More fantastic fiction from exciting new authors. PLUS great new non fiction!
I have been reading a lot of digitally published material lately. I was one of those people who bemoaned the advent of ebooks and the supposed death of “proper” books but I am now comfortable with it. I do mourn the loss of so many brick and mortar bookshops however, and I am not too happy about the pretty shabby state of the Speculative fiction sections in the bookshops we have left, but generally I am pretty happy. I think it is because I am now able to access a much broader range of product very quickly, but, it has also meant that I don’t get that thrill of discovering a new release by an author that I did not know about. As with the music industry, the digital age has meant that you get to know everything that is about to be released months before the release date. So I guess we do get the anticipation for longer. However, where once a new cd or book spent ages in the charts, being talked about and dissected, now it seems to have a very short life. I am not talking about shelf life of course as the digital age has meant that everything is available for purchase for a lot longer, it’s just that it isn’t necessarily in the public eye as much.
I read “Benchmarks Concluded 1987 – 1993”, recently, a collection of reviews written by Algis Budrys, published by Ansible Editions, and he points out that if a story is published, it “dwells in a great many memories, and thus has a good statistical chance of becoming embodied in the culture’s permanent library.” Of course it also gets embedded in a cultures collective memory and becomes a part of the vast amount of information being accrued online. I suppose my point is that whilst it is fantastic that more and more material is being published, it can get lost among the mass of information… You can’t see the wood for the ones and zeroes if you like.
Anyway, it is good to be able to add stories to the collective whole via the publication of Aurealis. If you would like to see what these stories are actually adding to, you can get a sample by looking at any of the now considerable backlist of Aurealis. The hard copies are running out but you will always be able to get the digital copies.
From The Monster under my Bed by Melanie Rees:
The monster under my bed has yellow eyes, just like mine. Although I shouldn’t say monster, he hates it when I call him that. He says he’s an alien from Andromeda. I don’t know where that is but it sounds very far away—even further than going to grandma’s country farmhouse. He also hates it when I call him a he, but all cool monsters are boys. My best friend, Pablo, agrees. He said he has a monster too, but I’m sure he’s just imagining his. Mine is real. Mine is unique.
From The Whore and the Healer by Lachlan Huddy:
‘You hear stories,’ the pimp was saying. ‘From pilgrims or postmen. A young fella with healing hands, always on the move. Sometimes they say he’s got someone with him, sometimes it’s just him. S’pose we got the truth of that, eh?’
This was how it started, then. And start it always would have. On whose insistence had they come to this town, at a godforsaken time like this? But that was Jones’s burden, to keep the balance where Toby couldn’t.
The pimp pulled out a chair to sit opposite. ‘At the risk of giving offence, Mr…?’
‘Mr Jones, I can tell you haven’t cottoned on to the opportunity that boy of yours represents.’
‘He’s not mine. And what d’you mean?’
‘A gift like that. Christ, I wouldn’t have believed it.’ The pimp nodded to the woman. ‘But I seen her face yesterday, and then this morning. That’s the stuff of belief.’ He leaned forward. ‘It’s the stuff of stone, too. Nothing people won’t pay. And times like these…’ That snake-oil grin, wider and wider. ‘Like the gold rush come again. I could be a real help to you. Organisation, security. Good for both of us.’