Excerpt for The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012 (volume 3) by (editor)
& (editor), available in its entirety at Smashwords

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror

~ 2012 ~

The Third Annual Collection




Betty McInerney


Published by Ticonderoga Publications

Copyright (c) 2013 Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this book includes the names of deceased persons.

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise) without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder concerned. The acknowledgements constitute an extension of this copyright page.

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2012

edited by Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

Introduction copyright (c) 2013 Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

“The Year in Fantasy” copyright (c) 2013 Liz Grzyb

“The Year in Horror” copyright (c) 2013 Talie Helene

“The Year in the Industry” copyright (c) 2013 Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

A Cataloging-in-Publications entry for this title is available from The National Library of Australia.

ISBN 978-1-921857-48-5 (hardcover)

978-1-921857-49-2 (trade paperback)

978-1-921857-50-8 (ebook)

Ticonderoga Publications

PO Box 29 Greenwood

Western Australia 6924



10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


The Year In Review

Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

Paul Haines

Cat Sparks

Bella Beaufort Goes To War

Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter

River Of Memory

Kaaron Warren

A Moveable Feast

Jenny Blackford

Crow And Caper, Caper And Crow

Margo Lanagan

The Black Star Killer

Nicole Murphy

The Last Boat To Eden

Jason Nahrung


Kathleen Jennings

Tied To The Waste

Joanne Anderton

The Dog Who Wished He’d Never Heard Of Lovecraft

Anna Tambour

Tiny Lives

Alan Baxter

Anvil Of The Sun

Karen Maric

Torch Song

Andrew J. Mckiernan

Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean

Angela Slatter

A Small Bad Thing

Penelope Love

To Wish On A Clockwork Heart

Felicity Dowker

The Stone Witch

Isobelle Carmody

Sleeping Beauty

Thoraiya Dyer

Pigroot Flat

Jason Fischer

The Fall

Stephen Dedman

You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet!

Martin Livings


Jay Caselberg


Narrelle M. Harris

Population Management

Tom Dullemond

Sweet Subtleties

Lisa L. Hannett

The Bull In Winter

Dirk Flinthart

Saturday Night At The Milk Bar

Gary Kemble

The Witch’s Wardrobe

Eddy Burger

Comfort Ghost

Lee Battersby

Hungry Man

Will Elliott

The Cook Of Pearl House, A Malay Sailor By The Name Of Maurice

R.J. Astruc

The Loquacious Cadaver

Kyla Ward

What Books Survive

Tansy Rayner Roberts

Oracle’s Tower

Faith Mudge

Nightside Eye

Terry Dowling

About The Contributors

Recommended Reading List

Australian & New Zealand Fantasy & Horror Awards


About The Editors

The Year In Review

Liz Grzyb & Talie Helene

The Year In Fantasy

Fantasy in Australia in 2012 seemed to start moving away from the dark vampire fantasies that have been prevalent for a while, and into the realms of fresh new paranormal creatures, revisited fairy tales and more epic adventure stories.

2012 was the year of Margo Lanagan! As well as releasing her novel Sea Hearts through Allen & Unwin and her boutique collection Cracklescape with Twelfth Planet Press, Lanagan’s work was short listed for and won many, many awards, both in Australia and internationally. Sea Hearts, a reworked and extended take on her 2009 novella of the same name, won Aurealis awards in both the Fantasy and Young Adult Novel categories, the Ditmar for Best Novel, the Australian Independent Bookseller Awards for Children’s works, the Norma K. Hemming Award, and was short listed for the British Fantasy Award Best Novel (as The Brides of Rollrock Island) the Stella, the NSW, WA and Qld Premiers’ literary awards, as well as the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award! Two stories from Cracklescape, “Bajazzle” and “Significant Dust” were awarded the Fantasy and Science Fiction Short Story awards in the Aurealis Awards, respectively.

Tansy Rayner Roberts also had a very busy year, releasing the third in her Creature Court series, Reign of Beasts, and producing various non-fiction work which has won and been nominated for many awards. She has been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Fan Writer, as well as another nomination along with Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Andrew Finch for their Galactic Suburbia Podcast in Best Fancast category. Roberts’ critical writing in 2012 has also won her two Ditmars (William Atheling Jr. Award for Criticism or Review for “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That.” (Tor.com) and Best Fan Writer). The Chronos Awards, although awarding Victorian residents, recognised two of Roberts’ projects in the shortlist--Snapshot 2012 for Best Achievement with Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung, Alexandra Pierce, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright, and winning Best Fan Written Work for “Reviewing New Who series”, with David McDonald and Tehani Wessely.

Jonathan Strahan has continued to be recognised worldwide for his editing: he was nominated for a Hugo Award for both Best Editor, Short Form, and Best Fancast for The Coode Street Podcast which he co-presents with Gary K. Wolfe. Strahan also won an Aurealis Award, and his anthology Under My Hat was nominated for a World Fantasy Award.

Recommended Novels

Juliet Marillier released the first installment in her Shadowfell series through Pan Macmillan with the eponymous novel. This is a wonderful young-adult adventure which won the Tin Duck Award for Best Novel, the YALSA Best Book for Young Adults, and was short listed for the Sir Julius Vogel Award in New Zealand.

Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts is a must-read. This Selkie story is captivating and powerful, and will mesmerise both fans and new readers of Lanagan’s work.

Rapunzel retellings seem to be the order of the year, with James Bradley releasing a novelette Beauty’s Sister through Penguin, and Kate Forsyth giving us Aurealis and Ditmar award-nominated Bitter Greens through Random House, in addition to Faith Mudge’s Ditmar-nominated short story Oracle’s Tower from To Spin A Darker Stair which is reprinted in this volume. Bitter Greens is another for the must-read list for fantasy lovers this year, especially those who enjoy fairy tale retellings. While it certainly captures the “fairy tale” spirit, it is also a well-researched historical novel and will please readers of this genre as well.

Harper Collins released two novels in the continuation of Rhonda Roberts’ Timestalker series in 2012. Gladiatrix (2009), the first in the series is a very entertaining novel, and both Hoodwink, set in Hollywood in the 1930s, and Coyote, in the Wild West, are just as intriguing and lead the reader on two very different episodes in Kannon Dupree’s career. Hoodwink has deservedly been long-listed for the Davitt Award for Australian women’s crime fiction.

Angry Robot is going from strength to strength at the moment, especially with Australian authors. Jo Anderton’s sequel to Debris, the Ditmar and Aurealis-nominated Suited, is a highly recommended read from Angry Robot this year, as is Trent Jamieson’s followup to Roil, Night’s Engines.

Other notable novels

Random House was a great supporter of Australian fantasy this year, publishing many series in the world of children’s and young adult fantasy. Deborah Abela began a new children’s series Ghost Club with The New Kid and The Haunted School. Karen Brooks rounded out her excellent Curse of the Bond Riders series with Illumination. Martin Chatterton also started a new humorous fantasy series for children following Mort, a 10,000 year old boy, with Mort and Mortal Combat. Stuart Daly continued his young adult Witch Hunter Chronicles with The Devil’s Fire. Marianne de Pierres concluded her young adult Night Creatures trilogy with the fantastic Shine Light. John Flanagan continued his New York Times Bestselling List series Brotherband with the second and third installments, The Invaders and The Hunters. In Vulpi, Kate Gordon continued the tale of shapeshifters she began in Thyla last year. H.J. Harper started a new adventure series for children with Bureau of Mysteries. Rhiannon Hart continued her vampiric princess Lharmell series with Blood Storm. Sophie Masson released two titles in 2012, her Bollywood ghost story The Maharajah’s Ghost and Cinderella retelling Moonlight and Ashes. Colin Thompson continued his How to Live Forever series with The Second Forever.

Harper Collins Books published many Australian fantasy novels this year, both as standalone novels and in series, such as A.A. Bell’s next Mira Chambers story Leopard Dreaming. Kylie Chan released Small Shen, a novel interspersed with manga, illustrated by Queenie Chan. Gary Crew’s newest novel, The Architecture of Song was released, as was Rosie Dub’s Flight. Jennifer Fallon’s Dark Divide, the second installment of her Rift Runners series, has been included on the long-list for the David Gemmell Legend Award. Traci Harding continued her Triad of Being series with The Light Field. Duncan Lay began a new epic fantasy series, Empire of Bones with Bridge of Swords. Fiona McIntosh’s standalone novel The Scrivener’s Tale, and Jo Spurrier’s first novel in her new trilogy, Winter Be My Shield, were both also long-listed for the David Gemmell Legend Award. Winter Be My Shield was also short listed for an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Tracey O’Hara continued her Dark Brethren series with Sin’s Dark Caress, which was nominated for the Australian Romance Readers Awards for Favourite Sci Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance. As previously mentioned, Tansy Rayner Roberts concluded her wonderful Creature Court trilogy with Reign of Beasts. K.J. Taylor also began a new series, The Risen Sun, with Shadow’s Heir this year.

Hachette Australia continued their pattern for the past few years, focusing mainly on continuing series. Sam Bowring released his Strange Threads duology this year, with The Legacy of Lord Regret and The Lord of Lies. Trudi Canavan completed her Traitor Spy trilogy with Traitor Queen, which made the long list for the David Gemmell Legend Award. Ian Irvine and M.K. Hume continued their trilogies this year with Book 2 for each: Irvine’s The Tainted Realm trilogy with Rebellion, and Hume’s Prophecy trilogy with Death of an Empire. Helen Lowe resumed her Wall of Night series with The Gathering of the Lost, which also made it onto the Legend Awards shortlist. K.E. Mills released a fourth installment of her Rogue Agent series with Wizard Undercover. Nalini Singh’s 2012 releases, continuations of her Guild Hunter and Psy-Changeling series respectively, were Archangel’s Storm and Tangle of Need. Both were short listed for Australian Romance Readers Association Awards.

Allen & Unwin published many Australian fantasy novels this year, and similar to Random House, focused mainly in the young adult and children’s markets. Asphyxia released three Grimstones books: Hatched, Mortimer Revealed and Whirlwind, children’s “gothic fairytales” which have been nominated for APA Book Design awards amongst others. Marianne Delacourt’s Stage Fright, the third crime-with-a-hint-of-paranornal Tara Sharp novel was deservedly long-listed for the Davitt Award for Best Australian Women’s Crime Novels. Kaz Delaney’s paranormal novel Dead, Actually won joint Aurealis Best Young Adult Novel and Favourite Paranormal Romance in the Australian Romance Readers Association Awards, as well as being long-listed for the Davitt Awards. Andrew McGahan’s second novel of his epic Ship Kings series, The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice was listed as Highly Commended at the Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards and Notable in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. Garth Nix had two novels published this year: the science fiction/fantasy novel A Confusion of Princes which was nominated for an Aurealis Award and an Inky, and the continuation of his collaborative Troubletwisters series with Sean Williams, Monster. Louis Nowra released Into That Forest, which was nominated for the Ethel Turner Prize (Young People’s Literature) at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Best Young Adult Novel in the Aurealis Awards. Gregory Rogers and Frances Watts began a new children’s series, Sword Girl, and released four titles this year: Secret of the Swords, Poison Plot, Tournament Trouble and Siege Scare. Lian Tanner concluded her Keepers series with Path of Beasts.

Penguin Australia published a growing number of Australian fantasy authors this year. Allan Baillie released his science fiction fantasy thriller Outpost, and Gary Crew and Ross Watkins produced the environmental fable picture book The Boy Who Grew Into A Tree. Kirsty Eagar brought out her gothic Night Beach, which was nominated for an Inky. Leah Giarratano began a new young adult paranormal series, Disharmony, with The Telling. Kylie Griffin released two novels in her new paranormal Light Blade series, Vengeance Born and Alliance Forged, with Penguin Putnam. Alliance Forged was the winner of the Australian Romance Readers Association Favourite Sci Fi, Fantasy or Futuristic Romance. Sonya Hartnett’s new novel, Children of the King, was also released this year, which was awarded CBC Notable Book for Young Readers, short listed for the Melbourne Prize for Literature for Best Writing and the Prime Minister’s Literary Award. It was also a winner in the APA Book Design Awards. Erica Hayes began her erotic urban fantasy series Seven Signs with Revelation at Berkley Sensation, which was a finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Association Awards. Steve Lochran began a new children’s superhero series Vanguard Prime with Goldrush. Doug MacLeod released a creepy young adult fantasy novel, The Shiny Guys, and Fiona McIntosh released a sequel to her children’s novel The Whisperer with The Rumpelgeist. Melina Marchetta concluded her young adult Lumatere Chronicles with Quintana of Charyn. Bernadette Rowley also released her fantasy romance Princess Avenger as an ebook with the Penguin Australia imprint Destiny.

Pan Macmillan has continued supporting fantasy fiction this year, although only a few of their authors are Australasian in this genre. Juliet Marillier released two novels with Pan Macmillan this year, the entrancing Shadowfell, which was mentioned previously, and the sixth installment of her Sevenwaters series, Flame of Sevenwaters. This novel was a finalist in the Aurealis Awards as well as the Tin Ducks. Jaclyn Moriarty released the first in her new Colours of Madeleine series about the cracks between worlds, with A Corner of White. This novel won the Ethel Turner prize for young people’s literature at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Tara Moss released the third in her young adult fashion/paranormal Pandora English series, The Skeleton Key. Pan Macmillan’s digital publishing arm, Momentum Books, also published many Australian authors. Greig Beck began a new young adult series Valkeryn Chronicles with Return of the Ancients. Nina D’Aleo released the science fiction/fantasy/crime The Last City and Josephine Pennicott released her Circle of Nine trilogy. Louise Cusack released her Shadow Through Time series, and Gillian Polack published her horror/fantasy tale Ms Cellophane. The Final Wish from Tracey O’Hara was an erotic paranormal fantasy novel this year, which was nominated this year for the ARRA award for Favourite Paranormal. Simon Brown’s epic Chronicles of Kydan trilogy was also re-released through Momentum.

Solaris continued their relationship with Rowena Cory Daniells this year, releasing three new novels in her Outcast series: Besieged, Exile and Sanctuary, which all made it onto the David Gemmell Legend Awards long list. They also published a novella which is part of Daniells’ King Rolen’s Kin series, The King’s Man.

Winterbourne Press added three titles to their catalogue this year, Kate Smith’s What Night Hides, Shaune Lafferty Webb’s Balanced in an Angel’s Eye, and Anneque Malchien’s Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.

Clan Destine Press has begun reissuing Kerry Greenwood’s Delphic Women trilogy: Medea, Cassandra, and Electra. They also released R.C. Daniells’ The Price of Fame, and Narrelle M. Harris’ very entertaining Walking Shadows, sequel to her refreshing vampire story The Opposite of Life.

Dragonfall Press, another boutique Perth publishing house, released a number of Australian horror/fantasy titles this year. A.L. Brooks introduced his Mortifera series with Strangeworld, and D.J. Daniels released What the Dead Said. R.J. Ashby began a science fiction/fantasy series The Airmen with The Pirates of Aireon.

Walker Books released a couple of fantasy titles, with Carole Wilkinson continuing her children’s Dragonkeeper series with Blood Brothers through Walker imprint Black Dog Books. Alison Croggon also released a young adult novel, Black Spring.

Angry Robot Books published a number of notable Australasian fantasy titles this year. Jo Anderton’s science fiction/fantasy Suited has been mentioned previously, as has Trent Jamieson’s Night’s Engines. Lee Battersby’s comic fantasy/horror The Corpse-Rat King is an enjoyable read which was nominated for a Ditmar for Best Novel. New Zealand author Adam Christopher released two novels with Angry Robot, Empire State and Seven Wonders. Empire State was nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel, and Adam Christopher was also nominated for the Best New Talent award.

Text Publishing brought out Leanne Hall’s Queen of the Night, her Inky Award-short listed sequel to This is Shyness. Myke Bartlett’s Fire in the Sea, a young adult thriller, was also long-listed for an Inky Award. Shadows is Paula Weston’s first novel in her new paranormal Rephaim series.

University of Queensland Press dipped their toes in the fantasy waters by releasing Word Hunters: The Curious Dictionary by Nick Earls and Terry Whidborne, and Rosanne Hawke’s The Messenger Bird.

Anna Tambour had her World Fantasy Award-nominated novel Crandolin published with Chômu Press. Kirstyn McDermott brought out her second horror/fantasy novel Perfections through Xoum Books, which won an Aurealis Award and Australian Shadows Award for Best Horror Novel. Jay Kristoff released his novel Stormdancer with Tor, which was a finalist for Best Fantasy Novel in the Aurealis Awards and was short listed for the David Gemmell Legend Award. Craig Cormick released the young adult science fiction/fantasy novel Time Vandals with Scholastic. Rebekah Turner released Chaos Born through Escape, an imprint of Harlequin, which was short listed for the Australian Romance Readers Awards Favourite Fantasy/SF/Futuristic Romance.

Dane Richter released the first in his epic fantasy Eldon Archives series Hunt for the Star through Acashic Books. Demelza Carlton released her paranormal siren story Ocean’s Gift through Lost Plot Press. Joanna Fay began her new Siaris series with Daughter of Hope with Musa Publishing, and Tobias Troy released his magical realism novel Subterfuge in Heart through Xlibris.

Simon Haynes continued his humorous science fiction/fantasy series Hal Junior with The Missing Case and The Gyris Mission from Bowman Press. Stephen Measday continued his young adult time travel series Send Simon Savage series at Hardie Grant Egmont with Return of the Black Death. Shona Husk continued her Goblin King series with Kiss of the Goblin King through Sourcebooks, which was a finalist for the Australian Romance Readers Awards in the Paranormal section.

Sharon Ann Rowland released three titles in her Crystal Channelers series with The Last Reincarnation, The Sohtym Stone Trials, The Revenge of the Kolob and Tor Roxburgh released The Light Heart of Stone through Curious Crow Books. Bruce Gregor Hodge released the first two books of his Scarpthorne series: The Return of Merling and The Wrath of Absynth.


As usual in Australia, most of the genre anthologies released this year were from independent publishers. The exceptions to this rule were Corrupted Classics from Harper Collins, and Jonathan Strahan’s young adult fantasy anthology Under My Hat through Random House, which was nominated for a World Fantasy Award and an Aurealis Award. Strahan’s other two anthologies this year, the Aurealis Award-winning The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Volume Six and his science fiction anthology Edge of Infinity were published by Night Shade Books and Solaris Books respectively.

Ticonderoga Publications released three anthologies this year. The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2011 was nominated for an Aurealis Award, Ditmar, Australian Shadows and a Chronos Award, and won a Tin Duck Award. Amanda Pillar’s fantastic new look at urban fantasy and paranormal, Bloodstones, was nominated for an Aurealis Award and Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar’s paranormal noir anthology Damnation & Dames was nominated for a Tin Duck Award.

Fablecroft Publishing released two anthologies this year, both edited by Tehani Wessely. To Spin a Darker Stair is an exquisite chapbook including two fairytale-inspired stories. Epilogue was a longer anthology exploring a hopeful view of the future, which was nominated for a Ditmar.

Permuted Press released David Conyers’ Cthulu Unbound 3. Edwina Harvey released the Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear with Peggy Bright Books, also nominated for a Ditmar. Black House Comics released Terra, edited by Jason Franks. Jodi Cleghorn released From Stage Door Shadows with Emergent Publishing. Paul Collins released his second young adult Trust Me anthology, Trust Me Too with Ford Street. Stephen Thompson’s Mythic Resonance anthology was published by Specusphere.


As with the anthologies released this year, the single author collections remained the domain of the independent presses with a couple of exceptions. Allen & Unwin released Isobelle Carmody’s new Aurealis-nominated collection Metro Winds, and Michael Pryor’s futuristic collection 10 Futures by Random House.

Ticonderoga Publications released three fantasy collections: Felicity Dowker’s chilling fantasy/horror Bread and Circuses which was nominated for an Australian Shadows and a Chronos Award; Greg Mellor’s science fiction/fantasy Wild Chrome; and Lisa Hannett and Angela Slatter’s collaborative collection Midnight & Moonshine which was nominated for an Aurealis Award and a Ditmar.

Twelfth Planet Press also released three boutique collections this year. Kaaron Warren’s amazing Through Splintered Walls which won an Australian Shadows and Ditmar Award. It included the critically acclaimed novella “Sky”, which also won Warren many short fiction awards across the country and a Shirley Jackson Award, and is also up for a World Fantasy Award. As previously mentioned, Margo Lanagan’s diverse and intriguing Cracklescape was also nominated for many awards this year. Narrelle M. Harris’s collection with Twelfth Planet, Showtime, showcases Harris’ vivacious and engaging writing style.

Dark Prints Press published two horror collections with fantasy elements this year: Craig Bezant’s collection Surviving the End which won an Australian Shadows Award and Martin Livings’ Living with the Dead which was also nominated for an Australian Shadows and an Aurealis Award.

IFWG Publishing released Michael Fletcher’s Kings of Under-Castle. Fresh New Zealand publishers Steam Press released the Sir Julius Vogel Award-winning Mansfield with Monsters.

K.J. Bishop and Kate Krake both self-published their collections: That Book Your Mad Ancestor Wrote, which won an Aurealis Award, and Revealing Curiosities respectively.


Aurealis Magazine is available electronically through iTunes and occasionally Kindle, and other formats through Smashwords. Aurealis released ten issues in 2012, combining fiction with opinion pieces.

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine released four issues this year, from #53–56. ASIM is available both electronically and in print through their website.

Cosmos Magazine regularly publishes speculative fiction edited by Cat Sparks, both in the print magazine (now available as an iPad app) and on the website. While these are primarily science fiction, some stories have fantasy elements.

Antipodean SF has continued to prolifically publish speculative fiction online, releasing monthly issues. Ticon4.com publishes fiction irregularly throughout the year.


Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond’s The Writer and the Critic won the Ditmar this year for Best Fan Production, reflecting its ever-growing popularity. Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan’s Coode Street Podcast and Galactic Suburbia have been short listed for the Hugo Award for Best Fancast. Other podcasts which discuss Australian fantasy include: Ion Newcombe’s Antipodean SF Radio Show and The Bad Film Diaries Podcast from Grant Watson and Sonia Marcon.

Other media

Kathleen Jennings has gone from strength to strength in her artistic endeavours this year, being awarded the Ditmars for both Best Artwork and Best Fan Art, and being nominated for a World Fantasy Award.

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is the biggest thing in fantasy movies from Australasia this year. It was short listed for a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, a Saturn Award, a Sir Julius Vogel Award and a British Fantasy Award among others.

The Year In Horror


Avatars of Wizardry (P’rea Press), edited by Charles Lovecraft, offers poetry inspired by George Sterling’s A Wine Of Wizardry and Clark Ashton Smith’s The Hashish-Eater, with a foreword by noted anthologist and scholar S. T. Joshi; featured fantastical poets include Australians Leigh Blackmore, Earl Livings, and Kyla Lee Ward.

Bloodstones (Ticonderoga Publications), edited by Amanda Pillar, collects seventeen dark urban fantasy stories concerning esoteric creatures of myth. Featured Antipodean authors include Joanne Anderton, Alan Baxter, Jenny Blackford, Dirk Flinthart, Stephanie Gunn, Richard Harland, Pete Kempshall, Karen Maric, Nicole Murphy, and Dan Rabarts; standout darker tales are “A Small Bad Thing” by Penelope Love (about the Malaysian Toyol), Thoraiya Dyer’s delicate study of impending mortality “Surviving Film”.

Damnation and Dames (Ticonderoga Publications) edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar, offers sixteen stories of speculative noir. Antipodean authors featured include Jay Caselberg, Dirk Flinthart, Donna Maree Hanson, Chris Large, Penelope Love, Nicole Murphy and Brian G. Ross; both the co-authored stories--Alan Baxter & Felicity Dowker’s “Burning, Always Burning”, and Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter’s “Prohibition Blues”--are highly engaging; Pete Kempshall’s “Sound and Fury” and Rob Hood’s “Walking the Dead Beat” are also stand out tales.

Cthulhu Unbound 3 (Permuted Press), edited by Brian M. Sammons and David Conyers, offers three long Lovecraftian mythos stories including a co-authored tale by the editors, “The R’Lyeh Singularity”, that featured a recurring character, Harrison Peel, from Conyers’ The Spiraling Worm collection.

Corrupted Classics (HarperCollins Australia), authored by the un-credited “Corrupted Classics Team” is a HarperCollins in-house “project runway” style concept anthology featuring six zombie-themed re-workings of classics. Stories were individually authored as follows--“Alice in Zombieland: A Mad Z Party”, “Capulet’s Garden of Horror”, “Hood and his Undead Men: Eating the Rich and the Poor”, “Swiss Family Robinson: A Tale of Zombie Survival” by Tim Miller; “Hector The Undead Prince of Troy” by Melanie Saward.

eMergent Publishing brought out two anthologies in 2012. Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer, edited by Jodi Cleghorn and with art by Andrew McKiernan, is a huge book of traditional Christmas horror tales, and includes Australian writers Benjamin Solah, Rebecca Dobbie, Rebecca Emin, Graham Storrs, Nicole R Murphy, Jo Hart, Jonathan Crossfield, Lily Mulholland, Janette Dalgliesh, Laura Meyer, Stacey Larner, Jodi Cleghorn, Steve Cameron and David McDonald. eMergent also published From Stage Door Shadows, sporting a lovely cover by Blake Byrnes; the anthology collects twenty-six stories about the spooky space of theatre in its many guises, with Antipodean authors Graham Storrs, Andrew J. McKiernan, Alan Baxter, Joanne Anderton, Jennifer Muirhead, S.G. Larner, Melanie Saward, Laura Meyer, Jodi Cleghorn, Rebecca L. Dobbie, Janette Dalgliesh, and Tom Dullemond.

FableCroft Publishing produced the wonderful Epilogue anthology, edited by Tehani Wessely; twelve tales exploring ideas of post-apocalyptic society, with notable darker tales being “The Mornington Ride” by Jason Nahrung, “Ghosts” by Stephanie Gunn, and “Cold Comfort” by David McDonald.

Dark Prints Press also published a post-apocalyptic collection, Surviving the End (edited by Craig Bezant); nine horrific stories linked together with framing narrative by the editor. Antipodean authors in the mix include Amanda J Spedding, Ashlee Scheuerman, Martin Livings and Kathryn Hore. Stand-out story is Jason Nahrung’s relentlessly bleak “The Last Boat to Eden”, arguably the finest horror story from 2012.

The Specusphere (in cooperation with Esstee Media) forayed into publishing with Mythic Resonance (edited by Stephen Thompson), a mythology themed anthology. Notable darker tales are “The Everywhere and The Always” from Alan Baxter, and “Wetlands” by Jen White. Steve Rossiter edited Possessing Freedom (The Australian Literature Review); twelve stories from four writers, Beau Hillier, Belinda Dorio, Rhiannon Hart, and the editor. Karen Henderson edited the Night Terrors Anthology (Kayelle Press), collecting supernatural horror and published as an ebook; includes a story by Andrew J. McKiernan.

Kaaron Warren placed “Blame the Neighbours” with Slices of Flesh (Dark Moon Books). “The River of Memory” by Kaaron Warren was published in Zombies vs. Robots: The River of Memory (IDW Publishing). Kaaron Warren’s “The Pickwick Syndrome” appeared alongside her AHWA protégé Michelle Goldsmith’s “The Hound of Henry Hortinger” in Pandemonium: Stories of the Smoke (Jurassic London).

“King Wolf” by Anna Tambour appeared in A Season in Carcosa edited by Joe Pulver (Miskatonic River Press). Christopher Sequiera had two short stories, “The Scion of Fear” and “The Adventure of the Lost Specialist” included in Sherlock Holmes: The Crossovers Casebook (Moonstone Publishing). “Sayuri’s Revenge” by Helen Stubbs and “The Kiss” by Jason Nahrung appeared in Tales From the Bell Club (Knightwatch Press). “The Loquacious Cadaver” by Kyla Ward was published in The Lion and The Aardvark: Aesop’s Modern Fables (Pelgrane Press).

Pete Kempshall had “Closure” and Dave Hoskins had “Collisions” in World’s Collider: A Shared World Anthology (Nightscape Press). Kempshall placed “Dry Run” in Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed (Graveside Tales). Eugene Gramelis published “2109” and “The Milepost Motel” in Night Gypsy: Journey Into Darkness (Indie Gypsy). Marty Young had “A Monstrous Touch” in Dangers Untold (Alliteration Ink), and “Addiction” in Tales From The Mist (Anessa Books). Steven Gepp saw publication of “A Visit From Zombie Nicholas” and “Another Endless Night” in The Undead That Saved Christmas 3: Monster Bash (Rainstorm Press), and “Second Chance” in Tales Of Terror And Mayhem From Deep Within The Box (Evil Jester Press). “Dark Spaces” by Suzanne J. Willis appeared in A Rustle of Dark Leaves: Tales from the Shadows of the Forest (Misanthrope Press). “Life in Miniature” by Tracie McBride appeared in Scared: Ten Tales of Horror (Scimitar Press).

Charles Lovecraft saw publication of “Apocalyptic Vision: The End II” in Buzzkill: Apocalypse (NightBallet Press). Jay Caselberg had “Beautiful” in The Washington Pastime. Talitha Kalago published “Blood For Bone” in Demon Lovers: Succubi (Storybones Publishing). “Duck Creek Road” by S. G. Larner appeared in Bloody Parchment: Hidden Things, Lost Things and other stories (Random House). Gerry Huntman published “Creation’s Flaw” in Penny Dread Tales, Volume Two: A Phantasmagorical Calliope of Clockwork and Steam (RuneWright), and “Raindrops In His Eyes”, and “They Can Never Find Out” in Dark Dispatches (Static Movement), and “Whatever Happens Happens” in Tales Of Terror And Mayhem From Deep Within The Box (Evil Jester Press).

“Hungry Man” by Will Elliott appeared in The Apex Book of World SF 2 (Apex Publications). “Old Mabel’s Stray Cat” by Cameron Trost appeared in Fear: A Modern Anthology of Horror and Terror 1 (Crooked Cat Publishing). Tom Dullemond had “Population Management” in Danse Macabre: Close Encounters with the Reaper (EDGE Publishing). “The Girl from Odessa” by David McDonald appeared in Night of the Nyctalope (Black Coat Press). Gitte Christensen’s “The Snowy River Feral” was in Return of the Dead Men (and Women) Walking (Bards and Sages Publishing). Steven Gepp published “The Seeker and the Dark One” in Tough As Nails (NorGus Press) and “Wrestling Gators” in Lucha Gore: Scares from the Squared Circle (Cruentus Libri Press). “Thumping” by Rachel Towns appeared in Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope (Western Legends Press).


Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine (Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-op) published three issues in 2012, although it was a light year for dark stories from ASIM. The issues notable for dark content is Issue 55 (edited by Jacob Edwards) which came out in December and featured the claustrophobic social horror story “First They Came” by Deborah Kalin.

Aurealis magazine went forward as an emagazine in 2012, charging for issues through Smashwords. The magazine published an impressive ten issues, with two short stories per issue, ranging across the speculative genres. Issues notable for horror content are Issue 47 (February, edited by Dirk Strasser) featuring Jason Nahrung’s rural vampire story “Breaking The Wire”; Issue 49 (April, edited by Michael Pryor and Dirk Strasser) featuring Jason Fischer’s “Rolling For Fetch”; Aurealis 52 (July, edited by Scott Vandervalk and Stephen Higgins) featuring Robert N. Stephenson’s demon hunting thriller “Do You Want To Live Forever?”; Issue 53 (August, edited by Stephen Higgins) featuring the creepy teddy tale “The Karma Tree” by Benjamin Allmon; Issue 55 (October, edited by Dirk Strasser) features a reprint of Lisa L. Hannett’s Aurealis Award winning story “The Short Go: a Future in Eight Seconds”; Issue 56 (edited by Dirk Strasser) featured reprints of Thoraiya Dyer’s Aurealis Award-winning “Fruit of the Pipal Tree”, and the Aurealis Award-winning “The Past Is A Bridge Best Left Burnt” by Paul Haines.

Dark Edifice proved an interesting new literary speculative magazine, publishing two editions as PDF in 2012, including writers active in academic circles rather than mainstay Australian speculative practitioners; featured writers included Eddy Burger, J. Michael Melican, Shannon Bell, Candace Petrik, Jo Clay, Sam Sperling, Helen Haloulos, Guy Salvidge, Nicholas Ordinans, Travis McKenzie, and Katya Becerra.

Exotic Gothic 4--Postscripts 28/29 (PS Publishing) featured a number of wonderful Australian writers. “Escena de un Asesinato” by Robert Hood was one the stand-out stories of the year, blending haunted images with creepy fetishism; other offerings included “Blooding the Bride” by Margo Lanagan, “The Fall” by Stephen Dedman, and “The Lighthouse Keepers’ Club” by Kaaron Warren.

The Australian Horror Writers Association published two issues of Midnight Echo. Issue 8 published in November (edited by Amanda J. Spedding, Mark Farrugia, and Marty Young) featured “The Girl from the Borderlands” by Felicity Dowker, “Hello Kitty” by Jason Nahrung, “They Don’t Know That We Know What They Know” by Andrew J. McKiernan, “Tooth” by Kathryn Hore, “Jar Baby” by Michelle Jager, “The Boy With the Hole in his Heart” by Caysey Sloan, and “Pigroot Flat” by Jason Fischer. The winners of the AHWA Story competition were also published in this issue--“Always A Price” by Joanne Anderton (AHWA Short Story winner), and “Blood Lillies” by Shauna O’Meara (AHWA Flash Fiction winner). Issue 7--The Taboo Issue came out in May (edited by Daniel I. Russell), and included “Saturday Night at the Milk Bar” by Gary Kemble, “Brand New Day” by G. N. Braun, “The Final Degustation of Doctor Ernest Blenheim” by Andrew J. McKiernan, and “Ghosts of You” by Lee Battersby.

Margo Lanagan published “Mouth to Mouth” in The Big Issue, 28 August–10 September, 2012, and “Titty Anne and the Very, Very Hairy Man” in Meanjin, Volume 71, Number 4. Terry Dowling’s “Nightside Eye” appeared in Cemetery Dance 66, and “The Way the Red Clown Hunts You” appeared in Subterranean, Winter 2012. Jenny Blackford published “Their Cold Eyes Pierced My Skin” in The Pedestal Magazine 70. Gerry Huntman published “The Weight of Sin” in Blood Moon Rising 49. Barry Rosenberg published “Arachnid-Man” in Penumbra eMag, Volume II Issue 2, and “Two Minus One Makes Three” in SNM Horror Magazine (April/May 2012). Charles Lovecraft had “Choir (of the Damned)” and “The Rhymeless Sonnet of Fear” in The Weird Fiction Review 3 (Oct 2012), and “Temple of Nyarlathotep” in Eye to the Telescope 6. Leigh Blackmore’s “The Last Dream (for Ambrose Bierce)” appeared in The Weird Fiction Review 3 (Oct 2012).

“Creeper” by Daniel I. Russell appeared in SQ Mag 2. “Crossroads and Carousels” by Alan Baxter appeared in The Red Penny Papers, Fall 2012. “Dawn’s First Kiss” by David Kernot and “If You Give This Girl a Ride” by Steve Cameron appeared in Cover of Darkness 11. “Dead on the Doorstep” by Peter Cooper appeared in Kaleidotrope, Spring 2012. Tracie McBride’s “Drive, She Said” was published in Lovecraft eZine 14; Anna Tambour’s “The Dog Who Wished He’d Never Heard of Lovecraft” appeared in Lovecraft eZine 13. “Hours on the Voodoo Clock” by Kelly Matsuura appeared in Free Flash Fiction. “In the Dark” by Ian Nichols was featured in Apex Magazine 37. Eugene Gramelis published “Live Girls” in Night to Dawn 21. “The Haunting” by Jay Caselberg was published in ChiZine. “Night Music” by Pete Aldin appeared in Niteblade 19. Jacinta Butterworth’s “Zombies” saw publication in Wet Ink 27.


Living with the Dead (Dark Prints Press), the debut collection by Martin Livings, is simply the strongest single-author horror collection of the year. Collecting the best twenty-three stories from twenty years of publishing, including three stories original to the collection (“Birthday Suit”, “You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet”, and “The Ar-Dub”), and an introduction from Kaaron Warren--drawing on two decades of work really shows in quality, the breadth of work on offer here is quite outstanding.

Bread and Circuses is the debut collection by Felicity Dowker, edited by Russell B. Farr (Ticonderoga Publications); showcasing fifteen stories and boasting an introduction by Trent Jamieson. Of special note are Dowker’s fabulously original feminist zombie story for which the anthology is named.

Midnight and Moonshine (Ticonderoga Publications) co-authored by the inseparable ‘Brains’ Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter, and edited by Russell B. Farr, and with an introduction by Kim Wilkins and an exquisite cover by Kathleen Jennings; this collection of thirteen stories explores territory of myth and folklore as interconnected tales, described as a “mosaic novel”. A beautiful collection showcasing the elegant craft of these wonderful collaborators.

James Doig edited two fascinating historical collections for Ash Tree Press. The Devil of the Marsh and Other Stories, published as a limited edition of 500, collects fifteen stories by the Australian-born H.B. Marriott Watson (1863–1921), a prolific Gothic writer, and a contemporary of Thomas Hardy, Henry James, and H.G. Wells in London literary society. The book is also available as a Kindle edition, and includes the vampire classic “The Stone Chamber”. A Natural Body and a Spiritual Body: Some Worcestershire Encounters with the Supernatural by J.S. Leatherbarrow (1908–1989) unearths rare works from an Australian writer active in the 1930s, creating his own ghost stories in homage to M.R. James.

Twelfth Planet Press released a number of single author collections from women as part of The Twelve Planets series edited by Alisa Krasnostein; Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan collects four stories, most notable among them “Bejazzle” and “Significant Dust”; Showtime by Narrelle M. Harris contrasts the serious dysfunction of “Stalemate” with comedic contemporary vampire and zombie tales, including the title story featuring the recurring characters Lissa and Gary (the world’s most inept vampire); Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren features four literary horror stories, the stand-out being the luminous story “Sky”.

Sophie Masson’s The Great Deep and Other Tales of the Uncanny (Sixteen Press), while not horror, traverses dark folkloric territory in a poised literary style and truly earns the title “uncanny”. Dark Continents Publishing published the co-authored April Fool and other antipodean horror stories by New Zealand born authors John Irvine and Tracie McBride; the collection offers three stories from Irvine, and two from McBride.

Self-published collections for the year include--Revealing Curiosities: Collected Tales both Peculiar and Grim by Kate Krake; Hoffman’s Creeper and other disturbing tales, the debut collection by Cameron Trost, a robust volume of twenty-three tales; The Flesh Trade and other nineteen drabbles by Marcelo Rinesi, twenty flash stories shorter than one hundred words, mostly literary SF, with some mortality concerned stories evoking a horror atmosphere. David R. Grigg published two collections through Rightword Enterprises--At the Dark Lighthouse and other tales, an ebook collected seventeen short stories ranging from horror to fantasy, and a science fiction anthology.

Books for children that touched on horror themes included Monstrum House by Z. Fraillon (Hardie Grant Egmont) collects four short stories of YA monster hunting, all set in the same unusual boarding school; Not Bog Standard and Other Peculiar Stories (Scholastic Australia) is the debut collection of humorous, fantastical, very Australian stories for children, by Perth-based writer Mark Pardoe; Witches’ Britches, Itches & Twitches! a book of jokes and puzzles by Mark Carthew (Interactive Publications).


In 2012 stand-alone eNovellas became a major area of output, both for small press and especially for self-publishing authors. Dark Prints Press launched their eNovella series with Rope by Martin Livings, an oppressive portrait of a hangman at Freemantle Prison; Greg Chapman’s Vaudeville was the carnivalesque follow up.

Dark Continents published Daniel I. Russell’s Critique about a nasty food critic who gets his just deserts, and Matthew Tait’s Slander Hall which explores the ghostly aftermath of a cult suicide in an affluent gated community in the US. Tait’s other novella of 2012, The Grief School (Dark Meridian) concerns a grieving gambler, and Daniel I. Russell self-published the novella Penanggalan! An Aussie Vampire Tale.

Dark Water by Mike Pieloor is a self-published ebook novelette about a prescient child. Erica Hayes published a stand-alone Kindle edition novella Hunter’s Blood; a demon huntress and vampire slayer team up against soul-munching demons. It Hides In Darkness is a Southern Gothic eNovella by Canberra Science Fiction Guild member Ross C. Hamilton.

Zombies continue to be popular. Dawn of the Zombie Knights (JoJo Publishing) by Adam Wallace is a comedy zombie romp in the Pete McGee series, and John e Normal’s zomedy Land Down Undead: The Backpacker’s Guide is a self-published post-apocalyptic travel guide. Patty Jansen’s Looking for Daddy is a self-published stand-alone Kindle edition about a child’s quest in zombie plagued world.

Anomaly, co-authored by Jason Fischer and British fantasist Steven Saville and Jason Fischer, is a stand-alone thriller in the Viral Novellas ebook series from Swedish publisher Foxrain. Beauty’s Sister by James Bradley, is a dark re-imagining of the Rapunzel myth published under the Penguin Shorts imprint. Alan Baxter’s The Darkest Shade of Grey (The Red Penny Papers) is novella-length supernatural noir. Eleni Konstantine’s Gateway to Hell (Musa Publishing) is a paranormal romance novella, first in the series of Warder Tales. Shona Husk’s Brightwater Blood (Samhain Publishing) is a rather dark paranormal romance stand-alone ebook novella concerning shamanism and shape shifters, and witchcraft and blood magic.

YA and children’s novella length works were also notable. Deborah Abela’s Ghost Club 1: The New Kid and Ghost Club 2: The Haunted School (Random House Australia) are kids adventure novellas. K.C. Webb’s Soul Trader: A Johnny Marsh Adventure is the second in the dark YA series published by Dark Wind Books, and illustrated by A.R. Puttee. Libby Gleeson’s Red (Allen & Unwin) is a YA crime-thriller with an amnesia-stricken protagonist, set in Sydney after a cyclone. The Grimstones 1: Hatched, The Grimstones 2: Mortimer Revealed and The Grimstones 3: Whirlwind (Allen & Unwin) by an author/illustrator publishing as Asphyxia, are novella-length illustrated books for children based on a stage production with Gothic puppets.

Novella length works also appeared in many anthologies. Sylvia Kelso’s “Sister Anne” is a retelling of the Bluebeard story in Beyond Grimm (Book View Café). Kaaron Warren’s novella “The History Thief” in Visions Fading Fast (Pendragon Press) is a whimsical, Gaimanesque ghost story. “Elyora” by Jodi Cleghorn, a supernatural horror novella published in the Review of Australian Fiction, Special ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ Issue 2012.


Lee Battersby saw publication of The Corpse-Rat King (Angry Robot), a unique take on the quest to the underworld motif. Will Elliott’s Nightfall (HarperCollins) is another darkly fantastic adventure in the underworld. Kirstyn McDermott’s Perfections (Xoum) is an urbane gothic story concerning the interwoven lives of two sisters and a doppelganger. Jason Nahrung’s Blood and Dust (Xoum) wryly and engagingly details the exploits of a monaro-driving vampire named Kevin, caught in a vampire biker war in North Queensland. Salvage (Twelfth Planet Press) by Jason Nahrung, a short novel, an Australian Gothic using the vampire archetype with subtlety. Jason Fischer’s Quiver (Black House Comics) is a zombie novel, the first of The Tamsyn Webb Chronicles following a young archer protagonist, originated in the After The World magazine.

Margo Lanagan’s Sea Hearts (Allen & Unwin) a complex selkie myth novel about doomed love. Beneath A Rising Moon (Dell) by Keri Arthur is the third installment in the Ripple Creek Werewolf Series; Arthur also saw release of Darkness Devours and Darkness Hunts (Penguin), part of the Dark Angels paranormal series. Black Mountain (Pan Macmillan) by Greig Beck is a supernatural thriller exploring the Yeti myth. Alison Croggon’s Black Spring (Walker Books) is a dark fantasy inspired by Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Bloody Waters (Possible Press) by Jason Franks is a Faustian rock’n’roll adventure mixing up witches and succubus and crime. Trent Jamieson’s Night’s Engines (Angry Robot) concludes The Nightbound Land duology.

Adrian Scott’s A Vampire’s Tale is the first novella in a sixteen-part series titled Society of Vampires (Rebecca J. Vickery Publications); Gateway to Hell is a cursed mansion stand-alone novel from the same author. Cin Eric’s Baker Street Inquisitor (MuseItUp Publishing) is the second in a supernatural noir crime series. Beneath A Cold Moon (Equilibrium Books) by Keith Williams is a crime thriller set in Glasgow, Scotland and Geelong, Australia. Ex-pat Western Australian Tracy Cooper-Posey’s Blood Stone and Byzantine Heartbreak (Stories Rule) are part of a vampire paranormal romance series. Eleanor Coombe’s self-published novel Burying Ground Point is a ghost story on the Tasmanian coast. Chaos Born (Escape Publishing) by Rebekah Turner is dark steampunk crime.

Kaz Delaney’s Dead, Actually (Allen & Unwin) is a YA paranormal adventure. Jack Heath’s Dead Man Running was released exclusively as an ebook by Pan Macmillan Australia. Death By Beauty (Hachette Australia) is installment #5 in the Gemma Lincoln PI series by Gabrielle Lord; this time Lincoln is on the case of a vampire attacking beautiful women. Jessica Shirvington’s Endless (Hachette Australia) is part four in the Violet Eden Chronicles of angel paranormal romance. Myke Bartlett’s Fire in the Sea (Text Publishing) concerns ancient mythical creatures battling through Perth, and won the Text Prize for YA and Children’s Writing in 2011. Flesh (Momentum) by Kylie Scott is the first in a zombie apocalypse series, with a romantic ménage à trois twist. Aaron Dries published two novels through Samhain Publishing; House of Sighs, a thriller about a bus driver kidnapping her passengers, and The Fallen Boys, a splatter-punk abduction novel.

How to Disappear Completely is a surreal novel from Annika Howells, self-published to Kindle. Love notes from Vinegar House (Black Dog Books) is a YA Gothic flirtation with the haunted house archetype from Karen Tayleur. Night Beach (Penguin Books Australia) by Kirsty Eagar is a YA Gothic romance, and garnered a nomination for The Gold Inky Award. Andrez Bergen’s One Hundred Years of Vicissitude (Perfect Edge Books) is the follow up to Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat with the continuing protagonist Wolram E. Deaps--new weird with horror overtones, this novel follows a now dead Deaps as he travels through the memories of a twentieth century geisha ghost named Kohana.

Erica Hayes Revelation (Berkley) is a paranormal romance featuring fallen angels, demon princesses, in a zombie plague. Paula Weston’s Shadows (Text Publishing) is part one in The Rephaim, a gritty YA paranormal series about angels. Shine Light (Random House Australia) is the third installment in the Night Creatures YA series by Marianne de Pierres. Tracey O’Hara’s Sin’s Dark Caress (HarperCollins) is book three in the Dark Brethren series, concerning a “forensic witch”. Team Human (Allen & Unwin) by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan is a YA parody paranormal romance. Brett McBean’s The Awakening (Tasmaniac Publications) explores the traditional Haitian zombie trope.

Daniel I. Russell’s The Collector--Book One: Mana Leak (Dark Continents Publishing) is a small town horror melodrama about dysfunctional people confronted by death embodied. The End Of Ever is a post-apocalyptic horror novel self-published by Troy Barnes. The Flats by Craig Bezant is Dark Prints Press foray into kids fiction with the Darklings imprint. The Skeleton Key (Pan Macmillan Australia) from Tara Moss is the third Pandora English novel, with continued romantic intrigue and an unlocking of secrets in the protagonist’s haunted mansion. Disharmony (Penguin Australia) by Leah Giarratano is the first in YA paranormal The Telling series concerning supernaturally gifted twins. Walking Shadows (Clan Destine Press) by Narrelle M. Harris is the sequel to The Opposite Of Life; geek-girl Lissa and her best mate Gary (the world’s most inept vampire) take on killer vampires in a comedic romp around Melbourne’s very exclusive Western Suburbs Goth club scene. Sometime rock chick and celebrity Wiccan Fiona Horne has forayed into YA paranormal with Witch: A Summerland Mystery (Allen & Unwin) where an Australian teen witch turns California girl.


Black House Comics had a prolific year publishing Australian horror; comic book The Dark Detective: Sherlock Holmes Vol 7, written by Christopher Sequiera, with cover art by Dave Elsey and interior illustrations by Phil Cornell; retro-horror anthology Eeek! written and illustrated by Jason Paulos; Jason Franks “gonzo-SF-noir adventures of Whiteface McBlack” saw publication through the Black Glass Press imprint as McBlack. Terra Magazine edited by Jason Franks launched--a triannual comics magazine with newsstand distribution. Talent on show includes Tom Bonin, Ben Michael Byrne, Michal Dutkiewicz, Jason Franks, Jason Fischer, Greg Gates, Nicholas Hunter, Leigh Kuilboer, Bruce Mutard, Luke Pickett, Jason Paulos, Harry Purnell, Jan Scherpenhuizen, Christopher Sequeira and Yuriko Sekine.

Hayden Fryer wrote and illustrated the Darkest Night: Acts 1 and 2 graphic novel series (Siberian Productions). John Stewart wrote and illustrated the first in a five part comic series titled Giants. Jason Paulos had three horror comic designs commissioned to adorn wine bottles through The Creative Method. Ghost Doll and Jasper by Fiona McDonald is blurbed as “an Edward Gorey-esque graphic novel for kids” from Sky Pony Press.

Darren Koziol published three issues of Decay horror comic magazine in 2012, which included work by numerous Australian creators. Decay Issue 14 (December 2012), the ‘End of the World’ themed issue, featured work from Koziol, Lachlan Creagh, Dave Heinrich, John Fitch, Alister Lockhart, Kurt Stone, Jan Scherpenhuizen, Charith Wijewardane, Paul Briske, and Jason Paulos. Decay Issue 13 (August 2012) includes work from Australian creators Frantz Kantor, Lee Smith, Hayden Fryer, Jason Paulos, Erin McGregor, Melissa Waterman, and Nahum Ziersch. Decay Issue 12 (April 2012) was the Cthulhu Special edition with twenty pages of colour, and contained offerings from Lee Smith, John Stewart, Darren Koziol, and Glenn Lumsden; the issue featured Cthulhu pin-up pages from Jason Paulos, Ryan Wilton, SCAR (Steve Carter & Antoinette Rydyr), Danikah Harrison, Nahum Ziersch, Tanya and Owen Nicholls, Colin Wells, Emerson Ward, Jan Scherpenhuizen, Dénes Nagy, David Williams, and Dave Heinrich.


Crawlspace (dir. Justin Dix), a sci-fi horror set at Pine Gap, premiered at Cannes. Isolate (dir. Martyn Park) premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Fear and Fantasy Film Festival; Jacinta John took out the Best Actress award at the LA Festival, and also Best Actress at the Indie Gems Film Festival in Paramatta, New South Wales. Bait 3D (dir. Kimble Rendall), a joint Australian/Singaporean schlock giant shark feature, premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2012. 100 Bloody Acres (dir. Colin and Cameron Cairnes), a comedy horror feature set around a blood and bone fertilizer factory, premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival in August 2012. 6 Plots (dir. Leigh Sheehan) filmed in Williamstown in Victoria, was released to DVD in Japan and had a TV premiere in Sweden as Six Graves. As Wonderland Goes By (dir. Marc Windham) an Australian/Bulgarian production filmed on location in Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria; this parody thriller has notable technical production, filmed to 65mm film using a Panavision Super 70 lense, and stars adult film star Kayden Kross. Nowhere Else (dir. Danial Donai) premiered at the Goldcoast Film Festival; the feature follows a documentary crew who stumble upon a Olitiau, a gigantic mythological bat. Inhuman Resources (dir. Nicholas Hope) received a DVD release in Japan on the Fangoria Presents label; the film details the bloody exploits of a psychopath office manager.

A Night of Horror Film Festival’s Australian Horror Gala featured a range of Australia horror shorts--Defrayment (dir. Christos Katsaros), A Dream (dir. Laurence Rosier Staines), School For Zombies (dir. Daniel James Millar), The Truth (dir. Martin O’Donoghue), and the music video for Thy Art Is Murder’s Reign In Darkness (dir. Chris Elder) all premiered at A Night of Horror. A Night of Horror hosted an Exclusive “Online Only” Shorts Program that included the Australian films Tyson’s September Playlist (dir. Siobhan Mulready) and Too Late (dir. Mike Gibson).

The Occupants (dir. Alex Chapman and James Lane) was a semi-finalist in the Action/Cut Short Film Competition. She’s Having A Baby! (dir. Robert and Chris Smellin) premiered at the Nevermore Film Festival (USA), and received an honourable mention at the Fright Night Film Festival (USA). Friend Request (dir. Danny McShane) premiered at the Tribal Theatre in Brisbane, and was an official selection for La Indie Film Festival (USA), received an Award of Merit in the international Indie Fest awards, and won Best Horror Film at the Intendance Film Festival (USA). Elizabeth (dir. Adam Johnsson) won the awards for Best Directing in Drama and Most Provocative Film at the 16th Sydney Film School Festival 2012. Animated horror film Butterflies (dir. Isabel Peppard) won the Best Animation Award at The Sydney Film Festival, which qualified the film for Oscar nomination.


Many Australian speculative fiction authors attended and/or presented panels at literary festivals across the country, such as Peter Ball, Deborah Biancotti, John Birmingham, Alison Croggon, Brian Falkner, John Flanagan, Jackie French, Narrelle M. Harris, Melina Marchetta, Jason Nahrung, Michael Pryor, Emily Rodda, Lucy Sussex and Kaaron Warren.

Many of the large publishers have been getting on the bandwagon of releasing ebooks only, and having a digital publishing arm to their companies. Pan Macmillan opened their much-discussed Momentum digital publishing arm this year, with a plethora of new and re-released ebooks and print-on-demand titles. Penguin Australia branched out with Destiny, their digital romance imprint, and Harper Collins launched Harper Teen Impulse, dedicated to young adult short fiction. Random House was one of the first, opening Hydra, with controversial terms for authors.

Angry Robot was inundated with submissions for their Open Door submissions period in April this year, receiving hundreds of Fantasy submissions.

Steam Press, a recently opened New Zealand publisher, is off to a great start, releasing a collection and two science fiction novels in their first year of operation, and also winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award.


Paul Haines, 41, multiple award-winning Australian dark fantasy writer. Alice Shirley Brine, grandmother of Ticonderoga Publications editor Liz Grzyb. Maddy Grzyb-Farr, 11, beloved Ticonderoga pooch. Michael O’Brien, 42, Perth fan and compleat gentleman. Boris Strugatsky, 70, Russian science fiction writer. Margaret Mahy, 76, New Zealand young adult writer, recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Ray Bradbury, 91, legend. Maurice Sendak, 83, U.S. Writer and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are. Harry Harrison, 87, SFWA Grand Master. Gerry Anderson, 83, co-creator of The Thunderbirds. Jean Giraud, 73, ‘Moebius’, artist. Ralph McQuarrie, 82, science fiction artist, Star Wars developer. Janet Berliner, 73, Bram Stoker Award winner. Leo Dillon, 79, SF artist. Kathy Diane Wentworth, 61, Writers of the Future winner. John Christopher, 89, real name Sam Youd, writer of The Death of Grass and The Tripods trilogy. Ardath Mayhar, 81, SFWA Author Emeritus. Bryce Courtenay, 79, Australian best-selling writer.

Paul Haines

Cat Sparks

8 June 1970 -- 5 March 2012

A year and a half has passed since Paul Richard Haines, a much loved, admired and missed member of the Australian speculative fiction community, lost his five-year battle with cancer.

Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Haines moved to Australia in the 1990s after completing a university degree in Otago. He attended the inaugural Clarion South writers’ workshop in 2004 and was a member of Melbourne’s SuperNOVA writers group. Haines had more than thirty short stories published in Australia, North America, and Greece.

Haines won Australia’s Ditmar Award three times (Best New Talent in 2005; Best novella/novelette for “The Last Days of Kali Yuga” (2005) and “The Devil in Mr Pussy (Or How I Found God Inside My Wife)” (2007)); and the 2004 horror short story Aurealis Award for “The Last Days of Kali Yuga”. His fiction regularly received Honourable Mentions in the annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies, edited by Ellen Datlow, Gavin Grant, and Kelly Link (St. Martins). In 2009 his novella “Wives” made the James Tiptree Jr Honours list.

Haines’ first short story collection Doorways For The Dispossessed (Prime Books, 2006) won New Zealand’s 2008 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Collection. Two subsequent collections followed: Slice of Life (The Mayne Press, 2009) and The Last Days of Kali Yuga (Brimstone Press, 2011).

Haines left us with a significant body of potent, thematic storytelling. His prose encompassed a blend of horror, humour and his own unique sensibility, often delving below the skin to itch in uncomfortable places.

Long evenings lingering in convention bars are not the same without him. Nor are anthologies--there’s a story missing. A gap that continues to haunt our community as it matures and evolves.

Paul Haines is survived by his wife Julie and daughter Isla.

The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror

~ 2012 ~

The Third Annual Collection

Bella Beaufort Goes to War

Lisa L. Hannett & Angela Slatter

Volume Twelfth, 2nd Series, No. 312. July 19, 1873

queries, cont’d:----


In pursing research for my book, in the fashion of wolves, I come, time and again, to the same pressing questions: Does the Norns’ power stop when certitude does? When the idea that they decree fate and tend to yggdrasil weakens, can such myths continue to exist? When faith in them ceases, to what thread might they cling? Without the lifeline of credulity are these things no more than the smoke of memory dispersed on the wind? Or are they weaving still, out of sight and mind, but not out of the world? Opinions and responses are most heartily desired.

Valdís Brynjólfsdóttir

South Carolina, United States of America

“What do you see?”

Black things flap and snap on the wire fence running around the vacant land adjacent to the Laveau place. The sun is harsh, reflecting on the hard-packed dirt street, glaring off the two-storey house’s peeling white paint; yet the old woman insists upon sitting out on the verandah with the heat and light bouncing up at her, hitting the great diamond hanging like a monocle on a silver chain around her neck.

Sweat creeps down Bella’s skin, soaking the armpits and back of her green gingham work dress, trickling from her temples, making her scalp itch worse than the lice she’d been afflicted with last summer. What she wouldn’t give to scratch like a dog right about now, or to lift the thick russet hair off her crown like an unwanted hat. But she ignores the urge and concentrates on the widow’s question. She squints, stares across overgrown cotton fields, and focuses on the shreds of--what?--writhing in the distance. While she gathers her thoughts, Eugenia, as usual, leaps in.

“Dead birds. Ravens. Big ones.” This last was added in an uncertain tone, as though she realises she’s wrong once again. The old lady’s lip curls--she doesn’t even bother to conceal it from her great-granddaughter nowadays--and then slides her eyes to Bella, who senses the expectation in that look, just as keenly as she feels Eugenia’s resentment seething off her. Within the first few days of their apprenticeship, she’d overheard the other girl moaning to her mémé, saying it wasn’t right, her teaching the two of them together. Her own rightful heir and Bella No-Blood. Bella Know-it-all. Bella Who-wasn’t-even-family.

Such a waste of effort, staring so hard at someone else’s flaws, the Widow Paris had said. Take a close look at yourself, Eugenia Laveau, and tell me--what do you see?

“It’s skins,” says Bella, who wasn’t even family, as she smooths the white pin-tucks of her apron. “Skins taken so they can’t fly anymore.”

“They?” Eugenia sneers, white-blonde hair a striking contrast against her bronze skin. She props her elbows on the porch railing next to Bella, leans down to take another look from that vantage. Her sharp nose crinkling like there’s a bad smell.

“They. Witches. Witches with their wings clipped, with their soul suits taken.”

As if in answer, the feathered things wave in agreement, agitating like house-rugs left out for beating clean. The old woman nods brusquely, the closest she ever gets to showing approval. But Bella knows her mentor is pleased, though she covers a smile with her fan, a handsome thing of lace and mahogany. A gift, perhaps, from a grateful follower. The woman’s fluttering hands are smooth, ageless. Unlike her face which, in recent months, has sagged dramatically, its rich brown becoming greyish. Against doctor’s orders, the widow won’t slow down. Knocking on eighty, and still she insists on sitting out in the heat, teaching them, trying to make sure they’re receptacles of the knowledge only she can pass on. Truth be told, Bella thinks, Miz Marie feels her time running away.

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