How To Buy My Books: Anarya’s Secret, Transported, Voyagers, And More

Welcome! Since I’m between blog posts at the moment, here are details about how to buy some of my books. You’ll find my recent posts listed on the left-hand side of this blog.

You can find details of all these books at my author page.

You’ll also find my work in these recent anthologies:

Recent New Zealand Speculative Fiction: “A Foreign Country”

Over the summer holidays, I finished reading New Zealand speculative fiction short story anthology A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction, edited by Anna Caro and Juliet Buchanan.

I have a story in “A Foreign Country”, so it would feel weird to review it. Instead, I’m going to mention some stories that I particularly liked, one story I loved, and one story that has a problem: mine!

Anthologies of New Zealand speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and horror) aren’t published very often, so it is always a treat to see a new one. The even better news is that there are many strong stories in this volume, and none that I thought didn’t deserve a place.

Among my favourite stories are the opening story, “The Future of the Sky” by Ripley Patton; “No Hidden Costs”, by Matt Cowens; “Miramar Is Possum Free”, by Richard Barnes; “Tourists”, by Anna Caro; “Dreams of a Salamander Nation”, by Susan Kornfeld; and “Pastoral”, by Philip Armstrong. They are all strong stories, well-told, that engrossed me. In some, the New Zealand aspects weren’t particularly important; others had an essential New Zealand-ness that really shone through.

My very favourite story in the book is the final one, “Back and Beyond” by Juliet Marillier. It’s meta-fiction – fiction about making fiction – but, lest this sound forbidding, it is very much grounded in personal experience and personal emotion. A woman who is, perhaps, not too dissimilar to the author seeks a way back to a land and a time in which she was young, free and powerful.

The story has added resonance for me because it takes place at the site of the old Dunedin Children’s Library, which was next door to one of the places I used to live in Dunedin. The Dunedin Children’s Library was where the Dunedin branch of the National Association for Science Fiction used to meet, and thus, the place where I was introduced to science fiction fandom and science fiction fans. The story’s protagonist gazes on a view I’ve also gazed upon.

But even if I’d never been within cooee of Dunedin, this story is moving, vividly told, beautifully characterised, and good speculative fiction as well. It’s the perfect conclusion to a very good collection of fiction. You (and your local library) deserve a copy of A Foreign Country.

Oh, and that story with a problem? My story “The Last Good Place” takes place in a much-altered future in which the mainland of New Zealand has become uninhabitable, and civilisation – of a sort – clings on to New Zealand’s subantarctic islands, centred on the largest such group, the Auckland Islands.

But what I should have realised is that many readers have never heard of the Auckland Islands, and think the story is taking place in a future, drowned Auckland City! It’s a perfectly understandable confusion, and I should have thought of it – but I didn’t. Sorry, folks!

Welcome To My Blog

Welcome! If you’re visiting for the first time, here are some of my books, and how to get hold of them.

You should also check out Helen Lowe’s Australia/New Zealand F&SF Author Series, which she’s organised to celebrate the release of her novel The Heir of Night.

News From A Foreign Country

I’ve already blogged about new NZ short story collection
A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction, edited by Anna Caro and Juliet Buchanan. But now there’s more news worth sharing, courtesy of the anthology’s indefatigable publishers Random Static:

Au Contraire Competition

Many of the stories in A Foreign Country were selected via the open competition run in conjunction with Au Contraire.* Entries were judged by author and Au Contraire Guest of Honour Sean Williams, who commented:

“This was VERY difficult. Each of the top three was brilliant in its own way. Weird how themes of parenthood, dreams, and loss weave through all of them.”

And the winners were:

1st Place – ‘The Future of the Sky’ by Ripley Patton
2nd Place – ‘Dreams of a Salamander Nation’ by Susan Kornfeld
3rd Place – ‘Cry of a Distress Rocket’ by Brian Priestley
Honourable Mention – ‘Beneath the Trees’ by Claire Brunette

*(Tim adds: the other stories were solicited. By solicitors.)


A Foreign Country is now available from an ever expanding list of bookshops including Parsons, Unity and The Bookie in Auckland and Arty Bees in Wellington (some of these may not have it on the shelves right now, but they should soon). If your local independent bookshop is not on this list, please mention the anthology to them.

Bookshops which don’t have copies in stock will be able to order them in for buyers on request – you’ll need the ISBN: 978-0-473-16916-9. There will also be copies for sale at the Going West Festival, Armageddon in Auckland and other events to be confirmed.

Looking Forward

Random Static is currently catching its breath before tying off a few loose ends and continuing to market and sell A Foreign Country. They also have a few new projects planned – due for release soon is Barking Death Squirrels by Wellington based writer and A Foreign Country contributor Douglas A Van Belle.

(Tim adds: I’m planning to interview Doug for this blog in a couple of months.)

Random Static is soon to engage in a major overhaul of its submission guidelines: “Whilst another short story anthology isn’t on our immediate horizons, any of you looking for a publisher for a novel, novella or comic book may want to check our website in a few weeks.”

(Tim adds: Random Static is going from strength to strength! I’m especially pleased that they are looking to publish novellas – the novella is a great length for science fiction, but they are usually very hard to place. If only I had a desk drawer full of them…)

Blogging Au Contraire: Day One: “A Foreign Country” Book Launch

I’m pushing it a bit when I say that I’m blogging Day 1 of Au Contraire, since all I attended today was the launch of new short fiction anthology A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction. I’ll be much more thoroughly present at the Con tomorrow and on Sunday.

But here are some quick observations:

* The book launch was short but sweet. Anna Caro introduced the book, Claire Brunette read her story from the collection, “Beneath The Trees”, and then much signing and photographing was done.
* The production quality of A Foreign Country is excellent. Publishers Random Static have done a great job of design and production.
*A Foreign Country has 22 stories in its 266 pages, costs $24.95, and is available from independent bookshops – such as Unity and Parsons in Auckland and the University Bookshop in Dunedin (I didn’t catch the whole list). You can also order it from the Random Static website.
* If you want to order it from a bookshop that doesn’t stock it, the ISBN is 978-0-473-16916-9
* The Con looks like a great place to catch up with old friends as well as make new ones. In the short time I was there, I met several people I hadn’t seen for a long time, and a quick perusal of the guest list shows plenty more old friends to catch up with.
* Holding the Con a week before the World Science Fiction Convention, Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne, has meant that overseas attendees actually outnumber the New Zealanders. There are 150 overseas fans attending out of about 240 total.
* The Convention Committee are doing a fine job & holding up well so far. Running a science fiction convention is one of the most tiring jobs I know – I wish them all the best for the rest of the weekend.

So let’s leave you with the A Foreign Country cover and press release.

The Future Is A Foreign Country

Imagine worlds where strange creatures roam the hills of Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters.

Those are just some of the visions painted in a new volume of speculative fiction by Kiwi writers. Published by Wellington-based small press Random Static, A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction features work by best-selling author Juliet Marillier; poet, musician, and writer Bill Direen; and several Sir Julius Vogel Award winners, prominent writers, and talented newcomers.

Popular and award-winning Australian author Sean Williams, who will be in Wellington at the time of the launch, was impressed by his sneak preview, describing the anthology as “richly populated with the frightening and the fabulous, the thrilling and the thoughtful, the inspiring and the inspired.”

Co-editor Anna Caro hopes the works in the collection will both provide points of familiarity to readers, and take their imagination to new places. “Many of the stories are set in New Zealand, present or future, and portray worlds which are both instantly recognisable and nothing like the country we currently live in. This anthology showcases some of the remarkable range of New Zealand’s world-class speculative fiction writers.”

Getting Ready For Au Contraire

I’m looking forward to Au Contraire more than I’ve looked forward to a science fiction convention for a long while.

My convention-going extends back to 1980 and the second New Zealand National Science Fiction Convention (Natcon) in Wellington. I have been to a couple of World Science Fiction Conventions – Aussiecon Two in 1985, and ConFrancisco in San Francisco in 1993, where I was daunted by the sheer scale of the event – and I’ve attended other conventions in Melbourne and Edinburgh.

But my con-going has been sporadic at best in recent years. I’ve popped along to Wellington Natcons, and it has been nice to catch up with friends there, but the conventions themselves have seemed subject to the law of diminishing returns.

So why am I so excited about Au Contraire? Well, part of it is the programme, which has a strong bent towards written rather than watched SF this year.

Part of it is the very strong lineup of guests, many of whom are proceeding on to Aussiecon 4, the 2010 Worldcon, held the weekend after Au Contraire – unfortunately, I’m unable to make the journey. The lineup of visiting guests includes Hugo Award winners like Cheryl Morgan and Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

Part of my excitement is because I’m more involved in the convention programme than I have been for a long time. I’ll be taking part in or attending:

– The launch of NZ SF anthology A Foreign Country, which includes my story “The Last Good Place”, and a whole bunch of stories by authors whose work I’m keen to read.
– The panel I’m running on “Getting Published in New Zealand”.
– The launch of Speculative Fiction Writers of New Zealand (SpecFicNZ) – I haven’t been involved in setting this up, but I’m impressed by the dedication shown by those who have.
– A panel I’m on called “Joss Whedon Is My Master Now”. As a good anarchist, I will of course respectfully dissent from the panel title, and argue that, instead, “Jed Whedon Is My Master Now”. (Sorry, Zack. Sorry, Mo!)
– The panel on SF poetry I’m on with Janis Freegard and Harvey Molloy.
– A live Q&A session I’m doing with Patrick Nielsen Hayden.
– The Sir Julius Vogel Awards ceremony, where Voyagers is up for “Best Collected Work”.

And after all that, I think I might take Monday morning off!

Status Report! Status Report!

Unless I’m spruiking a new book, this blog sails along in parallel to my writing, sometimes close but never together.

So it feels like time to give an update on what’s been happening with my writing, and what’s coming up.

The Immediate Past

I started this year aiming to finish two manuscripts: my third poetry collection and my second novel. I’ve met one of those two goals: my third poetry collection, the one I’m calling “Men Briefly Explained”, has now been completed and sent out to its first port of call (I hope it’s the final port of call, but it is never wise to get one’s hopes up too far in such matters.)

The novel isn’t quite so far along: I have put it through several revisions, and I have some more revision tasks to do before sending out to those who have kindly agreed to be first readers for me – of which more later.

A lot of what normally qualifies as my writing time in the second half of last year was taken up with doing promotional work for Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, the anthology co-edited by Mark Pirie and myself. The work – notably the book tour organised by Voyagers’ publisher Interactive Press – paid off: Voyagers has sold well for an anthology of its type, and it made the Listener “100 Best Books of the Year” list for 2009.

This year, my writing time has indeed been taken up with writing – OK, when I haven’t been distracting myself with Twitter – but I did have a very enjoyable change of scene with two visits to Newlands College over the past couple of weeks. The first was to present the prizes in a Poetry Day poetry competition I’d judged, and the second, with the financial assistance of Creative New Zealand, was a full-day Writers In Schools Programme visit arranged through the New Zealand Book Council.

I’ve been on the books of the Writers in Schools programme for a while, and had even done some school visits outside that programme, but this was my first “official” school visit. I spent the whole day at the school, running mini-workshops and giving talks. And, despite a nagging cold which necessitated the frequent intake of Strepsils, I had a really good time. The teachers were friendly, the students were interested, and if given the chance, I’d love to do it all over again.

The Foreseeable Future

My main writing focus for the rest of the year will be to get the novel manuscript to the point where I can send it to those kind souls who have volunteered as first readers – at least one of whom has been waiting for an unconscionably long time now! Right now, I’m on the last few chapters of the third full revision. After that, I need to:

  • take all those pesky square brackets which say things like [check this] and [add para here] and replace them with things that a reader might want to read. (Or maybe I should just leave these square brackets in and “crowdsource” the answers? What would Jane Austen do?)
  • do a “dialogue run”, in which I’ll go through each character’s dialogue in turn and say it out loud to check that it sounds like them and not like me.
  • and read the whole thing through once more for luck.

Also, maybe I should finally give the novel a title. I’m given to understand this can be terribly effective.

Once that’s done and out to the readers, I’ll be able to turn my attention to the short story ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for a while now, waiting for their turn. I haven’t written many short stories since Transported was published, and it’s high time I did.

There’s also Au Contraire to look forward to at the end of next week, with its full hand of literary events including the launch of short story anthology A Foreign Country; the October launch of New Zealand cricket poetry anthology ‘A Tingling Catch’; and a poetry reading I’ll say more about soon. It should be a good few months.

A Foreign Country. A Poetry Archive. The Manhire Prize. Ecopoesis.

A Foreign Country

What with revising my novel and finishing my poetry collection manuscript, I haven’t written many short stories lately — but I’m very pleased that a new story of mine is appearing in A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction, an anthology from Random Static Press that’s being published in August and is available for pre-order now.

The lineup of authors is:

Philip Armstrong
, Richard Barnes, Claire Brunette, Anna Caro, Matt Cowens, Bill Direen, Dale Elvy, J.C. Hart, Paul Haines, Miriam Hurst, Tim Jones, Susan Kornfeld, Juliet Marillier, Lee Murray, James Norcliffe, Ripley Patton, Simon Petrie, Brian Priestley, Marama Salsano, Lee Sentes, Janine Sowerby, and Douglas A. Van Belle.

A Foreign Country is being launched at Au Contraire, but there is no need to wait till then – remember you can pre-order online.

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA) Goes Public

The Poetry Archive of New Zealand Aotearoa (PANZA) is going public this month. Here are the launch details:

Venue: St Anne’s School Room, 79 Northland Road (next door to the Poetry Archive at 1 Woburn Road, Northland, Wellington).

Time: 2-3pm

Date: Sunday, 25 July 2010

Books Launched by: Nelson Wattie

As well as the official opening, two new poetry books are being launched:

The Pop Artist’s Garland: Selected Poems 1952-2009 by F W N Wright (HeadworX) and Rail Poems of NZ Aotearoa edited by Mark Pirie (PANZA/ESAW).

Special launch price of $15.00 for both books (Rail Poems of NZ Aotearoa is the first publication by PANZA’s publishing arm and is a free giveaway with The Pop Artist’s Garland).

No EFTPOS available. Please pay by cash or cheque.

Please visit the Poetry Archive web site. It includes information about the Archive, how to get there and how to use it, as well as our catalogue of NZ poetry related items. Feel free to drop by and make a donation or have a look around. Visits by appointment only.

The Manhire Prize

This year’s Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing is focusing on the mind. Here’s the official word from the press release:

New Zealand writers challenged to focus on the mind

The country’s only literary award for science writing is reflecting the Royal Society of New Zealand’s move to take the humanities under its wing.

The Royal Society of New Zealand Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing has celebrated success since it started in 2007 by encouraging writers with an interest in science. This year the topic ‘The Mind’ is designed to encourage entrants to consider the human aspect as well.

Prize-winning poet and fiction writer, Bill Manhire, after whom the competition is named says “We are centering this year’s competition around a quote from Milton – ’The mind is its own place, and in itself / Can make a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n’.

“We think this will allow entrants to explore the links between the brain, the heart and the personality.”

Past winners of the award include Alison Ballance, Tina Makereti and Dave Armstrong, who is this year’s judge. Dave has enjoyed success both for screen and stage. His recent play Le Sud is currently touring around the country to sold-out audiences. He has also penned three Chapman Tripp Award winning plays ((Niu Sila, The Tutor, where we once belonged) and has worked with Te Papa Museum and various experts to translate science into story.

There are two categories for the competition, fiction and non-fiction. Winners from each category are awarded a cash prize of $2500 and winning entries are printed in the New Zealand Listener.

Entry forms can be found in the Listener and on the Royal Society of New Zealand’s website. Closing date for entries is 10 September 2010.


Finally, here is an excellent poem about the terraforming of Mars. I think Kim Stanley Robinson would approve.