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: 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

Poem: Necromancy


From one day to the next, I never know when the face will show itself again in a mirror or a pan of water, as if unearthed by the ceaseless, circling plough of my mind. It’s always the same; a happy, younger me, long gone, the dead returned to speak with the dying. I wonder… Continue reading Poem: Necromancy

Poem: Waiting at the Water’s Edge


Another day of hope and nothing slides into evening’s apologetic grey; I’m in love, but I don’t know who with. Somewhere, upstream of love and poetry’s floundering strokes, she’s sitting as fine and clear as the first gasp of oxygen. It’s getting dark and once more no one’s turned up; every day’s just a poor… Continue reading Poem: Waiting at the Water’s Edge

Poem: Thursday


And rose. And fell. Once more. Something at the corner of my eye is thrusting its bony fingers into the gaping cracks of my life, pushing its stained fingers into the empty spaces where my life should be, where all my principles and goals, my reason for being should be safely bedded down. I rose,… Continue reading Poem: Thursday