Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2014: Short Fiction Finalist
Reprinted in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology;
Reprinted in Unconventional Fantasy 2014, provided to members of World Fantasy Convention;
Waking the Taniwha was originally published in audio format at the Wily Writers podcast, the first of my Kiwi Steampunk stories to hit the airwaves. While Wily Writers is no longer active, you can still listen to the audio of the story here.
Here’s a sample:
“Kent hurried to keep up as Faulkner strode from the barracks and across the airfield towards the stockade surgery. They hunkered against the downdraughts as ornithopters landed and departed again as quickly as their bloody cargo could be offloaded, their exhausts pumping steam.
The wounded were a mess of blood, smashed bone, and scorched flesh. Faulkner tapped one of the casualties on the collarbone as blood-stained orderlies hauled his stretcher towards the surgery. “Talk to me, man!”
The redcoat’s arm was missing, yet his accoutrements were not stained with smoke or shrapnel. Even Kent could tell that he had not lost his limb to cannon-fire. “I’m with the Governor’s office,” Kent said. “What happened?”
The man’s eyes rolled past him, through him. “Took… my… arm…” the soldier gasped, every word marking its ragged toll, “the… monster.”
The orderlies disappeared into the surgery.
Kent turned to see Faulkner, his countenance sour, wind snapping at his coat. “Now do you believe me?” he called, raising his voice to be heard over the roar of boilers and rotors.
Faulkner strode towards the surgery. Kent followed. “What more proof do you need? They’ve seen the taniwha. That’s why the Office sent you, because hunting monsters is what you do. We have to stop it, and Ti Hariki can help us. We must find him.”
Faulkner spun, looming over Kent. He suddenly seemed impossibly tall and infinitely more dangerous. “One day you’ll have to decide what believing in things you can’t prove is worth to you, lad,” he growled. “It’s a price that few are ready to pay. What are you willing to sacrifice to make your taniwha real?”
Faulkner left Kent in the blast of a descending ornithopter, his hair in his eyes and his stomach in his throat.”