Shortlisted for Shadows Awards

Received news this morning that my essay ‘The Slow-Burn Brilliance of Midnight Mass’ has been shortlisted for the 2022 Australian Shadows Awards. It’s a sort of analysis-cum-review of Mike Flanagan’s fantastic Netflix mini-series.

A friend of mine, the artist Graeme Quinn, first recommended I watch the Midnight Mass and it was our fascinated discussions about it afterwards that inspired the essay.

This is my third nomination for a Shadows Award and thanks must go once again to the non-fiction editor at Aurealis, Terry Wood, whose enthusiasm for my sometimes zany ideas motivates me to see them through to fruition.

This year the award winners will be announced in a ceremony at Asylumfest on October 28. Fingers crossed third time’s the charm and I can bring home the trophy!

In other news, I finally completed a new horror novel, Sorrow Lake. While historically I have finished the first draft of a novel in around four months, this one took nearly two years. Why? Simply put, it almost died during COVID lockdown – and afterwards my ‘regular’ life became a lot more hectic, which left a lot less time for writing. I was unwilling to let the novel go, however, so it sputtered forward in increments of a few hundred words. I don’t recommend writing a novel this way!


Get ready for some ‘Imaginary Murder’

Sci-Fi Lampoon is about to drop its latest issue, a themed anthology with the unforgettable title, The Fuckening.

What is The Fuckening? Sci-Fi Lampoon describes it thus: We’ve all seen the memes about “The Fuckening”—when your day is going too well and you don’t trust it and some shit finally goes down. Ah, there it is: The Fuckening.

It’s a clever theme for an anthology and among the stories in it is my weird tale, ‘Imaginary Murder’. It’s about a kid who conjures up an imaginary friend, Tricksy, that encourages him to do naughty and anti-social things… things that escalate as the kid grows older.

Here’s a little taste:

His mother’s camera clicked, its false lightning turning the church’s timber walls white for an instant. Dale blinked a few times, thinking the flash had somehow burned an image on his retinas. A man now sat beside him on the pew. He wore a pinstriped navy suit and shoes polished to a high sheen, topped off with a black bowler hat. Licks of orange hair escaped the brim, like flames. Although he appeared to be forty or fifty, his legs were no longer than Dale’s. His feet dangled several inches shy of the dusty floorboards.

He grinned at Dale. “Bored son?”

Dale glanced at his parents. They were still moving through the church like brolgas searching for frogs in a shallow swamp and appeared not to have heard the man’s voice, which reminded Dale of his late grandfather’s. “Pack-a-day smoker’s voice,” his mother had called it.

“Who are you?”

“Name’s Tricksy.” He put out his hand and Dale shook it firmly, the way his father had taught him to when introduced to an adult. The hand was warm and papery, as if someone had left it too long in a tumble dryer. “Helping bored young men is my specialty.”

“Really?” Dale said. Eight was old enough to question whether this could be happening, but young enough not be alarmed. And at that moment Dale would have entertained the devil himself had he promised to alleviate his crushing boredom.

“Really,” Tricksy said. “I have an idea I think you might like.”

Dale looked over his shoulder again, feeling guilty for some reason. If his parents had heard him speak, they showed no interest.

“Don’t worry about them,” Tricksy said. “They can’t hear me or see me. This conversation is just between you and me.”

“Okay,” Dale said, whispering now.

“Your mum and dad were so excited about this tedious old place they forgot to lock the car, did you know that?”

Dale shook his head, eyes wide.

“They did. And do you know what your dad left in the console?”


“The matches.”

I had tremendous fun writing this one and I hope you enjoy it, along with all the other terrific stories contained in The Fuckening‘s 250 pages. Grab your copy here.

Stephen King’s miserable decline

When one is assured ‘success’ no matter what, where is the incentive to strive beyond the mediocre?

I’ve been reading Stephen King’s books since I was old enough to read adult fiction and, for the better part of 20 years, I’ve reviewed each new novel as it was published. I take absolutely no pleasure in pointing out that King’s work during the past two decades has gone from hit-and-miss to an almost continual series of misses.

The latest arrow to land well wide of the bullseye is Fairy Tale. Once upon a time (if you’ll excuse the pun), I bought each King release on faith, knowing it would likely fall somewhere between ‘pretty good’ and ‘brilliant’. After suffering through The Institute (2019) and Billy Summers (2021), however, I almost didn’t bother with Fairy Tale – especially since I’ve never warmed to King’s fantasy work and the synopsis suggested Fairy Tale would be in the vein of The Talisman (1984). But my wife bought me the book as a Father’s Day present, so I thought, what the hell, go in with an open mind.

The initial hundred pages or so gave me hope. This opening section tells about Charlie Reade, a Chicago kid whose idyllic suburban life is upended when his mother is killed by a careless driver. Charlie’s grief-stricken father spirals into alcoholism and Charlie – sad, angry and disenfranchised – falls in with a local delinquent kid and gets up to all sorts of anti-social mischief. Coming to understand he and his father are on a trajectory towards perdition, Charlie does the only thing he can think of: he prays that his dad will get sober. Which, in time, he does.

Sometime later, Charlie is returning home from baseball practice and passing the ramshackle old dwelling all the local kids refer to as the ‘Psycho House’. He hears a German Shepherd barking itself hoarse and a faint voice calling for help. Recalling his promise to God that he would do anything if his father could beat alcoholism, Charlie ventures around back and finds a crotchety old man, Mr Bowditch, has fallen from a ladder and broken his leg. Charlie not only calls an ambulance and looks after the old man’s aging dog, Radar, he takes it upon himself to care for Mr Bowditch during his convalescence.

While Charlie’s motivations and selflessness aren’t especially convincing, the storyline and characters to this point have the sort of down-home authenticity that has historically typified King’s best work. It’s certainly better than the mangled attempt of same in Billy Summers. The reader cares enough about Charlie and his amends to wonder where it’s all going, and when King introduces the first fantastical elements they’re intriguing enough.

But then Mr Bowditch dies of a heart attack and Radar’s health begins to deteriorate, so Charlie decides to venture into a parallel world, Empis (the entrance to which is secreted in Mr Bowditch’s shed), to find a magical sundial that will give Radar back her youth. As an animal lover I guess I can just about buy this conceit, but the problem (one that has plagued King’s work again and again in the 21st century) is Charlie’s initial pilgrimage through this world in his quest for the magical sundial is catastrophically dull. It is King’s attempt at world-building and introducing characters who will play important roles in the story further down the line, but nothing in this interminable passage is interesting or memorable. Charlie meets someone, stays at their house, eats something, worries about his dog, continues on, meets someone else, sleeps somewhere, keeps walking. For close to 200 pages this goes on, before he finally arrives at the magical sundial and restores Radar’s health. Then he’s captured and put in a dungeon, where he again does little but talk, eat, and occasionally fight his cell mates in training for a cruel tournament held to amuse members of the vile ruling class.

Fairy Tale finally develops a little energy as it lumbers towards its climax, but by then it’s too late – the reader just wants the damned thing to end. I don’t know how many times I almost abandoned this chore of a book. If I had, it would have been the first King novel I DNF’d in nearly 40 years as a fan. But trudge onward I did, more out of a sense of duty than anything.

While tedium is Fairy Tale’s biggest flaw, it certainly isn’t the sole one. King tries to make his book a sort of homage to fairy tales both Grimm and Disney, yet it’s so lacking in finesse or subtlety, and the links are often so tenuous or contrived, that the simple storyline is transmuted into a weird tapestry of half-formed patterns, fourth wall breaks, obvious remarks, and dangling threads. We have wolves that do nothing but provide atmosphere and then disappear without explanation. We have people who rise from the grave and do nothing. We have ‘night soldiers’ that are scary for about two minutes and then become repetitive clone-like creatures who ultimately meet their fate off stage. We have royal characters who, in the face of an apocalyptic threat, just give up and go into hiding until ‘Prince Charlie’ arrives on the scene… even though Charlie does nothing they could not have done themselves.

And again, like so much of King’s modern work, Fairy Tale doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a coming-of-age story? Is it quest fantasy? Is it an homage? Is it a fairy tale? The author doesn’t seem to know himself and thus the book turns into another mish-mash ala Billy Summers.

Speaking of recurring problems, Fairy Tale exhibits nearly all of them (although its fantasy themes mean we’re largely spared the drunk-uncle political commentary that so diminished The Institute). There’s the lazy mishandling of a young character (Charlie watches lots of TCM with his dad so he conveniently knows seventy-something King’s movie references, while a brief friendship with an ‘alternative’ girl gets him into reading H.P. Lovecraft stories). We have King’s indolent, lifeless writing, which reiterates how desperately he needs an editor – I guarantee if this novel were submitted blind to publishers, it would receive a litany of form rejections on its prose alone. And after discovering inconsistencies in his explanation for how Charlie can communicate with the denizens of Empis, King – rather than go back and try to rectify the problem – simply dismisses it with a glib line to the effect of, “Hey, it’s a fantasy world, who knows how this stuff works?”

On top of all these recurring issues, King manages to add a few new ones. Most annoying of all is THE DEAF CHARACTER WHO SPEAKS ENTIRE PARAGRAPHS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. If further proof were needed that King’s books are now subject to almost no editorial oversight, here it is. There is not a practicing editor on earth who would see this and fail to call it into question. Only that’s too polite – most would stop and mutter, “Are you fucking serious? This is unreadable.” (The ‘gray’ plague sweeping through Empis leaves several other characters with deformities that affect their speech, meaning King has to translate every second exchange of dialogue – something that quickly becomes tiresome for author and reader alike.)

To reiterate, I take zero pleasure in the decline of King’s work. For most of my teens and twenties he was an intellectual lodestar, someone whose world view I respected and whose writing I tried to emulate. Once in a while now I return to his old novels, in part because I like to experience them again, but more and more to remind myself their quality wasn’t an hallucination or a younger man’s questionable judgment. Even one of King’s weaker books, such as Christine (with its somewhat flabby midsection), fairly zings with energy by comparison – it’s the product of an enthusiast doing something he loves. Fairy Tale, by contrast, reminds me of Elvis Presley going through the motions on stage during the waning months of his life – bloated and yet, ironically, a shadow of his former self. Yet, perhaps that analogy isn’t quite on the mark, because even in the twilight of his career Elvis could still bring the goods on stage; I haven’t properly enjoyed a King novel since Revival (2014), and even that appears to have been an aberration. Which raises the question: How can a book as plodding and sloppy as Fairy Tale have so many four and five star ratings on Goodreads?

Well, even corpulent, drug-addled Elvis had legions of adoring fans and when I read breathless praise for King’s latest tome I’m put in mind of something John D. McDonald wrote in his introduction to Night Shift (1978). “Stupendous diligence, plus word-love, plus empathy, and out of that can come, painfully, some objectivity.” King is so thoroughly guaranteed critical and popular acclaim now that he has lost any sense of objectivity. When one is assured ‘success’ no matter what, where is the incentive to strive beyond the mediocre?

Let’s be honest: Prey has problems

Diversity in films is an inherently good thing. Every story is told from a point of view, and more points of view mean more original stories, something of which I’m always in favour. Done well, altering race or cultural background can even improve a character. Michael Clarke Duncan in Daredevil (2003) is my favourite example of this – giving the Kingpin a boy-from-the-’hood back story made him far more complex and interesting than the one-dimensional villain portrayed in the Marvel comics.

The trouble is Hollywood has started writing scripts with diversity as its primary concern… and picking characters first before attempting to build a story around them is bad creative practice. Unless you’re penning a character study, the story idea has to come first, because it helps inform who the characters should be. Maybe they’ll be diverse, maybe they’ll be largely one race; worrying about that should not be the writer’s focus. He or she should be choosing characters that fit the setting and ensure conflict and verisimilitude.

I liked the idea of Prey. Putting a fierce Native American warrior tribe such as the Comanche up against the alien warrior society established in the earlier Predator films struck me as a fundamentally good concept. And even though having a female protagonist did suggest a level of ‘diversity first’ thinking, it didn’t concern me too much. The whole point of the original movie was that Dutch ended up outmuscled and outgunned and had to use his wits to survive. A female lead might put an interesting kink in the formula.

And Prey does have some redeeming qualities. The cinematography is quite beautiful, the action scenes are well choreographed, and the performances, generally speaking, are competent. The costumes are also fairly authentic, even if the actors involved tend to be too beautiful to convince the audience they are part of a warrior people living off the land in the 18th century. (In fact, the Nasty White Men are more convincing in this respect – more on them later.)

Now, before I pick the movie apart, let me disclose something. The original Predator is among my all-time favourite films. I believe it’s one of those movies snooty film critics could not or would not deign to understand, in much the same way stodgy music critics could not begin to comprehend N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton, much less its success. Contemporary reviews which did praise Predator tended to focus on the special effects and completely overlook everything else that made the film work.

Perhaps ironically, then, the least of Prey’s failings is its overuse of CGI. Rendering gore with computer graphics is an inevitable part of modern special effects and, applied the right way in the right situations, it can be effective. But in Prey CGI is thrown about with gay abandon and during the final ten or fifteen blood-soaked minutes the use of computer graphics is so profligate that the finale loses most of its impact.

Next issue is gimmickry. In fairness, gimmicky weapons have been a problem in every Predator film since the original (the updated weapons in Predator 2 had a certain logic, at least – a decade had passed and it was feasible the predators would have developed new technologies just as humanity had). Not only does Prey give us gimmicky weapon overload, it disrespects existing Predator lore in the process. During one scene, the predator sets up floating devices (why does he need to enter a special code for that?) before wandering off to let them massacre the Nasty White Men remotely. In what way does that correspond with an alien race that enjoys the thrill of the hunt? The predators could have just shot at them from space and been done with it.

On now to the antique pistol. This one really gets my goat. It’s an attempt at a nod to its forebears, but in doing so Prey it completely disrespects one of the most memorable pieces of lore added in Predator 2. Remember the scene where the predators hand an antique pistol to Danny Glover as an acknowledgment of his dogged determination in defeating his adversary? Presumably the human who originally owned the pistol had been a sufficiently worthy opponent for the predators to keep his weapon as a trophy. In the clumsy hands of the Prey writers, however, it is now no more than a trinket, a gun stolen from the Nasty White Men who are little more than grunting savages.

As for the herbs that “cool the blood” and make Naru invisible to the predator… do I really need to elaborate on why this conceit is absolutely ridiculous?

The script, generally, has problems; its reduction of the white pioneers to a gibbering plot device (much as Native Americans were in the old cowboys-and-Indians flicks) being a comparatively minor transgression. Prey barely has a storyline. I suppose you could level a similar criticism at the first two Predator movies, but at least they had memorable characters and high stakes (Dutch Schaffer and his team trying to stay alive long enough to rendezvous with the rescue chopper, Mike Harrigan trying to figure out who is behind a rash of murders that have no clear motive). The nearest thing Prey has to a motivational through-line is Naru attempting to prove herself as a warrior, which is all very right-on and feminist, but it renders the predator incidental to the situation. It might as well be a bear.

Dialogue was among the most memorable elements of the first two films and, even when it was being self-consciously corny, it remained eminently quotable. In Prey, there’s not much dialogue to speak of and what there is either comes across as cliched or anachronistic (I actually winced when Taabe said “I’ve gotta get me one of those” about the horses).

Last and perhaps worst of all is how the predator meets its demise. I was anticipating – preying for? – some strategic brilliance from Naru, but instead she emerges victorious thanks to a combination of implausible luck on her part and wanton stupidity from the predator.

I can only assume those calling Prey “the best film since the original” have seen none of the films since the original, because by any objective measure it’s really only on par with Predators and The Predator (the Alien vs Predator films are really a different franchise, in my opinion). Trying to deflect well-deserved criticism by claiming it’s rooted in sexism or racism, as many Twitter types have done, is tiresome and intellectually bankrupt. Let me reiterate: the female lead and the Native American perspective are not the problem with this film. The problem is, it’s not very good.

Dystopian fiction essay in Aurealis #153

Life experience can make an enormous difference to the way a person interprets a novel. Back in the late 1990s, I read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World for the first time and its prescience (at least as I saw it then) had a profound impact on me. I was peripherally enmeshed in the party drug scene at the time, and Huxley’s vision of a world made soft and obedient through mood-altering drugs seemed a far more accurate prediction than the paranoid nightmare outlined in George Orwell’s 1984. Of course, this was the last gasp of the era before the September 11 terrorist attacks changed politics (and social media changed how those politics would be disseminated and debated) forever, and Orwell’s concerns are now front and centre again, but to a kid in his early twenties, Huxley’s foresight seemed remarkable.

When the estimable non-fiction editor at Aurealis, Terry Wood, suggested a look back at some older sci-fi writers might make a good topic for an essay, and he listed Huxley’s name as a possible subject, it set my neurons afire. I had in more recent years read and been similarly impressed with Ira Levin’s dystopian novel This Perfect Day and it rekindled my love for the genre. Once I’d officially received the commission from Terry, I commenced my research with a re-reading of Brave New World

Never before had I revisited a book and found such a vast disparity between my recollections of it and what was on the pages before me. What I had retained from my first read-through – the drug use – amounted to a small fraction of the book’s total, and I might as well have been encountering the characters and huge tracts of plot for the first time. I also recollected the pacing being more frantic. On this second read – more than two decades after the first – I found the centre section of Brave New World rather plodding. Odd indeed, since my tolerance for a more languid pace has, if anything, become greater. In a sense, it was as though two different people had read the book.

But reacquainting myself with Brave New World (and 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 and This Perfect Day) proved to be quite the intellectual journey and, as I assessed each book, a clear recurring theme began to emerge – one which formed the framework for the essay in Aurealis, titled ‘Individualism in 20th Century Dystopian fiction’. If you have an interest in this sub-genre (which melds sci-fi, horror and political allegory in a unique way), I hope you’ll buy a copy of the magazine and send me your thoughts about the essay and the subject at large.

Novella available for pre-sale

Last year I wrote a horror story called ‘The Pub at Crokers Crossing’. While I was pleased with the final product, it had two things going against it. One, it was an Australian story populated with Australian characters, and US markets are often allergic to such qualities. Two, it ran to nearly 9,000 words – too long for most short fiction markets and far too short to be a novel.

I’m super-excited to announce it found a home at Black Hare Press, a small publisher operating out of Melbourne. ‘The Pub at Crokers Crossing’ goes on sale next month in e-book, paperback and hardback and is available to pre-order now.

The blurb: “Two retired couples on a caravanning holiday decide to visit a ghost town they find on an old map, but the town has not been abandoned entirely—as they soon discover in terrifying fashion…”

And here’s a sample to whet your appetite:

The road doglegged before widening out and pushing back the dense brushland. The town hove into view a few moments later: a weather-beaten timber building that might once have been a church or a schoolhouse; a brown and rust-torn water tank perched on drunken stilts; a cleared area (now overrun with weeds) that served as a graveyard for flatbed trucks and ramshackle farm buildings. In the distance, noxious reeds had choked a creek down to a chain of stagnant ponds.

The hotel, hunched in the centre of town like a punch-drunk pugilist, was the only structure in any sort of repair. Sections of the corrugated tin roof curled up at the corners and a creeping plant had run riot through the gutters, but hardwood columns at each end lent the pub an imposing air. Parked outside were a few newish-model cars. Beside us a sign, now more lichen than pine and paint, whispered that this had once been Crokers Crossing.

News: The Vanishing Point #4 now available

Available to pre-order now, and going on sale later this week, is issue #4 of The Vanishing Point, which contains my short story ‘Bloodborne’.

It’s a body-horror piece set in one of my favourite milieus, the Australian outback. The elevator pitch? “A seemingly innocuous mosquito bite leads to unimaginable terror.”

If it has a theme it’s probably “the loneliness and isolation that come with living in a remote area”, but it’s not really that kind of story – this one’s designed to make you squirm. I hope you enjoy it.

Transgressive literature’s limited shelf-life

I have in my possession a copy of Junky (1953) by William S. Burroughs. It’s a 2009 Penguin Classics edition, which means it hasn’t spent long in my book collection, yet I have no idea how I came to own it. An impulse purchase at an airport, perhaps. I’d always believed I’d read it, yet when I picked it up again recently and began to thumb through the pages, I discovered I had abandoned it a short way in. I could see why; it’s a series of loosely connected autobiographical vignettes disguised as fiction and provides little that could be construed as a storyline.

This time around I persevered (it improves as it goes along) and got through all its pages, including the introduction and the glossary. There have been all sorts of retroactive attempts to justify Junky as a classic – an existentialist classic, a counter-culture classic, a gonzo classic published while Hunter S. Thompson was still a wet-behind-the-ears Air Force enlistee. But what I came away with was an appreciation for how limited the shelf-life of transgressive fiction can be.

Between 1930 and 1970, literature pushed boundaries more than ever before, depicting with bare honesty things which up to that point had been proscribed by restrictive Victorian-era mores. In Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928), D. H. Lawrence was scandalously truthful about sexual desire. With Junky, Burroughs lifted the lid on homosexuality and drug use. In Portnoy’s Complaint (1969), Philip Roth went into obscene detail about sexual fetishes. In each case, the transgressive topics about which the authors wrote lent them notoriety, but once the shock factor wore off, their work was left to survive on its merits – and in all three cases, the results were middling.

Lawrence probably fares best, his tale of forbidden love between the titular lady and her gamekeeper at least employs a classic theme, although tiresome pacing and prose make his book a bit of a slog. Junky is the most competently written of the trio, with vivid descriptions of hard drug use and a kind of sordid energy running through it, but the choppy non-storyline and abrupt ending make it feel more like a series of diary entries than a novel. Portnoy’s Complaint is easily the worst of the lot, transgressive for the sake of it and marred by an absurdist streak that divorces it from reality.

Transgressive fiction can be done well. Chuck Palahniuk has made an authorial brand out of it. But even he is selling himself short, in my opinion, because his stories and novels have literary merit beyond their shock value. His transgressive topics are a means to a thematic end, not a cheap trick, and for that reason his work likely won’t age in the same fashion as the novels mentioned above.

It’s a salutary lesson for any neophyte author. Write about whatever the hell you like, but make sure you have a sound reason for choosing your subject matter. Gratuitously pushing boundaries and breaking taboos might draw short-term attention, but it won’t result in timeless literature.

Stories and novellas and essays, oh my

Home renovations, family commitments and my day job have left scant time to update my website. But the silver lining is I now have plenty of news to relate about upcoming publications.

First off, the recently released Aurealis #150 features my essay, ‘The slow-burn brilliance of Midnight Mass – a dissection and appreciation of Mike Flanagan’s exceptional Netflix series. Here’s a short excerpt:

Like many Gen X/Y writers, [Flanagan] suckled at Stephen King’s creative teat and King wrote the rule book on character-building in a small town setting without boring the reader. This means the reader invests in the characters and feels more keenly the misfortune that befalls them later. Flanagan uses this as a blueprint for Midnight Mass, often devoting two-thirds of the early episodes to character development and garden variety drama before bringing the supernatural element to bear.

A later edition of Aurealis will play host to another essay, ‘Individualism in 20th Century dystopian fiction’. This one delves into four landmark works in the genre published between 1930 and 1970: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and This Perfect Day by Ira Levin. Rather than simply reheat the same old thematic discussions, I approached each book from an individualist perspective and, I hope, put a new spin on titles that are nearly threadbare from decades of critical evaluation.

Things are no quieter on the fiction front. On the way shortly is Sci-Fi Lampoon’s unforgettably-titled The Fuckening, which will contain my longish story ‘Imaginary Murder’. The Fuckening is an anthology dedicated to humourous speculative fiction about everything going wrong, and that’s an apt description of ‘Imaginary Murder’.

I’ve also just signed a contract with Vanishing Point, a new fiction magazine, to publish my short story ‘Bloodborne’ – a creepy, nasty, skin-crawling tale of isolation and infection.

Third up is another project I’m not at liberty to speak about, but it’s perhaps the most exciting – a very Australian novella that will appear under the auspices of a small-press Australian publisher. More on that when the time comes.

Shortlisted for Australian Shadows Awards

The nominated essay appeared in Aurealis #127.

I’m delighted to report my essay ‘The Curious Reclassification of Peter Benchley’s Jaws’ has been nominated for an Australian Shadows Award.

The essay investigates the question of genre, specifically whether the novel Jaws should be deemed thriller or horror and how the uncertainty came about.

It’s my second Shadows Award nomination – another essay, ‘Suffer the Little Children: An Analysis of Parental Horror in Stephen King’s Early Fiction’, was shortlisted in the 2019 awards.

Big thanks go to non-fiction editor Terry Wood at Aurealis for his continued interest in my ramblings. He has agreed to publish two more of my speculative fiction essays during 2022.

The Aurealis issues in which these essays appeared (#119 and #127) are still available – click on the bibliography link above if you’re interested in buying a copy.

Fingers crossed I can get the gong this year!