Previews - Fiction
Author: Zeny Giles
Miracle of the Waters
ISBN: 0 646 27424 4
Publisher: Zeny Giles
Address: 100 Carrington Parade, New Lambton, NSW, 2305
In illuminating the emotional and cultural dislocation of the people
brought to Moree by the old tradition of "taking the waters",
this collection of short stories evokes simply but powerfully how much is
in common in a world of difference and deservedly earned recognition in
the 1989 Human Rights Awards when it was highly recommended in the literature
As Helen Daniel said in The Age, "Miracle of the Waters" is a
lively composite of a multiple society, original in conception and energetic
in the telling."
The simplicity of the idea is compelling. Through a collection of sketches
a detailed drawing emerges of this world within a world - the hot baths
in Moree - populated from outside the community in which the baths are located.
Although celebrated in Moree, most of the population confine themselves
to the cold water olympic pool. Only a small and devoted band of locals
join the Greeks, the Czechs, Turks, Hungarians and Cypriots in the hot baths.
It is those from nations and cultures of Europe, those countries where the
tradition of seeking comfort in the warm waters has long roots, that the
baths hold the greatest attraction. They travel from the edges of Australia
seeking the healing powers of the waters that bubble out from the earth's
Many spend their annual holidays in Moree. Many return throughout their
lives and when in retirement continue the yearly trek to this outback New
South Wales town.
The stories in this collection are from the voices of the younger generation,
the middle aged and the elderly, from devotees to doubting relations. Giles
convincingly places the reader in a diversity of points of view as she weaves
the fabric of the culture of the baths.
Many stories intersect, with characters becoming familiar through various
anecdotes, their personalities coming alive from being viewed from different
And not all are located at Moree. Some are located on the coast but all
turn around the vigil to the waters.
Some contemplative, some funny, they provide insight into the lives of those
who bathe. With the economy of a good short story writer, Giles can conjure
up the life story of her characters within the telling of a small incident.
In so doing, it is far more than the baths of Moree that is canvassed -
it is the fabric of multicultural Australia.
The Magic Pens
Author: Gary Kay
ISBN: 0 646 27515 1
Publisher: Gary Kay
Address: 7/9 Maxin Street, West Ryde, NSW, 2114
As the struggle for control of the magic pens threatens the entire population
of Logonia, Emperor Gareth enlists the help of four children, who discover
that, in a land where people eat their words, the word is truly mightier
than the sword.
Bored one morning in the school holidays, the kids decide on a game of detectives
- the object of the mystery being to discover what is inside Dad's shed.
Deciding the VCR remote control looks like a suitably impressive weapon
for a modern day detective, James joins his brother and sisters.
In the shed they make their first unexpected discovery. Dad has been restoring
an old car to all its former glory. Hopping in they are horrified to find
they are glued to the seats and terrified when they are unexpectedly transported
into another world.
All is not well in the once peaceful Logonia and Emperor Gareth has enlisted
their help to retrieve the magic pen from the evil Dementos. In a kingdom
where people eat their words and become what they eat, magic pens in the
wrong hands can destroy the nation.
Armed with appropriate words, the VCR remote control which in Logonia operates
on people in the same way it did on video tapes at home, and cloaks provided
by the Emperor which can turn them invisible for thirty seconds at a time,
they set off on their mission.
It is not as simple as they had hoped and just as success is in their sights,
things take a turn for the worse. And then several more turns for the worse.
The children discover they have to make decisions that will affect whether
they will survive and be able to help free Logonia, let alone ever return
A story full of adventure, suspense, thrills and more than a little magic,
The Magic Pens is sure to capture the imagination of many.
A Fellowship of Words
Editor: Peter Hanbury
ISBN: 0 646 27527 5
Publisher: Peter Hanbury
Address: PO Box 121, Alstonville, NSW, 2477
An anthology of the winning entries in the FAW Far North Coast Regional
Literary Competition for poetry, short stories, articles and essays, a competition
which over the past decade has grown into one of the largest in Australia.
All 56 winning entries have been included, making it truly a smorgasbord
of words from all over the country.
Author: David King
ISBN: 0 646 27461 9
Publisher: David King
Address: 26 McKay Street, South Bentley, WA, 6102
An anthology of short stories by David King, most of which have been previously
published. They range from the satirical to the playful to the absurd. Many
play games based on the reader/writer relationship or have at their centre
the exploration of meaning and the manner in which meaning is communicated.
Among the best are the witty "Hack/er", the gently quiet "Roma"
and the reflective "Or". The absurdity of "The Colon: Its
Role in Academic Thesis Titles" is deliciously enticing but falls slightly
short of the promise of its title.
The surrealism of many pieces is entrancing and King's facility with language
is at times almost hypnotic in its effect.
Author: Lydia Boulger-Marsh
ISBN: 0 646 27516 X
Publisher: Rob-Tam-Lyd Publications
Address: 107 Faringdon Village, Nambucca Heads, NSW, 2448
By Christmas morning, 1972, Cyclone Tracy was gone and so was most of
Darwin with the unofficial death count at 66. But there was one more body
and death had come before the Cyclone's fury. "Tracy's Child"
is a murder mystery thriller set against the devastation of Darwin and the
lonely stretches of outback Northern Territory where almost no-one is who
they say they are.
Snatching a child, a young woman flees Darwin. Her flight triggers a series
of murders and personal devestation as relationships collapse, families
divide and an outback town is held under siege.
A pot-pourri of romance, suspense, terror and mystery, the story twists
and turns slowly stripping away the outer layers of its protagonists until
they are all finally revealed for who they truly are.
Bear Castle and Other Bear Stories
Author: Jon Southerly
ISBN: 0 646 27611 5
Publisher: Jon Southerly
Address: 41 Old Berowra Road, Hornsby, NSW, 2077
Bear Castle is a collection of short stories about a bear and a boy. They
are the inner voices of the author as he explores his childhood and reflect
a lonely and confused childhood lived in inhibition and fear.
Written to come to terms with his own upbringing, these stories will have
as much if not more affect on adults than on children. Through his alter-ego,
Bear (the author's teddy bear), Boy is parent.
The painfully difficult and funny story of Bear struggling to get a bowl
of icecream while Boy has a headache after dinner, is achingly familiar.
Bear spills the icecream, and with his every endeavour the mess gets greater
as does his panic level. After hours of determined effort, he finally retreats
to bed to rise triumphant in the morning to thanks for not making a mess
in the kitchen.
Dedicated to every child who has ever had a nightmare with the wish they
all may find peace and comfort, "Bear Castle" reflects the author's
long struggle to come to self-acceptance. "Learning that I don't need
to change. I just need to be heard."
"Bear Castle", the story that gives the collection its title,
turns the tables on the roles. The morning starts as usual with Boy somewhat
cranky. "Oh so you're up." Boy's mood was bound to worsen as Bear
responds "No, I'm down, I'm down a well pretending to be a bucket."
Retreating from demands to finish breakfast, clean the bedroom and don't
slam doors, Bear retreats to muse on a world where the bears want to play
but the Boy doesn't know how. Brought to Bear Castle, the very good Boywho
always does his homework is sentenced for not having a teddy bear and not
knowing how to play.
"Bear Castle" is a dream the writer holds onto, a world where
all children are free to play and be happy.
In his introduction, Jon Southerly, commends writing as an aid to heal the
past and hopes that this book might encourage others to explore their inner
voices and find a happy and creative future.
Editor: Michele de Bes
Memoirs of Mrs E
ISBN: 0 646 26493 1
Publisher: Michele de Bes
Address: PO Box 762, Bondi Junction, NSW, 2022
The Memoirs of Mrs E is an anthology of 37 pieces by 13 writers. They
have one thing in common. They all know Mrs E.
As Mrs E says in her introduction, "there comes a time in everyone's
life when memoirs must be written. I remember all those inner city nghts
and Bondi days. Mostly I remember my friends." And it is her friends
who recall the days, the nights, the highs, the lows in this eclectic collection.
Not all recollections and reflections on inner city living, the work is
as varied in subject as are its authors.
Michele de Bes' chilling "Ode to Drogheda" looks at the darker
side of this sunny Tidy Town whileWill Belford longs to return to a particular
beach in a northern land where the sun doesn't shine on the author, but
on an "Empty Sea". From unwrapping Halloween treats wrapped with
Erica Moore's loving grandmother to pondering with Mark Leadbeater on whether
satellite photos can really reveal anything of the beginnings of the universe,
a wander through this collection offers surprising twists and turns for
the reader. Harvey Juchau's "Talkback Radio" presciently predicts,
but no doubt unintentionally, the voyeuristic popularity of the television
program "Who Dares Wins".
A Father Needed
Author: Frank McFadden
ISBN: 0 646 26910 0
Publisher: Frank McFadden
Address: 6/1 Kully Way, Warrawong, NSW, 2502
The saga of an Irishman who settled his family in Northern New South
Wales in the 1880s, "A Father Needed" is a novel that explores
the pioneering spirit and follows the subsequent generations. The story
of what one man achieved and another wasted.
McAuley, with little more than grit, grim determination and a sense of purpose
and humour, settles in northern New South Wales. Marrying and raising a
family of twelve, life prospers and he builds considerable wealth from meagre
Doggedly determined to ensure he has sufficient to establish each of his
children in life when they reach adulthood, his holdings expand and as the
children grow are variously distributed amongst them.
Eldest son Clarence, like his father, a good farmer, handsome, engaging
and with a good sense of humour, he enjoys life. As a father he cares for
his children and loves them deeply but his roving eye proves the undoing
of his first family. The scandal he causes leads to nervous breakdown and
death for his wife and orphanages for his children.
His second family fare slightly better as Esther is wise to her partner's
ways and she is ready to leave him when the time comes. But Clarence is
to have a profound effect especially on the eldest of his second family,
Paddy. Paddy heads off to earn his living in the outback but does so alone,
shunning any idea of raising a family of his own. And it is in his old age
that he finally seeks out the children of his father's first marriage. A
heartbreaking and moving first meeting of children coming together for the
first time in old age.
Author: Bert Bishop
Milton Memories & OtherWritings
ISBN: 0 646 28284 0
Publisher: Brynwood House
Address: 88 Deepwater Road, Castle Cove, NSW,2069
Compiled posthumously by the daughter of the author, this collection
of stories tells of a lifelong joy of writing and love of the Milton area.
While some have been previously published, many are stories that were found
only after the death of author. They include some of the author's earliest
writings as a prize winning child writer through to beautifully constructed
short stories of the war and its aftermath.
Bishop's writing about war is compelling in its simplicity. Stories that
tell of the smallness, the awesomeness, the tragedy and waste of war, they
bring together what it meant for those left at home as well as for those
who had to take an active role.
"Girls Were My Jury" explores the horror of having to decide to
take someone's life. The author writes his thanks for a parcel of socks
to a schoolgirl back home and thus starts a correspondence one side of which
is regularly read to the class. Returning after the war, he is invited to
address the school at assembly, a prospect almost as daunting as the battle
field in his mind. Not knowing how to approach this ordeal, he settles for
telling of a night on sentry duty when he did not kill a German, and invites
the collected girls to vote on whether he did the right thing.
"My Pal Peter" is a moving tribute to a friend who at the time
of his death of war wounds seemed to be just there to help ensure his mate
did not also die in a boating accident. Maybe just maybe, Pete, freed of
his earthly bondage did make a quick trip back to his beloved Narrawallee.
As the author concludes, "Who knows? Sometime, somewhere, I may be
able to ask him." And maybe he now knows the answer.
"Smivvy's 'Teef'" is typical of the humour that runs through most
of the work and again, is an excellent example of the way the author is
able to find in a small illustration a way to show the reader the broader
landscape of war.
The vignettes that comprise the piece, "Easter Sunday in the War Museum"
typify the understatement and the perception that identifies this author's
writing. It demonstrates why those who have never had first hand knowledge
of war would do well to inquire and thus understand, even if just a little,
how it shaped the lives of millions and millions of people and, in various
arenas around the world, continues to do so.
Author: Ralph Mabey
The Last Ride on the Thunderbolt
ISBN: 0 646 27296 9
Publisher: Roy Goode
Address: 231 Mary's Hope Road, Berriedale, Tas, 7011
"The Last Ride on the Thunderbolt" sees British secret service
agent, Ben Reed, teaming up with the beautiful and talented Queenie Weirdstone
of the Australian Commonwealth service in a thriller set in the wild and
dangerous coastline of Tasmania.
A cocktail of international smuggling, murder, a castle full of gothic horrors,
kidnappings, murders, romance, desperate sea chases in the unpredictable
weather and dangerous conditions that only the Great Southern Ocean and
the Roaring Forties can produce, this has all the ingredients expected in
a spy thriller.
Very few characters are who they seem to be. The street kid is a spy. The
bashed prostitute is an abandoned and abused teenager. The charming and
enormously wealthy Mr Curtis heads up an international smuggling network
dealing in fine art, forged currency and murder. And all of those working
in the Australian secret service are not necessarily working on the same
It is not only Ben Reed who makes a return in this spy thriller. Shark,
archetypal fisherman, sensible, resourceful, brave and capable, joins the
team with his seafaring skills proving invaluable.
Will this be the last time readers can vicariously experience the exploits
of Ben Reed? If he survives the final roller coaster ride, well, maybe.
Author: Alan Livingstone
Heroes, Monsters and Other Miscreants
ISBN: 0 646 26894 5
Publisher: Alan Livingstone
Address: 11 Yakaloo Crescent, Forresters Beach, NSW, 2260
In the tradition of "Twilight Zone", "Heroes, Monsters
and Other Miscreants" is a collection of what could best be described
as someone's worst nightmares which the author claims are all completely
based on truth as told to him.
From "The Under-the Bed Monster" where resides a monster who has
consumed Mike's brother to "Beauty and the Bag-Lady" which explores
the curse of beauty to "Betsy's Big Day", the day Betsy discovers
she is the only person in the world who has not melted into a puddle of
slime, to "The Night of the Murderous Vegetables" when the residents
of the refridgerator vent their anger on their landlords, this collection
of stories includes nightmares from every age group - from the very young
to the very elderly.
If tales that scare and horrify and offer despair and not necessarily an
explanation is your idea of entertainment, this might be just for you -
but definitely not recommended bed time reading for children!
Author: Ken Moon
Statues Against the Sky
ISBN: 0 646 26788 4
Publisher: Desidarapunu Mada Press
Address: 61 Gardyne Street, Bronte, NSW, 2024
The stories in this collection form a sequence that tells the story
of a love affair.
The stories in this sequence were published as separate short stories in
publications as diverse in their readership as The Adelaide Review and the
Sydney Review (Australia), Orbis (the UK) and in translation Foreign Literatures
Ken Moon writes in such a disarmingly personal way that as a collection
it becomes difficult to read the sequence as short stories of fiction and
not as autobiography.
It is the story of an affair between the author or the authorial voice of
the stories, Peter, and his partner for whom the affair is, to use an outdated
It is an affair that is to destroy a marriage, affect three children, and
to end in tragedy with her dying with her lover, having returned to him
to support him through an illness on a therapeutic trip to Italy, knowing
that she herself was likely to die, something she kept from her lover.
It is a story of selfishness on the part of the male and a struggle between
selfishness and selflessness on the part of his lover.
It is a story that infuriates and fascinates. Almost voyeristically.
Author: UTS Writers Group 1995
ISBN: 0 646 26067 7
Publisher: UTS Writers Group 1995
"Sugarmouth" is the eleventh in a series of annual anthologies
produced by UTS (University of Technology Sydney) Writers' Group and provides
a showcase for new writing by students at the university.
As the preface to the works so succinctly states: "The short stories
and poems brought together in this publication are by turns sharp, passionate,
humourous and astringent, at times intricate and subtle, at times sketched
in broader, bolder strokes."
Together the works are diverse and the whole is eclectic. From Rowanne Couch's
reflections on her father in "Surfer Boy" to Maxine Whelan's poem
"Colliding Nostalgic", a montage of sensation, of people and events
glimpsed from the corner of your eye the juxtaposition of works is electric.
Tracylee Arestides' story "North" is a journey into the past,
an exploration of self shaped by time, memory, place. It is sublimely evocative,
touching a chord with anyone with a memory of a childhood where holidays
were life lived out where the grass was always greener leaving a heritage
of yearning to be in the back seat of the car heading north, or anywhere
at all for that matter.
Maxine Whelan's seductive "Colliding Nostalgic" is one of my favourites
but snatches of it quoted here would destroy its subtle fabric and it is
too long - and would spoil the anticipation of the whole - to reprint here.
We'll leave with Fiona Thompson:
I Want A Gun
I want a gun
a big black
fuck you Jack
you are dead
there's the action
one that's as sharp
as the frocks I wear
and matches my sense
We are destined to hear much more from many of the contributors to "Sugarmouth".
Wanderer The Present
Author: Paul Buchlak
ISBN: 0 646 26807 4
Publisher: Paul Buchlak
Address: PO Box 489, Batemans Bay, NSW 2536
Paul Buchlak weaves an intricate plot of good and evil in the last city
to have survived the holocaust.
Edward and Horrice begin a journey of exploration when they escape from
life in the forest and head into the unknown. As they grow and evolve, their
world of excitement and beauty takes on a dark complexity.
Men from the Visi Corporation and the Halifax Starship dominate the people
of the darkside. A band of Raiders fights against the corrupt system that
poisons the earth.
And Mark is the thread between them all.
Planet One Drop
Author: Starman Hopeton Gray
ISBN: 0 646 2679 8
Publisher: Hopeton Gray
Address: C/- Waterloo Tavern, I Botany Road, Waterloo, NSW
A Rasta science fiction novel set in a post-holocaust world in the twenty
The world is controlled by big brother and divided into three classes -
the Elite are the ruling class; the Workers are the middle class of educated
technicians that supports the Elite; and the Untouchables also known as
Space travel has developed enormously with space station style planets established
- some in preparation for when Earth is no longer habitable at all and the
Elite will need to leave. And that time is fast approaching.
The Untouchables are the thorn in the side of big brother and the Elite
are currently carrying out genocide on an unprecedented scale. But two Rasta
who work for big brother are able to sabotage the software programs that
control the slaughter.
A truce is achieved and the Untouchables are granted Planet One Drop. But
no-one had counted on the intervention of the Zargonists, with their far
superior technology and code of ethics.
A space age thriller, in Planet One Drop the Rasta find their paradise and
Earth self-destructs with a lot of help from the humans who had controlled
Here on Mars . . .
Author: Neila Seciov
ISBN: 0 646 26308 0
Publisher: Robert Ramsay
Address: 404/12 Ithaca Road, Elizabeth Bay, NSW, 2011
Written by Neila Seciov of the Martian Society of Intergalactic Archaeologists
and reprinted from articles in the The Martian Times, September AD 4095,
this is a Martian view of the collapse of earthly civilisation in the 21st
Seciov looks at the factors which led to the well-being of a community being
undermined by the personal ambitions of those who controlled it and at the
ultimate consequences of failing to curb the increasing gap between rich
The book is the result of the work of one particular intergalactic archeological
mission, which rewrote all previous Martian theories about the destruction
of civilisation on earth. It looks at greed as a motivation and explores
the difference between what was written by earthlings and what actually
It argues that by providing fringe benefits to those at the top, the functioning
of an organisation is distorted as more and more time is devoted to power
struggles to get to the top (or stay there) and less to the tasks of commerce,
industry or government for which the organisation was established. It argues
that whilst in the late 20th century hierarchies were, according to earthlings,
abolished in favour of flat management, in fact, hierarchies and pyramid
structures remained in tact. All that changed was the rhetoric. The pyrmaid
climbers of the 21st century were those for whom the pursuit of wealth and
status was an end in itself.
It explores the rationale that enabled the rich to feel comfortable with
mass poverty - by talking of human rights, the human wrongs that were perpetrated
to make the need to fight for human rights so compelling were overlooked.
It looks at the difference between rich and poor people within particular
societies and between rich and poor countries, noting that the more the
rich provided aid to the poor, the poorer the poor were likely to become.
From the point of view of two millenia hence and from a planet further from
the sun than earth, the decline of earthly civilisation is analysed. A science
fiction approach to something that at the end of the twentieth century here
on earth is very far from fiction.
Author: Martin Simpson
ISBN: 0 646 25865 6
Publisher: Ompyx Communications Pty Limited
Address: 29 King Street, Balmain, NSW, 2041
The discovery that sharks don't get cancer leads genetic scientist,
Alex Gray, to a cure for humans - but is the cure worse than the disease?
And how many deaths will the cover-up cost?
This taut hospital thriller opens with James Gray reflecting on his acceptance
speech for the Nobel Prize for Medicine a few months earlier, in which he
paid tribute to a simple fisherman he dubbed "the Einstein of Medicine"
- not the arch criminal, arrogant and reckless sadistic kind of Doctor Mengele
that the papers then labelled him after the speech whipped up frenzies of
James Gray maintains that it was not he who found the cure for cancer -
that accolade belongs to the much maligned and slandered Alex Gray. James'
contribution - and the reason for his Nobel Prize - was simply that he ironed
out the teething problems.
This then is James' account, for the record, of the man who found the cure
for cancer. As he says, "It's true to say he made mistakes and some
died, but how many are surviving now? . . . Though I was only a child at
the time, I have a good memory for the incredible things that happened around
me . . . Many lies had to be untangled, many truths dissected out of confused
Possibly closer to science fact than science fiction, this novel is a powerful
cocktail of sex, dope and medical research leading to jealousy, revenge
A fast-paced, plausibly woven, compelling read - with a plot that seems
tailor-made for the screen.
The Path of the Moon
A novel of the Eastern Front
Author: Oskar Lapa
ISBN: 0 646 25455 3
Publisher: Oskar Lapa
Address: 32A Kurrajong Road, Kurrajong, NSW, 2758
In the menacing days before the Second World War, invasion has brought
terror to Katrina's little country, Latvia.
The deportations to the Siberian Gulag are halted by the German attack and
Katrina's husband plunges into the savagery of the Eastern Front in his
mission to free his parents.
Finally free from Russian control after World War 1, Latvia's newly found
and hard-won independence was fiercely defended. With annexation by the
USSR in 1940, Russia was seen as their natural enemy. Allegiances with the
advancing German army seemed obvious as the means of freeing themselves
from Russian control. Long historical connections with Germany, dating back
to feudal times, meant that many had connections in Germany which appeared
at first to offer much needed sanctuary from the battles raging on the Eastern
Front and in Latvia itself.
Katrina and Sandris are no exceptions. Sandris willingly takes up arms to
defend his country with his ultimate goal being to free his parents, taken
in the night by the Russians. But as the war unfolds, Katrina begins to
wonder whether his dangerous allegiances will jeopardise their children's
The war sweeps Sandris towards his destiny and Katrina is left with the
terrible decision of whether to believe her husband or to believe others.
This novel opens up an arena of World War II not often canvassed in western
literature - that of a tiny newly independent country seeing a nation oppposed
to Hitler's Nazism as its enemy above the threat of Nazism itself - and
through the lives of one family explores the torment, dilemmas, terror and
horror that this conflict inexorably plays out on innocent people and participants
Author: Daisy de Ferrier
ISBN: 0 646 25145 7
Address: Lot 17 Hotham Creek Road, Willowvale, QLD, 4209
In "Kangaroo Paw", Daisy de Ferrier brings together a brilliant
independently wealthy handsome young man, a beautiful wealthy married and
successful lawyer and sets their relationship against the backdrop of the
glamour of the Gold Coast and a small outback Aboriginal community. But
whilst the inevitable relationship smoulders, the climax is not just the
resolution of the love story - it turns on a major breakthrough in AIDS
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