23 April 2013

3rd Birthday Communal ‘Jazz’ Tuesday Poem: Scratch

The third anniversary Tuesday Poem "Scratch" is now online; I had the honour (and challenge) of supplying the final stanza! Tap your feet to the Tuesday Poets' polyrhythms here: http://tuesdaypoem.blogspot.co.nz/2013/04/3rd-birthday-communal-jazz-poem.html

18 April 2013

I Belong To The Regeneration

I'm happy to report that my short story "Rescuing the Airmen" has been accepted for inclusion in Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II, which is being published by Random Static and launched at Au Contraire 2013, this year's NZ National Science Fiction Convention

The Table of Contents is below. There are a lot of fine writers in there - quite apart from being pleased that I have a story in the book, I'm looking forwards to reading it!

You can check out Random Static's other books and products as well, including two other anthologies that I have stories in, A Foreign Country and Tales for Canterbury.

Table of Contents for Regeneration

Random Static Ltd is pleased to announce the table of contents for Regeneration: New Zealand Speculative Fiction II. Once again, we have a fantastic range of stories by talented authors, and we look forward to sharing them with you.

  • Last Harvest – Matt Cowens
  • Rescuing the Airmen – Tim Jones
  • Hunting Ythan – Mary Brock Jones
  • The Mistress of Fishes – O.J. Cade
  • Max's Black Box – Grace Bridges
  • In a World Full of Birds – I.K. Paterson-Harkness
  • Insomnia – Kylie Thorne
  • The Spectre Spectrum – Debbie Cowens
  • Carving Out a Life – J.C. Hart
  • Kiwi or Queenie – Jennifer Compton
  • Emptying Roesler – Simon Petrie
  • Tapping the Skin of the World – Anna Smith
  • Doorway – Rebecca Harris
  • Monocarpic Colony Blues – Elizabeth Gatens
  • Harvesting the Gyre – Jonathan James Todd
  • The Origami Tree – A.J. Fitzwater
  • Evacuation – Fran Atkinson
  • Splintering – Anna Caro
  • Mother's Milk – Dan Rabarts
  • Cave Fever – Lee Murray
  • Coat – Grant Stone
  • Ren – Toni Wi
Regeneration is due to be launched on the 12th of July at Au Contraire 2013 - watch this space for more details and pre-order information.

08 April 2013

Tuesday Poem: Revenant

When they pulled me from the water
I had scarcely finished breathing
My fingernails dripped blood and sand
My slack-jawed face had turned the blue of ocean

They pushed and pulled my heart to action

I stumbled from the cooling sand
and ate the proferred wafer
All along my neck and arms
the hair stood up in terror

I knew you would see nothing

My eyes still blink
my lips still speak my
feet still strike the pavement
We laugh and smile
and in your speech I
hear the kelp pods cracking

But in the moonless dark of night
avoid the outer windows
I walk beneath the summer rain
and see the green mouth closing
In my wake the crusted salt
dissolves upon the grass blades

Credit note: "Revenant" was published in my first poetry collection, Boat People (2002).

Tim says: I tried this idea - a fantasy/horror transfiguration of the time I nearly drowned in 1989 - as both a short story and a poem. I never got anywhere much with the story, but this poem made it into my first collection. If I was writing it now, there are some things I would do differently, but I like the lurching rhythm that gets going for a while in the third stanza.

The Tuesday Poem: Is particularly worth checking out at the moment, as the jazz poem the Tuesday Poets are collectively writing for the third anniversary of the Tuesday poem is growing vaster than empires, and a good deal quicker.

01 April 2013

My First "Book Watch" Column For The New Zealand Herald

A couple of months ago, Nicky Pellegrino, who edits the New Zealand Herald's books page, contacted me after seeing my two-part summary of my 2012 reading (Part 1 | Part 2) to ask whether I would be interested in writing an occasional "Book Watch" column for the Herald on Sunday: short comments on 3 or 4 books I've read recently, with no restrictions as to the genres covered.

That seemed to fit pretty well with the fact that I keep track of my reading on LibraryThing, so I said "yes" - and here is my first column. Only the first three of these pocket reviews were published in the Herald, but as I really enjoyed Wolves Eat Dogs I have posted that mini-review here too.

Book Watch Column 24 March 2013

The Glass Harmonica, by Dorothee Kocks, published by Rosa Mira Books (2011) - see http://rosamirabooks.com/books/index.html#tgh (US $7.00 ebook)

This novel by US author Dorothee Kocks was the first book published by Dunedin-based ebook publisher Rosa Mira Books. It is a beautifully-written story of Revolutionary France, post-revolutionary America, and the invention of pornography as a commercial genre. The central character Chjara, a Corsican virtuoso of the glass harmonica, is vivid and engaging.  I wasn’t always convinced by the actions and motivations of her American lover Henry, but that’s a minor flaw in this fine novel which was a pleasure to read on my newly-acquired Kindle.

Flaubert's Drum, by Sugu Pillay, published by IP (2012) - see http://ipoz.biz/Titles/FD.htm (NZ $15 ebook, $28 paperback)

Already an accomplished playwright and short story writer, Sugu Pillay is now showing her strength as a poet. Born in Malaysia, she now lives in the South Island. Flaubert’s Drum, which is her first poetry collection, is a very interesting and wide-ranging set of poems that moves between Asia and New Zealand, between epic and earthquake, between the turtles of Chendor Beach and the schist of Lindis Pass. I especially enjoyed the final section of the book, which does a lovely job of tying the book’s strands together. Technically accomplished and often moving poetry.

The Aviator, by Gareth Renowden, published by Limestone Hills Publishing (2012), book 1 of The Burning World series - see http://burningworldbooks.wordpress.com/ (NZ $6.99 ebook, US $15 paperback)

Gareth Renowden is best known as a journalist and science blogger – in particular, for the Hot Topic blog on climate change. With The Aviator, Book 1 of a planned series, he turns to science fiction. In a world in which runaway climate change proceeds unchecked, airship pilot Lemmy (no relation to Motörhead) and his AI and human companions tour the world from their base in the Marlborough Sounds, visiting the communities springing up in parts of the world made newly livable and experiencing the terrible consequences of runaway climate change throughout most of the world. If you like the great near-future science fiction novels of Kim Stanley Robinson, I think you will enjoy The Aviator.

Wolves Eat Dogs, by Martin Cruz Smith, published by Pan (2005), available from Amazon.com - see http://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dogs-Arkady-Renko-Novels/dp/0671775952 (from US $10.88 paperback)

Martin Cruz Smith made his name with his first novel featuring melancholy but determined Russian detective Arkady Renko, Gorky Park. This is the fifth Renko book, and it's outstandingly good. Renko is the classic good cop in a bad place: dogged, incorruptible and determined on uncovering the truth whatever the cost to himself. In this book, the bad place is the Zone of Exclusion surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear plant. Smith does a great job of putting Renko in the path of the teeming wildlife and the secretive humans that live in the Zone. Highly recommended even if thrillers aren’t normally your thing.