Book Review: IRON

The next book I’m reviewing is IRON by Aiki Flinthart. As well as being a wonderful writer, Brisbane-based Flinthart is an archer, a martial artist, a painter, a musician, runs a business, and manages to find room for her family too.

IRON is a sci-fi story that reads like an action-packed fantasy, and it blew me away. The story is set on Kalima, a human colony on a far-flung planet, cut off from Earth. And Kalima’s history means it is short on one very important resource. Iron.

Alere, the protagonist, lives in the city of Madina as a ward of Xintou house under Mistress Li. Xintous are gifted with mind-reading and coercive abilities, however Alere lacks the genetic xintou ability and instead trains as a weishi (a warrior) and a jiaoji (courtesan). She is given the task of serving as jiaoji for Medina’s jun (ruler), who has waited for her arrival. On his deathbed, he sends Alere on a mission to find her unknown father and stop a war over a hidden iron deposit.

Her world is thrown into chaos when she is accused of the Jun’s murder and flees Madina with her weishi trainer, Kett. Alere battles self-doubt, and worthlessness, obligations and responsibility against her own desire of freedom, and jealousy, guilt and fear. And then there’s the weishi of Madina who believe she’s responsible for the jun’s death and are pursuing her to bring her to justice, not to mention other foes and they meet along the way.

The story and characters are wonderful, complex and engaging, but the real highlight for me is the world that Flinthart has created. What brings the world of Kalima to life so well is the smattering of arabic and mandarin throughout. And because this is done so well, you can’t help but be transported into Alere’s world.

About here is where I would mention what I thought were the weak points of the story. And I’m struggling to think of any. It’s set in an amazing sci-fi world, there’s gripping and incredibly well-written fight scenes, there are revelations and danger at every turn, and great characters. I guess some people might think there’s too much use of the mandarin and arabic words, but I feel there’s enough context provided to grasp their meaning. I never had to use the appendix at the back, but it is there!

In conclusion, IRON deserves a five-star rating, the first five-star rating I’ve given this year. It’s technically sci-fi, but as I said, it reads like a fantasy, and have no hesitation in recommending it to both fantasy and sci-fi fans. I have a massive TBR pile, but after finishing IRON I just want to jump right into the sequel, FIRE.

As well as the Kalima chronicles, Flinthart has written several other series – find out more about them here.

  • Originally published March 2019

Book Review: IF I WAKE

The book I’m reviewing today is IF I WAKE by Nikki Moyes. This was her debut novel, released in 2016, and it’s a really impressive debut.

IF I WAKE is a powerful tale of a bullied teen in High School, Lucy. Her favourite class at school is History, but even there she isn’t safe from being ridiculed and bullied by the other students. Lucy gets little sympathy or support from her stressed single mother, who herself is lonely and is fighting her own battles.

Lucy’s only happy place in her dreams. Every year since the disaster of her eleventh birthday party, Lucy’s dreams have taken her to the past. Each time a different location, a different century, but there is always one constant. Will. Actually, there are two constants. The second one is that she only wakes up in the real world after she dies in her dreams. Despite the constant dangers in these dreams, because of her constant and unquestioned friendship with Will, her acceptance by his family, she much prefers the dreams over her lonely and friendless life.

Things go from bad to worse for Lucy when her mum gets a new boyfriend, Frank. Not only has the bullying at school got worse, but now she feels unwelcome in her own home. It seems like an unendurable eternity before her upcoming seventeenth birthday, her next chance to visit Will. Something has to break, and in the end, it’s Lucy. Against all these struggles, without a friend in the world, her thought turn to suicide. But she doesn’t want to leave without seeing her only friend one last time.

There’s a lot of really good things about this book; it’s powerful, it’s accessible, it’s written well. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of time travel stories where the characters go back in time. This is because they are very predictable, people meet Napoleon, kill Hitler, help some American president. blah blah blah. But this book handles it very differently, which I appreciated. Lucy finds different incarnations of Will; Wu, Walker, Villius, Wilhelm, William, Billy and Willis. They are regular people, struggling with the dangers of their time, and I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

As previously mentioned, each of Lucy’s dreams ends when she dies in the dream. In one of those dreams, Lucy was killed when a military base was attacked in an air raid, and after that dream, Lucy was afraid of aeroplanes. I really liked that element, yet at the same time I was disappointed, because that hadn’t happened before. In a previous dream, Lucy died after being bitten by a snake, but there wasn’t any mention of her becoming afraid of snakes after that. It’s only a minor criticism, but I would have liked it if she brought something like that back from each dream.

All in all though, I really enjoyed IF I WAKE and thing it’s a really good debut! I am looking forward to reading Moyes’ upcoming novel THE DESTROYER – hopefully that will be released soon!

To find out more about what Nikki is up to, find her on twitter @NikkiNovelist, or her FB author page here.

Thanks for reading!

  • Originally published March 2019

My Twenty Favourite Books from 2017 (Part Two)

I recently posted about the 52 books I read in 2017, and am sharing with you my Top 20 books from that year.

The following four books I really enjoyed, and rated 4 out of 5.

THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND – Endō (1964).
Wow. This is a really sad yet beautiful novel. A salesman (Yoshioka) seduces and then abandons Mitsu, a sweet and honest village girl, who he considered beneath him. It’s set in Japan shortly after World War 2, and you get a really good insight into life in Tokyo in those days. The characters are strong and thoughtfully put together, and throughout the novel you get the story from both character’s perspectives. This shows really well how the betrayal of Mitsu effects both their lives as the years pass. I really loved this book, and if any that I gave a 4 to probably should have been a five, this is the one.

THE LITTLE PRINCE – Saint-Exupéry (1943).
What can one say about The Little Prince? One of the sweetest stories ever, adorably illustrated, and full of heart. It’s one of those children’s books that contains profound meaning and insight that can stay with someone all of their lives.

ANNA KARENINA – Tolstoy (1877).
This novel, a literary classic, is approaching it’s 150th birthday. I’m not a history buff by any means, but I appreciate books like this which are time capsules from the time they were written. And one thing that makes this so important is that the Russia that Tolstoy so vividly described was swept away in the 1917 Revolution. Of course, ANNA KARENINA is about Countess Anna Arkadyevna Karenina, who, despite being married, is seduced by Count Alexei Vronsky. It’s also about Princess Ekaterina “Kitty” Shcherbatskaya, who was counting on an engagement to Vronsky. And Konstantin “Kostya” Dmitrievich Lëvin, a friend of Anna’s husband and a suitor to Princess Shcherbatskaya. It’s a wonderfully detailed and complex novel, which I highly recommend.

THE CHILDREN OF MEN – James (1992).
This is a dystopian novel, similar to that of Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE as both are set in the near future under totalitarian governments after massive infertility epidemics. The people of James’ world have about given up on the survival of humanity, as no cure to the epidemic has been found, and no child has been born for over 20 years. The protagonist is contacted by a local resistance group, who have become aware of some of the crimes the government has been hiding. It’s a really clever story, but does lack the intensity of the 2006 movie adaptation.

Ok. Now are the books that I rated as 5 out of 5. With the previous fourteen, I’ve pretty much listed them in the order I read them, but the following five I am going to list in order of my preference.

#6 THE REAL STORY – Donaldson (1991).
I gave this book 5 out of 5 because it is the absolute best set-up story for a series I’ve ever read. THE REAL STORY (Book one of ‘The Gap Cycle’) we are introduced to Captain Angus Thermopyle, an absolute brute of a space-pirate, the lowest of the low, who is the sole crew of his ship, Bright Beauty. Nick Succorso is the opposite of Angus, a clean, handsome, and seemingly honourable captain of Captain’s Fancy. And appearing with Angus at one of the scummiest bars on Com-Mine Station is ensign Morn Hyland, a beautiful young woman who works for the United Mining Companies Police. From the outset everyone knows that something’s up, and everyone has a plan for getting what they want. Donaldson has put this together so cleverly, every chapter there’s a new critical piece of information that’s revealed, or a new perspective that’s provided that changes everything. If you like sci-fi, read it. But be warned, It’s not for the squeamish.

#5 DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? – Dick (1968).
Oh, the humanity! That’s what it comes down to, for me. It’s probably no secret to you that Philip Kindred Dick is one of my favourite authors. What he does so well is write the stories of regular people; people with issues at work, people with not-so perfect relationships, people with drug issues, and put them in mind-bending sci-fi settings. So he wrote a lot about what it means to be human, and that doesn’t change whether it’s a story set in the 60’s, or on a post-apocalyptic Earth, or on Ganymede. And here he’s writing about a bounty hunter trying to eliminate androids that are so well made that he has to determine their humanity, in a world where real animals are almost extinct and imitations are everywhere. He’s writing about ‘specials’ – people impacted by the radiation and their humanity. Where does one draw the line? And by the way, I prefer the book.

#4 A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA – Le Guin (1968).
Ursula Le Guin is a remarkable author, and like P. K. Dick, writes about humanity. She has taken on issues like politics and gender in other unforgettable stories. In A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, and in the tradition of epics, Le Guin challenges us to think about our place and responsibilities on Earth. The story is about a boy who, through trials and struggles, becomes the greatest Archmage of the islands. It’s amazing because Le Guin’s magic system and dragons are the best that I’ve read, and the prose is so deep, simple and profound that I have no words. It’s a simple story, but it stays with you. It’s quite simply perfect.

# 3 A SCANNER DARKLY – Dick (1977).
Yes, I know. Philip K. Dick again. A Scanner Darkly is a semi-autobiographical book, focusing on the lives of a group of drug users. The protagonist, Robert Arctor, is an undercover narcotics officer, who is given the job of spying on himself. The police are trying to discover the source of the deadly Substance D, Arctor’s drug of choice. Over time, the drug starts to impact on Arctor, and he becomes more and more unstable, and is forced to go to a rehab clinic. Was he a pawn in the hands of the police, who knew his addiction and impossible task would lead him there? At the end, Dick dedicates this book to the friends he had lost or who were permanently damaged due to the drugs they took, which I found really touching.

#2 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE – Burgess (1962).
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is one of my all-time favourites. Why it’s so great is the creative use of language, the devotchkas, the tolchocks, the droogs, and all the ultra-violence. Very horrorshow. Burgess created a new language ‘Nadsat’ which is borrows heavily from Russian for this novel, and while it may take a while to get used to, there’s usually enough context provided to understand the words. As a reader, as someone interested in languages, I just love it. It’s so creative and brilliant and just gets in your head like nothing else. But Burgess’ linguistic skills aside, the story itself is just great. Put simply, the message from this book is that children will always rebel. No matter what the schools or parents or police do, the kids will always do their own things, and discover who they are in their own way. But they will not stay miscreants and hooligans forever, they will grow up and grow out of the madness of their teenage years.

#1 ALONE IN BERLIN – Fallada (1947).
This is an extraordinary book. It was one of the first anti-Nazi novel to be published in Germany after World War II. ALONE IN BERLIN (also titled ‘Every Man Dies Alone’) tells the story of a middle aged working-class husband and wife who, after receiving word that their son had died serving their country, join the resistance. This is based on a true story, the couple wrote messages denouncing Hitler and the Reich (“Hitler’s war is the worker’s death,” for example), and dropped them throughout Berlin. They knew this was a capital crime, and should they be caught, would be executed. So it’s the story of ordinary heroes against impossible odds. But it’s also the story of the ordinary Berliner during the war years, the menacing and dangerous times they faced, especially those who disagreed with Hitler’s policies and just wanted the war to end. And that’s one of the reasons that I’ve given this book the Number 1 position. My mother’s family were Berliners who hated Hitler, so it gave me a profound insight into what they endured.

That’s my list. One of the things that’s clear is that very few recent books made the top 20, only THE KING’S JUSTICE and MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. So, out of the 52 novels I read last year, what else was published since 2010? I read THE LONG EARTH (Pratchett & Baxter), to which I gave three stars. HERE I AM (Safran Foer) was lucky to get two stars – absolutely awful. THE LORDS OF SALEM (Zombie) got three stars. THE MARTIAN (Weir) also got three stars – good, funny, engaging but zero character development. READY PLAYER ONE (Cline) got two stars. I’ve shared this is because it’s painfully obvious that I need to diversify what I read. Not only were the majority of 2017’s books published over twenty-five years ago, way too many of them were written by white men. I shall soon share my Top 20 books from 2018, and I am hoping you will see a bit more diversity there!

  • Originally published February 2019

Book Review: WHAT THE WOODS KEEP

Continuing my quest to celebrate the work of Australian speculative fiction authors, I’ve read and reviewed WHAT THE WOODS KEEP by Katya De Becerra.

Katya has lived in Russia, America and Peru before migrating to Australia and studying cultural anthropology. Her love of science and anthropological studies are apparent throughout this novel, which added a sense of realism to the piece. I also got the impression that the story combines the myths and folklore of her European roots with the locations she might have explored while in America.

The story focuses on Hayden, an eighteen year old girl whose life has only just started approaching normal after the loss of her mother near the woods of their Promise home ten years ago. On her eighteenth birthday the lawyer managing the estate of her mother calls her, there’s something that her mother wanted her to have: the family home in Promise. And a handwritten card with a creepy message, for good measure. It turns out there a secrets her parents kept from her, and questions that can only be answered about herself and her family by returning to Promise.

But WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is about more than revealing a family’s secrets, but about accepting yourself, accepting change, about reconciling the known and the unknowable, the mysteries of the universe. It’s so good, and I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone! The mysterious, eerie build-up is superb, and the last ten chapters are an intoxicating, unpredictable thrill-ride, and up ’til the end you won’t know how it’s going to go.

There’s a lot that I love about this book. I love how dark and creepy it is, I love that it’s about the friendship between Hayden and Delphine. I love the scientific angle the MC takes to rationalise unexplainable phenomena, to explain the complexities of life, it’s all really cleverly done and engaging. And I really loved the German / European mythology, with the Nibelungenlied a recurring theme.

Another thing that was done well was the inclusion of documentation providing more background on what’s happening – from Hayden’s psychologist, her father’s work journals, and her own diaries.

I’ve long thought that one of the marks of a good book is how long it stays with you after you’ve read it. And this book does that – it’s been a week since finishing it, and I haven’t been able to move on, I’m still thinking about the book and the questions it has left me with – about time travel, about Hayden’s mother, about what has been left in the woods, but – most pressingly – if there might be a sequel!

Criticisms. It’s a book that’s hard to criticise, to be honest. It struck me as odd that in this book where Hayden’s searching for her long-lost, long-dead mother, that it’s her living father who is undoubtedly there that’s strangely absent.

Ultimately, WHAT THE WOODS KEEP is a really clever, really engaging read and I’m already looking forward to De Becerra’s next book!

Here’s a link to Katya’s own blog where you can find out more about her and buy a copy of What the Woods Keep, though you’ll likely find a copy in your nearest bookshop too!

Follow me or stay tuned for more book reviews!

  • Originally published February 2019

My Twenty Favourite Books of 2017 (Part One)

In 2017 I challenged myself to read 52 books for the Popsugar Reading Challenge.  I’m a slow reader, and I had never read more than 40 books in a year before, but I surprised myself by reaching the goal. 

Yes, 2017 is a while ago now. Why would I share it on my blog now? Two reasons. First, as a writer, I’m always interested in what other authors are reading. Second, to (hopefully) keep myself honest with what I’ve been reading, and encourage myself to read more diversely. So, let’s begin with ten of the books I gave 4 stars to (in the order that I read them).

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN  – Lindqvist (2004). 
I’m generally not a fan of Vampires, but I’d enjoyed the ‘Let Me In’ film adaptions, so I thought I’d give it a go.  And it was a great read – really dark and creepy.  What was great about it was how it was not the usual vampire story.  The protagonist was a boy in Sweden who was bullied at school and befriends a young girl in their apartment complex.  Who turns out to be a vampire.  There is a lot of killings and brutality, and at the centre of it all are these sweet kids who help each other out of nothing but friendship.  It’s tense, it gritty, and it’s written really well. 

THE COLLECTOR – Fowles (1963).
This was a really clever book about an awkward clerk who comes into a large sum of money and his plans to win the affections of Miranda, a middle-class Art student he has long admired.  He convinces himself to kidnap her and win her affection by being nothing but a gentleman to her.  But he didn’t think his plan through, nor count on the intelligence and desperation of his prey.  The second part of the novel is told from Miranda’s point of view and is entirely compelling.  It is incredibly well written, it gives you the chills and leaves you breathless.  Highly recommended.

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN – Riggs (2011).
Miss Peregrine’s is a really fun YA novel, where Jacob finds there might be some truth to his grandfather’s crazy stories shortly after his disturbing death.  When he has an opportunity to go to a place that was special to his grandfather, he jumps at the chance, and starts putting together pieces to a mystery lost in time. It’s a different take on the standard YA fantasy, it’s engaging, and feels quite familiar all the way through.  Meeting the ‘Peculiar’ children (and Miss Peregrine, of course) is a delight, however the further you go, the darker and scarier it gets.

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK – Lindsay (1967).
The very first few pages absolutely transported me to my youth, growing up in country Victoria, the sights, the sounds, the scents are exactly as Lindsay described.  It’s a captivating story of life in Australia in the 1900’s.  Picnic at Hanging Rock is a superb mystery full of eerie events, curious characters and sinister undertones. 

LAVINIA – Le Guin (2008).
Ursula K. Le Guin (one of my all-time favourite authors) wrote Lavinia in 2008.  It is an unusual book in a sense, as the titular character is a character in Virgil’s Aeneid.  A significant character, too – the wife of the hero Aeneas, yet in the Aeneid she was not given a single line.  Le Guin gave Lavinia a voice, and made her real, bringing her and the community of Laurentum to life. It’s a mesmerising piece, describing not only Lavinia’s conflict with her family marvellously, but also the war between Laurentum and her neighbours and the invading Trojans, lead by Aeneas. 

RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA – Clarke (1973). 
This was a childhood favourite of mine, I am not ashamed to admit.  The imagination that Clarke had, the skills to bring such wonders to life, absolutely phenomenal.  Anyway, Rendezvous With Rama  tells the classic sci-fi story of first contact with alien intelligence.  An unidentified object – a massive cylinder – enters out Solar System and slows down, and a crew of astronauts is dispatched to investigate it.  The tale of the crew and their exploration of the cylinder is so clever, and the ending is just so perfect, that I can’t say a bad word about it.

PERFUME:  THE STORY OF A MURDERER – Suskind (1985).
Another novel that I had read after seeing the movie.  This is an original story though, in that it tells the tale of a man whose sense of smell is so powerful that his perspective of the world is unique.  He becomes a perfumer, one who creates perfumes, and becomes obsessed with capturing all the scents and creating perfumes to make people see him as angelic or god-like.  Unfortunately, some of the scents he must capture and use he can only obtain my murder.  The whole thing is very clever and really well-written.

THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY – Adams (1979).
I used this book for the ‘about an immigrant or refugee’ prompt.  I don’t think there’s much for me to say about this one.  There’s no dispute it’s hilarious and an absolute sci-fi comedy classic. 

THE KING’S JUSTICE – Donaldson (2016).
This was a very interesting fantasy story.  A man rides into a town in the Kingdom attempting to solve a disturbing murder, which soon turn into a series of murders.  The characters are great, the story is captivating and complex with many twists and turns, and Donaldson has created another amazing fantasy world with a brilliant system of magic.

MARTIAN TIME-SLIP – Dick (1964).
Another one of my favourite authors.  I have read most of his 44 novels and 120 short stories, and this is one of the ones that I think is the most under-rated.  What Dick does so well is really get right into the day-to-day life and concerns of the average person in whatever insane world he comes up with.  In Martian Time-Slip, the protagonist Bohlen is a repairman on a struggling colony on Mars.  His relationship with his wife is on a downward spiral, his employer is taking advantage of him, but what can he do?  Just get through as best he can and try keep his schizophrenic episodes at bay.  When Bohlen’s path crosses with Arnie Kott’s, the leader of the Water Worker’s Union, his life gets turned upside down.  The most outstanding yet terrifying part of this book is Dick’s description of what Manfred Steiner, an autistic child who becomes one of Arnie Kott’s many pawns perceives. 

So that’s the first ten books of my top twenty. Come back soon for my top ten!

  • Originally published February 2019

Book Review: EVE OF ERIDU

I’m all about celebrating Speculative Fiction written by Australian authors. What better way to that, to support and promote their excellent books, than to review them?

Here’s my first book, EVE OF ERIDU by Alanah Andrews. But first, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Alanah’s from New Zealand.  But like Phar Lap, the Pavlova and Russell Crowe, we’ll have to claim her as our own, this book was that good!

EVE OF ERIDU is about a girl called Eve, who lives in Eridu.  Eve has lived her whole life committed to suppressing her emotions, just like everyone else in her community. She’s been the perfect student, constantly at the top of the leaderboard, everything is as going as well as it can in her post-apocalyptic world. 

That is, of course, until her brother – like her an exceptional student at the top of his leaderboard – fails the harvest.  Instead of being assigned a role in the new world, he is culled. And Eve has to be content with that. To be content is to be free, says the Book of Eridu, which all citizens do their utmost to follow. After all it has been proven that emotions – love, greed, jealousy, anger and hate – had caused the wars of history and resulted in the destruction of the world. The scant thousands who lived underground in Eridu were all that was left of humanity, and they could not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated. 

Eve struggles to be content with the sudden and unexpected loss of her brother, and to make things worse, there’s a new kid at school that won’t leaver her alone. Struggling to keep her monitor a calm blue, and with it her place on the leaderboard, Eve’s emotions threaten to overwhelm her, threaten her chances of surviving the upcoming harvest. But not only does she have to pass the tests, she needs to uncover the secrets behind Sam’s mysterious appearance, and confront the chilling truths of the world the founders of Eridu created. 

Andrews has crafted this dystopian post-apocalyptic society superbly, and it is sure to send chills down your spine. One of the remarkable components of this story is the Grid, a digital afterlife, where the essences of Eridu’s citizens are transferred to when they are culled or die. Eve is a compelling character, confronted with a staggering challenge and a mystery that might shake her to the core. The one criticism that I have is that it was too short, I would have enjoyed more exploration of the changing relationships Eve had with Sam, her colleagues, guardians and the overseers of Eridu.  But I say that about almost every book I read – I always want more!  Ultimately it’s an excellent story about a teen struggling to fit in, struggling to be the person everyone expects her to be.

For more, go to Alanah’s website. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.

Keep tuned for more news and more reviews!

  • Originally published January 2019

What’s it going to be then, eh?

“What’s it going to be then, eh?” is how every part of Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ starts.  It’s how every day of our own lives start too.

Is this the day we finally get our shit together?  Is this the day we do everything that we’ve been putting off?  Is this the day we’re going to do something different, something special?  Or are we just going to muddle through it, work another shift at a job we’re sick of and do the exact same thing as yesterday?  I’m not trying to be inspirational here, I’m just stating facts.  If we want to change our lives, we can. 

In Philip. K. Dick’s ‘A Scanner Darkly,’ Rob Arctor had a boring normal life, a family, a job.  Then he hit his head on an open cupboard door and through the pain saw that his future was going to be nothing but the same ever-repeating patterns, and decided that it wasn’t the life he wanted to live anymore. And I guess that’s the closest analogy I have for how I became a writer.  It happened almost by accident.  It wasn’t a career that I ever sought, or even thought possible. But one morning in the middle of 2017 I awoke with an idea in my head that needed to be written down. And I’ve been writing ever since.

I’m still struggling to work it in around my job and my family. I’m still learning so much, finding my way through it all. The first thing that I wrote was a 60k word YA sci-fi / crime story (which I’m still editing). And then I figured out I shouldn’t just launch it out there into the void, I should create a platform, publish some short stories, and hopefully get some people interested in my stuff. I’m in the middle of expanding a short story into a novella, and if we’re all lucky that might be published later this year.

Back to “what’s it going to be then, eh?” though. That’s not just a once-a-day or a once-a-week type question.  That’s asked of us every time a colleague tells a racist joke, or when you witness sexism or bullying on your way home, for example.  When you see any behaviour like that, you ask yourself “shit, should I say something here?” And stepping up in that moment can change you too.  You feel better about yourself, and you won’t spend the rest of the day / week / year wishing you did something.  This is the topic of one of the first short stories I ever wrote, and might even publish it here soon.

Before I sign off, I want to say that yes, both Anthony Burgess and Philip K. Dick are two of my favourite authors. Dick’s imagination and creativity was simply mindblowing. Burgess was an absolute master of language, and really showed how powerful and effective the written word can be. Thanks for reading my blog and following me on my journey!

  • Originally published January 2019

Welcome to my Blog

I guess you’re wondering why an author would name their blog ‘The Perils of German Cuisine.’ And it’s a good question.  

My mum and her family escaped from soviet East Germany and, as refugees, found their way to Australia.  Exploring my German roots and connecting with German culture is something that’s important to me, and what better way to do that than through food? When my wife and I travelled the length and breadth of Germany, from Dusseldorf to Dresden, Hamburg to Oberstdorf, I really enjoyed the German food in all it’s wonderful varieties, and, of course, the beer.  I am hoping to teach myself how to cook one or two German dishes through the course of this adventure too!If you think that isn’t very perilous, you haven’t seen me cook.  And, of course, life is perilous. 

If I survive long enough (and if this blog survives, let’s be honest) I will regale you with stories of my brushes with death.  So we’ve got that to look forward to.

Currently I have a short story ‘The Teacup’ available in Aussie Speculative Fiction’s ‘BEGINNINGS’ anthology – available on Amazon. Another short story will be released in Zombie Pirate Publishing’s ‘FLASH FICTION ADDICTION’ soon, I will let you know when that’s available.

In the meantime, two other short stories have been submitted for other collections, so I’m hoping for good news! Come back regularly for more blog posts and updates!

  • Originally published December 2018