The plot thickens, or something

17 07 2014

A new Gordon Mamon space-elevator murder mystery novella. A painterly xenohominid who cannot correctly choose the pigments that best represent the humble tomato; and the larger-scale problem this may signify. The complicated combination of ethical, economic, aesthetic, engineering, and tactical considerations that come into play when choosing the raygun that most ideally suits one’s own particular purposes. And my nastiest Titan story yet. It can all only mean one thing.

Actually, that’s a rather pointless assertion: it can very obviously mean any of several quite different things, the range of which I am not going to seek to encompass here. There is one thing that it does mean, and that one thing is this one thing: I have a second short story collection in the works, a follow-up, as it were, to Rare Unsigned Copy, and this second collection will be released (assuming all goes according to plan) at the start of October.

Most of the more titivating details, such as the full Table of Contents and the cover artwork, will be revealed closer to the time. For now, I can let slip that, like its predecessor, the new collection will be published (in print and e-book editions, as usual) by Peggy Bright Books, and edited by Edwina Harvey.

The title of this new collection? Well, after Rare Unsigned Copy, what else could it be? It’s Difficult Second Album.

Someone left a pop-culture reference out in the rain

15 07 2014

In the ‘yes-it’s-been-yonks-since-I-posted’ category, there are a couple of items of self-promotion I’ve been slow to spruik. One is that the talented and hardworking Tim Jones, one half of the superhuman team of poet-editors Jones and Cottier behind The Stars Like Sand, has unleashed upon the world a photostream of, well, photos from the launches of the aforementioned poetry antho. Said photostream is chock-full of depictions of poets both vastly more talented and better-looking than myself; but I am vain, and so shall snurch here only the photo of myself, reading (at Collected Works, in Melbourne) mine own poem, ‘At the Dark Matter Zoo':


(There is, I swear to you, a top to my head, and I do possess knees, and shins beneath them; but that is by-the-by.)

The other item which I would bring to your attention is the final (for now, at any rate) of my drabbles with SpeckLit, which appeared back on June 30th and is titled ‘I’ll Never Have That Recipe Again‘. Make of it, dear reader, what you will …

More ‘Use Only As Directed’ Reviewage

29 06 2014

There are nowhere near as many book blogger / astrophysicists in the world as there ought to be … but there are some, which is something we should be very grateful for. Tsana Dolichva is one such, and she recently posted, on her book blog, a detailed and positive review of Use Only As Directed. As is always the case, I’d encourage you to read the review in its entirety, but I feel compelled to excerpt just a few salient sentences from the review:

There is a wide variety of stories contained within; every story sticks to the theme, but there are a lot of very different interpretations. I appreciate the lack of homogeneity and the novelty of getting something completely different each time I picked up the anthology.

and “If you haven’t yet sampled a Petrie and Harvey anthology, this one would be a good place to start.

As well as some fairly in-depth general comments about the anthology, Dolichva’s review also offers her feedback on each of the stories. It’s always a good sign, I reckon, when different reviewers find different strengths to a book, and it’s gratifying to see that, while there is some overlap, this review picks a different group of favourites to that identified in Steve Jackson’s recent review.


If the reviews serve to spark your curiosity, I can point you towards the Peggy Bright Books page for the anthology’s purchase, or to Amazon’s page for the same purpose. The anthology’s authors, I’m confident, would thank you for your patronage: authors delight in being read (and, though I’m clearly biased, I’ll attest that these stories are certainly worthy of it).

More drabbles

21 06 2014

SpeckLit is continuing to roll out certain 100-word offerings of mine: ‘Half the Man‘ has just been released, and ‘Reasonable Wear and Tear‘ was released a week and a bit ago.

Enjoy, or something.

And, at last, we have availability.

17 06 2014


Just a quick note to announce that Use Only As Directed — featuring original fiction by Stephen Dedman, Dirk Flinthart, Dave Freer, Michelle Goldsmith, Alex Isle, Lyn McConchie, Claire McKenna, Charlotte Nash, Ian Nichols, Leife Shallcross, Grant Stone, Douglas A Van Belle, Janeen Webb, and M Darusha Wehm — is now available, both as a carbon-sequestering paperback and as a weightless, environmentally friendly e-book (in pdf epub, and mobi variants) from the Peggy Bright Books website. Or if you want the instant fix of a Kindle download, the mobi is also available from Amazon.

A Proliferation of Launchly Activity

4 06 2014


With the arrival of actual printed copies of Use Only As Directed, it now falls on me to announce that the UOAD launch will be held at Continuum X this weekend, on Sunday 8th June, at 1.00 pm in Sideshow Alley. Several of the contributors will be in attendance — we’re hoping for some readings as a taster — and the event will be MC’d by the incomparable Jack Dann.


Sunday’s a particularly noteworthy day for one of our UOAD authors: at 2 pm, just one hour after the anthology is unleashed into the wild, Janeen Webb’s short-story collection, Death at the Blue Elephant, will also be launched by Janeen and the good folk of Ticonderoga Publications.


And Saturday (4 pm) sees the launch of Guardian, the third ‘Veiled Worlds’ novel by Jo Anderton, published by Fablecroft. Jo’s story ‘The Bone Chime Song’ was first published in UOAD‘s sister anthology, Light Touch Paper Stand Clear.


Bookending all this — or should that perhaps be ‘book-beginning’, in the circumstances? — are a brace of launches for Tim Jones’ and P S Cottier’s anthology of Australian speculative poetry, The Stars Like Sand. The Melbourne event is on Friday (6th June), at 6 pm, at Collected Works bookshop; the Canberra event is six days later, on Thursday 12th June, at 6.30 pm, at Manning Clark House.

So, there you have it. A week of wall-to-wall launches, just about.

Have Pun, Will Drabble

31 05 2014

Harlon booked travel to Rigel but, short on funds, he could only afford to go by Quarkliner. He’d never flown Quarkliner before; he asked a friend for advice.

“It’s not bad,” Ursula said. “They carry both matter and antimatter passengers. Safely segregated on board – have to be, dangerous otherwise – but listen out when you disembark, otherwise you’ll get off at the wrong type of jetty and kaboom!”

“What do you mean, ‘listen out’?” Harlon asked.

“Ensure it’s what it sounds like.”

“ ‘What it sounds like’? You’re not making sense! Where should I disembark?”

“On a matter pier,” she explained.


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