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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Anthologies Kiwi Writers SpecFicNZ 

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā and the Spec Fic Community in New Zealand

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā and the Spec Fic Community in New Zealand

By Sally McLennan

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā is a book born from a group. That group is more than our legion of writers, editors, fans and publishers. We are supported by families, film-makers who love our genres by association, and hoteliers who host our conferences. We are supported by those who work to make those conferences happen. I’ve been supported by a friend who came and did housework for me, and walked my dog, so I could write. We are supported by people in every trade and every part of the world: the poor souls who we email with random questions when formulating our work. What is the effect of two moons on a habitable planet? What do you consider the worst way to die? How would you get different coloured sky? These are questions I’ve asked total strangers. Though the work is utterly Kiwi in flavour, notice how gleefully we rope people from other nations into our work even while we invite them into our world. | Read More...

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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – Dan Rabarts

Story Origin: Mother’s Milk.

By Dan Rabarts

Long ago, in an old house on a hill, I remember a tree. It was vast, and full of shadows, and when the wind blew it moaned and creaked and spoke. When I tried to sleep, it was there outside the window, and when I dreamed, it knew. One Guy Fawkes night, there was a bonfire on the front drive, and the flames threw snarling lights among the branches and convinced me the tree really was alive. It loomed over the house, it whispered its hungers.

Below this tree, there was a hole, a former mine shaft, so deep the bottom was lost in shadow, even during the day. Here was a memory of a thing, a place, that scarred the sky and earth alike. A memory which three decades of living in other places and leading other lives had never erased. | Read More...

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Anthologies Kiwi Writers SpecFicNZ 

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – I.K. Paterson-Harkness

By I.K. Paterson-Harkness


Both of my poems in Te Korero Ahi Ka began their lives as flash fiction. My stories have a habit of changing form in that way – from poem to song, from song to prose, from prose to poem – until they finally stick. I suppose the essence of a story can live on in any medium. I wrote Magnetic North for a flash fiction competition, with a “north” theme (didn’t win, obviously!). I remember being fascinated with the idea of magnets always aligning themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field. An uncontrollable tug, part of nature itself. So naturally I wanted to investigate the idea of a person being drawn the same way – how would it happen, and what would the consequences be? The other poem What you wish for was, in comparison, is just a silly idea I had about someone whose mind sometimes conjured what they desired at that moment. Poetry, I find, often shows just a snippet of a life, just a tiny window to look through into a particular moment or situation (as opposed to a full story, with a beginning, middle, end), and this poem is definitely that.

Amazon Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079QHH1F7
Other ebook sites including Apple and Kobo: https://www.books2read.com/u/mgrdz6
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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – Mike Reeves McMillan

by Mike Reeves McMillan

Gatekeeper, What Toll? is my attempt to write a six-volume epic fantasy in a thousandth of the wordcount, by only writing the scenes that are from the point of view of a key minor character, and implying the remaining 99.9%. After all, we know how these stories go, don’t we? It’s also a tribute to one of my favourite authors, Roger Zelazny, in that it’s set in a sprawling and varied multiverse and centres on characters who can travel between the worlds. Much as New Zealanders learn to travel between cultures, perhaps? | Read More...

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Anthologies SpecFicNZ 

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – Robinne Weiss

by Robinne Weiss I’m pleased to have two of my stories appear in Te Kōrero Ahi Kā. It’s always a pleasure to work with the folks at SpecFic NZ! I wrote Breach specifically for this anthology, but it was influenced by many ideas. Canterbury has experienced drought and higher than normal temperatures over the past two years—a pattern predicted in climate change models. My own struggles to raise vegetables and livestock under those conditions inspired me to write about a future Canterbury in which the worst-case-scenario climate predictions have come true. I wanted to show the complex and often ambivalent nature of our relationships with the future and the past. I wanted to show a grim future, but one in which people had adjusted and adapted to harsh realities, because that’s what humans do. Breach has since become the first in a series of short stories I’ve written looking at possible futures, and what the big changes (in climate, technology, society, etc.) might mean on a personal level. To the Centre of the Earth was a lark, written originally for a themed issue of a magazine (for which it was rejected with helpful comments that inspired revision). The scientific community was abuzz at the time with the start of a new project to drill to the earth’s mantle, and I couldn’t help but wonder, what if… I live and write from from my lovely office at Crazy Corner Farm. In addition to short stories, I write middle-grade novels, poetry, and non-fiction. Find out more about my books and stories, and check out my rural life blog at robinneweiss.com.

Amazon Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079QHH1F7

Other ebook sites including Apple and Kobo: https://www.books2read.com/u/mgrdz6

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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – Serena Dawson

by Serena Dawson While creating the fantasy world of my novels, it seemed natural to imagine trees that have been grown into buildings, including, of course, Inns. I based these living buildings on my favorite tree, the Pohutukawa. The dragon’s friend Inn was grown long ago, in a time before the Burning Wars, when dragons were allies, rather than enemies. But the exiled dragons are returning… Thanks again for including my art in the anthology, and the hard work of everyone involved. Amazon Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079QHH1F7 Other ebook sites including Apple and Kobo: https://www.books2read.com/u/mgrdz6
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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – Aaron Compton

By Aaron Compton It was an honour to help edit this collection. As mentee-editor it was an eye-opener on how the real pros do it– Lee and Grace were so great, being part of their team and the process was a joy. My motivation to apply for the position was simply to get some experience within the literature scene of Aotearoa, to learn about editing and to read some cool stories. Amazing stories. The whole experience has heightened my desire to gain more editing experience. I remember, as a child, being fascinated by a kuia who spoke to a carved ancestor on the marae and seemed to get answers from it. For years the idea of a carving talking to me rattled around in my head, until it fell out, in this story. Moa Love, occurs in an alternate history world that I began creating a couple of years ago when I decided to take fiction writing seriously. I had grand ambitions to write a couple of series of novels in this world, but after about sixty thousand words I realised that I didn’t quite have the skills to do the story justice– it just wasn’t working. I pulled back from that story and began writing short fiction in an attempt to build my skills. I listened to a lot of writing podcasts, and in one of them (The Story Grid Podcast) Shawn Coyne talked about the obligatory scenes readers expect to see in a love story. I decided to write a story that hit as many of those scenes as I could, within my created world. And somehow… it worked. It’s weird, but it works, I reckon. It might seem as if it is set in a future Aotearoa, but in fact the events of Moa Love occur in the 1950s. This isn’t explicitly stated in the text but if you think about what Boy says about the clothes the other characters are wearing, and the decades they come from, and when TripleG died… yeah, 1950s. This is because of reasons that are not part of this story– I’ll have to get back to those novels, someday. Amazon Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079QHH1F7 Other ebook sites including Apple and Kobo: https://www.books2read.com/u/mgrdz6
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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – Jane Percival

The Mysterious of Mysterious Mr Montague

By Jane Percival

It’s funny how the senses can enhance memories. The addition of a taste, a smell, or a touch, makes the memory more stable, somehow, transforming it into an easy-to-access snapshot of a place and a time that you visited; able to be examined whenever you wish.

A butcher’s shop has a particular smell. And the smell of such a shop in the 1970s is nothing like the odour of the meat section of a supermarket. It smelled of blood and sawdust. Rattling plastic strips kept out most of the flies, and in Summer, a lazy ceiling fan would push the air around, just a little. | Read More...

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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – A Community Project

By Lee Murray

Te Kōrero Ahi Kā is a community building project instigated by SpecFicNZ as a key activity for 2018. Over recent years, initiatives such as writing competitions and one-off publishing grants had seen dwindling entries, so, in a bid to increase member engagement and awareness of our work at SpecFicNZ, the committee proposed a non-themed speculative showcase anthology where members could submit prose, poetry and artwork, including cover art, in return for a small fee.  The project was intended as a learning tool, the committee calling for applications for a mentee editor to work on the anthology with experienced editor and assessor President Grace Bridges, and myself. Member Aaron Compton won the bid and although he had never done any editing before, Aaron’s keen eye and quirky taste meant he quickly became a great asset to our editing line-up. | Read More...

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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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Te Kōrero Ahi Kā – a showcase

SPECFICNZ ANNOUNCES A NEW ANTHOLOGY OF SPECULATIVE FICTION

In April 2018, SpecFicNZ launched its newest anthology titled, Te Kōrero Ahi Kā, which means to speak of the home fires burning, and is a statement about how we as creators of speculative fiction and art make our mark, shining our light on the literary landscape. This anthology showcases the best work from members of the SpecFicNZ organisation of writers, poets, artists, and creatives.

The anthology had no set theme and short story, poetry, cover art by uor members was included in the ebook and print editions. Speculative fiction includes all genres of fantasy, horror, and science-fiction. | Read More...

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