Tag Archives: short stories

Not if You Were the Last Short Story on Earth: May 2016 DOOM EDITION

DD_cover_ebook-640x1024It’s all apocalypse and global warming and terrifying futures in my reading this month!

First, an extraordinary presentation/monologue presented as a Ted Talk: A Sci-Fi Vision of Love from a 318 year old hologram, by Monica Byrne, a gorgeous and deeply emotional performance that works as a clever, layered piece of science fiction as well as being an affecting love story.

Jonathan Strahan’s new anthology Drowned Worlds explores the many horrific possibilities of those pesky rising oceans, that I normally prefer to think about as little as possible. Thanks for the nightmares, Jonathan!

The opening story of this book, “Elves of Antarctica” by Paul McCauley is a great character piece that sets the tone very well, with a protagonist who rails against the loss of the icecaps in Antarctica, and can’t see beyond that tragedy to the intriguing new possibilities of grass, warmth and oh yes, FREAKING MAMMOTHS. Also, there are elves, or are there? Yes, I think there are. Those standing stones have to mean something, right? A gorgeous, thought-provoking piece.

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One Small Step and Sassy Crime

New books, new books! A Trifle Dead is now less than a fortnight away, which is squeeful and terrifying. You can read an interview with me over at Angela Slatter’s blog about the new novel and much of my other current writing etc: AKA Livia Day.

She also invents a name for the sub-genre that Livia Day is officially writing in – Sassy Crime!

Sassy Crime

If anyone else wants to interview me for their podcast, blog, etc. this is a VERY good fortnight to be asking. NEW BOOK MONTH, PEOPLE!

In the mean time I had a lovely if brief catching up with Dirk Flinthart this weekend when we appeared on a writing panel together at AI Con, and he handed over my (early) author copy of this other lovely new book which will be officially launched at Conflux in April:


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Short Story: Please Look After This Angel

This story was performed at MONA as part of the Angel Story event in July 2012, and subsequently published on Islandia, the Island Magazine blog. Because it’s not the kind of blog where you can link to individual entries, I thought I’d repost the story here for future reference.

I could have offered it up as a Christmas present to my blog readers, but the thought of giving an angel story AT CHRISTMAS was too much twee for me to cope with, plus it’s not that kind of angel story. Also I didn’t want to inflict melancholy on people during the festive season. The 2nd of January, though, is the perfect date for melancholy!

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Friday Links is Also Not Married To Matt Fraction

I have a new story out! “Please Look After This Angel” is the piece that was read in the marvellous theatrical performance at MONA the other week – now Island Magazine have put in online for you to read. Yes, you. It’s my first ever angel story (I THINK) which does not include clockwork. Keep an eye out for the others – I particularly enjoyed Michael Blake’s “Breathless” on the night, and thought that Melissa Howard’s “The Watchers” felt very Margo Lanaganesque – I will be interested to see how reading the stories on the page changes my opinions after experiencing them for the first time as a dramatic reading!

Also, my littlest daughter turned 3 yesterday which has come as a shock to all of us but did mean I could finally find an owner for the Astronaut Barbie I found on sale nearly a year ago. She also received a Cupcake Kitchen, a Wonder Woman board book, and an Alice in Wonderland costume. Love you, Jem!

But you’re not here for me talking about me, you’re here for linky links. Let us proceed!

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Angelic News

Island Magazine has partnered with the Festival of Voices and MONA to present Angel Story, a one-night-only event of heavenly tales that unlocks the power of language and the beauty of words. I’m happy to announce as alluded to last week that my short story, “Please Look After This Angel,” is one of the three finalists selected to be “performed by Moira Smiley and VOCO at a unique ephemeral experience at MONA that will live on in your memory far beyond the last word.”

Also, publication in Island Magazine, which is a new and amazing thing for me!

What: Angel Story

Where: Nolan Room, MONA

When: 8pm Wednesday 11 July

They are expecting the event to sell out fast, so get going to secure your ticket if you’re Hobart-based and interested in coming along! [Tickets: $38 + booking fee? via Centertainment]

Epilogue Revealed

My first short story sold this year will be appearing in Epilogue, a new anthology edited by Tehani Wessely for FableCroft Publishing (now a TASMANIAN small press, people!). It will be released at Continuum, as if I needed another reason to attend the convention. The elegant cover is by Amanda Rainey, who continues to make us all look good!

You can pre-order it (at a super low price) here on the Fablecroft site.

“A memory trapped in light” by Joanne Anderton
“Time and tide” by Lyn Battersby
“Fireflies” by Steve Cameron
“Sleeping Beauty” by Thoraiya Dyer
“The Fletcher Test” by Dirk Flinthart
“Ghosts” by Stephanie Gunn
“Sleepers” by Kaia Landelius
“Solitary” by Dave Luckett
“Cold comfort” by David McDonald
“The Mornington Ride” by Jason Nahrung
“What books survive” by Tansy Rayner Roberts
“The last good town” by Elizabeth Tan

Friday Links When It Sizzles

Some personal links first: I made a reprint sale to Beyond Binary, an anthology of genderqueer SF, edited by Brit Mandelo for Lethe Press. I’m super excited about it, not only to be a Lethe Press author now, but also to share a TOC with such amazing writers as Nalo Hopkinson, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Catherynne Valente and Sandra McDonald. The story in question is “Prosperine When It Sizzles,” which first appeared in shared world anthology New Ceres Nights. I have a soft spot for M. Pepin and La Duchesse, so delighted to see that story get a wider audience.

Also I’ve been meaning to link for ages that my story, “Taking Leaves,” which was one of the winners of the Love2Read competition of fiction about reading disabilities, now has an audio version available. You can listen by streaming it from the site.

A new Hark, a Vagrant! is always cause for celebration, but this one is especially pertinent and awesome this week because it’s all about Wonder Woman. Kate Beaton is a cynical genius.

Bluemilk often writes wonderfully about parenthood and feminism, and this post about crying babies on aeroplanes struck a chord with me. There really are two kinds of people, those who have empathy for parents struggling with noisy children/babies in public, and those who don’t. Often, sadly, that empathy can depend on how personally close you are to the experience of trying to function with small children in public.

This essay about the growing phenomenon of women cosplaying femme versions of the Doctor is fascinating, with some great pics. I find this particular aspect of fandom close to my heart because my daughter came up with it independently, playing Matt Smith’s Doctor in the playground (sometimes with male friends as companions and the Master, though on one notable occasion she had corralled four other girls to play River Song, Melody Pond, Amy Pond & young Amelia OH HELL YES that’s my girl) and back in July kept her bedroom tidy for a whole month in order to earn a red bowtie for herself.

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Galactic Suburbia Episode Freaking Forty!!!

New episode up! Grab it from iTunes, by direct download or stream it on the site.


In which we hug the Hugos, plug the Stella, lament the loss of the Weird Tales team, and contemplate (briefly) our podcasterly mid-life crisis. Alex delves into the wonderful world of classic cyberpunk, and Tansy demands to know why on earth Alisa is still watching Doctor Who if she doesn’t actually like it?


Weird Tales Sold, Editorial Staff Kicked Out

Strange Horizons Fundraising Drive

The Stella: new Australian novel prize for women

Galactic Chat
Kelley Armstrong
Ben Peek

Tansy’s win

What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: Doctor Who Season 2, Outer Alliance Podcast
Alex: Trouble and her Friends, Melissa Scott; Only Ever Always, Penni Russon; Synners, Pat Cadigan; Blake’s 7.
Tansy: SF Squeecast #3, Panel2Panel, Among Others by Jo Walton, Alcestis by Katherine Beukner, Stormlord’s Exile by Glenda Larke, AM KINDLED WILL TRAVEL

Pet Subject: Hugoriffic!
Were you there for the Hugo Twitter party? Or did you have to resort to sitting in the live audience?
The stats
The results
Hugos commentary round up

Please send feedback to us at galacticsuburbia@gmail.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Taking Leaves

Some extra lovely news today – that I can finally reveal, in any case! I was selected as one of the winners of the “Never Too Late… To Learn To Read” competition which is kicking off Adult Learning Week, and launching 2012 as the National Year of Reading.

If you follow the link, you can see the whole list of winners (twelve previously published writers and eight previously unpublished), and download the winning stories. They will also be available as podcasts at a later date. There’s a write up about the three Tasmanians who won prizes here.

In a moment of rare Being A Writer In Public this evening, I ditched the kids at my honey’s office and zoomed down to the office of the Hobart Mercury, to meet the other Tassie winners, Philomena and Mark, and have some pics taken for (I think) tomorrow’s paper. It was faintly surreal, as I had to negotiate a mostly locked and security sealed building, only to be thrust physically against two complete strangers, and hold each other in a disturbingly intimate embrace for several minutes, before going our separate ways. We feel a little bonded now, like those people who get trapped together during earthquakes and have an emotional connection for the rest of our life.

By the end of it we were all giggling hysterically, as the photographer lined us up at stranger and stranger angles. The funniest part was his bemusement when he asked for the book and we told him there wasn’t one (knew I should have taken some books in!) because it was a short story competition. He racked his brain for about five seconds to consider whether there was some other possible visual representation of a short story competition, then handed us a book about football, which we had to contemplate with great attention.

Only to realise as we finally broke free of our mutual artificial and ever-so-slightly-diagonal embrace to discover that the cover of said book was upside down. Really hope that doesn’t come up in the pictures!

My story, in any case, is called “Taking Leaves,” and as Tehani pointed out on Twitter, it’s totally a speculative fiction story. Literature, schmiterature! You can download it here.

[and just in case you thought I was going to write a whole blog entry without mentioning Doctor Who, this is the story which I was so busy trying to finish before the 5pm contest deadline that I let my six-year-old watch the episode “Doomsday” unsupervised, only to discover with ten minutes left to go before the deadline that she was in ABSOLUTE FLOODS OF TEARS because of the separation between Rose and the Doctor. One of those moments in life where being a good writer entails being a bad mummy. When I discovered I had won the competition, I must admit I felt at least partly relieved that, you know, it was worth it. I probably won’t mention to her yet that my current intentions for the money are to fund a solo trip to World Fantasy Convention next year…]

Love and Romanpunk

It’s May, which means my gorgeous book Love & Romanpunk is officially released! Yes, there were copies of this floating around Swancon last weekend, but those were extra special early copies that were available thanks to my wonderful publisher, Alisa.

Words cannot express how proud I am of this book. It’s really only the last few years that I have started thinking of myself as a short story writer as well as a novelist, and finding my feet as far as the kind of short fiction I really want to write. When the Twelve Planets project gave me the opportunity to write four stories of any length I liked, I knew I wanted them to connect to my obsession with Roman history. Luckily for me, Alisa was hard-nosed enough to pick out the two stories I had written that she loved, and kick the others to the kerb. “More like this, please.”

Possibly she didn’t say please. *grins*

So I was pushed harder than I ever have been with my short fiction, to bring this collection together. And I love it to bits. It’s made up of so many things that I love: the history of the Caesars, unreliable and secret histories, manticores, lamia, historical recreationists, and snark. I am so glad I got to do something with the sneaking suspicion I had, all through my doctoral studies, that the sisters of Caligula might have been superheroes. My influences are as wide and varied as Robert Graves, Mary Shelley and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

And I discovered an eternal truth: that if you put Livia and Agrippina in the same book, only one of them gets to be the hero.

Ah well, I’ll give Livia a book of her own, one of these days.

Nearly ten years ago, I went to Rome and spent a month walking on those old streets, hunting out statues of the imperial women of the Caesars, in research for my thesis. That one month of my life has probably proved more inspirational to my work than any other. It is present in every book of the Creature Court trilogy and it was present here, as I wrote these stories.

Did I mention there are manticores?

Let us begin with the issue of most interest to future historians: I did not poison my uncle and husband, the Emperor Claudius. Instead, I drove a stake through his heart. In my defence, several of my close relatives have been vampires, and I have had little occasion to kill any of them. Claudius was a special case.

Special thanks goes to Amanda Rainey, who created such a marvellous cover and did the layout etc. on a very short time frame, and also to Helen Merrick, who wrote an amazing introduction. And of course, the book would not have happened without the commitment, energy and vision of publisher Alisa Krasnostein, of Twelfth Planet Press. I am very fortunate to be friends with and supported by such amazing, intelligent and talented women.

You can order Love and Romanpunk from the TPP webstore, individually or as part of a subscription to the Twelve Planets series of collections.