Chelsea chases storms, frequent visitors to the Queensland coast. It’s not just a photograph she is after; she chases the past and a mistake that can’t be undone. But maybe, if she’s close enough, she can try… SY
“There’s a big one forming up near Rollingstone. You coming?” Paul’s voice distorts as I hold the phone away and glance at my boss. He boxes a pizza, tosses it onto the warmer and faces me, one eyebrow raised expectantly.
“Please, Billy?” I turn the puppy-dog eyes on and pout. “Paul says it’s big.”
Billy rolls his eyes. “It’s always big, Chelsea. Who am I to stand in the way of glory? I’m sure we’ll manage.” He flicks a tea towel at my hip. “Go on, bugger off.”
“You’re the best boss in the world,” I say with a grin as I hang up my apron.
“Just make sure you share the photos on Facebook!” he yells as I hurry for the door. Just before I leave the pizzeria I hear him explain to a puzzled customer, “She’s a storm-chaser. Bloody crazy, but she gets good photos!”
Reviewed by Mysti Parker
For this issue of SQ Mag, I was assigned the task of finding an Australian author’s speculative fiction book to review. After a bit of searching, I stumbled upon Lexicon by Max Barry.
Mervyn travels along the deserted pathways of life, always looking for an opportunity. On the desert highway, he meets his match and finds that the past is never truly buried. SY
may God have mercy on your soul
It is written on the urinal wall amongst the piss and graffiti in a clear blue print. Written directly next to it is: Bobs a ball licker. And below: for a gud time call Big Titz Sally. A smudged number follows.
Mervyn grins, shakes, and zips up his jeans.
He washes his hands, lathering up with the small dirty-white nub of soap left on the edge of the sink. At least there is soap. Toilets at these outback service stations are lucky to have working taps, let alone soap.
Mervyn wipes his hands on his trousers, checks his reflection in the grimy mirror, fixes his hair and steps out into the blinding sunlight.
SQ Mag is pleased to have sourced two prominent figures in the fields of speculative fiction in Australia, and asked them for their opinions. Their views are not necessarily SQ Mag’s, nor can the articles, by way of the size, be considered a complete survey. We encourage readers who are interested in Australian speculative fiction to search the Aurealis Awards, Ditmar Awards, and Australian Shadows Awards for references to many other quality publishers and authors.
The State of Science Fiction and Fantasy in Australia
by Tehani Wessely
In April 2014, a self-published novel won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel for the first time in the 19-year history of the Awards. Also for the first time, the shortlist for that category did not contain a book published by the Harper Voyager line. A debut novelist won the Best Horror Novel and Best Young Adult Novel categories (for the same book), small press publishers dominated the Anthologies and Collections fields, and several works on the 12 shortlists were ebook-only releases. The publishing world is changing quickly, and Australian science fiction and fantasy is riding the wave.
Comparative to population, Australia has a relatively robust speculative publishing arena. HarperCollins, Hachette/Orbit, Allen & Unwin, Random House Australia/Penguin, Pan Macmillan, Walker Books and their subsidiaries and imprints each year produce good numbers of home grown books, along with the smaller figures of Fremantle Press, Ford Street, UQ Press and the like. International publishers such as Angry Robot, Solaris, Prime and Tartarus Press pick up Australian work, and small Australian publishing houses – including Twelfth Planet Press, Ticonderoga Publications, Satalyte Publishing, FableCroft Publishing and Clan Destine Press – rise and produce innovative and niche publications the larger publishers can’t. And of course, with technology providing more access to a broader market than ever before, self-published work is flooding the field. But what trends are we seeing, and why?