The best short story collections in literary and 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...

Book cover of Danged Black Thing

What is my book about?

Danged Black Thing is an unexpected cornucopia of black speculative fiction stories in an Australian backdrop, deceptively mundane on the everyday. In language that is fierce and pregnant with poeticity, this collection is a fantastical escape in evocative text uncompromising in the imagination it unleashes. Eugen Bacon has a penchant for themes on the ‘other’, betwixt, hauntings, and unlimited futures in transformative stories of culture, diversity, and hybridity. This collection casts its crucial gaze at mostly women and children haunted by patriarchy.

Danged Black Thing made the 2021 Otherwise Honor List as a 'sharp collection of Afro-Surrealist work'.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Candescent Blooms

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Andrew Hook is a European slipstream author proficient in the literary weird. He certainly does not disappoint in his new collection of Hollywood’s living dead. Candescent Blooms rouses legends of the silver screen right there in your living room, and they are broken, unbroken, full of many secrets. And you know, you know—because history says so—that the actors and actresses are dead, yet living, right there on your page. Imbued with levity wrapped in anguish. Thimble-sized, you will not find a literary collection this superb in a long time.   

By Andrew Hook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Candescent Blooms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Candescent Blooms is a collection of twelve short stories which form fictionalised biographies of mostly Golden Era Hollywood actors who suffered untimely deaths. From Olive Thomas in 1920 through to Grace Kelly in 1982, these pieces utilise facts, fiction, gossip, movies and unreliable memories to examine the life of each individual character set against a Hollywood background of hope and corruption, opportunity and reality.


Book cover of Songs for Dark Seasons

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Sometimes uncanny stories are the best place to start in discovering your new author. Lisa Hannett’s Songs for Dark Seasons is a literary degustation that gives more than a hint of what to expect from this author. Her stories are clever and full of twists, wretched with longing yet swathed in hope. Fast-paced, tense, and transforming—all the reasons to familiarise yourself with South Australian Lisa Hannett’s magic.

By Lisa Hannett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Songs for Dark Seasons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With a twang in its heart and a song for luck on its tongue, Songs for Dark Seasons takes readers back to the lonesome dream counties introduced in the World Fantasy Award-nominated collection, Bluegrass Symphony.

Trailer parks and graves are only temporary homes for souls in these tales, where gods dwell in churches and parking lot groves. Friday night football stars mingle with sirens; hunters’ wives help their kids not to shoot, but to fly; Chanticleers spar their way into local government; and rash-afflicted men take dryads for lovers. In backwater towns, some witches have the know-how to pin pageant…


Book cover of A Primer to Jeffrey Ford

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Jeffrey Ford is an exhilarating American writer in his own right. This collection gives you the best of Ford in stories that remind you why this distinguished ambassador of words is an author to read. Casting oddities that stay indelible in your mind, this primer, an homage to Ford, is immersive with folklore, darkness, tricksters, ancient traditions, and psychological thrillers. Incorruptibly delicious.  

By Jeffrey Ford, Eric J. Guignard (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Author of the fantastic and the bizarre, Jeffrey Ford’s work has won awards and acclaim across the globe for his stories of humor, horror, and unconventional beauty. “Powerful and disturbing in the best possible way” (Gawker) and “Intensely engaging” (Publishers Weekly), Ford crosses speculative genres with literary ideals, which has earned him the World Fantasy Award (seven times), the Shirley Jackson Award (four times), the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and France’s vaunted Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire.

Dark Moon Books and editor Eric J. Guignard bring you this introduction to his work, the fourth in a series of primers exploring modern…


Book cover of Stray Bats

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

Margo Lanagan’s mini-collection Stray Bats is an exceptional showcase of refined writing—less is always more. Powerful bite-size vignettes in this dark illustrated miscellany of micro fiction and prose poetry encompass rhyme, beauty, and something most sinister. Offering up constellations, maidens in flight, familiars, hag hunters, vixen wives, and spirit girls, this kind of dark, fantastical writing and the ghosts of its graphics haunt you for a super long time…

By Margo Lanagan, Kathleen Jennings (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stray Bats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dachshund droids, mad crones, shapeshifting children, a plethora of witches, dragonstalkers, familiars, slithering eels and, of course, bats, flit and fly through these pages, aided and abetted by Kathleen Jennings’s deft and inspired pencil drawings. Stray Bats is a glorious miscellany of vignettes based on poems by Australian women. While some of the pieces hie close to the originals in form and theme, some stray far, far from them even as Lanagan delights in playing with language, rhyme, and rhythm.

This could be the perfect gift for that slightly otherworldly person in your life—or for yourself, when you need a…


Book cover of Miniatures: A Collection of Short Stories

Eugen Bacon Why did I love this book?

It’s rare that you’ll find someone who’s mastered the craft of short story writing with such precision as Susan Midalia. Miniatures is exactly that: a collection of short short stories. Midalia is an expert in capturing with bladelike sharpness profound awkwardness in the everyday. Herein: ordinary people, you and me, in the mundanity of suburbia—then she yanks the ground off your feet with the most perverse ending that leaves you brooding. Miniatures is an intelligent and relatable book with its whisper of simple language that roars the biggest ideas. It’s a book that’s as coyly subversive as it’s fulsomely entertaining. 

By Susan Midalia,

Why should I read it?

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


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The Cowboy's Lost Family

By Roxanne Snopek,

Book cover of The Cowboy's Lost Family

Roxanne Snopek

New book alert!

What is my book about?

He’s looking for the one thing she’s done with: family.

Brade Oliver arrives in Grand, Montana, looking for blood—and answers. Genetic tests reveal that his biological family may reside in the small, western town, and he’s on a mission to finally discover the one thing his adoptive family couldn’t give him: the truth.

Kendall McKinley craves a normal life, free of the demands, drama, and constraints of her dysfunctional family. Despite being focused on building her career and working on a restoration project, Kendall can’t help herself from noticing a handsome stranger the first night he arrives. But when Brade…

The Cowboy's Lost Family

By Roxanne Snopek,

What is this book about?

He’s looking for the one thing she’s done with: family.

Brade Oliver arrives in Grand, Montana, looking for blood—and answers. Genetic tests reveal that his biological family may reside in the small, western town, and he’s on a mission to finally discover the one thing his adoptive family couldn’t give him: the truth.

Kendall McKinley craves a normal life, free of the demands, drama, and constraints of her dysfunctional family. Despite being focused on building her career and working on a restoration project, Kendall can’t help herself from noticing a handsome stranger the first night he arrives. But when Brade…


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