Reviews 

The Frankie Files, by AJ Ponder – a review

The Frankie Files, by A.J. Ponder

Review by Robinne Weiss

Frankie N. Stein wants to be a famous inventor, but her inventions only get her into trouble. Her monster tomato named Martie grows to the size of a beach ball and terrorises the school, her shrink ray is confiscated by the teacher, her Homeworkulator decides it doesn’t like doing homework, her Megadron hot air balloon monster eats children…But these setbacks only spur Frankie to more wild ideas.

The Frankie Files is a collection of what are essentially journal entries written by a precocious, nerdy girl. Frankie’s voice is distinct, strong, and full of dry humour, though her thought processes are decidedly those of a child—don’t look for coherence or logic in the mind of a six year-old. As in many children’s books, most of the adult characters in The Frankie Files are simply impediments to Frankie’s brilliant ideas. All except one mysterious woman, Ms Xavier, who shows up from time to time to enable and encourage Frankie in her creative scientific pursuits. | 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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Get Changels Nemesis, part one Dark Side

Tracking Al Qaeda in Pakistan, sex on a Fijian beach, fighting UFOs in Africa – Sam Kahu’s 2009 might sound exciting for a fifteen year old, but there’s no room for error. Earth’s alien overlords want no repeat of the last battle. They want Sam and the rest of the Changels eliminated. But as natural psychics spiritual risks also haunt them. Sam learns he must still deal with his father’s legacy of evil, then he discovers his partner, the beautiful but manipulative Tahira, is way ahead of him. Has Tahira… | 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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Anthologies Calls for Submission 

More Human Than Human: Call for Reprints

Neil Clarke, editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, is currently looking for reprints for a new science fiction anthology.

More Human Than Human is a reprint anthology focused on the theme of androids, replicants, and other artificial humanoids that will be published by Night Shade Books in trade paperback, ebook, and (maybe) audio editions in late 2017.

Neil is looking for:

  • Previously published science fiction stories between 3000 and 25000 words in length.
  • Stories must include androids, replicants, etc. as a major character or plot element.
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    Anthologies Featured Work Kiwi Writers Publication News 

    Armistice: The Inlari Sagas

    ARMISTICE collects tales of a time millions of years ago on far off worlds, a time when the inlaris’ home planet still existed; Woelf Dietrich, M.J. Kelley, Dana Leipold and Elaine Chao give us stories about intergalactic space travel and tragedy wrought by a global war that tore Earth asunder; narratives of hope and love, and yes, we take you to the wastelands of North America, where… Well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. But mostly these stories involve Earth: exploring first contact, the golden era of alien collaboration, the Great War, and the interspecies conflicts that still rattle the world. | Read More...

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    Featured Work Kiwi Writers 

    Auckland Allies 3: Unsafe Harbour

    Auckland Allies 3: Unsafe Harbour by Mike Reeves-McMillan

    Nazi sorcerers are plotting to steal the body of a tech billionaire, and the Allies must stop them, while outnumbered and, literally, outgunned.

    Damaged by earlier encounters, but more determined than ever, they must draw on the spirit of the city itself – and their growing mastery of the magic in Sir Isaac Newton’s lost manuscript – to defend Auckland and each other. But how bulletproof is Tara’s new super suit, exactly? And can Sparx get a warning to the billionaire in time? | 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 Film and video Kiwi Writers Short Story 

    12-36 to be made into a short film

    Canterbury author E.G Wilson’s short story 12-36, which appeared in the At The Edge anthology (Paper Road Press, 2016), is under development to be made into a short film by local production company Rolling Ridges.

    They are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds they will need to build the set, make the costumes, and hire the gear needed to pull it all together.

    You can support local NZ filmmakers adapting kiwi spec fic onto the screen by checking out their PledgeMe page and getting behind the project. | Read More...

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    Featured Work 

    “Torn” by Mary Brock Jones

    “Torn” by Mary Brock Jones

    Two ecological engineers must change their world to save it, no matter the cost to all they love.  

    Fee comes from the mountains of her world. She grew up with trees, rushing streams and rain.  The grasslands beyond the foothills are Caleb’s home. Dry, windblown, a place of endless light and untouchable horizons.

    Both are ecological engineers for the Survey, working to save their world from environmental disaster before it’s too late. Because unless something is done, soon, the planet is going to hit back. Storms, floods, drought. Don’t bother taking your pick, says the planet, you’re going to get the lot. | 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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    Anthologies Calls for Submission Crowdfunding Short Story 

    Subs Open: Humans Wanted

    When going somewhere dangerous, take a human. Humans are tough. Humans can last days without food. Humans heal so quickly, they pierce holes in themselves or inject ink under their epidermis for fun. Humans will walk for days on broken bones in order to make it to safety. Humans will literally cut off bits of themselves if trapped by a disaster.

    You would be amazed what humans will do to survive. Or to ensure the survival of others they feel responsible for. 

    That’s the other thing. Humans pack-bond, and they spill their pack-bonding instincts everywhere. Sure it’s weird when they talk sympathetically to broken spaceships or try to pet every lifeform that scans as non-toxic. It’s even a little weird that just existing in the same place as them for long enough seems to make them care about you.  | Read More...

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    Featured Work Kiwi Writers Publication News 

    Shield, by Rachael Craw

    Shield by Rachel Craw

    “This is the Affinity Project – where freewill is turned to ash.”
    Evie is out of options. She must comply with the Affinity Project – obey their rules, play their deadly games, give up Jamie. And her losses keep growing…

    When she decides to help a small group of Shields trying to affect change, Evie finds herself in the firing line. Counsellor Knox is intent on revealing her secrets and shackling her to the Affinity Project for life. To protect her family, Evie must betray those closest to her. | Read More...

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    Steam Press Writing Contest

    Steam Press Logo_02

    Steam Press Short SF Story Competition

    Steam Press, renowned for titles such as Mansfield with Monsters, The Prince of Soul and the LighthouseWind City, The Factory World,  DownMind and others, has been acquired by Eunoia Publishing.

    Steam Press will continue to publish speculative fiction.

    To celebrate Eunoia acquiring the company, Steam Press is running an international science fiction short story writing competition, with a prize of $USD500.00.

    Entries must be 1000–1500 words, and should be science fiction, not fantasy. For more details and to submit your short stories go to: http://www.steampress.co.nz. | Read More...

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