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Posts from the ‘novellas #NovNov’ Category


#AusReadingMonth2020 Simpson Returns (novella)



  1. Main character:
  2. Jack Simpson – ghostly World War I hero soldier
  3. …not everyone can see him, apart from those who helps
  4. Helper: Murphy, his donkey
  5. Quest: Jack is in search for an inland sea in the center of the country.
  6. Majority of the tale:  deals with characters he meets along the way
  7. teenage runaway
  8. refugee
  9. Vietnam veteran
  10. single mother
  11. deranged ex-teacher,
  12. Setting:  Australia
  13. Theme:   Jack tries to help others but sometimes fails….
  14. Jack  defends his actions by claiming the
  15. …intention is more important than the result.



  1. Backstory: Shrapnel Gully – bullet in the heart – Lasseter’s vial – the Inland Sea.
  2. Characters:  Sad stories
  3. …that could not spark a scintilla of  pathos in me, sorry.
  4. While the first half or so of the book
  5. …was interesting (Jack and Murphy) it became repetitious and tedious.
  6. Each section had the standard line to a character:  “…tell me your story.”
  7. After 61% of the book….
  8. I decided to approach it from a different angle.
  9. With the help of KINDLE flashcards
  10. I noted ONLY the dialogue of Jack
  11. …and filtered out the tragic stories of the other characters.
  12. I flashed the cards
  13. ….and had a rolling conversation with Jack.
  14. I just wanted to salvage anything from the book.


Last Thoughts:

  1. Perhaps I’ve have been spoiled
  2. …after reading Nigel Featherstone’s
  3. stellar novella Fall On Me.
  4. Page turner? Only when I was turning
  5. …a few pages at a time hoping it would get better.
  6. It did not.
  7. #ReadAndDecideForYourself

#AusReadingMonth2020 Girl Reporter (novella)



  1. I just loved this novella!
  2. Tansy Roberts just nailed it with the ‘new vocabulary‘ for the
  3. networked, connected, vlogging, livestreaming, vid, twitter feed generation.
  4. Friday Valentina (#SuperheroSpill reporter) made me laugh:
  5. There’s something beautiful about the perfect hashtag.
  6. Truly, the hashtag is the epic poem of the 21st C.”
  7. Have  some fun and enjoy Tina (mother), Friday Valentina
  8. Solar, Astra, The Dark and many more characters.
  9. This book is full of snark and satire!
  10. Strong point:  snappy dialogue
  11. Tansy Roberts’ dialogue:
  12. develops the plot
  13. reveals characters’ motivation,
  14. creates an cyberspace experience for reader
  15. makes an average story extraordinary.
  16. #MustRead
  17. #MustLaugh



#AusReadingMonth2020 Icefall



  1. Well, fly me to the moon..
  2. if you are like me I seldom read SF. It just does not entertain me.
  3. But I am trying to read deeply and widely,
  4. so I decided to ‘test the waters’ with a short 114 pg novella.
  5. Now, I did the research for you (see review)
  6. …so you can dive right into this book.
  7. Just think….at the next book club meeting when they ask t
  8. o suggest a ‘something completely different…
  9. you can suggest ICEFALL by Stephanie Gunn!
  10. The club will be determined NOT to read it
  11. ….you could probably crack rocks on their jaws!
  12. But…at least try to guide them into the world of SF!
  13. Millions of people read nothing else!
  14. Stephenie Gunn was a research scientist turned full time writer.
  15. I’m curious how she will combine her
  16. …scientific backround with her fiction
  17. Will Ms Gunn write what she knows
  18. ….or what she feels?



  1. I do not read very much SF
  2. …so looked at some terms I found in the text…and what they mean.
  3. This made the book MUCH easier to process.


  1. VIR POD – spaceship ‘Wanda R’
  2. …named for Wanda Rutkiewicz, first woman to climb K2.
  3. VIR – virutal interfaced reality
  4. VIR implants – one can experience both worlds (virtual and real) at the same time


  1. AI hologram3D image formed by split laser beam.
  2. Ms Gunn describes a AI holographic character as
  3. genderless, expressionless, fingers bloodless
  4. …can dematerialize and form again in i.e. the navigator’s chair (ch 15)
  5. …can flow around me (Aisha) to envelope me completely in its field (ch1)


  1. AI (artifcial intelligence)
  2. I did not know if this was a human replication or just a voice!
  3. Replicant androids are indistinguishable from human beings
  4. …remember the film: Blade Runner… how was human and who was AI?
  5. In this book AI comes with a package of standard visages:
  6. male, female or null gender.
  7. AI uses the visage and name of Mallory
  8. …in reference to G. Mallory
  9. the first person to summit Mt Everest.



  1. Icefall is a similar planet to old Earth.
  2. MacGregor Corporation has established two colonies on Icefall.
  3. Icefall organizes a Icefall Climbing Competition once every 7 years.
  4. Essential in the plot is a ‘weeping mountain’.
  5. All of the pointed masses of ice  and snow in a glacier melt.
  6. Millions of mega litres of water wash over the
  7. continent destroying everything in its path.
  8. The waters lie still for one ICEFALL  day (25 hrs).
  9. The next day waters retreat…moving against gravity.
  10. The mountain draws everything back towards it
  11. …the glaciers, the icefall and continental ice all reform.
  12. This was the SPOOKIEST thing in the entire book!


  1. Planet Demeter home of narrator Aisha Ashkani
  2. Planet Icefall
  3. Greyspace – folded space beneath normal space that surrounds planet Icefall
  4. Many references to “old Earth”


Structure:        26 chapters,  114 pages

  1. Present – Ch 1-5-11 (arriving on planet Icefall)
  2. Backstory – Ch  2-3-4-6-7-8-9-10-13 
  3. Present – Ch 14-26  present (Icefall Climbing Competition)


Main Characters:

  1. Mallory (AI) – projects its holographic interface around narrator Aisha.
  2. Aisha:  former priestess of ONE Order of the New Earth
  3. Maggie (Margaret Malleore) mountain climber – Maggie and narrator are married
  4. Gorak – bot (robot) raven like bird that will be narrator’s ‘eyes’ on the Mountain.



  1. Aisha Ashkani (priestess) is from Sherpa heritage.
  2. Sherpa believe the mountain is
  3. …their goddess and one should not
  4. trespass on the sacred ground.
  5. Ironically
  6. …Aisha becomes fascinated
  7. with mountaint climbing and leaves the temple
  8. …to reach the snowy summit.


Last Thoughts:

  1. This SF novella is about Mountain climbing in space…in the future.
  2. Humans have left old Earth and have colonised the universe.
  3. There is also  a very touching love story in this book
  4. …that brings the SF and the human elements in balance.
  5. You will have to read the book (reading time?  2 hrs)
  6. to discover the tender bond between Aisha Ashkani and Maggie.
  7. #GreatRead

#AusReadingMonth2020 Dolores (novella)



  1. 16-year-old arrives, alone, at a convent in Spain.
  2. She is given the name Dolores.
  3. Short and mysterious…one-sitting read. (2 hrs)
  4. …the close-up details of life in the convent.
  5. Each chapter shows Delores adapting to the nuns’ routines,
  6. before taking us to her backstory…to her secret.



  1. What can I say….
  2. Of course you must remember this is a debut novella
  3. and the author will improve as time goes on.
  4. Ms Curtis was shortlisted for NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2020
  5. …so somebody must have seen merit in this book.
  6. Unfortunately, I did not.
  7. A story is setup… Dolores is rendered human.
  8. We see her encounter a problem or challenge.
  9. She wanders through darkness in the convent.
  10. But here’s the thing
  11. she doesn’t evolve into a problems solver or heroine
  12. The book ends abruptly leaving me hanging in mid-air.
  13. Weak point: too much description
  14. no irony, complexity, nuance, depth
  15. ….it’s all surface.
  16. But when you start writing…sometimes surface is enough.
  17. Strong point: the blurb was better than the book!
  18. #NotBad…
  19. But also…#NotGreat

#AusReadingMonth2020 Fall On Me (novella)



  1. I had so much fun reading this book!
  2. I even contacted the author via Twitter!
  3. He told me he wrote the story
  4. …during a month’s stay in Launceston Tasmania.
  5. I decided to investigate this town, its streets and iconic buildings!
  6. NOTE:  book is perfectly paired  with author’s  REM  playlist!!
  7. NOTE: …there are more songs, so read the book and keep Spotify handy!
  8. Radio Free Europe…is a favorite of mine in chapter 6!
  9. As Anna says (housemate): “it’s good to allow a bit of nostalgia into your
  10. …life every now and again….”



  1. Fall on Me is short enough to be read in one sitting.
  2. What’s not to love? 
  3. A novella is still a novel and this one has
  4. complexity with relationships (Katelyn, Fergal)
  5. …and the all the subplots (Anna, surviving in Lonnie = Launceston, Tasmania)
  6. A novel if too long looses focus
  7. …but Nigel Featherstone uses compression and intensity
  8. …to keep this reader glued to every page!
  9. When I started this book about a  tense father-son relationship
  10.  I expected Lou to go into a rage
  11. ….similar to that of the father character in the film “Billy Elliot”.
  12. But, no …Lou shows the reader how hard parenting is.
  13. He tries with compassion “to feel with” or “to suffer with” his son.
  14. #MustRead



  1. Main characters: Lou Bard (bar owner), his son Luke, Anna (housemate)
  2. Setting: Tasmania, Launceston (Lonnie)
  3. Timeline:  1 week
  4. Conflict:
  5. Father (Lou): needs to protect his son from danger,
  6. VS
  7. Son (Luke):  need to be his own person, coming of age
  8. Theme:   social norms, father/son relationship, coming of age
  9. Title:  reference to REM “Fall On Me”, Lou’s favorite song!


  1. 1st plot point: Lou enters the main conflict
  2. …he is confronted  with Luke’s art installation.
  3. 2nd plot point: Lou feels empowered after
  4. …after Luke’s  important decision about his art show.
  5. ….Lou feels everything seems to be going his way.
  6. 3rd plot point: Lou …feels he must be absolutely honest
  7. with himself about himself after café incident.
  8. HINGE point: Lou must choose between
  9. …his wants (lies) and son’s needs (truth)
  10. Lou: ” I’ll never, ever let you down.”
  11. Climax: Opening night of Luke’s art installation!
  12. Resolution: How has Lou changed?
  13. Listening in silence can be the best means of communication.
  14. CH 1-2-3…Lou tells his son: “
  15. Character change?  “…Let me show you how brave I can be.”
  16. …will Lou have to prove this later in the story?
  17. Ending:…feels like the sound of a bell ringing.
  18. #Bravo !!!   Nigel!


Strong point:  the book provides tension and suspense.

  1. Featherstone uses flashbacks to fill in the blanks and
  2. reveal some important truth about a character’s past.
  3. Ch 4: the love of Lou’s life Katelyn Somers
  4. Ch 5: Lou is a single father caring for a one month old son
  5. Ch 6: Lou’s friendship with Fergal and his love of the band REM
  6. Ch 14: Grief is a thing with feathers….


Left a mark to on me?


  1. Is defined by Poe
  2. “as a narrative that can be read at
  3. one sitting of from one-half hour to two hours,
  4. …and that is limited to ‘a certain unique or single effect


Favorite moment: chapter 5

Trigger – Housemate Anna tells Lou that Luke is trying to tell him something:

  1. It’s a puzzle, Lou, for you to work out.”
  2.  Anna:  “…if talking doesn’t work, let the silence work for you.


Favorite moment:  chapter 6  …the duties of a parent….

  1. Father realizes he wants to protect his son from danger….but
  2. “children must fly….whatever happens the boy must take to the skies.”


Favorite moment: end of chapter 18

  1. This reader is holding her breath…waiting for release
  2. …at the end in a kind of catharsis! 
  3. Classic Aristotle!
  4. Luke:  “...there are things he needed to do, but he didn’t elaborate.


Favorite quote: chapter 19:

  1. “Ah, the nakedness of a heart,
  2. the nakedness of a breath,
  3. the nakedness of a gift”



Australia:  Launceston  (…my research)

Love names of customers:
  1. N. Featherstone told me via tweet:
  2. “...I wrote the novella 11 years ago
  3. …while spending a month in Launceston“.
  4. I decided to have a look at Launceston via Google!
Ravi Bahrani   – (from Aravind’s Punjabi Hut)
Sam and Dean lawyers  – from around the corner who may or not be a couple!
Eric – owner shop “Not Quite Antique, Not Quite Trash
Big Woz  –  (…Warren Holbrook)
Girls from Tasmanian Aboriginal Lands Council –  (real council in Launceston)
Craig – manages Bob Jane T-Mart – real place!
Bob Jane T-Marts is Australia’s most trusted name for tyres, wheels and car batteries.
LisaCeltic Barbery  – real place !!  Celtic Barber, Launceston Tasmania
  1. Wellman Street –   This street is mentionend 19x
  2. I can only find a Welman Street in Launceston
  3. …perhaps Featherstone wants to keep this address purely fictional
  4. …or was this a typo?  (Nigel?)
  5. Eureka Street – fictional
  6. Charles, Frederick, Elizabeth, Margaret, William, Frankland Street(s) – all real streets
  7. Balfour, Brisbane, Brougham, Wellington, York Street(s) – all real streets
  8. Gleadow Street is in Ivermay Tasmania, town next to Launceston

Ch 2:  “Celtic Barbery”


Ch 2: “I think I’ll have a Boag’s, says Luke”

Boag’s Brewery established in 1883 in Launceston Tasmania!

Ch 3:   Cataract Gorge   Kings Bridge

  • Ch 8: Lou: “No”, not there”  .the Bridge is inside him, wedged there like a bullet.