Read the Reviews
anthology published by Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild.
ISBN: 978-0-9775192-1-7 - available in selected book shops and from the publisher. www.csfg.org.au
" explores the theme that beings mask their faces with paint, with wood, with the faces of others. Some mask as humans. Some masks hide tragedy - some bring joy. Where is our place in the masqued dance?
Thirty Australian authors "strut their stuff". Astrid's contribution is Still Life
- a romantic 'clock punk' story set in an alternative Renaissance Venice.
Editor Dr. Gillian Polack says "This anthology provides such an intriguingly wide range of characters and fabulous writing, there is something for everyone."
Jack Dann, multiple award-winning author who has written and edited over seventy-five books including his international best seller The Memory Cathedral
says about Masques
"Forget The Financial Review
, The Sydney Morning Herald
, The Age
, The West Australian
, The Canberra Times
; forget all the bad news on the radio and television; forget the recession, depression, inflation, deflation, monetization, securitization, and the jobless rate. Forget all that because we are in the lucky country; and if you need proof (and perhaps also a bit of relaxation, 'fantasization', and exhilaration!), then start reading Masques
, edited by Gillian Polack and Scott Hopkins. Here are our own home-grown fantasists.who will knock your argyle socks off."
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"I am here. Your note said it was a matter of life and death." Juli was not a man given to theatrics-why I responded immediately to his summons.
"I've got a surprise for you."
"You have always surprised me."
"Then I've another. I'm going to paint your portrait."
"From your bedroom?"
"I've done so before."
"The days when I wanted my portrait painted are long over!" I paused. "Now, this matter of life and death, Juliano.?"
"Our life, our death," he said.
"Do you mean to say you called me here to listen to a prophesy?" Irritation coloured my voice, making it sharper than I intended. "Have you been reading the cards? Or-that infernal cipher with its whirling cogs and handles and printed predictions?"
"I don't need a machine to think for me." He paused. "I want you to lie upon the couch. I'll paint you."
"Indulge me, darling. I want you as you were before, when I first painted your portrait. On your back, your legs open, inviting."
"I was naked."
"I want you so again."
"I do not even look at myself naked, Juliano. The sight is not recommended unless one has a strong stomach, and as I recall you do not."
Juliano laughed. I had always adored the resonance of his laugh and hearing it again-a ghost from the past-brought stinging tears to my eyes-the tears of regrets, of memories, missed possibilities, our thwarted love.
"Disrobe, Caterina, please. Won't you indulge an old artist his final work?"
The words, like icy fingers descended into my heart, my soul. Life and death, he had said. His voice was altered, due to perhaps more than the passing of the years, and he had been coughing. Dear Goddess-not Juli.!
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