So, I’ve noticed this thing on the Internet called “getting offended”, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Indisputably, there is no end of things that are worth getting worked up over. Racism. Sexism. Child abuse. Beheadings. Domestic violence. Animal cruelty. Climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers. No, I’m talking about the other stuff. The trivial things that many people seem to spend hours railing against, defending their position on and giving energy to (the Great Starbucks Cup War On Christmas Debate of 2015 is just one that springs to mind).
I can only conclude that outrage can be fun. So here, for no other reason than I’m overdue for a blog post, is my list of A Few Things That Make Me Disproportionately Displeased.

1. The Greengrocer’s Apostrophe. Look, people, it’s really not that hard. You see an “s” at the end of a word, and you don’t know whether or not it needs an apostrophe. If you’re denoting possession e.g. the dog’s bone, the man’s hair – yes. Use one. If you’re denoting a plural e.g. three dogs, several bones, then step away from the apostrophe.
(When it comes to “it’s” and “its”, things become a bit more confusing. But I’ll forgive you for getting that one wrong.)

2. Honking motorists. If I’m not moving through an intersection fast enough for your liking, DO NOT FREAKING BEEP AT ME. 99 times out of 100, I can see something from the front of the queue that you can’t. Like a small child on foot, or oncoming traffic.


3. Health food fads. I’m looking at you, quinoa, kale, cacao and chia seeds. Why do they annoy me so much? I think it’s because every time some foodstuff gets touted as the new superfood, I try it. And every time, it ends up tasting like sawdust, grass clippings or used sump oil (or some unholy combination of the three).

4. Facebook con artists. They’re easy to spot – no mutual friends, a brand new profile, and often the profile pic is a man in uniform – and with the liberal use of Delete, Block and Report functions, even easier to shake off. But I am prone to overthinking things, and I find it deeply insulting that I look like the kind of woman who would fall for that.

5. Those people who set up temporary booths in the middle of shopping malls and then go chasing you when you walk past to try to part you from your money. There ought to be laws, I tell you! Laws!!


I’m pleased to welcome Australian author Greg Chapman to my blog today to talk about his novella “The Eschatologist: Post-Apocalyptic”, scheduled for release on January 15.

After joining the Australian Horror Writers Association in 2009, Greg Chapman was selected for its mentor program under the tutelage of author Brett McBean. Since then he has had short stories published in The Absent Willow Review, Trembles, Eclecticism, Bete Noire and Morpheus Tales, comic artwork in Midnight Echo Magazine, and several novellas published by various small press. His debut collection “Vaudeville and Other Nightmares” was published in 2014.

He is also a horror artist and his first graphic novel “Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times”, written by Bram Stoker Award winning authors Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton was published in 2012. It received the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel.

Find out more about Greg at http://darkscrybe.com

* * * *

To me, the end of the world will be a battle between those who have faith and those who don’t.

You only have to look at the current state of affairs around the world to see that path could be right around the corner.

The Eschatologist, my latest piece of fiction, is a survival horror tale which aims to explore the notion that when the end times come, the people who are left behind will fall back on their belief in a higher plan – with disastrous consequences.

In the novella, David Brewer and his family are trying to survive in a world that has been ravaged by an apocalypse on a Biblical scale. Earthquakes, tornados and floods have brought the world crashing down. David doesn’t believe he can keep his family safe because he’s lost faith in himself. When things go wrong and a stranger steps in to do what David couldn’t do, the stranger seeks to force his own faith in God onto David to show him the way. This is the crux of the story.

It’s a test of faith and a bloody one. I wanted to explore how far “believers” would go to protect themselves and their beliefs. Because I think in the end this is what it might all come down to – what you believe in.

The story isn’t anti-religious and it’s not pro-atheism. It sits on the fence, in the grey area between what’s right and what’s wrong and as a writer, I think that’s what makes horror one of the best genres to write for.

Personally, I don’t know how I would go in an apocalypse like the one in The Eschatologist. I think there’s a fair bit of me in David (at least in the early stages of the story), but if tested I think I would fail. Having said that, I’m glad this is a work of fiction, because in the end, not having faith in ourselves (like David), might be what claims us all.

View the book trailer here:

You can pre-order Greg’s book at http://www.amazon.com/Eschatologist-Post-Apocalyptic-Greg-Chapman-ebook/dp/B01939Z9YU/


(Disclosure: I received an electronic review copy via NetGalley.)

Stories for Chip brings together outstanding authors inspired by a brilliant writer and critic, Science Fiction Writers of America Grandmaster Samuel R. “Chip” Delany. Award-winning SF luminaries such as Michael Swanwick, Nalo Hopkinson, and Eileen Gunn contribute original fiction and creative nonfiction. From surrealistic visions of bucolic road trips to erotic transgressions to mind-expanding analyses of Delany’s influence on the genre—as an out gay man, an African American, and possessor of a startlingly acute intellect—this book conveys the scope of the subject’s sometimes troubling, always rewarding genius. Editors Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell have given Delany and the world at large, a gorgeous, haunting, illuminating, and deeply satisfying gift of a book.

* * * *

As the blurb says, the short works within Stories for Chip cover a wide scope of styles, sub-genres and themes, whilst staying true to the overall vision. You’ll find everything from erotic horror to space drama to chilling dystopias to non-specfic slices of life. The essays range from scholarly to deeply personal.

Standout favourite  for me is the first story, Billy Tumult by Nick Harkaway. It’s fun, clever and inventive. I also particularly enjoyed the steampunk-flavoured Jamaica Ginger by Nalo Hopkinson and Nisi Shawl with its resourceful young heroine.

Be warned: This is by no means a lightweight read.As a relatively uneducated reader with little familiarity with Delany’s work, I found some of the stories and essays difficult to appreciate. By all accounts, Delany is an exceptionally intelligent man, and this lofty intellect is reflected in the contents of this anthology. For an example, here is a one sentence excerpt from Hal Duncan’s An Idyll in Erehwyna

Poesis is the suppositional calculus, notated not in symbol but in stance: epistemic, alethic, deontic, boulomaic.

(Please tell me I’m not the only reader who has no idea what the previous sentence means!)

A second warning: Don’t let this put you off. It does no harm to stretch your brain every now and again.