Small press publishing is an important part of Australia’s literary landscape and is well deserving of some attention. So every now and then, I like to devote a blog post to a particular small press publisher or publication. As well as having released two books, Melbourne-based Busybird Publishing also holds the reins on two magazines — Page Seventeen and [untitled]. And it is the second of these that I’m going to look at today.
I have some history with [untitled]. This magazine (or pocketbook, as they refer to it) has published two of my stories — “Photographic Memory” in issue 1 and “Tall, Dark and Handsome” in issue 4. I also had the great honour of launching issue 2 in 2010. So when issue 5 was released earlier this year (after some delay due to the editor having been hit by a car), I eagerly went along to the launch and purchased my copy.
The latest issue of [untitled] strikes you with its bold and colourful cover, which illustrates one of the stories — Nicolas Hoover’s “The Humerus is Not a Funny Bone”. Kev Howlett has been the cover artist for all five issues, and his bold, graphic style makes any issue of [untitled] instantly recognisable.
Within the pages are a selection of great stories covering topics as diverse as clowns, real estate and isolation; and genres from comedy to speculative fiction. This issue also contains the winning stories from 2012 [untitled] Short Story Competition.
As with any short story magazine or anthology, I liked some stories better than others… but there is no substandard material in this lot. The editors of this little mag have done a great job of selecting a range of quality writing.
My personal favourite from this issue is “The Worry Man” by Adrienne Tam. This story got second place in the competition. While I certainly recognise why the judges chose “Skin on Skin” by Eliza-Jane Henry-Jones as the winner (it is a great piece of writing), it is “The Worry Man” that stuck in my mind with its wonderfully evocative dark urban fantasy. But there were a number of other standouts — from the chilling “Bringing Them Home”, to the eerie sci-fi of “Convenience Store”, to epic destiny of “The Greatest Day”.
To find out more about [untitled], check out their website. If you like reading short fiction, then I’d highly recommend picking up an issue or two (or five) of this pocketbook / mag. And if you write short fiction, check out their submission guidelines.
Catch ya later, George
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