They’re still flogging copies (not convicts!) at the University of Queensland Press website. TOUR TO HELL tells the true tale of colonial Australia’s convict ‘escape mythology’.

Tour-To-Hell

Escape mythology is my umbrella term for the bizarre beliefs that had runaway convicts convinced they could walk to China, find sanctuary with a mystery white society in the outback, or find the west coast of Australia (together with a port and a ship back home) just a short distance through the bush from Sydney.

Resurrected from contemporary sources (court records, colonial diaries and newspapers, etc) this strange corner of Australian history has never before been told in full. As well as documenting the most significant outbreak of the convict imagination in early colonial New South Wales, Tour To Hell casts valuable light on a fascinating but little-known aspect of first contact between European and Aboriginal people.

 

Dimension 6 Annual Collection 2019 (now available from Couer de Lion publishing) features my story The Sirens’ Secret and other tales of wonder and imagination – science-fiction, the fantastique, etc. And sirens! Listen, can you hear them? You can’t resist…

75293021_2804973432868486_2439317123755933696_n

th031KR09W

 

 

 

 

 

Issue 17 of online spec fic magazine Dimension6 has cyber-materialised to be read freely over at Coeur de Lion Publishing

I’ve a tale in this one called The Sirens’ Secret, revisiting the famous myth.

To introduce it, here’s an edited extract from my author bio in the issue…

th031KR09W

The Roman emperor Tiberius, whose vital interest was Greek mythology, enjoyed pestering scholars with obscure questions such as ‘What song did the sirens sing?’ His biographer Suetonius called this ‘foolish and ridiculous’.

2-16.jpg

I disagree, partly because I share some of the emperor’s fascination for these old tales, but also because the nature of siren song must rank among music’s greatest mysteries. Unlike fairy music, of which brief examples have occasionally been written down, it has been entirely lost to posterity.

7

The Sirens’ Secret grew not just from immersion in mythology, but also from a throwaway comment by a famous musician who said he never listens to his old albums because he makes them for other people, not himself. I hope that doesn’t give away too much plot…

PS: The Siren Vase (475 BC), Ancient Greek and in the British Museum, shows Sirens as bird-nymphs. The paintings are The Sirens & Ulysses (1837) by William Etty and below it, Gustav Wertheimer’s The Kiss Of The Siren (1882).

Mightily chuffed and honoured to have my supernatural/historical short story SHARK’S ISLAND swim into this year’s THE YELLOW BOOKE, the annual collection of “original horror, ghost stories and weird fiction” from US-based Oldstyle Press. Shark’s Island (pages 123-132) transports you to the wildest outer limits of Australia’s convict past. Follow the link to read The Yellow Booke (vol iv) free online, or buy a print copy from Amazon at an Amazingly good price.

the-yellow-book-volume-4
As well as putting out the annual Yellow Booke, Oldstyle Press publishes handsomely illustrated and annotated editions representing many of the great masters of classic weird and supernatural fiction – Poe, Shelley, Blackwood, Stoker, Bierce, Dickens, James, RLS and more. Well worth sinking your teeth into!