Those who know my writing will have noticed that mostly I write Science Fiction. At times I dally with Fantasy, though I’m not then a real heroic fantasy kind of writer, with dragons and swords and wizards hurling wonderful spells around. Sometimes my Science Fiction has elements of Fantasy (as in there’s no scientific reason this is happening…). I write thrillers too, on occasion.
Sometimes I also dabble with literary fiction. I have a couple of literary novels out, and numerous stories. Over recent years I’ve had a few stories published in Landfall, New Zealand’s premier literary journal, and I’m pleased to have another in the current issue.
“Landslide Country” evolved from an exploration of pacing and setting. One of those ones where the setting is almost another character (though of course, that’s up to the reader to determine, rather than the writer). One of the editors noted that things seemed to happen in slow motion, which was cool, something I’d tried to achieve: a micro-focus on detail, while maintaining the tension and arc.
There’s quite a line up of great writers in the issue. I’m humbled to be in such great company.
Landfall is available from booksellers and through subscription. Many New Zealand libraries have subscriptions, so you can find it on the shelves there.
Not sure that anyone might be interested, but mostly when I write I’m not sure where the story is going to go. At least in that moment when I’m sitting down to type in those first few words.
Mostly it ends up as science fiction, but the process is no different for literary. It’s all just words on the page. The story in my head coming out so that hopefully the reader gets the same story in their head.
I like to think that I bring the same level of craft to all my work, whether literary or more commercial.
This is a wonderful collection, and I’m thrilled to be included. There are familiar names, and some new names, which is always good.
The publisher, SpecFicNZ, exists to promote and support speculative writers in New Zealand.
I haven’t read all the stories yet, but I do like Mark English’s story especially. Despite having been writing for, well, many years now, this is the first time I’ve been in an anthology with so many people I actually know and have met in person, and consider friends.
My own story, “Dance, Tiny Particles, Dance” had an interesting genesis, dating back a couple of years when I went to enter the Gernsback Amazing Stories contest. I wrote the story, then went back to the contest guidelines and realized that, happy as I was with the story, I’d strayed significantly. (I wrote another story, which actually co-won the contest – it’s available to read for free here: “Penny of Tharsis Montes” at the Amazing Stories site).
I’m pleased that the story has found a home, especially pleased that it’s here in New Zealand too. That’s kind of cool.
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā is available directly from Amazon, and other online retailers, and should show up in local bookshops pretty soon.
There is the vague possibility of my getting onto the ballot for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards – New Zealand’s Science Fiction awards for a couple of stories: The Molenstraat Music Festival in Asimov’s, and The Harpsichord Elf in Capricious. The process works by the stories with the most nominations go on the ballot.
So, if any of you happen to have read either or both of the stories (and I’m happy to send you copies if you haven’t ), and you have a moment, email the details to
asking to nominate the story (one story per email).The nominations close on February 28th (which will be the 27th, American friends living across the dateline).
Details to send:
Title: The Molenstraat Music Festival
Author: Sean Monaghan
Category: Novelette or Novella
Published: Septmeber 2015
Published in: Asimov’s science fiction
Full details here: http://www.asimovs.com
Category: Professional awards
Nominated by [your contact details]
My short story “Arms Wide” has just come out in the latest (Spring 2013) issue of Landfall (Spring here in the southern hemisphere, though it’s summer already). I feel chuffed about this one – I’ve been submitting to Landfall for years. It’s the longest running literary journal in New Zealand and sets the bar pretty high, so getting a story in there makes me feel like I’m heading in the right direction.
There’s no online version, but I will publish the story for Kindle, Nook, etc. sometime during next year as a stand-alone.
Here’s the opening:
The first time my daughter stole a car, her mother acted with an indifference I should have expected. Julie, my daughter, was seventeen, and the car was a 1993 Subaru with every kind of trim, accessory and modification you could imagine. The thing had lights under the chassis to shine on the road.
“Listen, Trevor,” Amy – Julie’s mother – told me from her apartment in Omaha, “I’m fifteen thousand miles away. What can I do? Let her grow up.”
“She’ll go to jail,” I said.
“Blah, blah, blah.” Amy hung up.
Julie didn’t go to jail, but, you know, it was close. Real close.
“Maybe you should go live with Mom?” I said, back at home after the hearing. She’d escaped conviction, but was on some kind of a watchlist that I didn’t understand.
“Yeah,” Julie said. She smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “That’s really gonna happen.”