Two things …

11 12 2014

One: when a week or more ago I announced the upcoming appearance of one of my pieces in AntipodeanSF issue 200, I somehow failed to notice that another of my contributions had just come out in AntipodeanSF issue 198. It’s called ‘News Just To Hand‘.

Two: Peggy Bright Books is currently holding an end-of-year sale, to run (as the term would suggest) until the end of the year. All Peggy Bright Book e-book titles are reduced to $1.99AUD for the duration, and there are reductions in the prices for most of the (earlier) paperback titles as well. You can find further details on the PBB website here.

Also in the slow-off-the-mark department:

30 11 2014

… a couple of further announcements.


First, it gives me great pleasure to announce that no less than four of the stories from Next, last year’s CSFG anthology (which Rob Porteous and I co-edited) have made it into the Table of Contents for the 2013 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror anthology edited by Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, and published by Ticonderoga Publications.

The four stories are Claire McKenna‘s ‘The Ninety Two’, Angela Rega‘s ‘Almost Beautiful’, Nicky Rowlands‘ ‘On The Wall’, and Janeen Webb‘s ‘Hell Is Where The Heart Is’. It’s wonderful to see these stories get the recognition they deserve; it’s a pity there couldn’t be room in the Year’s Best TOC for all of the Next stories, but of course them’s the breaks, and four stories making the cut is a very nice affirmation for Next as well as for the authors so chosen.


The other item of business is to unveil what I hope will be on sale in the final week or so of 2014: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine issue 61, which I have (it seems) been editing for much too long, and which is now almost through the process of layout. The issue of ASIM comprises the following (listed by author order, not in TOC order):

David Barber, ‘A Critic Reviews Pioneer 10′ (poem)
Mark Bondurant, ‘Dry Run’
Fred Coppersmith, “When Jane Was Nine’
A J Fitzwater, ‘Long’s Confandabulous Clockwork Circus And Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions’
Kimberley Gaal, ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’
Sinthia J Higgen-Bottom, ‘The First Of His Kind’
Kathleen Jennings, ‘An Apocalypse in Six Genres’ (poem)
Ambelin Kwaymullina, ‘Continuum X Guest of Honour Speech’ (nonfiction)
Rich Larson, ‘Seachange’
Sean Monaghan, ‘Double Team’
Charlotte Nash, ‘Alchemy and Ice’
Patrice Sarath, ‘Bad Dog’
George S Walker, ‘Empty Nesting Velocity’
Sean Williams, ‘Immaterial Progress’

It goes almost without saying that all of the above are excellent. Plus there are illustrations by the redoubtable triumvirate of Lewis Morley, Shauna O’Meara, and SpAE.

I’ll provide an update (and a cover pic) when it’s released to the wild.

In which I am slow off the mark with an update (or three)

30 11 2014

First up, I have been unconscionably slow in mentioning that my story ‘Lakeside on the Via Australis’ has been out for some time, online, in the October issue of Perihelion Science Fiction. It’s another of my Titan stories — there are seven of them out there now — but it should, I hope, work reasonably well as a standalone, even if (a) it does feature a protagonist who’s appeared in an earlier story, and (b, and spoiler alert) it does also serve as part of the setup for an as-yet-to-be-actually-written novel …

Second up, I’m thrilled to be able to report that my piece of flash fiction ‘Insecure Alternation’ is scheduled to appear in the 200th issue of AntipodeanSF, next February. Two hundred issues is a prodigious achievement, and a testament to editor Ion Newcombe’s tirelessness and zeal. I’ve got a lot of fond feeling towards AntiSF, which I would say has given a start to a lot of fine writers, with a target wordlength that (for a new writer particularly) is not too long, not too short. It’s a good venue for experimentation, and the site always has a wonderfully fresh feel to it — which, with the 200th issue approaching, is no small achievement. I’ll give no hint as to the content of my story, other than to suggest it might be interesting to run the title through an anagram generator, and to assert that, really, it isn’t quite fanfic …

Third up, I have been meaning to spruik Tsana Dolichva’s most excellent five-star review of Difficult Second Album ever since said review was released. I’m tempted to quote at length from the review, but instead I shall direct you to follow the link, and shall restrict myself to these two summative sentences: ‘Difficult Second Album is an excellent varied read. I highly recommend it to fans of Petrie’s work and newcomers alike.’

And I’m sure my publisher would think me remiss if I did not point out that the book can be procured from the Peggy Bright Books website

In the interests of signal-boostery …

26 11 2014

… it behooves me to pass along to you the information that the FFANZ voting season, arranged for the purpose of selecting and sending a trans-Tasman fan delegate to the NZ or Australian Natcon, is currently open. Here, through the modern miracle of cut and paste, is the message as it was relayed to me from Edwina Harvey:

We’re  happy to announce that David McDonald  is our nominee in the FFANZ race to send an Australian fan to the NZ Natcon in Rotorua in New Zealand held over Easter 2015.

The 2015 FFANZ voting is now open until  15 December, 2014.

Votes can be paid for via direct bank deposit, paypal or cash. 

Details can be found here:

Voting costs $5. (Due to a quirk of currency exchange, that’s $5USD, $5 AUD, or $5 NZD equivalently, but please pay in your local currency rather than seek out the cheapest option.) And as someone who has attended two NZ Natcons in recent years, I can attest that it would be money well spent: while NZ cons are generally smaller events than their Australian counterparts, they’re vibrant and varied and peopled by bright, friendly, creative, engaging types.

I always thought the SJV was a tracked vehicle from the Captain Scarlet series, until …

10 11 2014

New Zealand’s fan-based speculative fiction awards, the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, are currently accepting nominations, as detailed here. The nominations close on 31st January 2015. If you’re interested in nominating work for the SJVs — and you don’t have to be a New Zealander, nor resident in NZ, just ‘a natural person active in fandom’ as I believe the expression has it, in order to nominate — the requirements for placing a nomination are given on this page of the SFFANZ website. If you’ve read or viewed or listened to something memorable and / or moving by a Kiwi creator over the past year, and the item was first published or aired or unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe in the 2014 calendar year, I’d heartily encourage you to nominate that item. If you’ve read ten such things, there’s nothing to stop you nominating them all. The strength of the awards depends on the motivation of a wide and well-versed public: the more diversity there is on the ballot, the more representative is the ultimate award. So read widely, nominate wisely.

With the above in mind, the following list summarises eligible items with which I have been associated:


From Use Only As Directed (all eligible for Best Short Story):

‘Fetch Me Down My Gun’, by Lyn McConchie

‘Always Falling Up’, by Grant Stone [at 7300 words, this is a long short story, but it is categorically a short story according to the definition]

‘Uncle Darwin’s Bazooka’, by Douglas A. Van Belle

‘Home Sick’, by M. Darusha Wehm


From Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (all eligible for Best Short Story, unless otherwise indicated):

‘Alecia in the Mechwurm’, by Sean Monaghan, writing as Michael Shone (in ASIM 59)

‘Dada’, by Cerberus (Dan Rabarts, Grant Stone, and Matthew Sanborn Smith) (in ASIM 60)

‘Double Team’, by Sean Monaghan (in ASIM 61, upcoming, expected release in December) [this is a novelette, and so is eligible for Best Novella / Novelette]

‘Long’s Confandabulous Clockwork Circus and Carnival, and Cats of Many Persuasions’, by A. J. Fitzwater (in ASIM 61, upcoming, expected release in December) [this is a novella, and so is eligible for Best Novella / Novelette]


From Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell, by Simon Petrie (all eligible for Best Short Story, unless otherwise indicated):


‘Fixing a Hole’

‘Buying a Ray Gun’



‘Elevator Pitch’ [this is a novella, and so is eligible for Best Novella / Novelette]

[and Difficult Second Album itself — edited by Edwina Harvey and published by Peggy Bright Books — is eligible for Best Collected Work]


If any of the above have particularly spoken to you, I’d encourage you to nominate them. But I’d also encourage you to nominate anything else that takes your fancy, in the interests of diversity: there’s a lot of good stuff out there …

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water …

9 11 2014

… it’s the Return of the Mershark. For the (mercifully) uninitiated, that would be the Cynthia Mershark, accidental poet, who has been known on occasion to grace this website (for, as they say, a given value of ‘grace’).

Cynthia informs me that she has not one but two Found Poems she wishes to share with you today. Somewhat unusually — for most of her poems come to her line-by-line and must be constructed, as it were, from the disparate threads of her unconscious — these oeuvres apparently each sprang fully formed from the fountainhead of her poetic genius and required no further assembly, beyond the insertion of line feeds.

I must confess, I have some qualms about the language employed in Poem #2: the turn of phrase employed here is not one I, myself, would have intended for this website; but the ways of the poet are inscrutable (a statement which, while generally true, is especially so in Cynthia’s case), and so I will allow the lapse in taste to pass. I will say also that, though Cynthia has not vouchsafed to me the exact identity of this ‘George’, she has assured me that it is not our current Attorney-General, nor any recent President of the United States of America, nor any particular fantasy novelist, recently-married actor, or other celebrity.

And so, without further ado, two (2) acts of accidental poetry:


there are only a few instances more precious than those

by Cynthia Mershark

Asking questions
are actually fastidious thing
if you are not understanding
anything completely,
but this piece of writing
gives fastidious
understanding yet.

to George

by Cynthia Mershark

For you
to George: you stupid fucking
tosser, jackets might be
formulated to break
down within ages as
opposed to generations.
Head out notify yourself.


So. ‘Head out notify yourself’. If that’s not a slogan to live by, I don’t know what is.

Who says there’s no such thing as a free l(a)unch?

26 09 2014

Since an attempted-delivery note alerts me to the information that a certain collection is now, as they say, a ‘thing’, and since said thing can it seems now be purchased from the publisher’s website and from Amazon (of which further details below), it behooves me to announce that Difficult Second Album: more stories of Xenobiology, Space Elevators, and Bats Out Of Hell will be launched, in some modest fashion, at 12 noon on Saturday 4th October, in the ‘Registration Area’ of Conflux X (which I am given to understand is also the ‘Launch Area’ for several books during the convention). Conflux, if you are going to be in Canberra for that weekend, is to be held at the Rydges Capital Hill, and I believe that book launches may be attended by members of the general public, without requiring a con membership. At the launch I’ll read a brief extract or two from the book; but, to add some much-needed spice to the occasion, Leife Shallcross and Edwina Harvey will also read from their own work in other recent Peggy Bright Books offerings.


If you’re keen for an e-copy of Difficult Second Album right now, it’s up on Amazon (mobi only), but I can particularly recommend the limited-time special offer that Peggy Bright Books is running until Monday 13th October, with your choice of e-book format (epub, mobi, pdf) for only $1.99AUD while the deal lasts. (You can also order the print book through the PBB website, if you’ve a mind to, of course.)

Message ends; you may go about your business.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 32 other followers