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Geoffrey Maloney

Prime Books (2003)

ISBN: 9781894815239

Reviewed by Simon Petrie (this review was first published in February 2009)

I recently received an Advance Review Copy of this book, which in the circumstances is a somewhat misleading description, since the volume itself has been in publication for over five years. But no matter.

Geoffrey Maloney has been a presence on the Australian spec-fic scene for a good many years now. A couple of the stories in Tales from the Crypto-Systemwere first published in 1990; most of the other stories were published during the subsequent even-numbered years, up to 2002. (I leave it as an exercise to numerologists to discern the rationale behind Maloney’s apparent and puzzling lack of success during odd-numbered years, although 1999 was a notable exception.) It is a characteristic of the local spec-fic scene that most of the original periodicals in which these stories first saw light have long since perished; Aurealis and AntipodeanSF are happy exceptions to this trend, and may their resilience continue. Read the rest of this entry »

Lee Battersby

Prime Books (2006)

ISBN: 0-8095-5646-4

Reviewed by Kathryn Linge (the review was first published in November 2006)

Lee Battersby has been on the Australian speculative fiction scene since 2001. Since then he’s racked up an impressive publication history, with over 40 stories in print, mostly in Australian magazines or small press anthologies. Through Soft Air is his first collected work and includes 25 stories, of which eight are either completely new or have not seen publication before. There’s no doubt that Battersby is an ambitious and prolific short story writer. However Battersby himself acknowledges that regular short story sales are not enough to sustain a writing career [1] and that financial security probably hinges in publication of longer works (i.e. novels). From that perspective, the publication of Through Soft Air can be seen as a first attempt toward garnering recognition outside the Australian scene. Through Soft Air has been published by Prime Books, a US small press publisher, and this should provide exposure in markets outside Australia that would have otherwise been unavailable. The downside of this ‘international’ publication, however, is that the book has limited sale outlets within Australia itself and so Battersby’s established fan base may find themselves having to order the book from the US in order to obtain a copy.

From my own point of view, reviewing Through Soft Air has been a good opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about. I came to the book having read less than a handful of Battersby’s stories – two of which are in this collection. I read and reviewed Through Soft Air from a .pdf copy, and so am unable to comment on the physical book itself. This is a pity, because I get much more pleasure reading from a book than a computer screen (although I don’t think this has affected my opinion of the collection). I would also liked to have seen the book ‘in the flesh’ to get a proper look at the cover by Gary Nurrish. From the images on the Prime website, the artwork looks stunning. Read the rest of this entry »

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