Short Stories

The Ethnographer’s Gift

Described as odd but horrific, an alien ethnographer collects death moments for his study. One autumn morning he starts to show Chloe … Published in Breach #10

From The Ethnographer’s Gift:

“This is one of my favourites,” she was answered. “Did you see the look on the girls’ faces?”

“Yes, I did,” Chloe said coldly. She didn’t like what she watched. It worried and frightened her.

“Why are you showing me this?” Chloe asked. She was visibly upset by what she saw. She crossed her arms as if to give herself a reassuring hug.

But her companion went on, sounding more excited. “They really loved each other very much. They were just like any family. They just got lost in the heat and the boredom.”

“They’re really dead now?” Chloe asked.

See my interview with Breach magazine on their webpage:

https://www.breachzine.com/single-post/2019/03/18/Interview-with-Christopher-McMaster





Journey to the Stars

Included in the anthology: Kaituhi Rawhiti: A Celebration of East Coast Writers

E-book available HERE

A man’s dream of meeting the lights he has seen in the sky, of journeying with them, turns to nightmare when he finally gets what he wants…

From Journey to the Stars:

Tom chased aliens like others chased storms. He chased them for the same reasons too. He met a group once, or rather, their paths crossed. Wild eyes and messy hair, they were more excited the closer they got to their storm. They obviously lived for it. He wasn’t all that different from them. He was just as excited, just as wild eyed, just as crazed the closer he got.

There were lots of leads to pick up on. Short wave radio was his favourite. It was awash in theorists, or conspiracists, and chasers like himself. And it was immediate. There was no delay in uploading files, no hours wasted in trolling websites or following endless paths with keywords for breadcrumbs.

On that occasion he watched them peel away to intercept the storm. They didn’t understand why Tom didn’t follow as the storm tracked west, but he wasn’t interested in any terrestrial meteorological event. He was after what, or who, was hiding behind it. He knew something was there. Just like the storm chasers followed their leads, Tom followed his.

Tom prided himself in reading between the lines, in seeing relevant data in observations that the person on air didn’t even see. He was also adept at picking out the plants, the hoaxers, paid by the government or whoever, to redirect the gaze, to sew some confusion. There was that place in America, what they called ‘Area 51’, now there was a conspiracy, just not the one a lot of people believed. Classic redirection, simple, but effective. If you get people looking in one place, they aren’t looking where they should be.

e-book also available from: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kaituhi-rawhiti-tairawhiti-writers-hub/1137958057?ean=2940164563851

I was also an editor of this book, which is full of cool stories and poems (two of which are mine!) from writers with a connection to the East Coast. The renowned author Witi Ihimaera wrote the introduction. A big thank you to him and his very complimentary words.

    “It’s like hanging out with a group of Coasties enjoying a barbecue at the beach. We’ve just had a feed from the grill of sausages and kai moana, cooked to perfection by the four editors, Aaron Compton, Christopher McMaster, Gillian Moon and Claire Price, our glasses have been filled with either beer or wine (well, for the adults), and now it’s time to break out the guitar and sing some songs.

         These contributors each sing a mean waiata.

Witi Ihimaera (from the Introduction)



Coming soon:

From the MisStep Universe:

Stepping Out: The Personal Log of Captain Elizabeth Sheridan

Soon to be published in the upcoming Revolutions anthology from Deadset press, Stepping Out is the prologue to my science fiction novel, MisStep, presented here as a stand alone short story.

About the anthology: Revolutions will be the third annual anthology by ASF. The group was formed to give Australian speculative writers a place to come to for advice, ideas, joint marketing, and so much more. Our first two anthologies—Beginnings and Journeys—were released November 2018 & November 2019, and Revolutions will continue this trend with a November 2020 release.

Stepping Out: After almost two decades of searching in vain for a planet ‘B’ to save a dying Earth, one by one the crew of the exploratory ship, Fortitude, take the decision to ‘step out’ on their return home, a form of suicide by stepping out the airlock into the vacuum of space. The personal log of the captain, referred to by some as a long suicide note, acts as a wake up call to Earth, a catalyst in the social revolution that future generations would remember as the Great Clean Up, the collective decision to save the only home humanity has.





But wait, there’s more! Join my email list and send me a message you want to read any of these before they’re submitted for publication. I’d love to hear your feedback!

Failure to Communicate

We can’t even communicate with dolphins, an intelligent mammal from our own planet. How on earth (or off it) could we talk to alien life? This short story explores what might happen when we try.

Earth Story

With an asteroid hurtling towards their planet, a ship is sent to evacuate their colony … It wasn’t just the dinosaurs that suffered.

The Locker Room

I spent a month working in the belly of a factory trawler, elbow deep in fish guts. I told the guys on my shift they were going to be characters in a story, a combat platoon on a space ship. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent, because, well, they aren’t.

QMS

A climate fiction look at the fishing in the future. New Zealand has one of the best managed fisheries in the world. What happens when all their fish is gone and their boats start heading south? I wrote this while training to be a fisheries observer. I am thinking it deserves to grow into a full novel. I’ll have enough weeks at sea to start that.

Benthic Material

As the narrator in this story describes, benthic material is found on the ocean floor. Here, he tells some trainees what got hauled up … Another story from the deep seas.

From the Lucid Universe: Solo

Who will catch the killer, when the killer is from a different reality? It takes a dreamer to stop a dreamer. Solo accompanies my three Lucid novels, American Dreamer, Tomorrow’s History, and Gods and Dreamers. But Solo stands alone, in a much darker place …

From Solo:

I found him sitting on a stool in the corner of a run-down bar. Real ambiance for the alcoholic, but he wasn’t one of those. He was just pretending, like he did with the rest of his life, at least the waking part. I didn’t give a shit what he did here, whether he was a drunk, a garbageman, a bagger at a grocery store, or that asshole at the DMV you had to deal with when you renewed your license.

He was the last one, by the way. He actually worked at the Department of Motor fucking Vehicles. But that wasn’t why I was going to kill him.

He couldn’t see me from where I was standing. I’d wait to introduce myself. Pretending to be a drunk sitting at a bar meant he had to drink, so I’d wait until he had at least two, maybe starting his third. If need be, like if he nursed those two too slowly, I’d buy him that third. He’d take it as well, because he was that type of guy. This was the first real look I’d had of him. Most of what caught were just glances, or following him from a distance, so that he’d never suspect someone was tailing him.  I knew the back of his head, the shape of his body, how he walked. I saw more of what he left behind, after he had finished was no longer around.

That was, literary, the stuff of nightmares.

From the MisStep Universe: The Originals

They thought they had found a planet for free, but what happened to those that were there before? Catching up with their generation ship, we finally find out …

From The Originals:

“It started with the siml.” She spoke softly, her mouth near the rim of her mug. 

“I don’t understand that word,” Donna spoke calmly. Words were out and she didn’t want to scare them away. “Is that a name?” she asked, coaxing, her question like breadcrumbs, attracting a timid bird. 

Moments passed in silence. The woman stared into her drink as if more words were hidden there. Arnil’s usual state seemed to be silence. The alien put up with the anti-body tests the ship’s doctor wanted to run, allowed her to use the injector to complete another battery of immunizations. She understood the importance of the tests prior to returning to her disc, or waking the crew to flip the Seed ship. It was clear she realized that she was now, in a way, contaminated, and that it was unsafe for her to return until this human was certain she was protected, and they knew how to protect the others sleeping.



Stay tuned … An anthology is on its way!

concept cover
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