Author Archives: Gerry Huntman
Philip felt Ellie’s grip tighten around his hand. Opposite them, almost lost behind the enormity of his comma-shaped desk, sat Arturo Maldonado, a small, balding man in an immaculately-pressed pastel grey suit.
‘I must admit,’ Maldonado said, ‘we here at the Directory are largely unimpressed when couples participate in unsanctioned conceptions. It speaks to us of a certain…irresponsibility.’
‘Doesn’t it mean something that we’ve come forward?’ Ellie asked.
‘That depends upon your motivations,’ Maldonado said.
‘Us conceiving was-was…an accident.’ Philip bowed his head. The whole office—with its white carpet, white walls, and glass furnishings—was pristine. ‘But we’ve taken—’ He gulped, and forced the tremor from his voice, ‘—we’ve taken responsibility. We didn’t go underground, didn’t try and have an unlicensed baby.’
Reviewed by Lee Murray
New Zealand author Richard Parry has been on my radar for a while now. A former finalist in New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards, he’s part of a friend’s critique group, someone who lives only a few blocks away, and, as it turns out, once worked with my brother. With those close yet nebulous connections you’d think our paths might have crossed at least once, but in fact we have never met other than via our novels. Recently, I read two of Richard’s titles: Night’s Favour and Night’s Fall (June, 2016).
The Russian ballet is in town performing Swan Lake. An understudy watches the Prima Ballerina from the audience with awe, and she is not alone. The performance floors the audience, in ways it is not supposed to. Beth Deitchman brings the house crashing down in this paranormal tale. SY
The opera house hummed with opening night excitement. Voices rose in animated conversation, punctuated by bursts of laughter. Beautifully dressed people stood near their seats, scanning the auditorium for their friends, their eagerness to see the great ballerina palpable. The men cut gallant figures in their tuxedos and crisp bowties; the women dripped with jewels, hair coifed to perfection.
Although my seat awaited me above, I lingered near the dress circle railing. From my vantage point, I observed with amusement the dance of interactions—a nod here, a smile there, the flourish of a fan, the flash of opera glasses. Below us the orchestra warmed up, its well-ordered cacophony of trills and glides cutting through the symphony of voices.
I turned my gaze to the heavy gold curtain where a spotlight played against the plush fabric. Backstage, pre-performance preparations would be underway—a last-minute costume check, a final stretch, a quick review of choreography. I almost regretted having the night off to watch the ballet from the theatre.
Reviewed by Lee Murray
Disclaimer: Lee Murray appeared on a conference panel with Alessandro Manzetti and subsequently received a copy of his poetry collection as an ARC for honest review.
I’ll admit, I know very little about poetry—I struggle to string a line together myself—but I have recently discovered some new-to-me poets, who have prompted me to take up reading it again, beginning with the collection Sacrificial Nights co-authored by Bruce Boston and Alessandro Manzetti. I had the pleasure of meeting Alessandro Manzetti at the HWA StokerCon 2016, where he became the first Italian winner of a coveted Bram Stoker Award. Co-writer Boston is also a Bram Stoker winner, so in the manner of tried-and-true recipes, I already had an inkling that this collection would be good.
When you are such a small team, there’s no room for the slack. We’ve had a delay in releasing due to an illness, and we apologise for any inconvenience or the delay of the thrill of publication for our authors. Both the publisher Gerry and I know that delight, so we empathise.
We welcome you to Edition 27 and a collection of excellent stories. There’s names that our readers might recognise in our line-up. Russell Hemmell brings us relentless alien mercenaries in Green is the Colour of Doom. Rue Karney is making a name for herself in the Australian speculative fiction community and appears here in the delicious fantasy The Butterfly Pie. Well-known horror name Patrick Freivald darkens an attic doorway in Splinter, making sure no one will ever look at an oak in the same way again. We welcome Ryan Cage and his first publication with the excellent sci-fi, Evie and Zeke. Always a soft spot for the robot survival story. Finally we finish with Austin Hackney’s steampunk, The Wrangler, a reminder that the revolution rarely is bloodless. Read the rest of this entry
Reviewed by Lee Murray
Shared-world anthologies—stories by multiple authors writing in a single universe—are difficult to get right. They require a collective mind-set and a sometimes lengthy collaborative process to develop the world building in a way that resonates for all the book’s players. Max Booth III, the editor of shared-world anthology Truth or Dare explains: “if you want to put together a shared-world anthology, please take your time. Know your universe in and out. Every crack, every pebble. Every buried corpse in the local graveyard. Every haunted house and every cannibalistic witch.” (Lit Reactor, December 2014) But done right, shared world-writing can be an innovative and exciting experience for participants as fantasy superstar George R.R. Martin describes: “writers work together, bouncing off of one another and reacting to each other’s stories and characters like a group of talented musicians jamming…” (Tor.com, June 2011). Read the rest of this entry
Anna loves her garden, and the little tasty treats that are gratis for her lovely fresh herbs. The discovery of a purple spot on her finger leads her down a path where her two loves drop her in deep trouble. Rue Karney’s dark little fantasy will have us all questioning what’s in a name. SY
Anna squatted in the herb garden, secateurs in hand, and snipped off the head of each grasshopper she spied. Among the glossy leaves of basil and parsley, she cut off small green heads with tiny black eyes. Between the pale sage and dark, woody thyme, she chopped through green necks and sliced off plump-winged bodies until, through the shades of green, a bright purple spot caught her eye. She spread the secateurs’ curved blades open. She peered closer. The purple spot did not move or squirm or wriggle. It did not sprout wings and fly away. It did not belong to a garden predator.
It belonged to her.
The purple spot was small and perfectly round. It sat on her finger like a faceted jewel, perched in the centre of the flesh of her middle finger, between the knuckle and the joint. Anna twisted her hand, turning it this way and that, and contemplated drawing a line around her finger, circling the purple spot in gold felt-tip pen. Perhaps she’d flash it around like an antique heirloom at work, give the other nurses a giggle.
She picked a caterpillar off the underside of a half-chewed basil leaf. ‘Bloody pests.’
She squished the grub. Pale green caterpillar flesh oozed out between her fingertips. She wiped it on her gardening apron and searched for more.
Brutally stripped from her place in the forest, the oak remembers. As she feels the call of new life, she takes steps to return her life. Patrick Freivald strips back our love of wood and shows us the horror of our consumption, and the consequences. SY
She remembered the men, the saws and the smoke and screaming agony and bleeding sap. She remembered the darkness, when they took her and stripped her and killed her and shaved her down to cruel planks. She remembered the darkness, the tepid warehouse harsher than any winter, and the brief kiss of sunlight before her imprisonment.
But she didn’t remember before. The dappled sunlight through the forest, squirrels scrambling through her boughs, the deer resting in her shade, the rabbit warren under her roots. She knew these things, but she couldn’t recall them.
Brutal geometry stole her form, a giant kiln her essence, mankind her purpose. Jagged steel screws bound her to dead sisters, gave her a form both alien and hostile. Wrapped in cold vinyl and fiberglass and sheetrock, she hardened, stiffened, became as bone to this new thing, this monstrosity, this structure. Eyes of glass saw nothing but her sisters’ torture, and concrete roots drew no water to slake her thirst. Read the rest of this entry
Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston
After the decimation of the original twelve antivirals, The City of Mirrors continues hot on the heels of the settling dust. Read the rest of this entry