Welcome to the new site. My old Blogspot site was beginning to look decidedly dated, so I’ve moved to a self-hosted WordPress site that hopefully looks a little better! Everything from the old site and my even older review site should now be available here, and I’ll be adding in some further (backdated) stuff over time.
I guess the biggest news is that I have officially graduated from my degree, so I’m now Tara Calaby M.Litt M.A. I was very pleased with my marks and am now investigating PhD programs, because I just really love study. In case it wasn’t blindingly obvious.
I’ve also had a story accepted into Solarwyrm Press’s upcoming anthology, Marked By Scorn, edited by Dominica Malcolm. Malcolm’s last anthology, the Aurealis Award finalist Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction was excellent, so I’m pleased to be a part of her next project.
I haven’t been writing, but I’ve been thinking a lot about writing. That counts, right? No?
Usually when I talk about Luna Station Quarterly, it’s while wearing my assistant editor hat. Today, however, I’m wearing my writer hat to announce the launch of The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years, a collection of fifty stories from the (you guessed it) first five years of the quarterly.
In amongst those fifty stories is a little (and I do mean little) piece of my own–a science fiction piece called ‘Air’.
In total, the book runs to a massive 550 pages, so there’s plenty of other reading in there as well. You can buy it at Amazon, but if you buy directly through Luna, you’ll receive 10% off if you use the coupon provided. It’s paperback only, because this kind of celebration deserves to be held in your hand.
Last month, I posted exciting news about “Ashes” having been accepted by Grimdark Magazine. Today, I’m here to let you know that my issue of the magazine is now out, and also to show you the gorgeous cover art from Jason Deem.
You can buy issue #4 through Grimdark Magazine‘s website, or as part of a first year bundle that includes writing from such notables as Mark Lawrence and R. Scott Bakker. It’s also available on Amazon.
Back from the wilderness to make an exciting announcement. My piece “Ashes” will be in the next issue of the wonderful Grimdark Magazine, due out at the start of July. It’s a dark (Grimdark, even!) fantasy piece that looks at what comes after the Happily Ever After for Cinderella.
More once I have a cover to show you and links to purchase.
In other news, I have submitted my M.Litt thesis and am awaiting confirmation of passing that and completing the course. I’m also doing a lot of writing for Emerge Australia, an ME/CFS not-for-profit, and enjoying my Assistant Editor tasks for Luna Station Quarterly.
AKA: Finally, an update.
Firstly, Undertow is now officially launched and available for purchase on Amazon. My piece ‘Breath’, a historical ghost story, is one of twenty stories with links to the Gold Coast. I really like the cover art and am looking forward to getting my own copy so that I can read the other stories in the anthology.
Secondly, I have actually been doing some writing. Will wonders never, etc etc. It’s a short play of approximately 20-25 minutes, called ‘Shadows’. Comprising of three monologues about three women with three secrets, it was written to exploit the enclosed theatre spaces involved in The Container Festival at Monash University. Hopefully it’ll be produced there later this year under the direction of Ephiny Gale.
Aurealis 68 is officially out and available from Smashwords and Scribd. My piece, ‘Icarus’, is the first of two short stories, and there’s also an interview with Raymond E Feist. It’s nice to share publication space with one of the greats
A couple of pieces of news today.
Firstly, Suddenly Lost in Words 4 is now available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. It contains my piece “Born To It”, along with eight other short stories for young adults – and older adults as well! “Born To It” is a short fantasy piece about a girl who possesses the ability to see into the future, and the reactions of her peers to her strange talent.
I’ve not yet read any of the other pieces in the anthology, but am looking forward to doing so.
In addition, it looks like my science fiction story “Icarus” will be published in the March issue of Aurealis, so I’m looking forward to that. “Icarus” is one of my favourite pieces, so I’m glad it’s found a good home.
I’ve had some health stuff going on this past month, so there hasn’t been a lot of writing happening. I did, however, manage to finish a Australian ghost story, of around 2.5k words, so I was pleased about that, given everything that’s been happening.
My short story and play for my M.Litt are currently with my supervisor, so here’s hoping he’ll like them and I’ll be able to focus on the critical essays about them, instead of lots of re-drafting!
The biggest news this month is that my short story ‘Icarus’ was accepted for publication in Aurealis. I’ll update with an expected publication date once one is available.
I found this pretty disappointing, to be honest, and I’m not sure how much of that is due to it being a bit dated in the modern era of more explicit violence and horror and how much of it is just my own tastes. The thing is, I generally really appreciate it when things are left up to the reader to read between the lines and to understand, instead of be told, but here it felt more like unfinished plots and ideas. I needed to know more about why exactly the boys were on the island to accept it as the basic premise, I needed Simon’s story to be related in a clearer manner and I needed there to be more consistency when it came to the narrative. At times, there were chunks of purple prose thrust into the story as description, but at other times there was a coarseness to the narrative that indicated it was being told with the voices of its characters. To me, that meant that neither style entirely rang true.
I do believe, though, that part of the reason Lord of the Flies didn’t work for me was that its depiction of violence and the “beast” inside humankind just doesn’t scare the modern reader. It shies away from description when it talks of violence against humans, which is particularly interesting when the pig hunting is narrated with great relish. (I personally skipped those scenes, because I can’t deal with cruelty to animals, even in fiction.) We know the twins have been hurt, but we’re given no hint of how. I understand the boys’ unwillingness to think about what happened during the ‘dance’ after the fact but, for a modern reader, accustomed to graphic depictions of violence on the news, let alone in fiction, the dance itself is powerless. As for the inner beast, I wasn’t fully convinced by the book’s depiction of it. I personally needed a greater attention to the changing psychology of the characters. I wanted more of a journey, and I think that could have been achieved by narrowing the focus to fewer boys. (Also, when you have a large cast, naming characters Ralph, Roger and Robert is just plain confusing.)
I’m sad that Lord of the Flies was a bit ‘meh’ for me, because I’d always thought it sounded right up my alley – both as a reader and as a writer. Perhaps the true glimpse of human nature can be found in the fact that I needed it to be darker and more messed-up for it to work.
‘The Silver Witch’ is now available up at the Daily Science Fiction website. If you’re interested, check it out – and take a look at all the other great stories while you’re there