RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2022
GENRE: SOLAR: Speculative Fiction Short Stories | LUNAR: Speculative Poetry
Steve Simpson’s remarkable collections of speculative short stories and poetry, both with illustrations, are dream-like, playful and wildly inventive. Here is a selection of the beings within:
The detective, who carelessly morphs into birds and insects, and cannot choose between brooding and moping, until a stylish grayscale client with retrolescent highlights appears.
Proteus, Homo Sapiens Beta, who discovered fire and put it out, who created a rudimentary encyclopedia that he pedaled across Gondwanaland on weekends.
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.
Aldona worked in the Damasco Auto scrapyard, and when the electromagnet on the crane burned out and dropped the blue Passat, no one saw the electric-winged shape that had been trapped by the magnet. After all, there was nothing to be concerned about: the alien space fleet had been driven away by the earth’s nuclear defenses.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Simpson lives in Sydney, and he’s never been able to work out exactly what he does, although he would probably feed the cat if he had one. His poetry and short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, and in the visual arts, works created with his image evolution software have been shown at several exhibitions. In the sciences, he’s published over 200 research papers, most recently in clinical neurology, where he’s developed a unique system for visualising mental states via EEG. Awards include the Peter Doherty Innovation Prize, for technology to make vehicles safer.
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For many years, Steve Simpson has shared his intricate poetry on his WordPress blog and Instagram, giving his readers a glimpse of a frequently whimsical world grounded and yet elevated in science and a caprice unbounded. Now, he shares his poems, science fiction short stories, and artwork in THE PURPOSE OF REALITY [SOLAR & LUNAR].
SOLAR, his collection of short fiction, is an interesting mix of mostly dystopian-oriented science fiction, frequently finding the gruesome and somewhat savage. Most all of the stories are set in Brazil, integrating an almost magical realism with science fiction. My favorite story, however, was the very first one, “Lighter Than Claire,” which is sharp, unexpected, and endearing, a strange but very welcome combination. As I read, I was almost expecting a Kazuo Ishiguro-Never Let Me Go-type of story but received something more embracing, kinder, and unforgettable. In other stories, characters deal with disease, famine, vengeance, and darkness.
Please do note that I am not a reader of much science fiction so my rating is swayed by that.
LUNAR is Steve Simpson’s poetry selection. For me, LUNAR is more solar. It’s sunny, frequently humorous, with textured poems sometimes almost told tongue-in-cheek. While his short stories visit a bleak setting, his poetry elevates. At times you need to Google but you will be enlightened and all the better for it. Simpson’s command of language and whimsy is brilliant.
While I certainly can’t claim to be an expert on art, only an expert on eating German Chocolate Cake, the accompanying artwork is intricate, beautifully colorful, and detailed and seems perfect for the stories and poetry.
Both books are illuminating, unexpected, and a definite break from the usual.
I received ARCs in exchange for an honest review.