Book Review: Missing Signal by Seb Doubinsky

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Seb Doubinsky’s Missing Signal is the first of his books I have read and I look forward to reading more – and to dip into his expansive world building.

The adage that ‘less is more’ is key to my impression of Seb’s style, as it is lean, fast-paced and thoughtful in choice of words. The style is not suited to some types of work – but this is hardly an issue as it perfectly matches Doubinsky’s purpose. He paints a dystopian world and setting, and yet there is a strong humanity intermingled in it, albeit mysterious and oscillating in and out of the plot. Using a subversive agent as the protagonist allows for the story and insights to be concentrated, staccato-fashion, enabling the reader to take a roller-coaster ride.

Above all, I enjoyed the X-Files/sci-fi plot – effectively managed – but used supremely well as a foil for insights into our own society with its warts and pimples. Doubinsky is certainly a perfect example of a writer that can easily straddle speculative fiction with what may be called the experimental literary genre.

I certainly will be seeking out all of Doubinsky’s work.


NB: I purchased this book at World Fantasy Con (Baltimore 2018) at roughly the same time meeting Seb Doubinsky, having had my interest piqued.

US Visit

I have just come back with my family (Jenny and daughter Erin) from the States, as part of a quality-time holiday. As a background, early this year I asked Jenny if it was alright with her that I took a week out going to World Fantasy Con 44 in Baltimore – a big deal as Erin is autistic and at times she is high maintenance (not to suggest this is endemic). Jenny’s response was well played and I liked it – why not go to LA for two weeks, and I can do a quick fly-in/fly-out to Baltimore for the Con. Plan set and paid for.

Baltimore was amazing and my first world con. Highlights include:

  • Having a wonderful dinner at a seafood restaurant with Kaaron Warren, Joe Haldeman (and his lovely wife and sister-in-law), Janeen Webb, Dena Taylor, and many others.
  • Seafood was a highlight in itself.
  • Meeting so many great writers, and developing almost instant-friendships.
  • Attending insightful and entertaining panels and presentations (particularly liked Kaaron’s Australian landscape presso)
  • Visiting Edgar Allen Poe’s grave (and the atmospheric gothic church next to it)
  • Being able to impart (and take on) quality publishing/distribution knowledge among peers
  • And on an important professional level, successfully pitching two writing projects that still need to go through an assessment process, but have progressed beyond my expectations. More on this if they bear fruit.

Yes, Baltimore was fantastic (the domestic jet hopping was another story) and professionally, very important for me and my publishing imprints.

I viewed the LA wing of the holiday initially as an emphasis on having Erin experience the time of her life – and it worked. But having said this, boy I had a great time. Disneyland and Universal were mind-blowing, particularly the virtual rides etc (I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 times, as I did the Harry Potter virtual), and I can honestly say Disneyland does make you feel happy. We bought tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party, and it was worth every cent – at 6pm non-ticket holders left Disneyland, leaving thousands of partygoers (as opposed to tens of thousands of visitors) and rides ended up having queues lasting but a few minutes in many cases. I left the party early to connect to a flight to Baltimore, but Erin and Jenny partied beyond Midnight.

Erin loves basketball and is a fan of the LA Lakers. Managed to get tickets to a home game and the three of us had an amazing extravaganza presented to us. Again, well worth the investment.

We visited the Tar Pits and other notable attractions in LA. We even experienced Target US and Walmart shopping in Burbank. That was an experience.

LA is a huge, bustling city but we found everyone we met were friendly and upbeat. We felt welcomed and it did make a difference.

We most certainly will come back.

Market News: Short Story, The Girl Who Floated To Heaven, published in Disturbed Digest #16

Delighted to have my short story, The Girl Who Floated to Heaven, published in Disturbed Digest #16. This one was hard to sell as it was recent historical in setting, having strong science fiction undertones, and was highly disturbing, covering topics such as domestic violence and suicide. And yet, it was also about unrequited love, and the editor who accepted my piece, stated that he thought it was primarily just that – a romance piece with all the other trappings. First time anyone called any of my pieces ‘romance’.

Regardless, I am over the moon to see this in print – hope you read it.

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Market News: Flash Fiction Story, Journey to the Depths, Included in Oscillate Wildly Press antho.

Pleased that my maritime flash piece, Journey to the Depths, was accepted for the Anemone Enemy anthology, to be published by Oscillate WIldly Press. I love writing ghost stories and so this was a pleasure to write – and as always, a little tougher to work through for sub 500 word fiction. Looking forward to seeing it in print.

Book Review: Riding the Centipede by John Claude Smith

NB. I was provided a copy of this book from the author as a result of a long standing friendship. He didn’t solicit a review.

I’ve read pretty much everything by Smith and for a good reason – he has a unique voice in the dark fiction writing world, and it is very effective. This is his first novel, and certainly one of the things I was looking for when reading it was the transition from short ficiton to substantial length pieces, particularly in terms of theme and style. When completing Riding the Centipede I was not disappointed – it has Smith’s style all over it and then some. It is an excellent work and deserved shortlisting in last year’s Stoker Awards.

Continue reading “Book Review: Riding the Centipede by John Claude Smith”

Market News: Flash Fiction Story, Roland’s Merry Christmas, Included in AHWA Anthology, Hell’s Bells

It is with pleasure that my flash fiction piece, Roland's Merry Christmas, is included with a wonderful group of flash fiction stories by notable and excellent writers – all of whom (myself included) are members of the Australian Horror Writers Association. The theme can easily be determined from the cover:

It is available in ebook format through Amazon and Smashwords.
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Maret News: Derelict published in Inner Sins Magazine

Happy to see a home for my short dark fiction piece, Derelict. It is set in the same fictional geography as a story I published in Tico4 years ago, and it was inspired by some thoughts about people who are down and out – what stories do they have? Anyway, glad to see this out and about.

Market News: Old Bones, Young Bones is published in The Refuge Collection

Pleased to have my psychological horror piece, Old Bones, Young Bones published in The Refuge Collection (6.2). It is the second story of mine that got into that great collaberative effort, edited by Steve Dillon.

This story is probably the most disturbing I have written yet, in part because it is inspired, and was partly re-told, from a real conversation I had when I was much younger  – and reality is the most disturbing of all things in this world.

It is currently available as a stand alone ebook, but it will later be incorporated in an anthology. This is the link to the stand alone – support this great cause!

Love the artwork by Will Jaques 🙂

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Market News: Gerald’s Memory House is published in The Refuge Collection

Very pleased to have two stories accepted for The Refuge Collection, a long running collaberative venture. Good causes and great company.

The first has been published: Gerald's Memory House – first in a stand alone ebook format, and soon to be added to a print version holding volumes 4 to 6 (this story is in Volume 5).

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