Category Archives: Edition

Edition 29: Book Review: Crow Shine by Alan Baxter

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 Reviewed by Damien Smith


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Disclaimer: I have known Alan personally for a number of years, but this does not mean I will be unreasonably harsh on his work. I did not receive anything other than an uncorrected proof copy of Crow Shine for this review.

Alan Baxter has been doing the rounds of the Australian Spec Fic scene for quite some time now, and regularly pops up in top-class short story publications. With the recent news that his Alex Caine trilogy is going global, it would be easy to forget about Alan’s widely-scattered and occasionally very hard to find shorter works. Crow Shine represents Alan’s first, very attractively-covered, short story collection and gathers together sixteen hand-picked tales from over a decade of works, along with three original pieces.

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Edition 29: From the Ashes by Tyra Tanner

Sri, left stranded after an accident she believes her fault, lives a meagre existence, attached by need to the Haree she calls Chit by her need to breathe. Tyra Tanner leads us down a path of blame and retribution, alone on an alien world. -SY


Three years she’d waited for this.

Sri touched the tender sprout with the reverence of one witnessing a miracle. Under her fingernail, the small green gemstone glowed in the membranous bark. Unlike trees from Earth, the trees here on Jau grew from the seeds of gems, their luminous veins pulsing with uncontested signs of life.

Sri rose and followed behind Chit—always behind Chit. The remainder of the forest was nothing but burnt stumps: the trees inner gemstones sat exposed and dim in piles of hardened ash. She weaved carefully through the stumps, lest she accidentally step on a young shoot growing from the ashes of her mistakes.

Three years ago, she’d burned this place. Everyone she’d known had died.

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Edition 29: Poetry Book Review: Corona Obscura by Michael R Collings

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 Reviewed by Lee Murray


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I was in high school when I discovered sonnets and Donne. I saw Donne as someone who embraced form but was entirely irreverent in his approach. Even now, I imagine him as the hip bad boy rapper of his day, the 16th century version of Snoop Dogg.

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Edition 29: Sea Borne by S. G. Larner

 Ahli and her family live a simple life by the sea, complicated by where they have come from. S.G. Larner weaves a fantasy from mythos, a story of community, of not going back. SY


The sea peeled back from the bay, sucked by a force stronger than tides. Laid bare beneath the sun, fish glittered and flopped, and deep furrows in the naked ocean floor traced the line of the currents. The horizon bulged. Ahli gaped, as cries went up around her.

“Myr wave!”

Her father, Yune, dropped the net they were piling into their little round bowl-boat. He grabbed her shoulder and pointed inland.

“Run.”

The sight of his normally cheerful face twisted into a mask of fear gave her a speed she’d never possessed.

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Edition 29: Wind and Rain…and Umbrellas by Joe S Pulver Snr

Joe Pulver is as well known as a poet as he is with prose. Combine the two, as we have in this haunting piece, and we have his special brand of magic -GH


A few minutes of rain. Downward, a heavy punch that won’t last long. It bends you by degrees. After a quarter of an hour where it seems the rain may have exhausted itself, conditions are suddenly, once again, infiltrated by horrible and the rain continues its composition. Your behavior, how you put together your motives, wishes it were out in the country, or you were inside, somewhere dry and lacking this forecast of tears.

1st umbrella:

Forced by a solution she couldn’t paint, Claire—rushing from her spinster-packed dollhouse—set to sea. Claire sudden, work (the firmament of the loom, her attachment to DUTY) waiting to consume, out of time under a mast with no swerve immune from risk, and no easy. Wind—happening—difficult, exhausting—andherumbrellaisgoneintomisfortune. Claire’s future (short on clarity) does not see the automobile, sudden, chasing work.

Dead skunks (and other wilder fare) glare on backcountryroads…town and country no one writes songs to what’s chopped down.

2nd umbrella (group): Read the rest of this entry

Edition 29: Book Review: The Ghosts of Moonlight Creek by Sue Copsey

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 Reviewed by Lee Murray


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Remember your first ghost story? You probably heard it late at night. You were in your pyjamas, maybe snuggled in a sleeping bag on the floor, the story told to you in a rasping eerie voice while torchlight glanced off the ceiling. For me, it was during a power cut, the ghostly story told by my dad against a backdrop of flickering candlelight. I don’t know how he managed it, but as Dad reached the story’s terrifying conclusion, the lights went on. It was miraculous, as if some supernatural being had been listening in and flipped the switch at just the right moment. It also flipped the switch for me on ghost stories. And a similar phenomenon affects the main character, Joe, in Sue Copsey’s middle grade novel The Ghosts of Moonlight Creek.

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Edition 29: The Old Man in the Mountain by Tom Howard

The man Denara had her eye on is missing, and she may have made a catastrophic mistake. An old legend tells of an aged helper of the mountain, so Denara decides she has no choice but to fix it. Tom Howard weaves a seaside community, beaten down by time, unawares of looms behind them. -SY


The unexpected silence woke her. For the first time in Denara’s life, no raindrops fell on the roof tiles over her head. She left her bed, pulling her homespun robe around her, and made her way to the kitchen. Her mother, tall and thin, stared out the window at a morning sky lightened much too early.

“The rain has stopped,” said Denara.

“Don’t worry,” said her mother, returning to washing the breakfast dishes. “I saw blue skies for two hours when I was your age. It’ll start raining again in a few minutes.”

Denara scooped chunks of fish out of a bubbling stewpot into her bowl, appreciative of the stove’s warmth. “Would you like some breakfast, Mom?”

“Why did the rain stop?” Denara asked, pushing the bits of fish around in her bowl and hoping her mother had a logical reason for the rain stopping.

“I don’t know,” replied her mother. “It might have something to do with the low tide last night. Your father said he’d never seen the ocean that far out.”

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Edition 29: Book Review: The Never Never Land (eds. McHugh, Akhurst, Berrie)

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 Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston


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Disclaimer: I am friends with many of the writers from this anthology on social media, as our community is not excessively large. However, I bought this anthology and have no obligations for reviewing.

Canberra boasts one of the most cohesive writing communities in Australia, and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG) boasts some illustrious members. While also incorporating authors from other cities, The Never Never Land anthology boasts some of this country’s best authors, with stories that have a recognisable Australia in them.

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Edition 28

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Edition 28: Notes From the Editor

This edition we have a slate of newcomers to SQ Mag. We begin with a conspicuously different and bizarre tale from Rob Francis, Detestiny. I will never look at a prize the same way again. Lo, Behold These Many Gods and Mike Adamson will lead you across the galaxy, to individual truths. In Daemiel Watches, Cynthia J. McGean explores the discarded, the dark recesses of our past human follies and foibles. And speaking of follies, Purity by Les Zigomanis envisions the age-old worry on unplanned consequences. Beth Deitchman bedevils us in La Voshnikaya in a most alluring way.

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