Another snippet of Reappraisal

6 02 2019

I posted, a month or so back, the first chapter of my second Guerline Scarfe SF-murder-mystery-set-on-Titan, A Reappraisal of the Circumstances Resulting in Death. The story is now technically complete but still requiring a fair bit of work, which will happen over the coming months. Those of you who’ve read Chapter One may have noticed that it makes no mention of Guerline Scarfe herself. To rectify that, and to set the scene that little bit more, here’s part of Chapter Two:

*

Scarfe brooded over what Hinewai had asked of her. It wasn’t feasible, of course; nor was it exactly ethical; nor, in all likelihood, did it offer any hope of effectiveness. But that wasn’t enough to dissuade her from mulling it over, as fruitlessly as an early-morning insomniac.

She was standing in the rain room, with Nikita, but she wasn’t properly there. She told herself that she should be investing the time in properly engaging with her son, finding a way to interact with his eight-year-old—no, nine now—his nine-year-old enthusiasms, rather than picking over Hinewai’s information. But Guerline Scarfe had never liked being lied to, and she knew, now, she couldn’t let this sit until she’d worked out exactly why Hinewai had been lying.

It wasn’t real rain, of course. Neither Titan rain nor true Earth rain, just tame liquid water that fell, traipsed almost, from a myriad small apertures in the rain room’s camo’d ceiling, while the wraparound virtscreens, the textovers, the olfactors and the hidden ductfans all sought to convey, to bolster, a sequence of illusions. Seattle, drizzle. Hokitika, steady downpour. Preston, spring shower. New Dhaka, monsoon. None of it authentic, no chance. She tried, and failed, to imagine what it must really be like to experience rain at seven times the gravity, in thinner air. It must come down like bullets. It must hurt.

And the crazy thing is that half the people in here have opted for protective clothing, waterproof outers, to protect them from the very conditions they’ve paid significant credit to experience. What’s the point in that? She’d chosen rubber boots, herself, because wet moccasins weren’t any kind of fun, but as for the rest of it, she was expecting to get soaked, because that was what the rain room was about. She had a set of spare clothes in the locker. Why would you do any differently? What could you possibly get from the rain room in a plastic jacket?

Nikita had insisted on bare feet. Bare feet and shorts. He sploshed, now, with youthful belligerence in the puddles, sending thin jets of cold water at anyone who happened to be standing close enough. Guerline stifled the impulse to apologise on his behalf: his actions weren’t really misbehaviour. If people weren’t prepared to get wet, they shouldn’t be in the rain room.

It’s funny, she thought, what gets people’s interest, creates a fad. Three weeks ago the franchise that ran Trafton’s weather rooms was foreshadowing the facility’s closure, because there wasn’t sufficient patronage for viability. Then the rain had come, outside, real Titan rain that had lasted for almost two standard days, had drenched the terrain around Trafton with puddles and channels and pooling, transient lakes of liquid methane. There’d been a welter of sightseeing, to the extent that the hab’s authorities had had to introduce a ballot system so as not to overtax the available airlocks. Everyone, it seemed, freshly reminded that they dwelt on a world with a genuine and dynamic meteorology, had wanted to experience the rain; and for some who were thwarted by the ballot, or who were impatient, or who just wanted another bite of the ration bar, the weather rooms in the Sub-B amusement precinct offered a suddenly-appealing surrogate. At its peak, she’d heard, they’d been turning people away from the rain room, just as they had from the airlocks leading outside, because there wasn’t space.

This session, it didn’t look as if there were more than a couple of dozen people, mostly children and wet-faced parents like herself.

A determined trickle of water found its way down past the cuff of her left boot. She tried to remember: had she included socks in her change of clothes?

Early in the downpour, Nikita had joined a small group of children about his own age who were playing an impromptu game of chase, shrieking and laughing as they ran and manoeuvred around the grownups and other non-participants. He’s good at running, Guerline thought, a little enviously. He’s at the cat age, where he doesn’t worry about whatever anyone else thinks, content just to be himself. Though even as the thought occurred to her, she knew it wasn’t true, not entirely. Kids are just better at concealing their insecurities, sometimes, or forgetting them. Bravado can count for a lot, when you’re young.

And the times you feel closest to him are those when he doesn’t even notice you’re there. Like now. She stole a guilty glance at the chrono on the wall. Calculated the time needed to get changed; get a meal; walk home; ensure he was packed; then drop him off at Sunder’s. At Sunder’s and Pirra’s, she corrected herself. Striving, without complete success, to rise above the dull bitterness, the reflex-action resentment. It was a positive, after all, that Nikita got along so well with his father’s new partner; but it didn’t always feel like a positive.

I promised Sunder that I wouldn’t actively compete with him for Nikita’s affection, his regard, she thought. But I never said I’d extend that courtesy to my replacement.

She blanked the thought away, fought to stay in the moment. She was the one, here, after all, with Nikita. She’d been the one he’d begged about the rain room. Enjoy what you’ve got. Be grateful.

Pirra was presumably grateful, herself, to have one stepchild—Nikita—with whom she was on good terms. Because that isn’t, apparently, true with Hinewai. It had been something Sunder had said, remarking on the disparity in Pirra’s interactions with Nikita and with Hinewai, which had resurfaced in her memory while Hinewai had been discussing her concerns about her father. They’ve never got along, Pirra and Hinewai, Sunder had told Guerline, weeks ago now. They’re like the wrong poles of two magnets, she says it’s always been that way. It’s such a relief Nikita gets on so well with her.

Guerline hadn’t invested too much thought in the comment, at the time, beyond pure maternal resentment at the suggestion that she wasn’t, perhaps, irreplaceable, as well as wondering if her ex-husband even recognised the implicit irony in his commenting to her about the fundamental incompatibility of two entirely different people. Taking the broader view, Pirra’s relationship with her stepdaughter was, after all, none of Guerline’s concern, provided it didn’t in some manner rub off adversely on Nikita’s interactions with Pirra. On a purely social level, that was where it sat, and that was where it ended. But on a professional level …

And at that point she had to remind herself, yet again, that she didn’t really have a professional level anymore.





Chapter One

30 12 2018

Exactly a month back, I posted an interim progress report on A Reappraisal of the Circumstances Resulting in Death, the second of my Guerline Scarfe SF murder mysteries set on Titan. (The first, for those uninitiated in such things, is Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body.)

 

A Reappraisal of the Circumstances Resulting in Death is nearing completion, and so as to provide a taste of it, here’s chapter one of the story:

*

The ride from Turtle had been sufficiently challenging, for both her and the skid-bike, that Prabha’s servo’d wrists ached by the time she pulled to a halt outside the installation.

The W&E Afekan Command Centre was a thirty-metre-diameter prefab geodome, heavily stained and almost completely devoid of windows. It was crouched on the broad, weathered eastern rim of the crater. In wan full sun, as now, the track leading up the crater wall was wide enough that the ascent didn’t intimidate so much as tire, but she wouldn’t have liked to negotiate it during the week of night. The access road hewn into the ice-rock of the crater’s outer wall had been marred and rutted by the repeated passage of heavy tracked vehicles—as generally happened, she supposed, with mining operations—and the road’s inner shoulder, where the surface was generally smoother and thus more accommodating to the skid-bike, was frequently choked by drifts of umber-coloured, coarse-grained hydrocarbon sand.

Looking westward, the tholin-stained, intermittently sand-choked crater wall sloped down unhurriedly, in a haphazard, age-eroded jumble towards Afekan’s dark floor, a couple of hundred metres below. Prabha thought she could just espy a couple of lighter, blocky, artificial obtrusions in the intermediate distance. It wasn’t apparent whether they were vehicles or buildings. There were other obtrusions, larger, less regular—weathered hillocks and ridges, she presumed, daubed in the false shade of their tholined crusting—scattered elsewhere across the crater floor. Distance, or the staining on her helmet’s visor—or possibly a conspiracy of the two—robbed her of any hint of the crater’s far wall, more than a hundred kilometres away.

In the absence of any apparent visitor parking, she pushed the skid-bike across to the geodome’s western perimeter, voice-locked it, and went in search of an airlock.

*

The air stank. She should probably have expected that.

“Khalil, can you please get me those—Oh.” The woman who emerged through the front office hatchway was big, not so much tall as solid, her shortsleeved tunic displaying the most heavily muscled arms Prabha had ever seen. Broad face, green eyes beneath thick brows, soot-black shoulder-length hair. Orca tattoo on her right arm. Voice higher-pitched than seemed in keeping with her build, her bearing.

Prabha stepped forward, awkwardly holding her daypack—its handle still carrying some residue of Titan-chill—in her left hand while she extended the other to shake. “Agent Prabha Braun, Turtle pol,” she said. “You’d reported some kind of problem?”

What followed, Prabha felt, was less a handshake than an exercise in digitally-mediated constriction. “Ulla Frick,” the older woman explained, releasing the pressure. “Supervisor. Are the others still outside?”

“Others?” asked Prabha. “I don’t—”

“Is it just you?” asked Frick. “No offence, but …”

“Just what kind of problem had you reported?”

Frick’s eyes narrowed, and she gave a small quick exhalation before breathing in, more deeply and slowly. “You’d better come through to the lab.”

“Right.” Prabha followed Frick through a hatchway to the right of the office, and along a short corridor. “My suit’s still in the airlock. Is that likely to pose a difficulty?”

“I doubt anyone’s going to steal it,” Frick replied, not bothering to turn around. “If that’s what you mean.”

“Fine. And is there anywhere around here I can get it freshened?”

Ulla Frick’s answering laugh was, Prabha thought, more symptomatic of derision than of mirth.

*

The hatchway they stopped at bore on its door the inexpertly-stencilled label ‘GEOCHEM’, as well as several scuffs and scratches of sufficient prominence for Prabha to harbour doubts as to its continued utility as an emergency pressure barrier. Frick gave the briefest of courtesy knocks before pushing her palm against the admit panel.

Prabha wasn’t sure what she had been expecting from the laboratory—probably something like the stereotypical scene in sims she’d partaken of—but this wasn’t it. A couple of large, and by no means new-looking, black cabinets dominated one side of the room. A hip-high workbench, on which were sprawled flimsies, reagent canisters, and a pile of emergency masks, stretched the length of the opposite side. Pipes, ducts, and cables ran up the far wall and across the ceiling. Above all this—overlaid upon it, suffusing it, helping somehow to define it—was the sharp sweet stink of Titan ice.

A small man, in vividly varicoloured clothes that seemed too tight to contain him effectively, stood hunched over some blockish-looking instrument at the far end of the workbench, worrying it with an oligotool. He did not look up as they entered.

“You seen Khalil anywhere?” Frick asked.

Now he did glance up, double-took at the sight of Prabha. Elfin features, stubble, a scar on his left cheek that ran almost up to his eye. Big meaty hands. “Thought he’d been to see you earlier.”

“He didn’t find me,” said Frick.

“And this is …?”

“Agent Braun, from Turtle pol.” Frick turned briefly to Prabha, as though to confirm these particulars, before turning back to the figure at the workbench. “She’s here in response to the … incident.” With this, the supervisor turned and walked out of the room.

Well, thought Prabha, wondering what happened next. The lab’s heating kicked in with an aggressive whirr.

“How much has Ulla told you about this?” the lab worker asked her after a few awkward seconds.

“Not much,” replied Prabha, raising her voice so as to remain audible over the heat-pump’s turbines. “Suppose you just tell me everything you think is relevant, in your own words? And I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name …”

“Bo Culbertson. Geochemistry.” He placed the oligotool on the bench and moved toward her, hand outstretched.

What is it with these people and death-grip handshakes? she wondered. “Look, to be perfectly frank, I haven’t been briefed on this at all. Whatever information may have been transmitted to Turtle pol about this incident hasn’t been relayed to me. So I’d be grateful if you can tell me why pol attention was sent for.”

“It’s probably best if I show you,” he said, pausing the climate control before crossing to the farther cabinet. Opened, its black door (emblazoned, she now saw, with a contrasting decal that declared ‘Frozen Oceanography Practised Here’) almost completely blocked the gap between cabinets and bench. The cabinet door also quite eclipsed Culbertson, of whom the only trace, for the moment, was a sequence of shuffling and scampering sounds as he searched for something among the cabinet’s shelves. “Ah.” He placed an object on the bench, closed up the cabinet—the heat pump rumbled into action again—and then he gingerly carried his find over to Prabha. Resting in the slight concavity of a disposable plastic sample tile was a rough chunk of something—some mineral, she guessed—about two centimetres across, a light greyish-brown, and with a crumbled texture to much of its surface. He prodded it gently with the oligotool, revealing darker brown shading on its underside. “We pulled this out of the masticator runoff, down on the crater floor. There was a fair bit more of it, too, as well as the other stuff you’d expect.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t … what is it exactly, that you’re showing me?”

His eyes flicked from her, to the sample, back to her again. “It’s bone,” he said. “Human bone.”





A reappraisal

30 11 2018

Last year, alongside the release of Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, my Guerline Scarfe SF / murder mystery novella, I somewhat rashly promised, within the confines of said book and alongside a first-chapter teaser, that a sequel would be appearing this year. That, alas, won’t be happening.

Matters_Arising_cover_small

In essence, I realised quite far into the writing of said sequel (which somewhat ironically has always been called A Reappraisal of the Circumstances Resulting in Death) that the new SF / murder mystery I’d outlined didn’t really cut it: it didn’t resonate the way I’d hoped it would. So I scrapped it, stripped the story back to basics, and have had it sitting up on blocks for the past year or so while I sought to find the keys to its salvage. On this front there has been, recently, significant progress.

A Reappraisal of the Circumstances Resulting in Death is currently over 16,000 words, up from just 6,000 a week ago. There’s far to go, yet; it’s not yet half written, even in first draft. But I’m pleased at what is coalescing. The first-chapter teaser is still canonical, and should remain so. And steam is up.





Sundry publication news

31 07 2018

By way of finishing the month with a spot of updatery, I can report (1) that my unthemed short fiction collection, 80,000 Totally Secure Passwords That No Hacker Would Ever Guess, now has a cover:

80K_TSP_cover

The photography on the 80k TSP cover is by Lewis P Morley, as is the modelwork depicted. (Among his other talents, Lewis is a skilled modelmaker and has seen a fair bit of work as a propmaker for locally-produced movies, including some big name ones. I understand the unit depicted is also to serve as a spaceship console in a home-produced short Supermarionation-style movie of his own, which should be well worth seeing.)

(2) My upcoming Gordon Mamon space-elevator-murder-mysteries-with-puns collection, Murder on the Zenith Express, has taken its first steps towards physicality: I’ve received copies of the printed proofs. (There’s still a longish lead time before its release, on the first of October, but it is on its way.)

(3) The perspicacious Mark Webb has released a review of Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body. As always, you can click on the link for the full review, but here’s a snippet:

Matters Arising packs a lot into the novella length. As well as setting a good pace, Petrie uses the extra space of a novella to flesh out the main character nicely, showing glimpses of family and other background information which creates a much stronger connection between reader and protagonist.

Matters_Arising_cover_small

(4) The number of local bookshops now stocking my books has doubled, with Bookface (in Gungahlin Marketplace) carrying copies of Matters Arising, Wide Brown Land, and Flight 404. So you can now find them in the wild there as well as at Harry Hartog’s in Woden. (They’re also, of course, fairly widely available from online stores, but sometimes it’s nice to make purchases face-to-face with an actual human…)





On bringing new toys into the sandpit

5 06 2018

When I started writing Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, I hesitated over the setting. It was a story, after all, that didn’t have to be set on Titan (although in having made the decision to set it there, certain significant aspects of the story were influenced by that setting)—it would have worked as well, in essence, on Mars, or the Moon, or elsewhere. But Titan was, for me, a readymade setting—I’d written eight stories previously, by that point, which were all set on my version of a near(ish) future colonised Titan—and that obviously simplified aspects of the novella’s worldbuilding. But it complicated things as well, or at least drove me to consider that the writing of it might complicate things for me.

Matters_Arising_cover_small

Matters Arising is SF, but it’s also a procedural crime story, something that my other Titan stories to date (i.e., those collected in Wide Brown Land) are not. So I was concerned about sending mixed messages, of crossing the streams in some way. I needed to decide whether it was reasonable to ‘contaminate’ my pre-existing world of Titan (and insofar as I have a brand as a writer of serious SF, it’s reasonable to say that Titan is that brand) with a crime story. Obviously, I decided it was reasonable, but it could have gone either way.

I’m not the first person who has made this decision. The set of ‘SF writers who have decided to incorporate crime fiction in their pre-existing fictional universes’ has quite a healthy population. Alastair Reynolds’ ‘Revelation Space’ universe includes several pure-SF novels, but it also includes the ‘Prefect Dreyfus’ novels Aurora Rising (formerly The Prefect) and Elysium Fire, which are as much detective story as hard SF. Similarly, Larry Niven’s ‘Known Space’ already encompassed several novels and numerous short stories by the time he introduced tough-guy PI Gil Hamilton in a noirish set of stories exploring corpsicle crime. Lois McMaster Bujold’s excellent Vorkosigan series has as often incorporated aspects of the detective novel as it has every other genre variant that Bujold has folded into the mix, from mil-SF space opera to comedy-of-manners romance. Asimov, too, did it, if in a somewhat after-the-fact fashion: in Foundation and Earth, he reveals that his classic SF/crime novels The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun are a part of the same timeline as his ‘Foundation’ series. I’m sure there are a good many other examples also.

Why should this be? Why start a SF series or sequence, and then add crime fiction to it down the track? I suspect it has something to do with synergy: there are certain features in common to SF (especially, I would say, hard SF) and the procedural. One is an imperative to operate within rules that are not, for the most part, of your own devising: the laws of physics, say, and the characteristics of human nature. In a SF novel, the technology must make sense, even if we wouldn’t know how to operate it ourselves, in just the same way as a murder must be seen to make sense (to the killer, at least) and to have been executed in a manner that is plausible. Another is that SF is as much a literature of exploration and discovery as it is of introspection, and this is true also of the procedural crime novel: if the crime must be understood on a motivational basis, it must also be uncovered, deduced. These are things, I suppose, that are true also of other genres, but there seems to be a certain kind of symbiosis possible between SF and crime that does not exist, for example, between, say, fantasy and crime (where I would think the writer would need to establish very early on the rules surrounding the setting’s ‘unreality’ so as to be playing fair with the reader) or romance and crime (which can definitely be merged successfully, though the shared focus on the often-concealed motivations of individuals has the potential to complicate rather than streamline the mixture). It obviously helps, too, I think, that whereas (on the most simplistic level) SF is a genre defined by its setting, crime is a genre defined by its plot, so the two can mesh in ways that reinforce each other constructively, something that doesn’t necessarily occur (to my tastes, at least, though your mileage may vary) when one combines two setting-defined genres such as SF and fantasy. A SF setting can usefully suggest certain novel flavours of crime (such as the ‘organlegging’ of Niven’s Gil Hamilton stories); crime can also usefully allow the SF writer to explore their setting in a novel way. For example, a common feature of almost all my stories in Wide Brown Land is that they are largely set out in the environment, with characters in T-suits or in vehicles of one form or another; it wasn’t until I wrote Matters Arising that I usefully found a way in which to explore the settlements, arcologies and habitats in which most people spend most of their time, without having such exploration drag down the story.

I still have further plans for Titan, both as a setting for a couple more planned procedural crime pieces, and for more straightforward SF extrapolation. The two styles won’t necessarily click for the same readers, but that’s OK: different people are drawn to different things, and that’s how it should be.

What other SF sequences are out there, that sometimes (but not always) add the procedural crime style to the mix? There must be some I’ve missed …





New(ish) publication news

4 06 2018

My 2012 SF / mystery novella Flight 404 is now back in (e)print in, I think, all the usual places as of today (or whenever ‘today’ gets to the trailing hemisphere, which depending on your perspective will either be today or tomorrow) and will be available again in print print as of next week.

Flight404

Two reviews of my Titan books have turned up in the past couple of days. Book Reviews Anonymous has reviewed Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, and over at Strange Horizons, Octavia Cade has reviewed Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan. Click on the link for the review.

Finally, I’ve begun an attempted conquest of local bookshops. This means that Harry Hartog’s in Woden now has copies of Matters Arising and Wide Brown Land for sale, at prices that may well undercut those available online.

 





Sundry news of word and book

20 05 2018

It’s been a more protracted process than I would have wished, but it appears that the severance of my books from Peggy Bright Books, their former publisher, is now complete — or as complete as I am able to arrange. The final step has been the transfer of the PBB editions of Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body and Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan to my own imprint: this was effected overnight, courtesy of the distributor, and those editions have now been cancelled since they effectively duplicated the new self-published editions of those titles. The PBB ebook of Wide Brown Land should disappear fairly quickly, I think, from the online retailers; the print PBB editions are likely to linger for some time at the retailers, until the physical stock is exhausted. But at least I have now ensured that no new PBB stock of those titles can be generated in competition with my own editions. It … has taken a while, and it has been an odd sort of journey.

The ‘unpublication’ has also meant the disappearance of my earlier works: the collections Rare Unsigned Copy and Difficult Second Album, the novella Flight 404, and the stories which were collected in The Gordon Mamon Casebook. I remain uncertain as to whether to re-release Flight 404, but I do have firm plans for two new collections to make available again much of the other material, later in the year. There will be a new, ‘officially complete’ collection of my Gordon Mamon stories, to be titled Murder on the Zenith Express. This will include a newly-completed novella, ‘This Guy’s The Limit’, which like the others is a space-elevator murder mystery with puns. And an unthemed collection, for which I have a title (that is, nonetheless, to be kept under wraps until the wordcount is finalised), will include the strongest stories (both lighter and darker) from Rare Unsigned Copy and Difficult Second Album as well as a significant serving of newer stories. The release date for these new collections is still around four months away, but I’m looking forward to pushing them out into the world.





A brief publishy update

27 04 2018

There has been progress, of sorts, in the ongoing saga of my books. While the older editions have yet to disappear from the main online vendors (the wheels of behemoths sometimes turn slow, if indeed behemoths are those things that have wheels, which they’re probably not), listings for the new editions (which will be self-published) have begun to crop up.

Several of my older titles—Rare Unsigned Copy, Difficult Second Album, Flight 404, The Gordon Mamon Casebook—will either be retired or will be put up on blocks in the workshop, in preparation for re-tuning, repair, and possible subsequent re-release. (I’m currently halfway through a new Gordon Mamon story, so that may give some hint as to which titles may or may not be back in some form.)

For now, the titles which will come closest to maintaining continuity of publication are my two most recent books, Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body and Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan. The (re)release dates for these are April 30th (ebooks, both titles) and May 4th (paperbacks, both titles).

(Brief publishy update ends.)





Unpublication

11 04 2018

I’ve been slow to provide purchase links for my new hard-SF short story collection, Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan. There’s a reason for that: two days ago, I was dropped by the book’s publisher, Peggy Bright Books, who have promptly removed almost all mention of the preceding collections and novellas of mine which they had published over the years. I’m still in the dark as to why this decision was made, though it seems unlikely to have been made on purely financial grounds. While I continue to respect PBB as a publishing house—they have been very good to me over the years—I can no longer direct prospective purchasers of my books to the PBB site as a purchase option, because the books are suddenly no longer available through them.

Where this leaves the wider availability of the titles—which at this stage largely means their presence on Amazon—I’m as yet unsure. At time of posting, none of my titles (Rare Unsigned Copy, Difficult Second Album, Flight 404, The Gordon Mamon Casebook, Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body, Wide Brown Land) has yet disappeared from Amazon, but the wheels of behemoths grind slow (if indeed behemoths have wheels) and so I cannot yet be sure that any paperback-copy options will reflect a title genuinely obtainable from the distributor. (If I receive clarification on this matter, I’ll provide an update.) And both Matters Arising and Wide Brown Land are still showing as ‘available’ through other sites such as Book Depository and B&N. The ‘instant gratification’ option of an e-book purchase of any of the titles (mostly restricted to Amazon, though Wide Brown Land is, I believe, also available elsewhere) would, for the moment, appear more secure: if an ostensibly-available e-book title isn’t deliverable, then I would assume the transaction is voided. For what it’s worth, here are the Amazon e-book links for my recent Sir Julius Vogel Award winning novella Matters Arising, and for my brand-new Titan collection, Wide Brown Land. While I hope that they will continue to remain available into the future, I cannot for now be certain of that.

Further clarification, I hope, will follow.





Some recent Titan-flavoured review activity

8 04 2018

There have been a couple of recent reviews of my work in the last week or so. As is my wont, I’ll quote a snippet from each review, while referring you to the reviewer’s site for the full deal:

Matters_Arising_cover_small

NZ author Barbara Howe (whom I met at Conclave 3 in Auckland last weekend) has reviewed Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body on her blog. She describes it as ‘a classic detective story with a savage, high-tech twist’.

WBL_frontcover_draft_midres

And astrophysicist, writer, editor and book blogger Tsana Dolichva has contributed the first review of Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan on her blog. She concludes a detailed review to say ‘I highly recommend this collection to fans of science fiction, especially those intrigued by human life on Titan’.

(It occurs to me that I haven’t yet spruiked purchase options for the new collection. That, I’m hoping, will happen within the next day or so.)