Locus Magazine Review of "Oleander: An Ottoman Tale" from Rich Horton
The end of Rich Horton's Short Fiction Review in Locus Magazine (October) included a nice review of my story "Oleander: an Ottoman Tale" in Dreaming of Djinn.
As short fiction reviewers for speculative fiction's most celebrated review magazine, Rich Horton and Gardner Dozois are two editors that read as much short spec-fic as anyone in the game. They additionally compile and edit 'Best ofs', along with Jonathan Strahan (based here in Perth), Ellen Datlow (Horror) and Paula Guran (Dark Fantasy and Horror) - apologies if I've missed anyone out.
So it's flattering to be mentioned in Locus Magazine at all, let alone by a specialist in the field. In the story, as Horton mentions below, I intended to combine many elements and, while maintaining drama and tension was important, I wanted the ending to be a more pensive, thought provoking one, rather than the overly dramatic kind.
I'd like to thank the editor of Dreaming of Dinn, Liz Gryzb for sending the following through to me with a sweet congratulatory message.
Short Fiction: Rich Horton
Finally, a brief mention of a nice story from an Australian
anthology of fantasies on Middle-Eastern themes, Dreaming of Djinn:
‘‘Oleander: An Ottoman Tale’’, by Anthony Panegyres, about the daughter
of a failing merchant who wants her to marry an Arabic man to restore
the family fortunes. She is interested in a soldier who sometimes rides
by her window. Intertwined with that story is a djinn who seems to visit
at night, and also the fate of her brother, taken to be a Janissary,
and of a little boy she encounters in the market. A lot of elements
combine in a story ultimately quieter, and less dramatic, than one might
expect, but quite nicely done.
And the link below is a bit on Michael Swanwick's blog. I don't quite agree with Swanwick on this one but I loved his reply to some haphazard comments I made. His blog 'Flogging Babel' is well worth following as he's a frequent blogger who's personal, witty, humorous and sharp (I hardly blog - Swanwick manages it all). His blog aside, Swanwick's fiction is worthwhile reading and much of it groundbreaking.
I have waxed lyrical in the past about Swanwick on this blog but I've also been mildly critical of some of his work. After reading his post, I'm beginning to wonder whether it was the right thing to do...but then again.
Currently Reading: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Finishing off Richard Yates' Collected Stories (surely he deserved a Pulitzer for his short fiction alone) and Alice Munro's Selected Stories (went off and bought The Beggar Maid and Progress in Love to read more of her work - the stories from those two titles stood out for me the most).
And ironically, I just finished Dancing with Bears by Michael Swanwick. Although lighter fare than his earlier novels it still abounds with symbolic meaning. It also displays Swanwick's deep understanding of Moscow and Russian history, albeit through a clever, farcical 'steampunk' adventure, starring those two likeable rogues, Darger and Surplus.
Latest Publication News
Proud to have stories being released soon in two of our leading literary journals, Meanjin and Overland.
been extremely fortunate since I began submitting a few years ago - it's been
a dream run: nine publications since 2011, including literary journals I thought
untouchable; an Aurealis Finalist last year for Best Fantasy Short Story; and a
story in The Year's Best of Australian Fantasy & Horror. The
publications have challenged my previously misguided belief that the big
journals just published name authors. I now believe, perhaps wrongly of course, that writing of quality is
generally rewarded - this sounds conceited and it's not my intention here, what I
essentially mean to convey is that at least in Australian circles, the 'big' journals with
limited space and often renown names, appear to be selecting on a merit basis. Fortunately, I
live in Perth and have no contact whatsoever with the Eastern States editors before selection,
which means it's entirely based on the work itself rather than the personality
behind it (an exception to meeting editors is Perthite, Liz Gryzb, who I'd met at a convention but she'd read
my story "Reading Coffee" for The Year's Best beforehand. Since then we've met up on several occasions).
The part I've enjoyed the most so far is that there haven't been any boundaries or issues in having both 'realist' and 'spec-fic' published simultaneously. After all, I have a passion for reading and writing in both genre.
My latest story (a homage) is in the deservedly lauded Meanjin and the next story out "Submerging"will be in Overland 214. This is my second story to appear in the pages of that courageous, thought-provoking journal. It's a different fiction editor who's working there now, author Jennifer Mills. Both Mills and the former fiction editor, Jane Gleeson-White write extraordinarily well (fiction and non-fiction respectively).
My two most recent stories are 'realist', although "Submerging" is also a metaphorical work. After the Locus Review, however, I feel encouraged to 'spe-fic-it-up' again soon!
Political Gripe: The mad right wingers having a mad-hatters tea party in Congress.