Kathryn Flaherty

Writer, Reader, Truck Driver and Fairy Floss Maker

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Review – Emergence by John Birmingham

I read 12 books in January and this book was my favourite. Well favourite isn’t a strong enough word, I lend books to friends and family after I’ve read them but no one is getting their hands on my copy of ‘Emergence’ or as it’s also called ‘The Dave book one’. I let a cousin have a look at it a few days ago at work and I told him I would hunt him down if he took it home.

The book starts of with the main character Dave Hooper on his way back to the oil rig he works on. He has a hangover after blowing a 6 month bonus on hookers, booze and hooch. The IRS is after him and his soon to be ex-wife is a nightmare. His life is well and truly up shit creek and he lost his paddle a while ago. The only thing going well is his job, he knows he’s good at it and he enjoys it.

Before the helicopter drops him off they get a message about a fire on the rig. Now all the fun starts and it’s only page 10. The fire isn’t caused by a mechanical fault or terrorists, it’s caused by the hunting party of Urgon Htoth Ur Hunn, BattleMaster of the Fourth Legion. Dave faces off against Urgon with the help of a splitting maul and manages to beat the demon. It helped that Urgon was drunk. Somehow by killing Urgon Dave becomes a typical high fantasy hero with an enchanted weapon, super strength and sheer awesomeness. He is still in the modern world and has to deal with a military who don’t know what to do with him and strange memories that keep popping up. No body can explain what happened on the rig and it was only the start.

This book is not PC, Dave isn’t a character who apologises over who he is and he strays true to himself throughout the book.It’s the first in a trilogy with all three books coming out this year if everything goes to plan. On his blog -Cheeseburgergothic- John Birmingham says he is treating these books like a TV show. The first trilogy is basically season one, he wrote all three back to back and he is now working on season two, the next trilogy. It’s going to be nice not have to wait over a year for the next instalment and I think it will help keep the pacing of the series consistent.

This book started with ‘splosions finished with bigger ‘splosions and had plenty of ‘splosions in the middle. Dave Hooper might not be the best person in the world but he is all the world has between it and the Horde. And I should mention the Horde has Dragons.

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A Double-Ton for AntipodeanSF

It’s February and that means it’s AntipodeanSF’s 17th year anniversary. I know 17 years is an odd number to celebrate but it also means my favourite magazine has reached 200 issues. That is amazing for any online magazine let alone one that specialises in speculative fiction.

I first found AntipodeanSF while I was looking through an issue of The Australian Writers Marketplace. It was listed in the magazine/sci fi section and I was hooked after my first glance. Sci Fi had a new name, Speculative Fiction, and for me it was a perfect fit. I subscribed to the email list and as soon as Nuke (the editor) announced a new issue I jumped straight over and devoured it.

I sent in a submission on a dare from a friend. I want to be a writer but I don’t think I’m any good. I figured I’d get a rejection slip and it would be the first in my writing folder. Well that didn’t happen, Nuke accepted my story with a few editorial changes and a couple of pointers. I was over the moon to begin with then I was nervous. I never expected my first submission anywhere to be accepted. I thought I would get at least a dozen rejections first.

It was a while between my first and second submission. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and on the advice of my GP I travelled overseas and saw Machu Pichu and Mt Everest while I was still fit, before the RA spread to my knees. Every spare minute for a couple of years was occupied with hiking up and down water towers carrying a full backpack for training.

My second submission was a 50 worder. I had done an online writing course and made a friend who liked the idea. I polished it up and thought this time I’ll get my rejection. I didn’t, instead Nuke told me he had no editorial quibbles. My first reaction was damn, how am I going to top that. So with my next submission (another 50 worder) I sweated over it, then decided I’ve got to be third time unlucky. Nope, he liked that one as well. I’m know I’m going to get my rejection soon, I think I might have to send him a real stinker just to get the monkey off my back.

I’ve met Nuke, I’ll probably stick in his memory forever as the only writer to chase him down with a bucket of fairy floss as a bribe for future submissions. In real life he is as nice as his editorials read, I feel privileged to have met him and Elizabeth.

I made it into the 200th issue. It’s called When No One Remembers and you can read it here.  It has two iconic Australian characters in it. One of them is a Bunyip and the other has clues to his identity. If you’re an Aussie you should guess it but if you can’t let me know.

Oh I nearly forgot, for people who don’t like cricket, a double-ton (tonne) is slang for 200 but how can anyone not like cricket it has a position called ‘silly mid on’ what more can you need to make a sport awesome.