On the weekend, my partner and I drove up to the Entrace for my cousin’s wedding. It’s an hour and half out of Sydney, so nothing huge in terms of travel. But at the same time the wedding was taking place, a fifties festival was taking place in the surrounding streets and beside the beach. Muscle cars and vintage cars lined the streets. You could hear music everywhere you went. People wore the dresses and the shirts and the pants. For some of us, it was hard to tell who was there for a wedding, and who was there because they loved the past, in all its sanitised reproduction.
Earlier this year, my short story collection, Dead Americans and Other Stories, was published.
I always liked short fiction and its collections and it is a shame, I think, that not more of it is published in big mainstream presses, for big money. It had decent money, back a hundred years ago, in the time of the pulps, so everything has its time and place. But it’s always been surprising that it hasn’t continued. A short story fits between a lot of things: a train ride, a dinner preparation, an hour here, and do forth. But I guess it’s not how we read, anymore. Big immersive things are what people like (and indeed, I like that as well – and there’s nothing to say you need one or the other). But I like the calling card nature of a short story, the pop song time frame, the shortness of it, as well.
For my blog post this morning, I thought I’d talk a little about the collection, but also find the pieces I have online. The first of them, ‘Possession’, is in Dead Americans. It’s one of my Red Sun stories, which will appeal to those of you who have enjoyed the Godless. It’s all red skylines, ash falling from the sky, and giant holes that run through the earth. What surprises me, as I sit here, is actually that I have been writing Red Sun stories for eight years, now. My most recent one was a piece entitled ‘Upon the Body‘, and which appeared a few months ago in Nightmare Magazine. It’s a bit strange to think of, really.
The other story of mine that is online is what I call my hard science fiction mixed with Australian colonial history story, ‘Sirius‘. The opening is a reference to a real outbreak and the death of a technician – my partner, who was once an infectious disease researcher, told me it. But this is about as close to hard science fiction as I’ll ever get, I think. Real hard science fiction authors are probably chuckling right now.
The Godless is nothing but epic, and as the first book in the CHILDREN series, with a world and history much larger than can be put into 400 pages, it feels like a book whose purpose is to set up the events that are to come in the sequels. It could be said that more important than the besieging army story are the characters that Peek introduces here, as more words are spent establishing each character’s backstory than on advancing the main story forward. However, the strategy’s purpose is made clear as you progress through the story, and it is sure to pay dividends in the proceeding installments when all the threads are knitted back together.
Slow and steady in terms of reviews.
I’ve been pleased, actually, to see people talking about the concept of time within the book. Eira, the reviewer, struggled with it, but others haven’t, and if you follow the Amazon link at the top, you can see people talking about it conceptually in the reviews there (which, lets face it, is always a dangerous prospect). But it’s nice to see it being noticed, really. The concept of time that runs through the book was one that took a reasonable amount of time to shape into the book, and to let it exists and explore the ramifications of. Also, when others talk about it, it makes me look much more intelligent than I am (unless they didn’t like it, in which case, you know, I’m not).
But anyhow, we’re continuing along, and thanks to everyone who is discussing the book, and telling people it’s cool. Big thanks for that.