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Light Touch Paper Stand Clear: Short Story Collection edited by Simon Petrie & Edwina Harvey

01/07/2012. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

Buy Light Touch Paper Stand Clear: Short Story Collection edited in the USA - or Buy Light Touch Paper Stand Clear: Short Story Collection edited in the UK

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pub: Peggy Bright Books. 250 page book. Price: $24.95 (AUS). Ebook: $ 4.95 (AUS).

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This is an anthology of fiction from Peggy Bright Books, a publisher based in Australia, which has connections to the successful magazine 'Andromeda Spaceways'. It's available as hardcopy for about $25 (AUS) but for economy of postage reasons, it's probably best received as a PDF if you live outside of Australia.

Speculative fiction is the theme of the thirteen stories. I don't know if there is any significance behind the number but this baker's dozen has got plenty of substance to its dough and the stories are all readily digestible. If you want to purchase it, check out the website for details.

We've got allegorical tales, stories about the Trojan War and most intriguingly as envisaged by Adam Browne in 'The d-d', the terraforming of Hell. Now, how in the name of Hell can you terraform Hell? The answer comes in a Victorian expedition to Dante's Inferno led by a chap with a strange umbrella who meets up with the explorer Richard Burton. Say no more! This is only one of the stories but they are all equally good.

While the stories have some of the atmosphere of 'Andromeda Spaceways', that certainly isn't a bad character trait to have, there's lots of what I would call quirky fiction, with plays on words and situations. 'The Subjunctive Case' by Robert Porteous was murder most foul with a detective trying to solve the case. This was no ordinary case.

'Between Lines', written by Brenda Cooper, relates the story of a post-apocalyptic Internet situation in Australia. Conspiracy, multi-national companies and the giant spaceship all come into the reckoning! Is everyone being taken for a ride on this spaceship?

Over 250 pages of fiction is enough to keep you occupied for a considerable time at little cost. It will be interesting to see how many copies are sold. The fiction is good but I'm beginning to wonder if the market for anything longer than what it takes to write a twitter message is fast evaporating. Maybe this is the apocalyptic future?

I would certainly recommend this book to anyone interested in good fiction. There's also good stuff on the publisher's website, some of which has already been reviewed in SFCrowsnest and, while you are sheltering from the rain during the British summer, it may be worthwhile taking a look.

Rod MacDonald

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This book has 96 votes in the sci-fi charts

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