Illustration: Guy Shield (digitally altered)

‘The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.’ So said the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, a quote the remains today as relevant, and as urgent, as it did back in the 1950s.

The stories in this showcase, the first of its kind for Kill Your Darlings, are driven by this same quandary. In these stories, technology and the science that drives it has eroded aspects of characters’ humanity. Burned-out citizens have begun relinquishing decisions, no matter how small, of their everyday lives to AI; an apocalypse has produced a deadly weapon in the form of language; a couple’s differing choices about a sustainable future has devastating consequences; a tree nymph is abducted by a restless sailor and must find a way to survive; and a researcher trapped in an underwater facility is doomed by the machinations of the corporation that controls it.

We’re delighted to be publishing Jane Rawson, J.R. Hennessy, Claire Corbett, Angela Meyer and J.A. Haigh in this showcase. A big thank you to all the other writers who submitted their work for consideration. We received over 130 stories and the quality was very high. Here is the beginning of what we hope to be an annual presentation of some of the most exciting new Australian speculative and fantasy fiction.

Happy reading!

– Rebecca Starford
Publishing Director, Kill Your Darlings


Jane Rawson

“You are one among us! You are welcome among us! You have chosen the shining path, you have made yourself righteous.”

The Word
J.R. Hennessy

“You ever think about if anyone ever said it by accident before? Maybe they were singing or just speaking nonsense. Stringing sounds together and then, suddenly, boom.

Inside the Aquarium
Claire Corbett

“And then I realised: those squares of light like train windows in the night – that was us. That was our tower under the waves, standing on the edge of the abyss.”

Angela Meyer

“She does love the suit. The way it embraces and holds her. And the quiet. She should probably talk to someone about that.”

The Whelk
J.A. Haigh

“I’d resolved to endure that liquid, saline space for an eternity. Now the dirt is all around me. A siren song in the night.”