Unaccompanied Sonata by Orson Scott Card


I remember clearly reading this story when it was first published in Omni magazine in 1979, when I was very young. I have just re-read the story for the first time since then and was surprised and pleased to see how well I remembered it. That is the sign of a story that really made… Continue reading Unaccompanied Sonata by Orson Scott Card

Language in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein


On re-reading this classic recently, I was very struck by the clever use of language. “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” was first published in 1966, the setting is 2075-6. Heinlein gives his viewpoint character a plausible future Moon dialect of English; a number of Russian words and even some Australian ones such as “cobber”. The character’s… Continue reading Language in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

Who Can Replace a Man? by Brian Aldiss


This story imagines an attempt by machines to replace humans who are presumed to be extinct. It reminded me of Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, but with machines instead of animals. In the end, the answer to the question in the story’s title is given as “no machine”. However, until they realise that humans are not actually extinct,… Continue reading Who Can Replace a Man? by Brian Aldiss

UFOs in A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke


What do science fiction fans think of the UFO phenomenon? Clarke’s novel A Fall of Moondust got me thinking about it again. The setting is around 2040 AD. A tourist bus on the moon is trapped under the surface and rescuers race against time to save the passengers before they run out of oxygen. When… Continue reading UFOs in A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke

Poem: Sleepless, Fearing Commitment


Distracted, I moulded the darkness into the shape of your hips while you slept. Through the pillow I felt the splitting edge of the mental knife I’d stashed there overnight. Thinking I’d said too much already, I stopped my betraying mouth and started to think that this was just my body lying there, while my… Continue reading Poem: Sleepless, Fearing Commitment

Poem: Omens


I should have known from the retching crow that passed on my way to the station that morning. The signs were there in the sprinkle of chocolate on my cappuccino, in the graph of plunging share prices hidden in the newspaper’s entrails. She’s gone; I should have known. The signs were there this evening as… Continue reading Poem: Omens

Poem: Constancy


Some things a woman says are bridges raising grief over happiness. Once, I could only be satisfied if she was always there, then just a touch was enough, then the sound of her voice and finally just the thought of her. A face can grip your mind like unrelenting tongs and wipe out everything else,… Continue reading Poem: Constancy