Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Andromeda #50, ASIM #50, The Wine Endures

ASIM #50, The Wine Endures

I am not a genre writer as such - and I’m certainly not a fan of labelling authors - but I'll confess to feeling a real buzz about The Wine Endures being chosen by Sue Bursztynski (author of Wolfborn) for the Special Editors' 50th Edition of Andromeda (ASIM #50).

I found the following comment by Sue most flattering:

"Once in a blue moon I get a story I love. This was one of those times."

It was a pleasure to be in the company of some truly fine (and far better known) writers. The edition has an excellent and suitably varied collection of stories.

I'd like to thank Greg Hughes for his illustration, which really conveyed the essence of both the character and story. It was a pleasant surprise. More of Greg's work can be found at

At the moment I'm reading The Confidential Agent by G. Greene (one of my staples) and The Lovely Bones by Sebold but straight after them I'll certainly be reading Bursztynski's Wolfborn, which has had some rave reviews.

Feel free to discover more about Sue Bursztynski at her blog:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dotdotdash Magazine - an innovative journal.

Dotdotdash Magazine

It is not hard to promote an excellent product: Dotdotdash is an accessible literary journal with an innovative layout (in full colour). It combines the talents of various artists and its many treasures include: photos, pictures, graphic artwork, short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction and numerous editorials. Steven Finch and his editorial team are doing a top job.

This was a review from the West Australian Newspaper on the 5th edition.

The West Australian, Tuesday 11 January 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book Review: 'In Evil Hour' by Marquez

Brief Review: In Evil Hour by Marquez

Marquez’ early hook entailing a murder of passion over a posted lampoon made me eagerly rip through the initial part of his debut novel. My excitement waned soon after as his attempts in painting a forlorn, cursed and decaying town became a jumbled mess. The heat and humidity are omnipresent, as is the theme of corruption; yet it appears that Marquez did not have the skill to realise his vision here. There are flashes of brilliance but they are lost in the depressing mire that surrounds them.

The Nobel Laureate still offers the occasional sensual turn of phrase that delights so many of his fans: for instance the cow carcass in the river and the accompanying stench was a worthwhile motif. But for the most part you have to search heavily among the cheap 'throw away' zirchonias for anything of value.

 I think that Marquez’ fallibility as a novice is interesting in itself. Despite its many failings, the novel gave me a gratifying sense of hope – after all, if Marquez came so far from this point, perhaps it means that we can all improve on our narrative craft to some degree.

Structurally, the book leaps all over the place without any of Marquez’ later mastery of narrative voice. Rather, his voice appears almost identical throughout despite Marquez’ endeavours to portray his usual array of vastly different characters.

With regards to atmosphere, Marquez' attempt at creating a town under an 'ever-present cloud of evil' does not work – it reads more like a gentle mist. Furthermore, his foreshadowing of events and even the events themselves have a clich├ęd, almost cartoonish quality that isn’t quite folk tale or fable or something in between.

Although in parts, Marquez’ future ability is glimpsed, on the whole, In Evil Hour is less than a shadow of his great works. My advice would be to avoid In Evil Hour and explore his more rewarding writing. The bait and hook, which initially seems so promising, ends up delivering  blowie* after blowie.

*Australian colloquialism for blowfish

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Favourite Novellas

 I don’t always have the time to engorge myself in a novel. Now and then, I enjoy its little sibling, the less committal novella.

This is my 'My Favourite Novellas List' (some could be ‘novellettes’ but let’s not be too pedantic here) – all great reads. I’m interested to hear your thoughts or even find out what your list may be.

161 by Will Self
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The New Veterans by Karen Russell                                                                   
Halfhead Bay by Nam Le                                               
Path of the Dragon by George R.R Martin
Hunger by Joyce Carol Oates
Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
The Finder by Ursula Le Guin
Memoirs of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Breakfast at Tiffanys by Truman Capote
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brian Sanderson
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
Tehran Calling by Nam Le
The Nonce Prize by Will Self
The Persistence of Vision by John Varley
The Diamond as Big as the Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Bounty by George Saunders