examiners’ reports now, so the fingernails won’t be regrowing anytime soon.

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Double the adventure

and then vol 1 and 2 by clan destine pressThe And Then… double-volume set of dynamic-duo adventure yarns has been unleashed.

A packed room at the Rising Sun Hotel in Melbourne was treated to a thoroughly entertaining launch by Jane Clifton (‘make it annual, Lindy?’), who highlighted the genre diversity and high level of thrills offered by the yarns packed into the handsome volumes.

Sadly, I had to slink off to work before the drinks were flowing, but it was great to see the project come to its fruition.*

Still, it was great to squeeze in quick hellos with fellow contributors Alison Goodman, Lucy Sussex, Amanda Pillar, Emilie Collyer and Amanda Wrangles, and to put a couple of new faces to names too: Evelyn Tsitas, Fin J Ross and James Hopwood.

Lindy Cameron launches And Then anthology

Lindy Cameron , with Michele in the background, doing the not-so-hard sell

It’s been a long road for publisher Lindy Cameron**, but finally the quest has been achieved!
The blurb:

… page-turning stories by 32 award-winning, established and emerging Australian writers of science fiction, crime, speculative fiction, horror and fantasy.
The settings are futuristic, contemporary and historical; the heroes are human, animal, alien and mythical; and their adventures are real-world, far-out, speculative, scary, mysterious, speculative and fantastical.

Head over to the Clan Destine Press website to check out the double anthology: in paperback and ebook.

* One day, I should really return to my broken Brisbane mythos. It really is a lot of fun.
** Vol.1 came out in 2016, if any of this sounds familiar!
 

Heading to Continuum for a climate disaster or two

continuum convention logoSpeculative fiction convention Continuum runs at Melbourne’s Jasper Hotel June 8-11 (gosh, that’s starting tomorrow!), and I’ll be heading along to talk about climate change (as well as many other things, no doubt, but officially: climate change).

The guests of honour are Alison Evans and my fellow climate fiction writer and researcher Cat Sparks, so that’s excitement enough right there.

This year the convention has added a Deep Dive stream, in which folks give (mostly) 20-minute talks on topics of interest. I’m presenting some research from my PhD-in-progress outlining the mosaic approaches of three Australian SF climate fictions (Sue Isle’s Nightsiders, James Bradley’s Clade, and Steven Amsterdam’s Things We Didn’t See Coming). Other dives include body horror, convict women in Tasmania (Van Diemen’s Land), the metaphorical use of monsters, and Cat’s talk on ecocatastrophe and Anthropocene fiction, to name a few.

I’m also on a panel on the Friday night talking about climate science and climate fiction, and the state we’re in.

Day tickets are available for the convention, which celebrates pop culture, geekdom, fandom and speculative fictions in all their forms. Visit the Continuum website to find out more.

‘Slither’ finally sees the light

cthulhu deep down under vol 2My contributor copy of Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2 has arrived. It contains 10 stories*, as the title suggests, drawing inspiration from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, all set in the southern hemisphere.

Peter Rawlik, in his generous and knowledgeable introduction, describes the yarns as “unique and vibrant interpretations of the weird, the cosmic, the Lovecraftian Cthulhu, even in his absence”.

So there are two stories to my story in this anthology.

The first, is that this three-volume set being published by IFWG arose out of a crowd-funded megavolume called Cthulhu Deep Down Under (it’s great to see a couple of the illustrations from that delicious volume reproduced here) that came out in 2015. My story in that original was a reprint, in which I proposed an occult cause for the disappearance of skindiving prime minister Harold Holt off a Victorian beach. But a reprint wasn’t cutting the mustard for this revamped three-book set. A new story, please.

Which leads me to the second story, the story of the second story. Okay? Cool.

CDDU Vol 2 is now available for pre-order, and goes on sale on August 1. Vol 1 is in the wild!

The earliest version of ‘Slither’ on my hard drive harks back to 2003. I remember it being critiqued at a Vision critique group meeting in Brisbane … sometime. But it never sang. I’d revisit it on and off over the years, trying to work out what was wrong with it. Brought in a second character, changed the focus … I ended up with a second version that’s quite different, might even have legs of its own. But this version, this intense single POV and intensely personal version, just wouldn’t behave.

Until CDDU2 hit me up for a new story.

Maybe a little pressure was all it needed. I straightened out the narrative, finally framed the ending in a way I was happy with … I think it works. The editors certainly think so (whew!). Your mileage may vary. But I’m grateful that story is finally at some kind of rest, after all these years of haunting the periphery, its little black tentacles reaching out, refusing to be forgotten, begging to be set free.

So now I’m wondering, what else is lurking in folders of unfinished work? No doubt some will be, rightfully, left to lie dormant, but what others are just awaiting the right spark to bring them to life?

* It’s worth noting among this splendid company is one Kirstyn McDermott, an uncommon occasion in which we share a table of contents of original fiction.

Dark Imaginings: Gothic Tales of Wonder

image from Dark Imaginings at Melbourne Uni
 
What a wonderful title for an exhibition — how can you resist? For the University of Melbourne has prepared just such a show, running 1 March to 31 July.

It features artists, body snatchers, and some of the renowned writers and poets, and trick photography and magic lantern slides to get a little ghosty.

As well as wonderful art, there will also be some events, such as a curator’s talk, a workshop on writing horror/Gothic with Dmetri Kakmi (he knows his stuff, people!), lectures by Mary Luckhurst and Ken Gelder (on vampires!), and an “in conversation”.

This last item includes Kirstyn McDermott, Michelle Goldsmith, Narrelle Harris and yours truly, hosted by Louise Swinn (of Sleepers Publishing and Stella Prize fame, amongst other things).

We’ll be yarning about speculative fiction noon-1pm on 14 June at the uni’s Parkville campus: details and bookings here.

All events are free but bookings are required. More here on Dark Imaginings.
 

We have launch: Shadows on the Wall by Steven Paulsen

Steve Paulsen launches his collection Shadows on the Wall

Steve and Kirstyn


 
Kirstyn and I were stoked to be asked to launch Steve Paulsen‘s Shadows on the Wall, a collection of 14 spooky, at times extremely poignant, occasionally funny short stories penned over the past 30 years.

The launch was held yesterday at the Printers Room, the new home of Words Out Loud in Ballarat, and what a splendid venue it is. It was an excellent launch, with an eager and appreciative audience helping to celebrate the milestone. (Steve had a Melbourne launch earlier in the week, shared with IFWG stablemate and fellow good guy Jason Franks.)

The picture above is of Kirstyn and Steve chatting about the book and his career to date: very gratifying to hear he has more tales on the drawing board, and one might just be set in Ballarat!

Find out more about the book, and where to snaffle a copy, at Steve’s website.
 

Ecopunk! The end of the world as we know it

Ecopunk anthologyTiconderoga Publications brought this rather splendid volume out this year — 19 tales of how we might adapt to climate change. It’s an important topic, and given I’ve spent the best of three years studying it for my (ongoing) PhD, one that’s close to my heart. So I’m doubly chuffed to have a story in this, one written as part of my PhD project. I talk about it over at the Ticonderoga site — please do check out the book should you visit (it’s colourful, would look grand under the Xmas tree, eh!). There are some damn good writers there, collected by editors Liz Grzyb and Cat Sparks.