Jolley Prize story
It takes more than half an hour to put on all the layers of the dry suit. First the woollen thermals, then the thick undersuit and the neoprene seals around the neck and wrists. Finally, the membrane shell. All this before we even look for the hole in the ice. By the time we hit the water we are as plump and blubber-thick as the more cold-adapted creatures: se ... More
I trace my encounters with time travel to perdurantism and poetry. In the spring of 1981, I was appointed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado to probe a wormhole, an undertaking of ambitious design which would allow information to travel faster than the speed of light. As the universe was changing, the preparations were endless. O ... More
He was a man with a pinboard, and that boosted him a hundred points in her nervy evaluation, the first night she saw his room. On the pinboard were tickets, a laminated backstage pass, a wrapper from a Swiss chocolate, all those things that could wait for drowsy burbling nocturnal stories in the dark, the recounting of Times Before Her recited off like threaded bead ... More
Inherit your great-grandmother’s wild red hair and hear the boys sing Griffin’s Gingernuts are so spicy when you walk past the Four Square court. Feel like a freak. Ask your mother if you can cut your hair short when you start high school and hear her say but it’s your best asset. Worry about your assets. Regret not cutting it on the first ... More
I phoned my father when I arrived.
He said ‘Your mum’s just round at Aunty El’s’ in such a way that I knew she wasn’t; that she’d left the room with her hand to her mouth when he’d first said hullo, love, and I felt so sorry for us all.
The hotel room was cool and masculine. I drew back the curtains and looked out. The cityscape ... More
Later, Katherine seemed to remember a run of light around the box, the way desert air shimmers on the horizon. What she did remember clearly were the two women walking, flat-footed and rolling-hipped, dark limbs like animated hieroglyphs inscribing the space through which they moved, an inflated plastic bag capering at their heels like a family pet. It was one ... More
I walk in the door and Gran tells me that a month ago Leslie Mulligan was taken by a shark while trying to save a stranger. Imagine, a national hero. She actually says that. As though dying in a world of pain in an ocean filled with his own blood was a heroic choice.
Awake for thirty hours, I’m beyond tired and probably in shock. ... More
In 1979 in the town of Paradise Lake, women of fifty favour blue knitwear and Peter Jackson cigarettes. They cook sponges without a recipe, don’t mind a brandy and dry, and love their grandchildren with an intensity that takes some of them by surprise. They’re most readily distinguished, one from another, according to their golf handicaps and the generosity of t ... More
My sister watched the river drink me, and offered not a finger to pull me free. She was a colder creature than the water on my skin, and I should have known there was no turning her once her words were thinned, and her eyes dusk-rimmed. She watched me bob and nod to the river, her skirts clotted in her fists, and I don’t think she cared if I became wood or stone, ... More