Anthologies Kiwi Writers Reviews 

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – A Review

TE KORERO AHI KA

edited by  Grace Bridges, Lee Murray and Aaron Compton

Review by Simon Litten

Te Korero Ahi Ka is a collection of works by members of Speculative Fiction New Zealand. The collection is of both new works and reprints, but the new works predominate. This is neither a themed anthology nor a collection of one particular author, rather it is a showcase of the variety of short stories (and occasional art work) produced by the members of Speculative Fiction New Zealand. To that end the collection is a very mixed bag with science fiction, fantasy, horror, poetry and even to my eye at least a non-genre work. Given that breadth of content what can one say about such a collection? | Read More...

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Reviews 

Crow Shine, by Alan Baxter -a review

Review by Piper Mejia

Crow Shine is a collection of short stories by Alan Baxter. Starting with the title tale, Baxter takes you on a journey of cursed objects and their even more cursed owners. From moonshine and guitars to a street side toy maker and a pair of stolen dice, each story is crafted to make any reader think twice about the power of possessions.
Though the male protagonists are easily recognisable as good time Charlies or the drinking buddy at the bar, the women are less so, but perhaps that’s to be expected as maybe women are not so easily lead astray by the thirst for power and fame.
However, in each story Baxter has shown his skill in observing the human condition; that all we want is to be noticed, to have our lives mean something, and that, in the end, there is nothing we won’t sacrifice for the people we love.
I admire the variation in his characters, his clever world play and his skill in taking an idea to a place you never thought of. For something to read when your life is too busy for a novel, I recommend you give Crow Shine your time. | Read More...

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Kiwi Writers Reviews 

Review: Hounds of the Underworld by Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts

SpecFicNZ review of the new supernatural mystery by writing team Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray A scientist with parent problems and her tough-guy half-brother with a not-so-imaginary friend in the shadows…the perfect team to solve a mystery in which the body is missing. I enjoyed watching the back and forth as the two authors each steered one character’s point of view. I’d call this a dark urban fantasy that just barely touches the line into horror. Yes, there are slimy tentacles and lots of blood and gore, but all this tends to be limited to just a few pivotal scenes. For those with more sensitive tastes, there is animal death, but not directly impacting the characters we’re given time to love. The plot gives plenty of surprises and crash-bang twists and turns. There’s a good emphasis on science as the basis for investigations, and the troublesome parents are all too relatable, wishing their daughter would switch careers and marry the smarmy businessman they recommend to her. It is gratifying that she comes into her own when away from their influence, even though they make her feel so helpless and they do not respect her career – when she is out pursuing that career and probably a little harder than she should, she finds unexpected strength within herself to do the impossible and survive. Relationship development is also significant as Penny and Matiu grow closer and learn to trust and work with each other. In the beginning they are shown as very different and often not even on the same wavelength, but they are forced into collaboration and can only solve the crime by their combined and maximised effort, taking each to breaking point and beyond where they ever thought they could go. There are some vagaries of verb tense that don’t quite work for me, but I bet only a language nerd would ever notice. And I would have liked a little more detail in the setting, since my own home town doesn’t often feature in a novel. It almost feels a little bit generic except for the ubiquitous Harbour Bridge, and it was only when our intrepid heroes got out in the countryside that it started to feel more like New Zealand. By the same token it was great to see Auckland as the main backdrop for this tale, and perhaps in the future cities do become even more generic than they already are. Hounds of the Underworld is a fast-moving futuristic novel with a great New Zealand flavour and supernatural thrills on the side, excellently written in a noir whodunit style, and just slightly fewer dogs than the title suggests. Review by Grace Bridges Grab it at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1935738968
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In the News Reviews 

Bound by Alan Baxter – a review

Review: Bound by Alan Baxter

 Review by Nix Whittaker

Super action packed well-written story. Easy to read but a little darker than I like my books. Not just that but the swearing and other stuff though realistic to the character’s situation is not my thing.

 The story is of Alex Caine a street fighter who can see more than meets the eye. A stranger arrives at one of his fights and we basically fall into a quest/the one trope. I like these kinds of tropes so I thought I would enjoy the story more, especially since it was beautifully written. Unfortunately, I also like my stereotypical completely obvious stories to be peppered with more comedy. Also, I like a story that leans more to being able to pass the Bechdel test. I did like Silhouette. She was fun and witty. I’d recommend this book for male readers though and I admit I like my books geared towards either women or at least gender neutral. This reminded me of Ian Fleming. On the outside the main character looks bad ass and cool but the more you delve into the character you realise that he is shallow. I believe the author was aware of this issue and did try to alleviate this as Alex really doesn’t want to be that stereotypical bad ass. | Read More...

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Reviews 

Review: The Devil’s Children and Threshold of Madness

The Devil’s Children and Standing on the Threshold of Madness by Benjamin Blake

Review by Dan Rabarts

Benjamin Blake’s The Devil’s Children is a coming-home story, a tale of two young men who have left the small town behind them, but the town has never really let them go. Fuelled by nostalgia, the pointlessness of their existences, and a gnawing sense of things left undone, Harry and Adam return to their hometown of Wycombe, Massachusetts with plans to relive their easy-going teen years in a haze of beer fumes and cigarette smoke, only to find that things are not how they remember. The town is plagued by strange happenings, and so they set about investigating – when they’re not drinking or hunting fruitlessly for their lost phones. | Read More...

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Anthologies Calls for Submission Markets Short Story 

Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror now open to submissions

Talie Helene and Liz Gryzb are now reading for their ongoing Year’s Best series, and we encourage our members to submit. This will be the seventh volume of the award-winning annual series collecting the best fantasy and horror stories from the Antipodes.

The deadline for submissions is 1 July 2017.

Liz says:

“Talie and I are now reading for the Ticonderoga Publications’ 2016 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror anthology. The submissions guidelines are found at the link below. While we read widely, if you’d like to make extra-sure we’ve considered your story for inclusion, please send us a copy. | Read More...

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The Sleeper’s Dance

The Sleeper’s Dance, Mouse Diver-Dudfield

Reviewed by Lee Murray

sleepers-dance

Mouse Diver-Dudfield is an exciting new voice in New Zealand dark fiction, whom I stumbled upon by chance via social media. It was a lucky find. I one-clicked her novella, The Sleeper’s Dance and read it that same night before bed. In short, I loved it. A blend of historical fiction and pulp zombie, this is the story you might get if David Livingstone had discovered a new life form amongst the ruins of an Incan civilisation ‒ that is, if Livingstone hadn’t been somewhere in southern Africa at the time. Diver-Dudfield’s particular skill is in the voice of her main character and narrator, Rupert Mendenhall, his gentleman’s account so perfectly academic and matter-of-fact in spite of the calamity his party faces. There is no breathless panic, no thundering of hearts, or stench of blood in the nostrils. And it’s this restraint, this careful pacing of her narrative, which serves to freeze the reader’s blood. Small and perfectly formed, for the cost of a gold coin, The Sleeper’s Dance is a must-read for horror fans. | Read More...

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Featured Work Kiwi Writers 

Kalanon’s Rising

Kalanon’s Rising by Darian Smith

Solve the murder. Stop the war. Save the world.
Sir Brannon Kesh spent years building a new life as a physician, leaving the name Bloodhawk and the war that spawned it behind. But when the King’s cousin is murdered, duty calls him back. The crime scene suggests dark magic and the evidence points to the ambassador of Nilar, an alluring woman with secrets of her own, who sees Bloodhawk as little more than a war criminal.
As bodies pile up and political ramifications escalate, Brannon must join forces with a vain mage, a socially awkward priest, and a corpse animating shaman to solve the murders and prevent another war. But who can he trust when the phases of a bigger plan take shape?
The Risen are the greatest danger Brannon has ever faced. If he and his team cannot stop the killer then all of Kalanon – and the world – will descend into darkness. | Read More...

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Anthologies Calls for Submission Markets Short Story 

Three Anthologies Seeking Submissions

The SUBMERGED, ALL HAIL OUR ROBOT CONQUERORS!, and THE DEATH OF ALL THINGS anthologies from Zombies Need Brains LLC are now open up submissions for a few remaining slots in each anthology. If you have a story idea that fits one of the anthology themes, write it up, revise it, polish it, and send it in for consideration.

Stories for this anthology must be original (no reprints or previously published material), no more than 7,500 words in length, and must satisfy the theme of the anthology. Pay rate will be an advance of a minimum of 6 cents per word for the short stories. | Read More...

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Anthologies Calls for Submission 

Subs Open: Lawless Lands

Anthology Submissions: Lawless Lands

Lawless Lands: Tales from the Weird Frontier is an anthology embodying the frontier spirit of the American West, but with a weird twist. Gunslingers with laser pistols, cattle drives through the galaxy, cursed nuggets of gold, and talking jack rabbits that grant wishes. Fantasy, SF, or horror, if it’s weird, we want to see it.

The book will be funded with a Kickstarter campaign in December 2016. We will pay each author a minimum of 4 cents a word, with the possibility of more if the Kickstarter is successful, and two physical copies. | Read More...

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Featured Work 

Into the Mist

Into the Mist by Lee Murray

When NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Militant T hoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place in winter. Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them. Death incarnate. They backtrack toward civilisation, stalked by a prehistoric creature intent on picking them off one by one. With their weapons ineffective, the babysitting job has become a race for survival. Desperate to bring his charges out alive, Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left? | Read More...

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Anthologies E-books Featured Work Kiwi Writers 

Weekend Reads For Cold Days

July in Aotearoa might be more about freezing southerlies than ice-zombies from the North, but honestly, at least the latter has novelty value. Winter has well and truly arrived; time to snuggle up with some reading.

At the Edge, edited by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray, is now available in bookstores around New Zealand – or, for those of you who would prefer not to get out of bed (or onto a plane) to get your hands on a copy, you can find the ebook at all the usual haunts, and the paperback from Amazon. Want to get your hands on the latest and greatest in Australasian SFF? Click here for links. | Read More...

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SpecFicNZ Writers Well-Represented at Recent Sir Julius Vogel Awards

Sir Julius Vogel Awards

SFFANZLogoWebHeader

At the recent National Science Fiction Convention (Au Contraire 3) held in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, the winners of the Sir Julius Vogel Awards were announced. The Sir Julius Vogel Awards recognise achievements by New Zealanders, both amateur and professional, in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.

SFFANZ (Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand) President, Norman Cates, prior to announcing the awards, commented that SFFANZ was “delighted with the level of participation and interest in the awards from an impressively wide variety of people.” | Read More...

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Collections Featured Work Kiwi Writers 

Everything is Fine

Everything is Fine by Grant Stone

A house at the edge of a prehistoric valley.
A suitcase that can take you to 1980.
A payphone that lets you call the dead.

Twenty tales from award-winning author Grant Stone, including six all-new stories.

From a trip to the supermarket to the edge of everything. From Auckland to London to places far beyond any map. The sun may set before we reach our destination. But don’t worry.

Everything is going to be fine.

Available now from Amazon, Gumroad or Smashwords, ebook or paperback. | Read More...

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Featured Work 

Currents of Change

Currents of Change by Darian Smith

Haunted house, haunted heart.  When Sara O’Neill goes on the run, she believes the tiny town of Kowhiowhio is just the sanctuary she needs. Her family’s old colonial house needs repair, but it’s safe from the abusive husband she left behind. However, a hostile local holds a grudge and a dangerous presence haunting her new home threatens Sara’s chance at peace. How can she create a new life while dealing with ghosts from the old?

For local electrician, Nate Adams, parenting his young daughter alone has not been easy – particularly in a town where he is still seen as an outsider. When he meets his new neighbour, he sees a chance at a new start for them both. Even with his help, can the house – or Sara’s heart – be repaired? | Read More...

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