The Chryseis Shard: Plaguespore

BatuBarayI’ve recently written a new serial and an accompanying short in preparation for Warlord Games’ new supplement, The Chryseis Shard. Once more, the series involves Batu and Baray, both key characters in The Chryseis Shard, and introduces readers to some of the capabilities of Batu’s annoying nano drone – now a sort of personal daemon.

I’ll update this post as more entries in the serial are added.

  • Plaguespore Part I – Batu is ordered to investigate the disturbing disappearance of a Concord colony
  • Plaguespore Part II – Further details are uncovered of a devastating new threat to the Concord: the Plaguespore
  • Plaguespore Part III – Batu and Baray uncover some sinister truths about the Plaguespore and suspect a military mind is behind it all
  • Plaguespore Part IV – The pair interrogate the colony survivors and travel to the surface to investigate
  • Plaguespore Part V – The plaguespoe attacks and Batu’s Shamasai Shard is forced to respond
  • A Heads Up – TBA

Review: The Teacher’s Secret

The Teacher’s Secret by Susanne Leal

We all know what evil in schools looks like, right? There’s huge amounts of coverage in the press. So the tag for this is ‘Acclaimed Aussie novel exploring good & evil in schools’. Right. We know what it’s about; we’re led there.

Except that’s not quite true. It’s probably better to say that Secret ‘explores life, petty bureaucracy and its associated nastiness in an around a fired, male teacher at a school in a small community’.  It’s a mix of a number of stories put together, each a tale of an individual in a small town and the link between them all being the school – whether their children attend, whether they’re a teacher/janitor or whether they’re linked to it in some way.

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Review: Blame

Blame by Paul Read

The sudden death of his father forces a reformed addict to come to terms with long-held resentment.

It’s worth mentioning that the subject matter is not one that holds my attention – in some ways, perhaps, it’s too close to the bone, and perhaps the flood of misery memoirs in recent years has deadened the market for otherwise well-written books like Blame. Yet the subject matter is important and an integreal part of life: a brilliant research chemist makes his own drugs (Breaking Bad), reforms and builds a life away from family (Street Cat) whilst dealing with a problematic mother and father (Curious Incident). And there’s a childhood diary, a possible love triangle, misundertanding of betrayal…

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Ideas, Imagination and Creativity

Lately, I’ve been thinking about ideas and how they link into imagination and, ultimately, into the process we call ‘creativity’. It was kicked off when I bumped into an acquaintance who claimed that they had no (or few) ideas compared to others.

It’s a common question for writers: ‘Where do your ideas come from?’  The answer is, almost always, ‘Everywhere and anything’. In fact, it’s difficult to stop having ideas and the real problem is being able to focus on one (or a few) to turn them into a coherent work.  There si just so much around us: all you have to do is look, touch, listen, taste… and wonder.

So what happens? Even if we struggle, we all read about where ‘ideas’ come from, how they arise, and how to feed them, but what are the processes around them? How can we have more ideas? How can we turn those ideas into something tangible?

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Different books, different approaches

I’ve started another book this year, this time YA, but still SF. One of the things that stuck in my mind from last years helping out with the Summer Reading Challenge is just how much some of the younger readers loved the books they read – and what it was they liked about them.

It would be great, I hoped, if I could inspire that joy through a book.

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Review: Song of the Stork

Song of the Stork by Stephan Collishaw

War is not a grand narrative, but the accumulation of grief on individuals and, here, a specific individual. I was unsure of its exact location, though there is a renowned Selo in Poland and numerous villages of Selo in Russia. Frankly, the exact location of the village doesn’t matter as the The Song of the Stork by  Stephan Collishaw follows the life of a Jewish teenage girl during WWII, firstly after the Nazis come through and kill her friends and family, and then as she tries to survive the constant threat.

And the soul-crushing impact of the atrocities of war on an ordinary individual is what The Song portrays.

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