Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

Mansfield with Monsters

I want to spread the word about an amazing new book project some folks I know have done.

It is called Mansfield with Monsters, and has been authored by Debbie and Matt Cowens (an amazing writerly duo) and put out by Stephen Minchin’s Steam Press.

Katherine Mansfield is one of New Zealand’s most famous and influential writers. While her work is well known, many will be surprised to learn that the ‘accepted’ versions of her stories are often pale reflections of the original manuscripts.

Mansfield with Monsters is the first time that Mansfield’s vision of the supernatural has been published in full – a dream that she often spoke of in her correspondence with occultist Aleister Crowley and American author H. P. Lovecraft. Matt and Debbie Cowens have pieced together recently recovered fragments of her work, recreating Mansfield’s beloved tales as they were first written, complete with vampires, ghouls, and alien monsters. These versions will shock and delight those in the literary community who always suspected that there was more to Mansfield’s work than we had been led to believe.

Mansfield once wrote, “don’t lower your mask until you have another mask prepared beneath—as terrible as you like—but a mask.” While we may never know Mansfield’s true face or fate, Matt and Debbie Cowens are proud to draw back the public mask of one of our most beloved authors to reveal the more chilling one beneath.

Here’s a cool video interview with the authors.


Mansfield with Monsters is available from and from bookstores across New Zealand.

I just bought my Kindle copy and can’t wait to read it.

Now go get yours.

Mary Had a Unicorn

Recently, I mentioned that my mythpunk unicorn story, “Mary Had a Unicorn,” was coming out in June in the Australian-published anthology, Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear.

Well, the time has finally come for the book to launch this weekend at UnConventional in Auckland, New Zealand, followed by a launch at Continuum (I am choosing to ignore’s the Con’s subtitle: Craftonomicon because hey, I don’t even know what that means) , the 51st Australian National SF Con in Melbourne, Australia.

Since I am geographically impaired, and can’t be at either launch, I thought I’d celebrate in my own way by offering a teaser of my story. So, here you go:

Mary Had a Unicorn

The last thing on earth Mary Maloney wanted was a unicorn. She wasn’t an addict, no matter what they said at the welfare clinic. Sure, she used sometimes just to have some fun, or when she was down. But who didn’t? It wasn’t any different than the booze her dad tanked. Or the pot he smoked. But you didn’t see anyone assigning him a freakin’ genetically engineered, one-horned parole officer.

They made her pick out the unicorn herself. They had them all in a little room, one of those big-windowed rooms pet shops have at the very front to display puppies. There were seven of them, all white and no taller than her knees, but they didn’t play or romp, or do anything cute like that. They just stood in a huddle with their shimmery horns jutting in various directions. Except one stood away from the rest, and Mary chose that one.

After that, they took Mary and her dad to a little side room, and brought the unicorn in. While the clinic lady read Mary’s dad all the instructions and he signed papers, Mary was supposed to bond with it or something. She sat in a chair. The unicorn stood in a corner, pointed its horn at her, and quivered, which Mary thought was a good sign. If it was scared of her, all the better.

“It’s a female,” said Clinic Lady, smiling. “Since she first came in, we’ve called her Patience, but you can give her another name if you’d like.”

“Whatever,” Mary said.

“Now, before you take her home,” Clinic Lady turned back to Mary’s dad. “I am required by law to ask you if you’ve emptied your home of all poisonous, noxious, and illegal substances.

“Of course,” said Mary’s father. “Everything on the list.”

The list had been e-mailed to Mary’s dad a week before and had included insecticide, non-organic cleaning supplies, weed killer, turpentine, paint thinner, gasoline, oil, tobacco products, prescription and over-the-counter medication, alcohol, coffee, and of course, illicit drugs. Most of the household stuff her father had locked in the garage, except his booze, which he’d polished off last night, and the coffee, which he’d finished this morning.

“Alrighty then. She’s all yours,” said Clinic Lady, bending down to put a pink nylon leash around the unicorn’s neck. She handed the other end to Mary. “The leash is just a precaution until you get her home,” she explained. “Unicorns imprint very quickly onto their new owners. By tomorrow morning she’ll be glued to your side, and at school they usually just sleep under the desk at your feet.”

“Peachy,” Mary said. She knew this whole unicorn thing was never going to work, but her dad had insisted on applying for it, and he’d even paid the hefty copay out of his booze money, so at least this time she wasn’t the only one going to suffer.

When they got it to the car, the unicorn leapt into the back seat, folded its willowy legs beneath itself, and was asleep by the time they drove out of the parking lot.


Here is the rockin’ list of other contributors for LTPSC.

Joanne Anderton, “The Bone Chime Song”

Sue Bursztynski, “Five Ways to Start a War”

Brenda Cooper, “Between Lines”

Katherine Cummings, “The Traveling Salesman and the Farmer’s Daughter”

Thoraiya Dyer, “Faet’s Fire”

Kathleen Jennings, “Kindling”

Dave Luckett, “History, Theory and Practice”

Ian McHugh, “The Godbreaker and Unggubudh Mountain”

Sean McMullen, “Hard Cases”

Ripley Patton, “Mary Had a Unicorn”

Rob Porteous, “The Subjunctive Case”

Anna Tambour, “Murder at the Tip”

I’m thrilled to be on that list and can’t wait to get my copy in the mail soon and do some reading.


Mary Had a Unicorn

Sold my mythpunk short story, Mary Had a Unicorn, to Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear, an anthology being put out by Simon Petrie and Edwina Harvey (oft-times editors of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine) this June.

I am very fond of this story, which features miniature government-gengineered drug-sniffing unicorns, a  drug-addicted teen protagonist and an alcoholic father.

It is dark. It has an anti-hero. It has kick-ass unicorns.

What more is there?

I’ll be sure to let you know how to order the antho when the time comes.

Tales for Canterbury Ebook

The Ebook version of Tales for Canterbury is now available.

Tales for Canterbury is a short story anthology loosely themed around survival, hope and the future. All profits of this anthology will be donated to the Red Cross Earthquake Appeal. The anthology contains 34 stories, including my new magical realism story, The Bus to Nostalgia, (and of course, one by Neil Gaiman) and is edited by Cassie Hart and Anna Caro.

Wondering about the paperback hardcopy version? It is at the printers now. You can order the ebook version or pre-order the paperback at Random Static publishers.

I hope you’ll support my broken city, Christchurch, in its earthquake recovery, and me personally, by purchasing this wonderful book and spreading the word on your blogs and website, and to friends and family.

Third Year on the SJV Final Ballot

Well, we did it again.

Thanks to all of you who read me and support my work, once again a short story of mine has made it onto the final ballot for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

In 2009, my sci-fi story “The Derby” made it onto the final ballot for the 2008 awards.
In 2010, my novelette “Over the Rim” and my short story “Corrigan’s Exchange” made it onto the final ballot for the 2009 awards, and “Corrigan’s Exchange” tied for best short story and secured me my first SJV trophy shown below.

And now in 2011, my fantasy story “The Future of the Sky” made it onto the final ballot for the 2010 awards. “The Future of the Sky” was published in the wonderful collection A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction, which also secured a final ballot nomination for Best Collected Work. “The Future of the Sky” is available on free podcast HERE, thanks to SpecFicNZ member Matt Cowens and dear friend and fellow-writer Angel McCoy.

Thank you so much for all of you who read it, or listened to the podcast, and put in your nominations.

It means the world to me.

I am also thrilled to point out that members of SpecFicNZ, the national association of speculative fiction writers I founded, hauled away a whopping FOURTEEN FINAL BALLOT NOMINATIONS. The complete list of final ballot nominees can be found HERE.

I am so proud to be a part of such a talented community of writers.

Tales for Canterbury

Tales for Canterbury – a collection of short fiction published to raise money to help those affected by the recent Canterbury Earthquake (Yes, the one that hit my home city of Christchurch and the surrounding areas) – is now available for pre-order at Random Static.

Edited by local writers and SpecFicNZ members Cassie Hart and Anna Caro, the anthology is centered around the themes of survival, hope and a positive future. It includes fiction by overseas and local writers, including Jeff Vandermeer, Tina Makereti, Cat Connor, Sean Williams, Neil Gaiman, and Ripley Patton:)

Due out mid April, the ebook version will be in .pdf, .epub and .mobi formats and is $12 direct from Random Static. The print version is priced at $24.95 and includes free shipping within NZ (international shipping also available) and comes with a free giftwrapping option. Anticipated release date for the print version is the end of April.

Night-Mantled: The Best of Wily Writers Volume 1

I am happy to announce that my short story, A Speck in the Universe, is now available in the anthology Night-Mantled: The Best of Wily Writers Volume 1 being put out by my amazing friend and fellow-writer/editor Angel McCoy.

I love the cover because it looks like a combination of my hooded avatar and my actual picture. That is sooo cool!

It is available now at:

Out of the darkness come the monsters, the mysteries, and the miracles that engage our minds and engorge our hearts.

This collection of short stories from exceptionally wily writers will take you from looking over your shoulder to pondering the wonders of the universe and back again.

The Speculative Fiction podcast chooses only the best two stories per month from its submissions and records them for your listening pleasure.

This volume collects Year #1’s best of the best.

Author Lineup:

  • Alan Baxter: “Stand Off”Jennifer Brozek: “Honoring the Dead”SatyrPhil Brucato: “I Feel Lucky”Nathan Crowder: “Ink Calls to Ink”Richard E. Dansky: “Small Cold Thing”Seanan McGuire: “Julie Broise and the Devil”Lisa Morton:“Sane Reaction”Ripley Patton: “A Speck in the Universe”Grant Stone: “The Salt Line”Joel A. Sutherland: “The Death of Captain Eugene Bloodcake and the Fall of the Horrid Whore”Bruce Taylor: “The Prey”Mark W. Worthen: “The Minimart, the Ruger, and the Girl”

The Future of the Sky in Free Podcast

A Foreign Country – New Zealand Speculative Fiction

A short story anthology edited by Anna Caro & Juliet Buchanan.

This podcast presents 2 stories from the anthology – The Future of the Sky by Ripley Patton (A big thank you to Angel Leigh McCoy for her great podcast reading) and Miramar is Possum Free by Richard Barnes. It’s released under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivative Works license.

From “Strange creatures are loose in Miramar, desperate survivors cling to the remains of a submerged country, humanity’s descendants seek to regain what they’ve lost, and the residents of Gisborne reluctantly serve alien masters. The visions of New Zealand – and beyond – painted in this collection of short stories are both instantly recognisable, and nothing like the place we know.

A Foreign Country brings together the work of established authors and fresh voices to showcase the range of stories produced by New Zealand’s growing community of speculative fiction writers. Humorous, disturbing, intriguing, cautionary, and ultimately hopeful, these tales tell of worlds where the boundaries between human and animal are blurred, babies are not what they seem, desperate measures are in place to ward off disaster, and flying standby can be a big mistake.

The anthology includes stories by: Philip Armstrong, Richard Barnes, Claire Brunette, Anna Caro, Matt Cowens, Bill Direen, Dale Elvy, J.C. Hart, Paul Haines, Miriam Hurst, Tim Jones, Susan Kornfeld, Juliet Marillier, Lee Murray, James Norcliffe, Ripley Patton, Simon Petrie, Brian Priestley, Marama Salsano, Lee Sentes, Janine Sowerby, and Douglas A. Van Belle.”

Check out to buy the paperback.

Short Story Winner

The Random Static anthology, A Foreign Country: New Zealand Speculative Fiction, was officially launched on Friday, August 27th.  Claire Brunette did a reading of her story ‘Beneath the Trees’, after which many people bought books, happy authors collected their copies, and we lined up for signings. My story, ‘The Future of the Sky’, about sylph mythology is the first story in the book and Juliet Marillier’s beautiful ‘Back and Beyond’ closes the collection. Juliet did a reading of her story at the Con and it was very moving.

Au Contraire Competition

Many of the stories submitted to the anthology were selected via the open competition run in conjunction with Au Contraire. Entries were judged by author and Au Contraire Guest of Honour Sean Williams ( who commented:

“This was VERY difficult. Each of the top three was brilliant in its own way. Weird how themes of parenthood, dreams, and loss weave through all of them.”

And the winners are:

1st Place – ‘The Future of the Sky’ by Ripley Patton
2nd Place – ‘Dreams of a Salamander Nation’ by Susan Kornfeld
3rd Place – ‘Cry of a Distress Rocket’ by Brian Priestley
Honourable Mention – ‘Beneath the Trees’ by Claire Brunette

Congratulations, to my fellow writers, place-takers or not. The anthology is truly a work of art.


A Foreign Country is now available HERE and via an ever-expanding list of bookshops  in New Zealand including Parsons, Unity and The Bookie in Auckland and Arty Bees in Wellington (some of these may not have it on the shelves right now, but they should soon). We’re talking to a number more – if you have a connection to your local independent bookstore, please mention A Foreign Country to them. Bookshops which don’t have copies in stock will be able to order them in for buyers on request (if you know people wanting to do this, please give them the ISBN (978-0-473-16916-9). There will also be copies for sale at the Going West Festival, Armageddon in Auckland and other events to be confirmed.

And the Sir Julius Vogel Award Goes To…

Ripley Patton!

That’s right. I am just back from Au Contraire in Wellington and I’ve managed to bring home one of the coveted, sharp, green trophies made by The Weta Workshop. Thanks to all of you who nominated and voted for Corrigan’s Exchange (the winner) and Over the Rim.

I tied with Grant Stone, good friend and last year’s winner, for the 2010 Sir Julius Vogel Award for best short story.

I went up to the platform stunned, said some gibberish, and then sat down and promptly impaled my hand on the tip of my trophy. Yes, they are as sharp as they look.

But, at least forensically, there will never be any doubt whose trophy this is.

I was privileged to be in a long list of the following amazing 2010 SJV winners.

  • Best Novel: Beyond The Wall Of Time, Russell Kirkpatrick
  • Best YA Novel: Brainjack, Brian Falkner
  • Best Novella / Novellete: Wives, Paul Haines
  • Best Short Story (tie): “Corrigan’s Exchange,” Ripley Patton; “The Living Dead Boy,” Grant Stone
  • Best Collected Work: Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, Mark Pirie and Tim Jones
  • Best Artwork: The Test, Serena Kearns
  • Best Dramatic Presentation: Under The Mountain
  • Best Professional Publication: Semaphore Magazine, edited by Marie Hodgkinson
  • Best New Talent: Simon Petrie
  • Best Fan Writing: Simon Litten for SJV Watch and SFFANZ Reviews
  • Best Fan Production: Coals to Newcastle (Short Film), Yvonne Harrison
  • Fan Publication (tie): Phoenixine, John & Lynelle Howell; Time Space Visualiser, Adam McGechan
  • Services to Fandom: David Lee Smith, the founder of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club
  • Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Philip Mann

Congratulations to you all, fine writers.


Ripley Patton lives in a 22-foot camper in the woods of Southern Illinois with a cat named Lemmy. Her two young adult children, a daughter and a son, are her favorite people. When Ripley's not out exploring nature and getting her hands dirty, she's usually reading or writing a book.

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