“Ghosts and the Machine” contest results

Virginia Marybury

Hallowe’en has passed, and the Northern Hemisphere nights are growing darker. I recently announced the results of a competition, “Ghosts and the Machine,” with the help of my co-judge Ambrose Hall, and with sponsorship from the Scribophile Writing Contest Prize Fund.

Do look out for these stories in the future!

  • First prize: Dead Confederate Soldiers, by D.Aaron This was an immediate stand-out entry, and we’re very pleased to give it first prize. The voice is distinctive and colourful, and we were fascinated by how technology (not only the photography which is the main focus, but also “that cursed message wire,” the telegraph) creates and confirms irrational belief. This superstitious world-view pervades the tale, bringing out sinister metaphors that even modern folk can feel, like the doomsday flash and clap of a photograph being taken.
  • Second prize: Buttons, by Ryan Bell This story is atmospheric and extremely polished, with…

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Author interview: Charlotte, the Veterinary Ophthalmologist

Speculative stories

This post features a chat with Charlotte Dawson, who has been my go-to person for certain scientific aspects of my A Quiet Rebellion books. Charlotte is a Veterinary Ophthalmologist at the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK.

MH Thaung (Caroline): Charlotte, thanks for chatting with us today. Perhaps we can start off with you telling us a bit about yourself.

Charlotte: Hello. I graduated from the RVC in 2009. After a short period in private small animal practice I undertook two rotating internships (one in private practice and one at the RVC). I then continued with a residency and am now a lecturer at the RVC. I enjoy all aspects of life working at a university including the clinical activities, teaching and research. In my spare time I like spending time with my family, friends and traveling with my dog Frank.

Caroline: How did you become a Veterinary Ophthalmologist?


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Intrepid Correspondent interview — Mayor Henry Sutcliff

Speculative stories

Today is the day our regular readers have been looking forward to: a chance to meet one of the inhabitants of Numoeath. Our interviewee will be Henry Sutcliff, Mayor of Maldon.

I’ll set the scene before we meet the man himself. The mayor’s residence is situated just behind Maldon’s town hall, only a couple of minutes’ walk from the town square. Like the town hall, it is built from stone: this is in contrast to other buildings in the town, which are wooden. It’s one of the larger buildings, and I suppose it’s the largest residential building. In addition to housing the town’s leader, it has offices, meeting spaces and storage of files. It’s the only building I’ve noticed to have decorative carvings — you can see them round the front doorway — which make a change from the functional but sturdy construction of the other buildings.

Decorative carvings at the Maldon mayor's residence These carvings may…

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This Week… an update

There You'll Be

16298673_10154886727367092_6250121198924530236_nImage: a Mural from the wall inside Clancy’s restaurant

Fremantle Press Great Big Book Read

As I have said before on this site. I will always tell it as it is. I do not care about the Arts Scene Politics. I will say it if it is the good, the bad, or the ugly. So, here is my review of the Fremantle Press Great Bog Book Read. It was held on a Monday, which should have been warning enough, in Fremantle at Clancy’s Fish Pub. The venue was lovely, but all the tables had been reserved and filled by Fremantle Press staff an hour before the event began, leaving us (non-Fremantle Press invitees) standing, crammed into the room while chip bowls were shared with ‘only the staff’. Although not a major issue as we bought meals and I don’t eat chips, it was plain rude to have people strategically avoid you while…

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Movies about Poets and a Love Poem

There You'll Be


This week I went with a friend to see the Chilean movie, Neruda, under the stars at the University of Western Australia as part of the Perth International Film festival. It was about the communist poet Pablo Neruda, who is better known for his political poems. In this film, he is portrayed as a hedonistic narcissistic, who thinks he controls the actions of all those about him, in particular, the investigator who is following him. The movie is definitely one I will buy on DVD. It has a subtext about the suffering of the poor Chilean people after WWII. Also, the camera work in this movie was fantastic, with a definite reference to Noir movies of that time, perhaps best served to remind us that Neruda, a man who gropes his secretaries breast, spends half his life drunk and in brothels, and who leaves his long-term partners with debts…

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