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

Poem: Adultery

To say just what you feel is never easy. A woman’s clothes lying by her feet in a pile might be the foam from which a goddess is born or the frothy breakers of a sea that might rush in and overwhelm us. We can think that our acts are not our own and rather… Continue reading Poem: Adultery

Poem: Another Bright Sunday

In the endless metropolitan grey, the weekend flashes by between two darknesses. Millions wander lost in the pause; swimming, lying on the beach or flying, giving their bodies back for a moment to the elements from which they were made. Others die, going back to them for good; time has washed against them like waves… Continue reading Poem: Another Bright Sunday

Poem: The Night

Alone together just this side of dawn, you asked the questions and I traced my answers on your smoothed body parchment with just enough paint and inspiration to reach the end of a line before turning back, ready to start all over again. I wrote my hope on your shoulder blades, feeling the muscles taut… Continue reading Poem: The Night