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.

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2018 Calendar of Australian Literary Events

calendarOh my, it’s almost December! That means it’s time to cram in the last literary events of the year, take a breather (and maybe do some reading) over the festive month, and then get back into it for the new year. Yep, it’s time to cast ahead to 2018 and get those highlighters out — it’s looking like a big one. So here is the 2018 calendar of Australian literary events!

And if you’re still at a loose end for what remains of this year, you can still check out this year’s calendar. There are events in Wollongong, Brissie and the Clare Valley to finish off the year.

As always, updates, notifications and corrections are appreciated!

Late SF additions to the calendar

Sean Williams,  a guest at WestWordsFest

Sean Williams, a guest at WestWordsFest

Two events on this weekend in NSW have just been added to the 2017 literary events calendar.

Both running September 15 to 17, they are: WestWordsFest in Dubbo, and Sorcery to Spaceships in Armidale. Both look fab!

  • I’m always keen to hear about literary festivals to add to the calendar, in whatever genre. Drop me a line if it’s not already listed!
  • Collide & Android Lust – new albums to take you away

    Collide album Color of NothingCollide is one of those artists I turn to for background music — which isn’t to say that the duo’s music is without its edges, just that usually it’s the kind of cruisy, atmospheric electronica that makes the rest of the world fade away.

    Not so with their new album, Color of Nothing.

    Statik and kaRIN have come out fighting, with guitars leading the attack.

    Opener “Wake Up” announces this urgency, the swell and subside of electronica topped by explosions of buzzing guitar as the song unfurls. The energy runs through the entire album, taking on a dance-floor groove in “Soul Crush,” an infectious swagger in “Side to Side”, a slow burn in love song “Fix”.

    It’s still distinctively a Collide album, with Statik commander-in-chief in the studio and kaRIN’s bringing the evocative vocals (indeed, here there’s more of a consistent collision of those smooth vocals with spiky instrumentation than before). She touches on themes ranging from the global (“Blurring the Edges,” “Pale Blue”) to the intensely personal (“Intruder,” “Freaks Me Out”); from comfort, to resignation, to defiance.

    A fitting soundtrack for 2017.

    Android Lust album BerlinSpeaking of soundtracks, fresh on the download is Berlin: Crater Vol.2, from Android Lust. Oh my!

    Funded through Kickstarter, the album was developed in part from Shikhee’s found-sound adventures in Berlin. On early listens, I’m not sure I’m getting much impression of that particular place, nor a sense of an unfolding narrative such as drove the (predominately) soundscapes of the water-themed Crater Vol.1, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the outing – one of sonic postcards, perhaps, possibly as much in time as space.

    Which is not to say this album isn’t transportative – far from it. There’s an air of the urban – a subway feel on the analogue styling of “Daughters of Dawn” (think Glass Candy), a rain-washed city scape perhaps seen from the cab or bus window in the fetching “Heart Tunnel”, and the familiar touch of AL-style industrial (“In Memory”, “Insects”). And is that a ghostly callout to AL’s “Stained” on “Plaza Steps”? Elsewhere, muted conversation and bird chirps, the beeping of an alarm clock and patter of rain, offer a feeling of melancholy enlivened by digital rays of sunshine.

    As always, the Android Lust journey rewards multiple, close listens, the layers revealing – suggesting – more the deeper one submerges. Down here in the depths of winter, it’s the perfect weather for it.

    And while I’m getting excited about new music, on the near horizon is a new EP from Nine Inch Nails, Add Violence, in which it appears we’re getting songs of resistance and defiance. First taster “Less Than” shows some retro-style frustration, while second release “This Isn’t the Place” feels like a bridge at song No.3 on the five-song EP. Bring it on!



     

    Keeping up, when the future is now

    wind-powered greenhouse in victoria

    Image: reneweconomy.com.au

    One of the hardest parts about writing a near-future novel is keeping ahead of the news, but that’s not always a bad thing. For instance, here’s a news article about an awesome project in Victoria: a massive glasshouse for growing vegetables that will be totally powered by an adjacent wind farm. Extra rehab points for being built on the site of an old gold mine!

    Meanwhile, the federal government and the Queensland government appear intent on dropping their dacks for Adani’s Carmichael coal minean unconscionable project by any metric you want to apply.

    And here I am, with a mosaic novel* set in near-future Queensland (mainly Brisbane) in which the Galilee coal mines feature prominently — as stranded assets, now being converted into, you guessed it, giant greenhouses. (One of the three stories involving Galilee has been selected for the Ecopunk! anthology, coming from Ticonderoga Publications — the TOC looks amazing!)

    It’d be really neat to have to rewrite the stories because the governments in question grew some social conscience (and economic nous) and canned the entire idea (I can hear the Asia-Pacific nations who are begging the world to stop building coal-fired power stations from here), but I can’t see that happening.

    It’s a bit like the narrative spike I copped when BP (boo! not forgiven for Deepwater Horizon) pulled out of exploration in the Great Australian Bight, only to be replaced by Chevron. And so the battle, and the story, goes on …

    * mosaic novel = a fictional work made up of interconnected short stories; the form has many names (composite novel and novel-in-stories are just two of the more common ones, but I prefer mosaic)
     

    Carmichael mine a ‘white elephant’

    Photo: nealehaynes.com

    Two telling quotes from a fascinating interview with lawyer James Thornton, the driving force behind environmental law firm ClientEarth:

    Climate change is so real that people in charge of other people’s money need to understand that it is now a financial risk

    And, about Adani’s proposal for a huge coal mine in the Galilee Basin in Queensland (with their hands out for massive government assistance):

    If it is ever built, it will be the biggest subsidised white elephant in the world

  • Read the full article
  •  

    Mythomorphosis: tales of paranormal Brisbane

    years best australian fantasy and horrorBack in 2015, SQ Mag published my story “Night Blooming”. It featured Shane Hall, a homicide detective, and Manasa Chalmers, a corporate security operative from India, united by happenstance and searching for a lost teenager.

    There were a couple of points of difference to the typical buddy cop story, firstly in that Brisbane, as with the rest of the world, is experiencing “mythomorphosis”, in which people are transforming into mythical creatures, and secondly, in that this strange and little-understood phenomenon was affecting our heroines quite personally.

    I was chuffed and pleasantly surprised for “Night Blooming” to be selected for Ticonderoga Publications’ latest anthology of Australian fantasy and horror, their Year’s Best 2015 — see the table of contents below*, salivate, then order it, my friends!

    and then ... anthology volume 1But wait, there’s more! Because hitting the digital shelves at the end of 2016, ahead of a paperback release this month, is And Then … Vol.1 from Clan Destine Press. This tome features 15 longer tales starring dynamic partnerships, a varied and exotic selection of Antipodean adventure stories (here be dragons, and so much more!).

    Among the first offering (TOC below) is my “The Mermaid Club”, another outing for Shane and Manasa. I’ve written a little about the story over at Sophie Masson’s website, but proof’s in the pudding. Not to give too much away, the pair suspect their’s something fishy about a kidnapping at a rich man’s club … Ebook here, paperback to come, with Vol.2 close on its heels!

    * you will notice a certain Kirstyn McDermott in the list! doubly chuffed!

    Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2015 TOC

    Joanne Anderton — 2B

    Alan Baxter — The Chart of the Vagrant Mariner

    Deborah Biancotti — Look How Cold My Hands Are

    Stephen Dedman — Oh, Have You Seen The Devil

    Erol Engin — The Events at Callan Park

    Jason Fischer — The Dog Pit

    Dirk Flinthart — In the Blood

    Kimberley Gaal — In Sheep’s Clothing

    Stephanie Gunn — The Flowers That Bloom Where Blood Touches Earth

    Lisa Hannett — Consorting With Filth

    Robert Hood — Double Speak

    Kathleen Jennings — A Hedge of Yellow Roses

    Maree Kimberley — Ninehearts

    Jay Kristoff — Sleepless

    Martin Livings — El Caballo Muerte

    Danny Lovecraft — Reminiscences of Herbert West

    Kirstyn McDermott — Self, Contained

    Sally McLennan — Mr Schmidt’s Dead Pet Emporium

    DK Mok — Almost Days

    Faith Mudge — Blueblood

    Samantha Murray — Half Past

    Jason Nahrung — Night Blooming

    Garth Nix — The Company of Women

    Anthony Panegyres — Lady Killer

    Rivqa Rafael — Beyond the Factory Wall

    Deborah Sheldon — Perfect Little Stitches

    Angela Slatter Bluebeard’s Daughter

    Cat Sparks — Dragon Girl

    Lucy Sussex — Angelito

    Anna Tambour — Tap

    Kaaron Warren — Mine Intercom
     

    And Then Vol.1 TOC

    Introduction by Janeen Webb

    Sulari Gentil — Catch a Fallen Star

    Jason Nahrung — The Mermaid Club

    Alan Baxter — Golden Fortune, Dragon Jade

    Jason Franks — Exli and the Dragon

    Lucy Sussex — Batgirl in Borneo

    Amanda Wrangles — Come Now, Traveller

    Evelyn Tsitas — Stealing Back the Relics

    Peter M Ball — Deadbeats

    Narrelle M Harris — Moran & Cato: Virgin Soil

    Dan Rabarts — Tipuna Tapu

    Kat Clay — In the Company of Rogues

    Sophie Masson — The Romanov Opal

    Tor Roxburgh — The Boudicca Society

    Emilie Collyer — The Panther’s Paw

    Tansy Rayner Roberts — Death at the Dragon Circus