The most startling psychedelic books in dark speculative fiction from Australia and the world

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an African Australian author of several novels and fiction collections, and a finalist in the 2022 World Fantasy Award. I was announced in the honor list of the 2022 Otherwise Fellowships for ‘doing exciting work in gender and speculative fiction’.  I have a master's degree with distinction in distributed computer systems, a master's degree in creative writing, and a PhD in creative writing. The short story is my sweetest spot. I have a deep passion for the literary speculative, and I write across genres and forms, with award-winning genre-bending works. I am especially curious about stories of culture, diversity, climate change, writing the other and betwixt.


I wrote...

Secondhand Daylight

By Eugen Bacon, Andrew Hook,

Book cover of Secondhand Daylight

What is my book about?

Something is happening to Green. He’s an ordinary guy, time-jumping forward at a startling rate. His ultimate destination is a colossal question mark. Zada is a scientist in the future. She’s mindful of Green’s conundrum and seeks to unravel it by going backwards in time. Can she stop him from jumping to infinity? Their point of intersection is fleeting but memorable, each one’s travel impacting the other’s past or future. And one of them doesn’t even know it yet. Secondhand Daylight is a reverse story in alternate timelines between two protagonists whose lives must one day intersect. A titillating offering from World Fantasy Award-finalist Eugen Bacon, in collaboration with three-time British Fantasy Society Award-winner Andrew Hook.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Purpose of Reality: Solar

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Few short stories collection come with a pairing in illustrated poetry. Aussie Steve Simpson’s The Purpose of Reality: Solar has a poetic cousin in The Purpose of Reality: Lunar, both illustrated with his own evolutionary art, full of pattern, texture, and a dreamy luminescence. The stories are phantastic and philosophical in their metaphor and silhouette that perfectly weds with the illustrations. The blurring of reality and reverie in The Purpose of Reality: Solar is almost psychedelic and metafictional, gliding into slipstream fiction that makes it a rare work for the inquisitive reader. 

By Steve Simpson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Purpose of Reality as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Steve Simpson's mesmerizing collection of short fiction and illustrations is surreal and wildly imaginative, with touches of playfulness throughout. Here is a selection of the beings within:At Claire's school, the walls were cardboard, and her chain-smoking math teacher never allowed numbers to be mentioned. He used a drawing of a press to flatten slices of air into tissue paper for kites, and he was Claire's favorite, because all the other teachers were ghosts. One day, with a little pasta and a little mambo, everything changed.The negentropy wars didn't end the world, there were survivors, and in Santarém, the gringo electrician…


Book cover of A Primer to Kaaron Warren

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

No easy way describes Kaaron Warren’s darkest mind full of mischief and intensity. She’s a global legend, no worries, with her distinctive Australian tongue. Find wicked excitement in Warren’s horror, disturbing in its nature, leaving nothing untouched. Even babies are not safe. This primer is a quick introduction to ominous storytelling, that may pave way to curiosity into award-winning works, including Tide of Stone or Into Bones Like Oil. Starting here, with illustrations and an exegetical analysis by Michael Arnzen, is perhaps the soundest way to dip a toe into the humour, surreally, and darkness of this author’s alluring text. 

By Kaaron Warren, Eric J. Guignard (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Primer to Kaaron Warren as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Australian author Kaaron Warren is widely recognized as one of the leading writers today of speculative and dark short fiction. She’s published four novels, multiple novellas, and well over one hundred heart-rending tales of horror, science fiction, and beautiful fantasy, and is the first author ever to simultaneously win all three of Australia’s top speculative fiction writing awards (Ditmar, Shadows, and Aurealis awards for The Grief Hole).

Dark Moon Books and editor Eric J. Guignard bring you this introduction to her work, the second in a series of primers exploring modern masters of literary dark short fiction. Herein is a…


Book cover of The Tree of Ecstasy & Unbearable Sadness

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

The quality and production of this phenomenal hardcover of imposing size are mesmeric. Its metaphoric text on mental illness and accompanying artwork are visually appealing and poignantly immersive. Transformative text transports the reader, any reader—child, young adult, adult—to beauty and hurt, evolution and transformation. The perfect book for anyone living with psychosis or other illness, and for everyone else to understand the fragility of debilitating conditions.  

Book cover of The Forest of Dead Children

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Slipstream fiction doesn’t get more uncanny than this collection of short stories featuring dead children and sometimes parents behind those deaths. The Forest of Dead Children is a startling book, absolutely alarming, in its suspense and incongruity pertaining to matters of little ones, especially if you’re a parent. The allure of European slipstream author Andrew Hook’s collection is in its darkness and revelation of the potency and frailty of parenthood, right there on the balance, and what, what, could possibly go wrong? Wholly unconventional and disturbingly captivating. 

By Andrew Hook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Forest of Dead Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Black Shuck Shadows presents a collectable series of micro-collections, intended as a sampler to introduce readers to the best in classic and modern horror.
In The Forest of Dead Children, Hook offers five tales of children in peril.


Book cover of The Dark Matter of Natasha

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Not many novellas punch their weight this hard as Matthew R. Davis’ The Dark Matter of Natasha. Addressing almost with levity matters of suicide, this tiny book is entrapping with the disquieting dread yet morbid curiosity it rouses in you. It’s an intelligent story oozing with the sexual urgency of young adulthood. An orgasmic psychological thriller amalgamated with deep haunting, The Dark Matter of Natasha is a compelling conversation on the topic of teen self-harm. Macabre, intimate and beautiful all at once. 

By Matthew R. Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dark Matter of Natasha as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Natasha stalks the quiet streets of dead-end Lunar Bay like doom in a denim jacket. She’s a grim reminder that some teenagers can never escape the ever-tightening noose of their lives. Burned out and benumbed by a traumatic past, dogged by scurrilous small-town gossip, she finds solace in drugs, sex and Slayer.

What horrors have her flat eyes witnessed? And how far will she go in pursuit of the one tiny spark of hope that still flickers in her haunted heart?

When a naïve transplant crosses her path, he's drawn into shadow and doubt. With his girlfriend ghosting him, Natasha’s…


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Book cover of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

K.R. Wilson Author Of Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

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Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Reader History enthusiast Occasional composer Sometime chorister

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What is my book about?

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Call Me Stan: A Tragedy in Three Millennia

By K.R. Wilson,

What is this book about?

Long-listed for the 2022 Leacock Medal for Humour

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