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.

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).

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.

Use Only As Directed, reviewed

25 05 2014

I’ve been remiss, or to use the more correct technical term ‘slow’, in getting around to reporting Use Only As Directed‘s first review, by Steve Jackson, which appears on anthology author Lyn McConchie’s website.


I won’t reproduce the review in its entirety, because that’s never cool even when it’s a really good review like this one, but you can click on the link above to get the full verdict from Mr Jackson. I will, however, lift the last few sentences:

All in all this is a good anthology, it has that feeling of progression, as if each story flows into the next, something in which a goodly number of major anthologies fail. It isn’t enough to pick good stories, they need to blend so that as the reader advances, there isn’t the feeling that they are reading a bunch of unconnected works, but something in which many parts have made a whole. Congratulations to the editors, they’ve succeeded.”




Spruiking ‘The Back of the Back of Beyond’ Sampler

11 05 2014

As noted recently, Edwina Harvey’s collection of fandom-inspired, dragon-fuelled, alien-invaded short stories The Back of the Back of Beyond is on the Ditmar ballot in the Best Collected Work category. I’ve been asked to point out that Peggy Bright Books is currently offering a free sample chapter from the collection, called ‘No Pets Allowed’, which you can download in your choice of pdf, epub, or mobi from the Peggy Bright Books website. If you’re after a taste of the collection, please check it out.

In other news, I’ve been very busy. Hopefully there’ll be something to show for this busy-ness (something vaguely book-shaped, and anthological, and well-laid-out) in a month’s time, or slightly less.

Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of impending publication …

28 04 2014

Without further ado, an announcement.

Use Only As Directed, an anthology of original speculative fiction edited by Simon Petrie and Edwina Harvey, and published by Peggy Bright Books, will launch at Continuum X, in Melbourne, June 6-9. Here’s the lineup:

‘Large Friendly Letters’ — Stephen Dedman
‘The Eighth Day’ — Dirk Flinthart
‘Never More’ — Dave Freer
‘The Climbing Tree’ — Michelle Goldsmith
‘The Kind Neighbours of Hell’ — Alex Isle
‘Fetch Me Down My Gun’ — Lyn McConchie
‘Yard’ — Claire McKenna
‘Dellinger’ — Charlotte Nash
‘Mister Lucky’ — Ian Nichols
‘The Blue Djinn’s Wish’ — Leife Shallcross
‘Always Falling Up’ — Grant Stone
‘Uncle Darwin’s Bazooka’ — Douglas A Van Belle
‘Future Perfect’ — Janeen Webb
‘Home Sick’ — M Darusha Wehm

The anthology, which may be considered a sister publication, of sorts, to 2012’s Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear, will be available in print and e-formats. Further details, such as a glimpse of the Lewis Morley cover art, and the all-important pricing and how-to-purchase information, will follow in the coming days.

Shortlistings: a dual perspective

27 04 2014

1. I have somehow, tangentially, and in connection with the work of others more talented than I (hi, Edwina; hi, Shauna), found my name among those listed on the 2014 Ditmar Ballot, the preliminary form of which was released yesterday. The best of luck to all those listed!

2. The call has recently gone out for the latest crop of Aurealis Awards judges. I’ve served on AA judging panels in 2008 (SF Novel), 2009 (Anthology and Collection), 2010 and 2013 (Fantasy Short Story, those last two occasions); I’ll be sitting this one out, but I can recommend the judging process to anyone who is seriously interested in the Australian speculative fiction scene and who thinks they might have something to offer. It’s hard work: there’s a lot of reading involved, and this reading tends to fall disproportionately close to the deadline, despite the best efforts of those organising — but I do not think there is a better way of taking the pulse of the genre. And it’s nice to be able to feel a personal stake in the recognition of excellence in whatever category you happen to be judging. Plus, of course, it’s not a solitary activity — you’re a member of a panel, and generally speaking at least one panellist will have prior experience of the judging process and can act as mentor. The flip side is that there can only be one winner (or, in the event of a tie, two), and often there are very many deserving candidates: it’s a delicate balance, and necessarily, in the end, a somewhat subjective one. A different panel would possibly pick a slightly different shortlist, perhaps even a different winner. But that’s the awards process. Judges are human. You can make a difference. If you want to, and you have the time (particularly towards December and January, when in the more demanding categories it can get hectic), give it a go. But don’t leave it too long — I believe they’re looking to get expressions of interest in by the 30th of April.