Cosmos is probably one of the most overlooked speculative fiction markets in Australia – which is crazycakes, as it’s also our only pro-paying outlet for short fiction. This popular science magazine features one short story per issue, and until recently has been pretty short on Australian contributors.
The February/March 2011 issue is the first to feature a piece selected by new editor Cat Sparks, who has taken over from Damien Broderick. Sparks is known in Australia for her many years in the coal mines of small press, as the editor and publisher of the acclaimed Agog! series of anthologies, and she returns to editing here after a long absence. It’s to be hoped that her indie cred and inside knowledge of the spec fic community will lead to some interesting creative choices.
First up is “Breaking the Ice,” by Thoraiya Dyer, an up and coming writer who produced a couple of my favourite stories from last year: “Yowie” and “The Company Articles of Edward Teach.” This piece is a bleak adventure of iceberg piracy set in a not-so-far-off future where the Antarctic is melting and some desperate countries may be hurrying that melt along for only short term gains. I liked this piece a lot, though I was overly distracted by the possibility that the male protagonist might be a girl in disguise. He wasn’t. I really need to pay more attention to the story on the page rather than the one in my head!