STRANGE FICTION OF AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND
The first SHORTCUTS series features six stories of the future, the past, and the uncanny, all of which wind in some way back to the shores of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Interdimensional forests, atomic ghosts and future tech gone horribly wrong abound in SHORTCUTS | Track 1, which celebrates the diversity of genre fiction writing in New Zealand.
Mika Tāura arrives in New York in the middle of a storm, where she accidentally kills a motorist and lands herself with an injured child. What’s more, she’s missed her rendezvous.
Stan has problems of his own. Several of them just broke into his apartment and tried to kill him, which may explain why hitching a ride in Mika’s armoured waka seems like a good idea. Besides, her business is taking her across to the West Coast, and so – conveniently – is his.
On the run, Mika, Stan and the girl flee across the country to Stan’s reservation home, where they encounter a couple who may be the key to Mika’s mission. But time is running out, for the travellers and for those they leave behind them.
Forty years ago, Katherine St. John disappeared – briefly. Thirty years ago, she enacted a disappearance of another sort, stepping not just away from her music career but across the ocean to the other side of the world.
Yesterday, Rachel Mackenzie’s flight touched down in Auckland. She’s travelled to New Zealand to interview the reclusive musician Katherine St. John about her first album in nearly thirty years. But strange things are happening at St. John’s farm and soon Rachel finds herself caught up in something far larger than the world of music.
BREE’S DINOSAUR | AC Buchanan
Cam’s ambitions are straightforward: study Business English in Wellington for six months, then return to Vietnam to build a promising career. She doesn’t need any complications, least of all those created by Bree, her host-family’s secretive, troubled, teenage daughter. But when a dinosaur is being (very noisily) built in the bedroom next to yours, and a meteor-strike is threatening, it’s not always possible to avoid being sucked in – especially when there’s an extinct animal in your own history. And one winter night in Karori, Bree’s past resurfaces as well.
Carl’s work requires him to travel extensively, but he and his wife Jenny stay connected through their Tinys – four-inch-tall replicas of themselves which, when turned on, transmit whatever sensory information they are receiving directly into their living counterparts’ minds. Through his Tiny, which Jenny keeps close beside her in Auckland, Carl can see his wife, speak to her, even feel her touch. But when Jenny’s Tiny malfunctions and she can’t turn herself off, Carl has a major problem. He’s having an affair, and he’d rather his wife wasn’t around.
LANDFALL | Tim Jones
Desperation and betrayal on the border of a new life.
When the New Zealand Navy torpedoes a Bangladeshi river ferry full of refugees fleeing their drowning country, Nasimul Rahman is one of the few survivors. But even if he can reach the shore alive, he has to make it past the trigger-happy Shore Patrol, set up to keep the world’s poor and desperate at bay.
Donna is a new recruit to the Shore Patrol. She’s signed on mainly because of her friend Mere, but also because it’s good to feel she’s doing something for her country. When word comes through that the Navy has sunk a ship full of infiltrators, and survivors may be trying to make their way ashore, it sounds like she might finally see some action.
1886. Two young boys disappear in the Sounds. Their mother grieves, all the music cut out of her heart; their father wanders the coast for a year, wanting and not wanting to find any part of them left behind. And their brother Ern, faced with a problem to which no solution can be found, returns to his laboratory – and to the smell of salt, soft voices in his ear, wet footprints welling seawater in the darkness.
Octavia Cade weaves together time and memory, physics and mystery, in this story inspired by Ernest Rutherford’s life and research.