The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror Vol 3

years best fantasy and horror 2012Ticonderoga Publications has released the table of contents for The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror Vol 3 (2012), edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, and I’m stoked to say that my ‘The Last Boat to Eden’, published in the recent Shadows award-winning Surviving the End, has been included.

The ‘best of’ series is a wonderful snapshot of Aussie horror and fantasy. It is due to arrive in July, and is available for pre-order.


The contents are:

  • Joanne Anderton, ‘Tied To The Waste’, Tales Of Talisman
  • R.J.Astruc, ‘The Cook of Pearl House, A Malay Sailor by the Name of Maurice’, Dark Edifice 2
  • Lee Battersby, ‘Comfort Ghost’, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine 56
  • Alan Baxter, ‘Tiny Lives’, Daily Science Fiction
  • Jenny Blackford, ‘A Moveable Feast’, Bloodstones
  • Eddy Burger, ‘The Witch’s Wardrobe’, Dark Edifice 3
  • Isobelle Carmody, ‘The Stone Witch’, Under My Hat
  • Jay Caselberg, ‘Beautiful’, The Washington Pastime
  • Stephen Dedman, ‘The Fall’, Exotic Gothic 4
  • Felicity Dowker, ‘To Wish On A Clockwork Heart’, Bread And Circuses
  • Terry Dowling, ‘Nightside Eye’, Cemetery Dance #66
  • Tom Dullemond, ‘Population Management’, Danse Macabre
  • Thoraiya Dyer, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, Epilogue
  • Will Elliot, ‘Hungry Man’, The One That Got Away
  • Jason Fischer, ‘Pigroot Flat’, Midnight Echo 8
  • Dirk Flinthart, ‘The Bull In Winter’, Bloodstones
  • Lisa L. Hannett, ‘Sweet Subtleties’, Clarkesworld
  • Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, ‘Bella Beaufort Goes To War’, Midnight And Moonshine
  • Narrelle Harris, ‘Stalemate’, Showtime
  • Kathleen Jennings, ‘Kindling’, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear
  • Gary Kemble, ‘Saturday Night at the Milkbar’, Midnight Echo 7
  • Margo Lanagan, ‘Crow And Caper, Caper And Crow’, Under My Hat
  • Martin Livings, ‘You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet’, Living With The Dead
  • Penelope Love, ‘A Small Bad Thing’, Bloodstones
  • Andrew J. McKiernan, ‘Torch Song’, From Stage Door Shadows
  • Karen Maric, ‘Anvil Of The Sun’, Aurealis #54
  • Faith Mudge, ‘Oracle’s Tower’, To Spin A Darker Stair
  • Nicole Murphy, ‘The Black Star Killer’, Damnation And Dames
  • Jason Nahrung, ‘The Last Boat To Eden’, Surviving The End
  • Tansy Rayner Roberts, ‘What Books Survive’, Epilogue
  • Angela Slatter, ‘Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean’, This Is Horror webzine
  • Anna Tambour, ‘The Dog Who Wished He’d Never Heard Of Lovecraft’, Lovecraft Zine
  • Kyla Ward, ‘The Loquacious Cadaver’, The Lion And The Aardvark: Aesop’s Modern Fables
  • Kaaron Warren, ‘River Of Memory’, Zombies Vs. Robots.
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  • Dead Red Heart and More Scary Kisses: books with bite!

    more scary kisses cover

    Here is the cover of More Scary Kisses, Ticonderoga’s anthology of paranormal romance stories due out in April. The table of contents is here.

    And Ticonderoga’s Australian-themed vampire anthology, Dead Red Heart, has had its table of contents announced, and it’s a monster: 32 yarns, more than 130,000 words, due out towards the end of April.

    I hope this means both will hit the shelf in time for Swancon, Perth’s annual spec fic convention which this year is also the national science fiction convention.

    It’s particularly exciting to have a couple of stories coming out this year after such a long hiatus.

    after the rain ebook edition

    There’s also a story of mine, a cyberpunk one just in contrast to the New Orleans hot-and-sweaty of MSK and cane-and-dust vampire action of DRH, in Fablecroft’s forthcoming After the Rain anthology, also due out in time for Swancon. A special e-edition of ATR is available with proceeds going to the Queensland flood appeal. More than $1200 has been raised so far. Awesome!

    For me, after the rain should probably be after the drought, it’s been so long since I’ve written a short story. But last year, after much kicking around and failing to succeed with novel-length manuscripts, my subconscious apparently found a window for some short stuff. Dark Prints Press’s Surviving the End anthology started the ball rolling — that book’s due out in 2012, and I quite like the story of mine in it: a dirty, post-apocalyptic Australian Gulf-country yarn.

    I’m back in drought mode, now, but it sure feels affirming to have been able to dredge out some yarns!

    The Road – a damn fine journey

    the road, movie poster

    Fans of Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel The Road can breathe easy — the movie is a damn fine adaptation.

    In fact, it’s probably one of the best that I’ve seen.

    The mood of the book is perfectly captured on-screen, thanks to wonderful sets depicting the ruins of civilisation and the death of nature. Abandoned cities, broken roadways littered with wrecked cars, devastated forests, wildfires and electrical storms all show the grim future. The actual event is barely mentioned, no blame apportioned. It just is.

    As in the book, the movie does not provide a strict narrative journey, but rather a series of vignettes marking the progress of a father (Viggo Mortensen) and son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) through this blasted landscape, with flashbacks to the father’s life with his wife (Charlize Theron) before, during and after the calamity fell.

    On the road, father and son have to dodge cannibal gangs while they head south, every day a search for warmth, shelter and food. Other stray travellers they meet are viewed with suspicion, providing a crux for the film’s thematic centre.

    I felt a little let down by the conclusion in the book, but the movie, while changing it only slightly, manages with deft subtlety to make it work, and work brilliantly. Likewise there are some minor changes to events in the novel, but none are jarring, and all work to enhance the on-screen story.

    There were some likely lads in our theatre who might have been expecting some kind of Mad Max/Cyborg storyline, and I suspect by their chatting and quick departure that they left disappointed by this thoughtful portrayal of the hopelessness and drudgery of life on the road. Or maybe they’d got the wrong cinema and only stayed in the hope of Theron getting her kit off — more disappointment, there, boys. But my goodness, doesn’t she just chew up the camera?

    The casting (including Guy Pearce and Robert Duvall) was uniformally superb, some actors almost indistinguishable underneath their soot and grime and filthy teeth.

    A soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis enhanced the tone without being overly dramatic or sentimental, the camera work was striking without being flashy; there was nothing not to like about this movie.

    Director John Hillcoat has delivered an amazing reading of McCarthy’s novel that both readers and non should enjoy.

    Aurealis Awards, judges’ reports now online

    Further to my musings about the nature of horror, as a literary genre, as evidenced at the recently announced and fabulously conducted Aurealis Awards in Brisbane, the judges’ reports are now up at the awards site. I’m still grappling with the horror content of the winning novel, I confess. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the bush, but I don’t share the sense of menace supposedly posed by the landscape in Red Queen at all. And I wasn’t aware of the characters reacting that way. Why would country boys respond like that? The only thing they were frightened of in the Australian bush was other people — in this case, plague carriers. I think it’s very cool that a book like this can nudge ahead of a field with comparatively quite strong horror tropes; it certainly broadens the horizon. Anyway, food for thought, and I’ll continue to digest. (I certainly concur with other comments in this report, though not all.) (My musings shouldn’t detract in any way from the decision, by the way, nor the fact that Red Queen is a solid debut novel with plenty to recommend it; that’s not the purpose of this blog. I write ‘horror’ stories, call them what you will. I’m always interested to know what other people think of as horror.)