Someone asked me this month if indie authors count toward the Aussie Spec-Fic Authors Challenge. She also asked about short stories. Well in my opinion, yes on both counts. Any way you can support Australian speculative fiction counts in my books. (Books, hahaha, pun)

To better illustrate how happy I am to include indies, even though I read a traditionally published book for May, I’m going to report on an indie short story and an indie novel this month. (For those worried about me ignoring Burn Bright, I’m not, I’ll finish the other two books in the trilogy and report on all three for my June read)

lifesphereThe indie novel I read (and praise) is Talitha Kalago’s Life Sphere Inc: Acquisition. It’s the first of a series set in a dystopian future were people psychically link with bio-organic lifeforms (called Meka) to compete with one another.

The world is in depth, with multiple layers of society clearly depicted by sheer decadence scaling down through the levels to literally living in a dump.

The characters are great fun and while they are teens there’s none of the usual teen angst that sometimes makes me avoid young adult. Any suffering the characters go through is real, real enough to feel yourself.

The plot is lots of fun, with plenty of twists and turns that will take you all over the world, from the saddest pit in the Junkyard to the ritziest house in Topside (or at least one of them).

Also, it’s a good solid adventure that guys hoping to avoid the next Twilight can safely read, no mush!

You can get Lifeshpere Inc: Acquisition from Amazon or Smashwords for FREE. So don’t hesitate, just grab it and devour it – I certainly did!

dieselpunkNow, to keep up the indie marathon here: The Dieselpunk Epulp Showcase leads with a story by Grant Gardiner, an Aussie author with a grand appreciation for the 1920s. The other stories are all quite good too, but I like Grant’s the best (and not for biased reasons).

Dieselpunk, for the not-in-the-know, is inspired by the culture of the 1920s-1950s, think the dashing adventures of Bond, Jazz music and the height of fashion and manners. To use the words of Tome Wilson who wrote the foreword and runs ‘Retro Future’.

‘That Sort Of World’ is a tale from the Aether Age, which is Grant’s own spin on an alternate history in America(you can find out lots more at his blog). It follows a couple of gangsters trying to break into the big leagues, both in crime and in fashion but you’ll have to read it to see whether they succeed with either goal.

The other stories are also fun singles set in a larger world by their respective authors and feature everything from old school noir grit to idealistic, and somewhat misled, freedom fighters and a fantastic shootout in Citadel City.

You can get the Dieselpunk epulp Showcase for free on Amazon and Smashwords and if you’re hungry for another Tale from the Aether Age, you can find ‘The More Things Change’ free to read online at the Alternate History blog.

Well, to sum it up: Go enjoy some great Aussie indies for free!

Look forward to July 1st when I’ll post my reviews of the whole Night Creatures Trilogy by Mariannne de Pierres and keep supporting Australian speculative fiction authors!