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.

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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.)





Beyond the awards event horizon

3 04 2018

This weekend just past has been a bit of an Australasian spec-fic awards logjam, with the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Tin Duck awards all presented at this year’s Swancon in Perth, and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards presented at Conclave 3 in Auckland. (In a wider context, it was also the weekend in which the British Science Fiction Association Awards were announced, and the Hugo finalists announced. So a busy weekend all around.)

It’s always good to see talented friends and colleagues achieve award recognition, and this past weekend has seen plenty of examples of that. (There are also, of course, plenty of examples of people whose talents haven’t been recognised this time around, whether at the award or the nomination level, and that too is a staple of the awards process.)

There are numerous awards over the past weekend that have gone to people I admire and respect, but there are two in particular I want to highlight. First, I’m thrilled to note that this year’s A Bertram Chandler Award for Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction went, on Sunday night, to my friend, editor, and sometime collaborator Edwina Harvey, for her professional and fannish accomplishments over the past four decades or so; and second, I’m delighted that the winner of this year’s Ditmar Award for Best Professional Artwork went to Lewis Morley, for the cover artwork for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body.

Matters_Arising_cover_small

And then there’s this:

MA_SJV

which, as it happens, is the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novella / Novelette, which came my way for Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body.

I’ll just note that it’s never a good policy to retire to one’s hotel room just to ‘rest one’s eyes briefly’ an hour and a half before an awards ceremony, because inevitably a nap happens … fortunately the presenters re-announced the award, once I had actually turned up. I’m told it made good theatre, as these things go, but I did feel excessively foolish for sleeping through my own award.

Still, I got the suspiciously pointy object through airport security and home intact, so I suppose all’s well … and the New Zealand cons are always great fun. It’s a trek to get there, but I’ve always been glad I’ve gone. A highlight this year was having readers specifically seek me out to tell me how much they enjoyed Matters Arising, which in its own way is better than any award.





‘Wide Brown Land’ print proof sighted …

18 03 2018

Oh, look! The printed proofs of my Titan-themed short story collection Wide Brown Land have now turned up:

Wide_Brown_Land_proof_pic

I’m biased, of course, but I’m really pleased with how Shauna O’Meara’s cover art has come out. I also like how well the cover meshes with Lewis Morley’s (Ditmar-shortlisted) artwork on its smaller cousin, last year’s novella release Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body:

WBL_and_MA

(That’s an artificial backdrop, though with heat, high wind, dust and distant bushfire smoke, the Canberra skies seem to be unusually titanian this afternoon, so perhaps I hardly needed the backdrop.)

I should be able to provide links for purchase, etc., a bit closer to the release date of 2nd April, so, in the time-honoured tradition of self-promoting as much as I think I can get away with, there’ll be another update or two between now and then.





A short list of shortlists

17 02 2018

Within the last 48 hours, the shortlists for the three major Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction awards have been announced. In chronological (and, conveniently, alphabetical) order of announcement, these are:

the Aurealis Awards shortlist

the Ditmar Awards preliminary ballot

and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards ballot.

I’m absolutely stunned to be able to announce that my Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body (Peggy Bright Books, 2017, edited by Edwina Harvey with cover artwork by Lewis Morley) has been shortlisted in a ‘Best Novella / Novelette’ category for all three awards.

I’m equally excited about the truly awesome array of talented Aussie and Kiwi spec-fic writers and creators documented in the lists: Alan Baxter, Grace Bridges, AC Buchanan, Nathan Burrage, Jan Butterworth, Octavia Cade, Adam Christopher, Thoraiya Dyer, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, AJ Fitzwater, Liz Grzyb, Donna Maree Hanson, JC Hart, Edwina Harvey, Talie Helene, Pamela Jeffs, Jay Kristoff, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Bren MacDibble (aka Cally Black), Lyn McConchie, Claire McKenna, DK Mok, Sean Monaghan, Lewis Morley, Lee Murray, Shauna O’Meara, Dan Rabarts, Rivqa Rafael, Robin Shortt, Darian Smith, J Ashley Smith, Cat Sparks, Keith Stevenson, Douglas A Van Belle, Keely Van Order, Marlee Jane Ward, Kaaron Warren, Janeen Webb, Darusha Wehm and, in fact, so many more. Best of luck to all concerned!





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.

huygens_titan_TOP

(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
Hatchway
Broadwing
Emptying Roesler
CREVjack
Lakeside
Erebor*
Goldilock*
Fixing a Hole
Phlashback*
Placenta*

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.

Matters_Arising_cover_small

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.