A spot of foreshadowing

30 12 2017

Light levels are low. It’s killingly cold. These conditions are, it transpires, connected.

The icy landscape around you—hillocks, boulders, ravines, foregrounding a hazy, rumpled horizon beneath an opaque, lowering sky—wears a patina that shades from sepia to umber, puddled with drifts of dark sand. The atmosphere, though thick, would permit only a parody of respiration: there is no succour in it. Were it not for the insulating, carefully-regulated containment of your suit, you would be dead within minutes, frozen solid within an hour.

Welcome to Titan.


(Image credit: ESA / NASA / JPL / University of Arizona)

I started my first Titan story, ‘Storm in a T-Suit’, almost exactly nine years ago today. It took a few months to finish, as I recall, which is one of the drawbacks of not knowing the ending when you begin the thing. (There are a lot of false starts in my writing.) I had, at the time, no broader ambitions for Titan: it was just an intriguing extraterrestrial environment to explore and populate, and that sort of thing always piques my interest. But as time went on, along with its share of fresh false starts, I wrote another Titan story, and then another. Eight of them—seven short stories, and my novella Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body—have already seen release into the wild, in various places. Soon, there’ll be more.

Early next year, Peggy Bright Books is to publish my collection Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan, which is essentially what it says on the tin. Wide Brown Land will collect those first seven published short stories as well as four new ones. In case you’re interested, here’s the TOC (with asterisks denoting previously unpublished stuff):

Storm in a T-Suit
Emptying Roesler
Fixing a Hole

A sample story, ‘CREVjack’, has been available for free online reading here for quite some time: it’s not entirely representative (what single story ever is?), but it gives a taste. The aim in these stories has been to focus on what I call the four C’s: scenario, character, science, and setting.

I’ll update with more details—cover image, release date, etc.—as they come to hand.


Matters up for review, again

25 10 2017

There have been a couple more reviews of Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, and an associated interview. As per standard operating procedures, I’ll quote brief excerpts from each, alongside links to the full article on the original website concerned.


Dawn Meredith’s review, on her SpeckFick site, says ‘I thoroughly enjoyed this novella. Petrie’s writing just gets better and better all the timeI very much enjoyed the world that was created and was invested in the character discovering the answers for which she so diligently searched.’ Here’s the full review.

Faith Jones’s review, on her ‘Having Faith’ book blog, says ‘There’s logic to this – and reality. I liked the flight over the dunes and the argument with the computer, which was a device to show the investigator’s determined character and refusal to be sabotaged within sight of the answer. This is what our future in space might genuinely turn out like …The full review is here.

And Cindy Bohn, who reviewed Matters Arising a couple of months ago on her ‘Speedy Reader’ book blog, has now interviewed me for her blog. You can read the interview here, and if you’re looking for her review, it’s here.

Matters up for review (update)

8 10 2017

It’s been two months or so since I gave a round-up of the reviews for my SF/crime novella Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body (Peggy Bright Books, 2017), and there are a few new ones to highlight. As is standard practice, I’ll provide a snippet from each, while linking to the full reviews on their respective original sites.


Cindy Bohn of the Speedy Reader site says ‘I really enjoyed this book. I liked the mystery aspect, I liked the characters, and I really enjoyed the setting. It’s a world enough like our own that I could identify with what was going on, but enough different that it was completely fresh. I recommend this one and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.The full review is here.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald of the Earl Grey Editing site says ‘Another thing I was pleased to see was how diverse the cast was. It’s something I’m not used to seeing in hard sci-fi… A solid read … I’d definitely recommend it to lovers of hard sci-fi.Here’s the full review.

Suzie Eisfelder of Suz’s Space says ‘It has good writing, a plot that makes sense and it’s written by an Australian author! What more do you want? … Anyway, enough nonsense. Yes, I thoroughly recommend it.Here’s the full review.

Lee Murray says ‘It hooks me from the get-go … Well written and original, with characters who are both unique and recognisable, this is a satisfying read. Well worth the quick detour.The full review is here.

(You may note that there’s a mention, in the Speedy Reader review, of ‘the next book in the series’. No, it hasn’t slipped my mind. I’m working on it. And yes, it should still be out next year.)

Matters up for review

18 07 2017

First, a quick reminder that Peggy Bright Books is continuing to offer free review e-copies of Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body and of Edwina Harvey’s An Eclectic Collection of Stuff and Things …

which observation segues nimbly into an anouncement that a review of Matters Arising has been reviewed by tireless book-blogger (and author and editor) Tsana Dolichva. The complete review is now up at Tsana’s Reads and Reviews, but I’ll quote a brief sample here:

‘I highly recommend Matters Arising From the Identification of the Body to fans of science fiction and mystery/crime stories.’

In other publication-related news, my not-exactly-serious SF flash fiction piece ‘Good Intentions’ has been accepted by AntipodeanSF and will appear in issue 232 (November 2017).

In other other news, I’m currently reading Cat Sparks’ Lotus Blue, and it is marvellous. More details when I review it.

Announcing a Goodreads giveaway …

7 07 2017

… of my SF/crime novella Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body. Three copies of the print edition. Open, from now until 15th July (for a given value of ’15th July’ that will probably be 16th July in several places) for entrants in Australia and New Zealand.


For those interested, the link is here.

And in a more-or-less entirely unrelated circumstance, review e-copies of Matters Arising, and of Edwina Harvey’s new collection An Eclectic Collection of Stuff and Things, are currently available through Peggy Bright Books. For those interested, please contact editor@peggybrightbooks.com and specify your preference of epub, mobi, or pdf version.

Now available for e-delivery throughout the inner solar system …

27 05 2017

Without wishing to be too annoyingly persistent on the subject of The Author’s Latest Work, a quick PSA seems appropriate. The e-book versions (epub, mobi, pdf) of my Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body and Edwina Harvey’s An Eclectic Collection of Stuff and Things are, for a limited time (i.e., up until the launch) available from the Peggy Bright Books website at the discounted price of $1.99AUD each.

Quick PSA ends. You may go about your business. Move along.

Matters Arising from the identification of a book launch

22 05 2017

A few weeks back, I foreshadowed the upcoming book launch for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body. I now have substantive details of said book launch, so without further ado:


The launch is scheduled for 7 pm (AEST) on Friday 9th June, at Continuum 13, which is being held at the Jasper Hotel, 489 Elizabeth St, Melbourne VIC 3000. Entry to the convention for the Friday night only is at a special reduced rate of (a) a gold-coin donation or (b) $5, whichever one of these options turns out to be correct (and I’ve seen both listed in various places on the convention website, which I suspect means option (b) is the correct one and parts of last year’s site haven’t been adjusted). The launch is to be held, I’m given to understand, in the ‘Haunted House’ room. There will be nibbles, and beverages, but hopefully no poltergeists.


It’s a dual launch: the other book on offer is Edwina Harvey’s An Eclectic Collection of Stuff and Things (also newly published by Peggy Bright Books) a wonderful mixture of short speculative fiction ranging all the way from children’s stories to some decidedly adult content, with lots of stuff (and, indeed, the occasional ‘thing’) in between.

I’m thrilled to say that Master-of-Ceremonies for the launch will be Ion Newcombe, the long-serving editor of the Antipodean SF flash fiction webzine. The launch will be, in some respects, a reunion. ‘Newk’ has published a good many stories by both Edwina and myself over the years: my first speculative fiction publication, almost exactly ten years ago, was in Antipodean SF‘s 108th issue, while Edwina’s involvement with the zine goes all the way back to its very first issue in 1998 (and several of her Antipodean stories have made it into the collection—I’m hoping she’ll read ‘Where The Last Humans Went’, the latest such offering, at the launch).

So, a book launch. Now all we need, I suppose, are the books …