Aurealis Award nomination for Slither

Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2Dead chuffed to hear last night that ‘Slither’, my short story in Cthulhu Deep Down Under Vol 2, has been named a finalist in the Aurealis Awards for best horror short story.

It sits alongside these finalists, and while a trophy seems unlikely, it’s an absolute thrill to think something I’ve written has garnered this kind of recognition, especially given what is a very talented field of Australian horror writers.

‘The Offering’, Michael Gardner (Aurealis #112)

‘By Kindle Light’, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Antipodean SF #235)

‘Hit and Rot’, Jessica Nelson-Tyers (Breach #08)

‘Sub-Urban’, Alfie Simpson (Breach #07)

‘The Further Shore’, J Ashley Smith (Bourbon Penn #15)

The nomination is all the more appreciated because it comes amid the tension of the death throes of my PhD! Finally, something to smile about 🙂

I have a bunch of friends also up for awards, and it’s always great to see this kind of recognition for them. I especially note a certain Kirstyn McDermott in the best horror novella category (for her most excellent Triquetra).
Congratulations to everyone who made the final running – it’s an achievement in itself!

Read the full list of finalists here.

The awards will be presented at an event in Melbourne on 4 May, 2019.

You can read more about ‘Slither’ here.
 

Advertisements

Stranded Assets finds a home

Colloquy journal 35/36 December 2018I guess the headline is a little contradictory, but anyway, I’m pleased as punch that ‘Stranded Assets’ has found a berth in Colloquy journal — a nice dip of the hat to 2018.

The short story was written as part of my PhD in creative writing, but is somewhat smaller than the version included in the thesis* due to word count constraints. It is a look into the future after the coal miners intent on tearing up Central Queensland, planet be damned, have come unstuck, and how the mess they make might be salvaged.

Editors Zachary Kendal and Aisling Smith describe it thus:

Nahrung’s futuristic ‘Stranded Assets’ strongly evokes its Queensland setting and subtly engages with issues confronting contemporary Australia. The story also engages with broader issues, such as the role of technology and the pressures of parenthood.

There are some amazing papers in the journal … Lovecraft, Angela Carter, Blake’s 7, and some Gothic horror! Just the stuff for some yuletide reading!

*The thesis was submitted in October, so I’m awaiting examiners’ reports in the new year.

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.

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.