I find the heady power of writing speculative fiction incredibly addictive.
A non-fiction writer is allowed to say, 'Wellington defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.'
A fiction writer is allowed to say, 'Wellington felt the futility of man's worldly struggles as he surveyed the battlefield at Waterloo.'
But a speculative fiction writer is allowed to say, 'Wellington ordered his magician to bring the dead soldiers back to life,' (Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell).
Or, 'Time travel to Victorian England is OK, but you can't go to the Battle of Waterloo because it's a crisis point,' (Connie Willis, To Say Nothing Of The Dog).
You can even say, with perfect aplomb, 'Dragons were used with deadly force in the Napoleonic wars,' (Naomi Novik, His Majesty's Dragon).
How much more fun is that?
Eight or Die - NOVELLA - split between two issues of Clarkesworld magazine, November 2023 #206 and December 2023 #207
PART ONE: Free to read here or subscribe to Clarkesworld HERE, past issues available HERE. Support lovely Clarkesworld! Give them the moneys, if you can!
Beirut Robot Hyenadrome - Shoreline of Inifinite #36 September 2023
Purchase the issue HERE
Victory Citrus Is Sweet (ed. Jonathan Strahan) - Tor.com originals, September 2022
Read it for free HERE
"The protagonist of "Victory Citrus Is Sweet" by Thoraiya Dyer journeys to Mercury in order to find out what went wrong with automated machinery transporting ore to Mars. An extraordinary discovery follows, leading to a struggle for survival for more than just the narrator." - Victoria Silverwolf at Tangent
"This is a fast paced, inventive, and colourful First Contact story." - Paul Fraser at SF Short Stories reviewed
"A routine trip to Mercury to investigate why an ore delivery to Mars was misdirected turns into an unexpected and dangerous encounter in "Victory Citrus Is Sweet" by Thoraiya Dyer. It's crisply written, well-paced, and ultimately optimistic." - Paula Guran, Locus
Doc Luckless and the Stationmistress - Clarkesworld Issue #187, March 2022
Buy the issue HERE
Read it free HERE (or listen to audio by talented Kate Baker HERE)
"A wonderful-sad-hopeful science fiction adventure packed full of ideas (and jellyfish and whales!)" - Simone Heller, @HerLizardness
Sam Tomaino at SFRevu says "The title characters live on a planet ruled by the Angries who are some sort of religious organization, Doc is Harald and the Stationmistress is Deen. Harald is the only doctor on the planet and Deen runs the transporter which can only transport people out. The Angries sabotaged it. Doc has dreams where he is inhabiting the body of scorpion-like extraterrestrial grandmother on another planet similar to a species he failed to help years ago. Deen is in need of medical attention he cannot give her here. The scorpion-like grandmother needs his help, too. Doc finds a way.
Karen Burnham at Locus says "I would have liked the story to continue longer than it did; there seemed to be enough interesting setup that it could have supported a lot more plot" and Victoria Siverwolf at Tangent says "The two characters named in the title of "Doc Luckless and the Stationmistress" by Thoraiya Dyer live on a watery planet under the iron rule of authoritarian fanatics. The oppressors tolerate both because of their professions; he is the only physician on the planet, and she takes care of the teleportation station that allows people to travel to other worlds. (The fanatics have sabotaged the device so that no one can arrive through it from anywhere else.)
The doctor has dreams where he is a dying scorpion-like alien, of the kind he failed to help on another planet. The teleportation device offers him a chance to redeem his previous failure. At the same time, he is able to help the stationmistress when disease blinds her.
Although the above synopsis is fairly long, it fails to capture the remarkable complexity found in a short story of average length. I have failed to mention, for example, the ecologies of the water planet or the world of the scorpion aliens, which may be the most interesting parts of the narrative."
Checkerboard - Phase Change: Imagining Energy Futures (the Anthology), ed. Matthew Chrulew for Twelfth Planet Press, May 2022
Buy from the publisher HERE, or from B&N or from Amazon.
The Boy With No Heart - ed. Michael Pryor, Aurealis #153, August 2022
Buy it HERE
Icarus (poem) - Climbing Lightly Through Forests: A Poetry Anthology Honouring Ursula K. Le Guin, ed. R. B. Lemberg & Lisa M. Bradley, 2021
Buy from the publisher here at Aqueduct Press, or here from Amazon
Generation Gap - Clarkesworld #161, Feb 2020 - SHORTLISTED Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novella, SHORTLISTED Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novella
Read for free or listen to audio version by Alethea Kontis HERE
Buy it here: Clarkesworld issue #161
Read reviews here: Rocket Stack Rank - 5 stars - "Unexpectedly Powerful" Greg Hullender
"This story created an imaginative world, worthy of much further exploration. The twists and turns kept this character-based story engaging until the last words"
- Kevin P Hallett, Tangent Online
"Good story with lots of invention for this culture. I would like to read a sequel" - Sam Tomaino, SF Revu
"The families that live at Greenhill and Oyster Flats are enemies. Rivals. Neighbors with some deep animosity. And they are defined by their generations. Those at Greenhill are tall, but that means that they wait longer to birth (which stops their growing). Those at Oyster Flats are shorter, and there are more of them. But the overall structure is the same. There is a Tower, who is in charge. And there is a Child, who is the one who still grows, and who carry the full weight of keeping the family alive because if a Child dies, that's it. The Children are supposed to grow to hate the other family, but instead the narrator, Wipwai, from Greenhill, and Fe?, the Child from Oyster Flats, meet and become friends, and it changes the trajectories of both their families. The piece is strange and heavy, the generational escalation and hatred countered only by the affection of the narrator, their dislike of being a killer...It's not fun, though it's beautiful and powerfully told, with a world building that really grew on me and a mood of terrible inertia. A great way to close out the issue!" - Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews
The Weapons of Wonderland - Clarkesworld #154
Free to read here or subscribe to Clarkesworld HERE, past issues available HERE. Support lovely Clarkesworld!
Review snippet (Charles Payseur at QuickSips): "This is a rather haunting story, building around two mothers pleading with their daughter...I love how dark this story gets, the choices put to the girl so loaded, so impossible...Itís not happy in the slightest, but itís wickedly imaginative and downright chilling."
A Civilization Dreams of Absolutely Nothing - Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Jan/Feb 2019
Buy the issue or subscribe to Analog HERE.
"Analog opens 2019 with a varied set of stories that include some striking and unusual work...Weird in a different and frankly more Analogish way is Thoraiya Dyer's "A Civilization Dreams of Absolutely Nothing". The civilization in question is on a planet in a dangerously unstable system at the edge of the known
universe (from their perspective)...The inhabitants are not human, but intelligent creatures who share their experiences with their fellows in dreams,
and who edit their memories with intent....All of this is very strange, and a bit hard to follow... but it is fascinating." - Rich Horton, February 2019 Locus
"Thoraiya Dyer takes us to a well-imagined alien world which is about to be flung out of orbit by a dark matter object unless a sacrifice is made" - CaptainZero/ @KevinPhyland
" Good/VG. Home is in danger of being pulled out of its stellar orbit by an object made of dark matter. It is going to pull the planet away from the universe into the void. They can deflect the asteroids created from the two inner planets colliding, but the Menace is dark matter and the only interaction between them is gravity. Jade has an idea. It will require her and Shale to go on a mission leaving Flake, Flint and Opal behind." - John Loyd atSFBookReview
The Shallowest Waves (with Alvaro Zinos-Amaro) - Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Jan/Feb 2017
Buy the issue or subscribe to Analog HERE.
"Charlotte and Jurek are in two different times and two different places but share familial dysfunctions and both look to Europa, knowingly or unknowingly, for forms of solace..." - Jason, Featured Futures
"The Shallowest Waves by Thoraiya Dyer and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro has a narrative with two strands. The first is about a scientist called Charlotte who is trying to get money to send a probe to Europa to search for life. Her story is set in a future Norway that has been subject to extreme climate change (the Gulf Stream has stopped) and involves her young son. The second story is set over a hundred years later on Europa and concerns a diver called Jurek. His job is as a diver in the Europan waters, sampling for native life-forms..." - SF Magazines
Induction - Bridging Infinite anthology, ed. Jonathan Strahan, Solaris, October 2016 - FINALIST, 2017 Locus Award Best Anthology
Buy it here: Amazon, Book Depository, Booktopia.
"Thoraiya Dyer posits a rather intriguing solution to the loss of island real estate while also dealing with the problems of family" - Alex Pierce, Randomly Yours, Alex
"...While most of the anthology is between good to very good (with a couple of disappointments), the two standouts are the closing two stories: "Induction", by Thoraiya Dyer and "Seven Birthdays", by Ken Liu." - Joe Sherry, Nerds of a Feather
The House of Half Mirrors - Clarkesworld Issue #120, September 2016
Read it free on the web HERE.
Listen to the audio version by the talented Kate Baker HERE.
OR support Clarkesworld with a subscription/donation/becoming a Patreon patron HERE.
"In a devastated Ireland under rationing and with a corroded landscape, a woman meets a man out of Irish mythology, who may have some solutions..." - Austlit
"This story speaks to me of transformations and breaks, and features a strong running theme of being cut in half. In some ways I read this as the main character dealing with the loss of her mother and, more broadly, the decline of the world. The pollution and the damage caused. Also a little bit the way that she finds herself attracted to the aos si, fae creatures of supernatural beauty, while also hating them for it.[...] makes for a great read and wonderful way to end the issue!" - Charles Payseur, Quick Sip Reviews
"...takes place in an Ireland of the eco-destroyed future and the desire to protect the last pristine area from the sheep-farmers. It also involves the Fae and 99 of them who have been trapped on this side due to fracking." - Bob Blough, Tangent Online
The Rock In The Water - POC Destroy Fantasy issue (#60) of Fantasy Magazine, ed. Daniel Jose Older, and (audio version) Podcastle, December 2016
Buy the issue HERE.
Listen FREE to the audio version, read by Nathalie Cerin and Loulou Czal, at Podcastle.
"Topical, complex and stirring [...] Yveline flees Haiti with the aid of a goddess. She misses out on a human childhood, but she doesn't seem to regret that in the slightest. She's the rock in the water. The goddess has granted her safety, but only until she gets tired of it. Su'ad flees Syria (from the author's note on the story), but she doesn't get any divine assistance. She's the rock in the sun. She works hard and suffers in Malaysia, then almost dies on a boat smuggling people into Australia. The spirits of Su'ad's seven dead brothers implore Yveline to save their sister, and she does. Not only that, she finds a whole new purpose saving individuals as sea levels rise." - Greg Hullander, Rocket Stack Rank (5 stars)
Where The Pelican Builds Her Nest - In Your Face anthology, ed. Tehani Wessely, Fablecroft Publishing - WINNER Aurealis Award for Best Short Fantasy Story, 2016
Buy it from the Fablecroft Shop (includes links to Kindle/Kobo/Smashwords)
Going Viral - novella - Dimension 6 Issue 8, ed. Keith Stevenson, Coeur de Lion Publishing, 1st July 2016 - SHORTLISTED Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novella, SHORTLISTED Ditmar Award for Best Novella
Download FREE epub or mobi ebook here:Dimension 6, Issue 8
Giant - Defying Doomsday anthology, ed. Holly Kench & Tsana Dolichva, Twelfth Planet Press, May 2016
Buy it from the publisher, Twelfth Planet Press, or from Amazon or Booktopia.
"'In the Sky with Diamonds' by Elinor Caiman Sands and 'Giant' by Thoraiya Dyer are stories notable in that their setting is off-Earth. Both do a great job employing a stronger science fiction element than what is typical for the post-apocalyptic" - The Skiffy and Fanty Show
(Read other reviews at Goodreads)
The Grudge - Genius Loci anthology, ed. Jaym Gates, Ragnarok Publishing, (Kickstarter) June 21, 2016
Buy it from Amazon or Book Depository.
(Old link) Kickstarter page: Genius Loci
When the Moon Is Dark - Exalted: Tales From The Age Of Sorrows anthology, Onyx Path, ed. Jaym Gates, January 2016
Buy it HERE.
North - Cosmos #66, Dec 2015-Jan 2016
Buy from your local newsagency throughout December/January or get online from Cosmos Online Shop!
Wine, Women & Stars - reprinted in Focus 2014 and ESLI magazine (Russian)
The Oud - reprinted in Ticonderoga's Year's Best Australian Fantasy & Horror 2014
The Chimney-Borer and the Tanner - from the world of TITAN'S FOREST - Podcastle 369, read by Pamila Payne, June 2015
Listen to it HERE! (Rated R)
Vintana - Cranky Ladies of History anthology, ed. Tehani Wessely and Tansy Rayner Roberts, Fablecroft Publishing, February 2015
Buy it here: Amazon, Book Depository, Riverbend Books.
Read reviews here: Adventures of a Bookonaut, Goodreads, Tsana's Reads and Reviews .
Review snippet:"The Great Wife, soon to be known as Queen Ranavalona I of Madagascar, watches in shame as her husband is cursed by breaking tradition time and time again...This is one of those pieces which is rich in culture and a joy to read because of it and the pieces of verse are a pleasant addition." - Ventureadlaxre, Goodreads
The book even got noticed by ABC News! And the book launch was so cool. Woo!
Houdini's Heart - Apex magazine, #70, March 2015
Read it HERE for free, buy the ebook or subscribe to Apex magazine, or listen to the podcast HERE.
Read reviews at Tangent Online, Goodreads .
"The issue starts out strong with Thoraiya Dyer's "Houdini's Heart." It opens on a space station above a colony planet. It is a no return situation if sent planetside due to the infestation of alien microbes. But there is an even deeper twist: to arrive on the planet you must go through electrical storms so fierce that they stop a heart. Therefore to get on-planet you must give up your heart and have it replaced with a mechanical one (shades of Vonda McIntyre's brilliant novella, "Aztecs"). With this setup, Ms. Dyer sets up an intimate four-person encounter which includes the keeper of the gate who allows only people with replaced hearts onto the lifts, his hemophiliac son, a magician who wants to perform her biggest feat of magic by going on planet without her heart being replaced, and her lover. The four of them do a dance of love and misunderstanding that is all too human. The SF element is necessary for this short story to tell a love story that speaks to us in the here and now." - Bob Blough, Tangent
"A great short story about love, struggle and the thrill of danger all set in a very nice and unique sci fi world. This was a unique take and one I greatly enjoyed." - Amber, Goodreads
The Falcon Races - Insert Title Here anthology, ed. Tehani Wessely, Fablecroft Publishing, April 2015
Buy it from Amazon HERE or from the publisher HERE.
Read reviews at Goodreads, Marianne de Pierres' blog.
Review snippet: "This is the type of short story I could never hope to do justice with for a review. Irrumburri is the first protagonist that we meet, and we see her receive a phone call from her husband to say he's been unfaithful to her. She calls her sister to talk about how awful he is, even though they 'disagree on almost everything in life'. Karima is the second protagonist we follow, Irrumburri's sister. Then we have Solomon, her son. Together we see a well-rounded view of their family, and what troubles them.
This short story has an incredibly deep blend of cultures in it, some which feel very close to what I see each day, living in this part of Australia. It does culture very well, showing how strong it is in their lives and how it leads their every breath. This is an incredibly well done piece, one I would expect to see used in classrooms up here in future." - Katherine, Goodreads
Tirari Desert, Saturday - The Never Never Land anthology, ed. Mitchell Akhurst, Phillip Berrie and Ian McHugh, Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, April 2015
Buy it from CSFG HERE.
A Shallow Grave of Orange Peel and Eggshells - Daughters of Frankenstein anthology, ed. Steve Berman, Lethe Press, August 2015
Buy it from Amazon HERE.
The Second Card of the Major Arcana - reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Science Fiction by Women, ed. Alex Dally Macfarlane, December 2014
Buy it from Amazon, Booktopia or the UK publisher, Constable & Robinson
Review snippet: "The Second Card of the Major Arcana' by Thoraiya Dyer - Some lovely resonances here with Elizabeth Vonarburg's 'Stay Thy Flight', and also with Nisi Shawl's 'Good Boy', although the tone of this story could not be more different. The main character is a sphinx, but she's definitely not chained to a pedestal. She's stalking the world and she's angry. She kills people who can't answer her riddles, just by thinking at them. But who is she really, and what is her mission? As with the Nisi Shawl, 'The Second Card of the Major Arcana' is a story about how we accommodate the past within our vision of the future.
We descend into Beirut, a capital mismatched as an unsolved Rubik's cube, so often wrenched apart and poorly put back together. No two pockets of any single alliance are placed handily together but instead separated suburb from suburb, street from street. Like the national draft, the strategy of melding disparate peoples is designed to create unity.
Instead, it creates paralytic indecision.
The language of this story is rich and dense with imagery and symbol. My grasp of Middle Eastern history is scattershot, to say the least, so I know there will be plenty of references here that will have slipped by me. As a reading experience though, I found this work hugely satisfying. A thought provoking story, with prose to slay for. The ending, where fantasy morphs into science fiction, is brilliant." - Nina Allen, The Spider's House
Burning the Lady's Bones - Review of Australian Fiction, Volume 11, Issue 6, September 2014
Buy it HERE.
Quarantine Station - Beast Within 4: Gears and Growls anthology, ed. Jennifer Brozek, from Graveside Tales, October 2014
Buy it HERE (Amazon)
One Million Lira - War Stories Military Science Fiction athology, ed. Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak, Apex Publishing, October 2014
Buy it from the publisher, Apex, HERE, Amazon HERE or the Book Depository HERE.
Read reviews at Goodreads, Amazon, or reviewed along with Long Hidden on Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond's Writer and the Critic Podcast #39.
"In "One Million Lira," Thoraiya Dyer employs the dueling sniper scenario to chilling and also heart-warming effect. The characters choose their targets out of necessity to secure the safety of their comrades, and nowhere is the killing glorified or applauded. It is simply required by conditions on the battlefield, and it's refreshing to read a sniper story like that: one that tells the truth about the job." - Aaron
"ONE MILLION LIRA by Thoraiya Dyer, 5 stars -- This is powerful stuff that feels like it could have taken place during the Siege of Stalingrad during WWII or could be happening today in Gaza. The sci-fi elements are completely secondary here, which isn't a bad thing, but it certainly makes its impact all the more devastating. Two snipers, the old mentor versus the former student, both the best at what they do, forced to make horrendous choices because of the stupidity of politics." - Trike
"One of the strongest aspects to the anthology is the breadth of topics and authors on display here. A military SF anthology would be easy to fill with the "usual suspects" who write in the subgenre on a regular basis, and some of the names in the anthology certainly fit that profile. However, the editors have taken a lot of care and effort in making this not only a balanced anthology in terms of gender and diversity, but including authors you might not immediately expect to write Military SF, such as Ken Liu, Yoon Ha Lee and Susan Jane Bigelow." - Paul Weimer
Bahamut - Phantazein anthology, ed. Tehani Wessely, Fablecroft Publishing, Oct 2014
Buy it HERE (Fablecroft) or HERE (Amazon).
Read reviews at Tsana's Blog or Adventures of a Bookonaut.
"Bahamut by Thoraiya Dyer - A story about the sacrifices one must make to protect those one loves. Which is more important, saving a kingdom or being loved?" - Tsana Dolichva
"Thoraiya Dyer delivers an interesting take on Arabian myth in her story Bahamut" - Sean Wright
The Oud - Long Hidden anthology, Crossed Genres Publications, May 2014
Buy it from Amazon or B&N
Read reviews at The Future Fire, Innsmouth Free Press, The Lesbrary, NPR Books, and/or Strange Horizons.
"'The Oud' by Thoraiya Dyer (Long Hidden ed. Daniel Jose Older & Rose Fox) is a standout story in a collection built around the idea that great power exists even in the least-recorded corners of history. The power of the titular oud (a stringed instrument with roots in Near and Middle Eastern cultures) is an understated, secret magic passed to protagonist Zahara from her mother, but ultimately used to catastrophic effect when Zahara is pushed too far by the ruling powers." - Charlotte Ashley, Apex Magazine
Human Strandings and The Role of the Xenobiologist - Clarkesworld Issue #90, March 2014
Read it free on the web HERE.
Listen to the audio version by Kate Baker HERE.
OR support the very awesome Clarkesworld magazine with a subscription.
"...should satisfy readers who love character and plot equally...imparts a healthy sense of wonder and fear in a future setting." - Michelle Ristuccia, Tangent Online
"A dark outlook for the future, with ironic touches of humor..." - Lois Tilton, Locus Online
Jumpinpin - Undertow, the Gold Coast Anthology, eMergent publishing, May 2014
Buy it HERE
The Long-Abandoned Throne of War-Torn Country - Bespoke International, April-May 2014
Buy it HERE
Wine, Women and Stars - Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Vol CXXXIV, No. 1 & 2, January/February Double Issue 2014
Buy the issue or subscribe to Analog HERE.
"A surgeon has lost the race to be the one who is chosen of the trip to Mars. She is operating the younger woman who got selected (all her internal organs are removed and replaced with nanotech.) and ponders her life and wonder if she should make a slight surgical error which would reverse the selection. I wonder who no one thought about the conflict of interests. Otherwise a pretty good and well written story." - TPI-reads
"'Wine, Women and Stars' by Thoraiya Dyer -+- Felicia de Martino wants to go to Mars, but someone stands in her way, her best friend's daughter, Bridget. When they took the extensive tests for the mission, Bridget came out number one. Now, through a convenient quirk of fate, Felicia is the one operating on her, removing her internal organs to be replaced by nanobots, required for the mission. Just one mistake would disqualify Bridget for the mission. Felicia reflects on her past and Bridget's as she removes organs one after the other. Good story, but how else could it end other than the way it did?" - SFRevu
"'Wine, Women and Stars' from Thoraiya Dyer looks at the sacrifices required by the crew of a deep space mission and those surrounding them. I have to say that I found this a bit uncomfortable, especially the bits set in the operating theatre as one of those mission specialists was prepared for the mission" - John's Reading
The Second Card of the Major Arcana to be reprinted in The Mammoth Book of SF stories by Women, Running Press/ Robinson, December 2014
Night Heron's Curse to be reprinted in Novascapes anthology, ed. Cassandra Page, 2014
Mandatory Speed - Cosmos #51, June-July 2013
Order back-issues of Cosmos at the website or subscribe to eCosmos
Kapras of Many Voices - Daughters of Icarus anthology from Pink Narcissus Press, April 2013
Buy it here: Barnes & Noble, Amazon
Read reviews here: The Future Fire .
"One of the most beautiful stories in this volume is 'Kapras of Many Voices' by Thoraiya Dyer, which is set in a tribal, perhaps post-apocalyptic culture, in which the categories of "female" and "male" are not rigidly defined by sexual characteristics, but are markers of strength, of wisdom, of fitness to govern. This largely well-functioning matriarchal culture is threatened both by corruption and deceit within, and by hostile foreigners without, as the protagonist, Kapras comes of age and to her own power. The world is sparely sketched, with background details hinted at or lightly shaded, but never info-dumped or made a focus of the story, a technique which is both effective and a delight to read." - Djibrl al-Ayad, The Future Fire
Asymmetry - collection of four original stories, #8 in Twelve Planets series, Twelfth Planet Press, April 2013, appears twice on 2014 Aurealis SHORTLIST, Asymmetry in Best Collection category and Seven Days In Paris in Best Science Fiction Short Story category, Ditmar Awards SHORTLIST for Best Collected Work, Best Short Story.
Buy it here: TPP Online store (paperback) or as an ebook from Twelfth Planet, Weightless Books or Wizard's Tower.
Read reviews here: Tsana's Reads and Reviews, Randomly Yours, Alex , Uncharted Pages
"Asymmetry does not contain linked stories like some of the other Twelve Planets - in fact they're all very diverse. They fall in different places on the science fiction to fantasy spectrum, but one thing they have in common is sheer innovativeness. These are the first stories I've read of Dyer's and I was very impressed. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of her work in the future." - Tsana Dolichva
"Oh wow. Oh wow. One of the best short story collections I've ever read (up there with LOVE AND ROMANPUNK by Tansy Rayner Roberts). If you can snag a copy on your kindle, do it. I never wanted to leave the worlds Dyer created! Looking forward to reading more of her work." - Tamara Felsinger
"...But the world - oh, the world. Kvivik is a water world, with a human colony that appears to exist solely to supply water to its waterless sister-planet. Why these planets are worth the effort is unclear, and will perhaps be revealed by Dyer in her longer work. The story is mostly set amongst the dregs of society on Kvivik, which of course is where most of the best stories are found, and there are some distinctly unpleasant people there - and robots, and possibly half-humans, and a thoroughly mysterious Lady Adelaide. The asymmetry is found in the haves vs the have-nots, and in intention vs action. I think this is probably my favourite story of the quartet." - Alex Pierce
"Dyer writes with a direct, accessible voice. Yet, as you drift through Asymmetry's subtly distorted worlds, you are never quite sure what you are reading. Wrongness runs beneath the stories, a sense that things are not as they should be or that some important fact lies just beyond reach. This is not a book to skim, but one that rests on small details and requires concentration. Pay attention, and it will reward you with glimpses into astonishing places...Each of Asymmetry's four stories establishes a world with complex characters and dark conflicts, lets those conflicts play out, then ends hauntingly, looking towards an uncertain future. Dyer has a gift for fitting large questions into small spaces. This gift, along with her grasp of the real and surreal, allows Asymmetry to successfully explore imbalances, transformations, and unsettling asymmetries." - Deanne Sheldon-Collins, Aurealis #63
The St George Hotel - Dreaming of Djinn from Ticonderoga, 2013
Buy it here: Ticonderoga Online
""The Saint George Hotel" by Thoraiya Dyer...delves into the assassination of a Lebanese President as well as the slaying of the dragon. It's a well executed cultural fusion blending both past and present." - Paul from Marrickville
The Ships of Culwinna - One Small Step: an anthology of discoveries from Fablecroft, April 2013
Buy it here: Fablecroft website
Read reviews here: Publishers Weekly, A Dribble of Ink
"A heartbreaking investigation of culture, sexism and ignorance in an ancient setting, this beautifully written story has stayed with me long after I finished reading it." - Aidan Moher, A Dribble of Ink
"Toman, son of the chief of the Pale People, is born into a time of famine, when tribes make war over scarce resources. When they prevail against invaders, he realizes, "It was technology which had defended the tribe. Our tools had been better suited to the task at hand." But Toman and Doya share a vision of even more effective technology, and he leaves home to discover it." - Lois Tilton, Locus Online
"The Ships of Culwinna by Thoraiya Dyer is another story that really stuck with me. Very well done, it's a story about old discoveries but, I thought, freshly told." - Tsana Dolichva (via Goodreads)
Tintookie - Kaleidotrope, live at kaleidotrope.net in Summer 2013 issue
Read it online HERE
"So many sister stories center around rivalry and jealousy. The heart of the story is there, and in Ally's case, it's all transmuted into guilt. In most such stories, the mother will refuse to choose, and everything turns out OK. Not here; Tara's body is found in the dunes. That's a strong statement. There's also a strong theme of radioactive contamination, a longstanding issue in Australia, where the uranium mines are powerful, and where the native population has been particularly victimized by contamination of their lands. Symbolically, the tintookies are carrying on this struggle." - Lois Tilton, Locus Online
The Wisdom of Ants - Clarkesworld #75, December 2012, 2013 Ditmar Award for Best Short Story WINNER, 2013 Aurealis Award for Best YA Short Story WINNER
Buy it at the Clarkesworld website, get the issue for Nook at B&N, or subscribe via Amazon.
Read it free on the web HERE.
Listen to the audio version by Kate Baker HERE.
Read reviews here: Free SF Reader, Twisted Sci Fi, SF Revu, K. Tempest Bradford's place and Locus Online Reviews.
"The Best Short Fiction of 2012 (according to me): The Wisdom of Ants by Thoraiya Dyer. Though this story is pure science fiction, it has a fantasy sensibility that I deeply love. Here again is that thing I like to read about: female empowerment mixed in with some coming of age. And comeuppance. I love me some comeuppance." - K. Tempest Bradford
"A strong sense of ecology informs this piece, the interdependence of humans and their natural environment, and the perils of attempting to alter or ignore it. The metal ants are a fascinating notion" - Lois Tilton, Locus Online
"In a future where some catastrophe has relegated mankind to a primitive existence, our narrator ...must find a way to save her people when she becomes head of the clan. A well-realized world makes this a good story." - Sam Tomaino, SFRevu
"Our Favourite Science Fiction Reads from 2012: We've also uncovered some extremely entertaining podcasts over the course of the year. My favorite among them are the Clarkesworld podcasts narrated by Kate Baker. Some of my favorites from 2012 include The Wisdom of Ants by Thoraiya Dyer" - Twisted SciFi.com
"Various metal varieties, sharks... 4 out of 5" - Blue Tyson at Free SF Reader
"This was an intriguing story about a tribe of people living on land and getting metals from the ants that live on the land. They trade with the Island People, giving metal in exchange for gut bacteria that replenish the bacteria killed by the pesticides that blight the land (in an attempt to stop the ants). The setup is intriguing and the twist in the tale is cool, too." - John Coxon at Chickens In Envelopes
"This issue seems to be full of people I want to read...two stories are by Australian women writers. Thoraiya Dyer, who contributes "The Wisdom of Ants", will be well known to listeners to Galactic Suburbia. Given that, in Australia, anything with too many legs or not enough legs is trying to kill you, I'm a bit nervous about this one." - Cheryl Morgan, Wizard's Tower Books
Surviving Film - Bloodstones anthology from Ticonderoga Publications, October 2012
Honourable Mention longlist, Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, Volume 5
Purchase here: Indie Books Online
"Thoraiya Dyer's prose in 'Surviving Film' is, as usual, both beautiful and unsettling. Her merging of cinematic history and ancient myth is short, but also possibly the most fully realised and complete of the stories in the anthology. Like Flinthart's 'The Bull in Winter', it stands high above the other tales in the collection." - Andrew McKiernan, Thirteen O'Clock
Corsairs of the Concrete Sea - Stupefying Stories, Issue #1.7, September 2012
Purchase here: Amazon for Kindle or Barnes and Noble for Nook.
Nociception - Nine: A Journal of Imaginative Fiction, Issue #2, June 2012
Purchase here: Nine, Issue 2
Sleeping Beauty - Epilogue anthology from Fablecroft Publishing, June 2012
Buy it here: Fablecroft Shop
Update: Read the reprint version at COSMOS.
Read reviews here: Sentient Online; Goodreads; Guy Salvidge's Blog
"Sleeping Beauty - Thoraiya Dyer - Five stars. ...captivates you right from the start, a wonder of world building and depth from a few subtle paragraphs ... easily one of the best short stories I've ever read." - Katharine Stubbs
"Thoraiya Dyer's "Sleeping Beauty" opens proceedings, and it features an apocalypse in progress that our voracious protagonist can survive but not prevent. Rather enigmatic in style, Dyer's brief tale is nevertheless atmospheric and exceedingly well written." - Guy Salvidge
Faet's Fire - Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear anthology from Peggy Bright Books, June 2012
Buy it here: Peggy Bright Books
Read reviews here: Adventures of a Bookonaut; ASIF;
"Thoraiya Dyer's Faet's Fire had some disturbing visuals that I am still trying to get out of my mind, alongside a subtle hat tip to current environmental issues. So thanks Thoraiya, I did manage to keep my lunch down. Whatever you do, don't go looking for a bit of action in coal seam gas shed - fracking will be the least of your problems." - Sean Wright, Adventures of a Bookonaut
"Dyer rarely puts a foot wrong for me...I enjoyed this short, unusual piece" - Tehani Wessely
The Second Card of the Major Arcana - Apex Magazine, April 2012
Buy it at Amazon for Kindle or in other formats direct from Apex.
Read it free on the web HERE.
Read reviews at Locus; Between Boundaries; Saturday Storytime; SF Revu
"The riddles make this one special, as the standard roles change and the old incantations work differently. The Sphinx, even more so than in her own time, is not to be trifled with." - Lois Tilton, Locus Magazine
"...stories I read and loved in April: The Second Card of the Major Arcana by Thoraiya Dyer. Interesting interpretation of the Sphinx. I like the clash between ancient and modern and the unrelenting nature of the main character." - K. Tempest Bradford
"Ooh, a pleasant surprise! The Sphinx is let loose upon unsuspecting Lebanon. There's a little bit of everything - a mad scientist, a talking AI, a deathly disease - but the story somehow still does not come across as a cheap genre mishmash. It probably helps that the Sphinx herself is a wonderful character." - Bogi Takacs at Prezzey.net
"Thoraiya Dyer, The Second Card of the Major Arcana. Mainly because it hits several of my story squids. I love the sphinxy narrator. I love the intelligent computer. It's just yummy." - Ada Hoffmann
"It is an adventure in the midst of a riddle, surrounded by ancient ideology." - Sherry Decker, Tangent Online
"Writer Thoraiya Dyer has the least organized (though entertaining) author website I've ever seen. This story, on the other hand, is not like that." - Stephanie Zvan
White Lies - Redstone SF, February 2012
Read it here: White Lies; read associated interview here: Redstone Interview
Update: If the above link isn't working, try this link to the PDF
Read reviews at Tangent Online; Appears on Tangent Online's 2012 Recommended Reading List.
""White Lies" is a clever extrapolation of the wired society, positing a world where everyone has a computer connection in their head. Brian is on a trip to China, where his network node doesn't work because of an incompatible network, and is faced with a problem. He has fallen in love with Felicity, who checks everything on the web. Brian has told a few white lies in their relationship, and is terrified that she will find them out. So he sets up a plan to save their romance. Thoraiya Dyer moves away from the familiar by having this network being used not just for facts, but as a giant social network where the truth is determined by consensus. There is a second subplot that I could have done without, since it opens cans of worms outside the scope of the main story, but the story has some good twists and turns and the ending is a nice dose of irony." - Chuck Rothman
Complaints Department - Nature 478, 280, 13 Oct 2011
Read it free online HERE
The Bird, the Bees and Thylacine - ASIM #51, June 2011
Buy it HERE
Fruit of the Pipal Tree - After the Rain anthology, Fablecroft Publishing, May 2011, Aurealis Awards, Best Fantasy Short Story WINNER
Buy it from the Fablecroft Online Shop or Fablecroft stockists including Avid Reader, Education World, Fantastic Planet, Infinitas, Planet Books, Pulp Fiction, Slow Glass Books and Westbooks.
Read reviews here: Musings of a Spec Fic Writer
"It is a beautifully written story, with some lovely imagery and well developed characters...The supernatural elements are kept to the last part in this story, with a very effective build up and skilfully inserted back story combining to make the ending quite powerful." - Mark Webb
Breaking the Ice - COSMOS #37, February 2011, Ditmar AwardS, Best Short Story SHORTLIST
Now with added LOCUS RECOMMENDED 2011, and Honourably Mentioned in Dozois' Year's Best!
Buy it from Australian newsagents and other retailers during Feb-March 2011
Read it online HERE
Update: May have been moved to the archives.
Read reviews here: Last Short Story, Catsparx
"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" - Tansy Rayner Roberts, Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth
"Issue #37 features Thoraiya Dyer's awesome 'Breaking the Ice', a dystopian tale dealing with refugees, climate change and damn fool crazy schemes worthy of the Bondiest Bond plot ever. To my mind, it's a perfect fit for the magazine. A talented new writer on the rise." - Cat Sparks
Jerbilliru - Infinitas Newsletter Volume 20 No 2, February 2011
Download full newsletter PDF HERE
The Company Articles of Edward Teach/Angaelien Apocalypse by Thoraiya Dyer/Matthew Chrulew, Novella Doubles Series, Twelfth Planet Press - Ditmar Awards, Best Novella/Novelette WINNER
Buy it here: Edward Teach at Twelfth Planet Online Shop, or in bookshops including Infinitas in Parramatta, Galaxy in Sydney, Maclean's in Hamilton and Planet Books in WA.
Watch the trailer here: ET trailer at YouTube
Bestseller! (As reported in Newcastle Herald Weekender, March 19th 2011: Large picture download - scanned-in proof)
Read Reviews: ASiF, Mondyboy, Ben's Best Australian SF Stories of 2010, Last Short Story
"I hadn't read Thoraiya Dyer before this, but I'll be watching for her work from now on. I loved this story." - Charles de Lint
"This is the rare story that leaves you wanting more, not just of the story itself but also of the author's writing. I haven't read anything by Thoraiya Dyer before but after this gem of a tale I can't wait to read more of her work." - Mitenae, Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus
"I was really excited by the portrayal of both Layla and Avi...Sentence to sentence, Thoraiya's prose has spark and depth" - Ian Mond, Mondy's Adventure
"The Company Articles of Edward Teach," Thoraiya Dyer, Twelfth Planet Press.
This story which is half of the latest TPP Double (due out next month) is a very powerful YA piece about a young Muslim girl and a Jewish boy who find themselves transported back through time to the ship of one of the most infamous pirates ever, in bodies which are not their own. It's a great adventure story that touches upon more serious themes of culture, religion, gender and sexuality." - Tansy Rayner Roberts, Last Short Story
"Thoraiya Dyer read from her story...In this story a boy and a girl find themselves transposed into the bodies and living the lives of real pirates, as a consequence of a costume party dress up. Each is resisting taking the path parents have laid out for them, and the reluctant med student is brought face to face with 'good old days' disease and the reluctant law student is brought to view the excesses and cruelties of an entirely lawless society." - Garry Dalrymple, Freecon Report
"I really am proud of this book...Thoraiya was supposed to be writing her story for Sprawl when she sent me this novelette. She asked me to read it for an opinion - she thought it might be too offensive to submit anywhere. That immediately piqued my interest. I took it to Conflux with me to read and sat down one day at breakfast and inhaled it. As I began to read I got goosebumps (I buy anything that gives me goosebumps) because here was someone who knew what it was like to be me. What it was like to grow up in Australia and be culturally different. She nailed it. There's a little bit of me in Layla and a little bit of me in Avi. And I LOVE that - because I think that means that maybe there is more that is the same about being different than ... maybe being the same? I see this very much as a YA story - but a mature (language wise) YA story. These characters are struggling with the issues I struggled with at their age - at 15 and 16 and heck even maybe 19 and 20. They struggle with who they are and who they want to be whilst also struggling with the pressure of being who other people want and expect them to be. Oh yeah, and there's pirates. But you know, I'm not that into pirates ..." - Alisa Krasnostein, editor at Twelfth Planet Press
"Night Heron's Curse" (see reviews below), first published in ASIM #37, reprinted in Fablecroft Publishing's anthology Australis Imaginarium, September 2010
Buy it here: Fablecroft Shop
"Yowie" - Sprawl, Twelfth Planet Press, 2010 - Aurealis Awards, Best Fantasy Short Story WINNER
Listen to podcast here: Twelfth Planet Cast Episode 3
Buy it here: Sprawl at Twelfth Planet Online Shop
Read reviews here: ASiF, Guy Salvidge's Review
"I was especially enamoured with Thoraiya Dyer's "Yowie", which begins: "There was dog shit on her shoe." (p. 47) This is another tale of the difficulties of motherhood in an uncaring world, and the story combines realistic and fantastical elements most effectively. I'm not going to try to summarise the story's rather complex plot here, but suffice to say that I think this one should be nominated for an award or two." - G Salvidge
"I think Dyer's story is my favourite of the entire anthology, but that doesn't mean I enjoyed it. It...is harrowing, thanks to the atmosphere Dyer creates and because it struck me very close to home. It's made up of two stories. In one, a young mother struggles with the change from having a successful career to being at home with a baby. Dyer is sympathetic towards Zoe, but all too well captures the feelings of frustration and despair that can attend such a situation. This story is paralleled by that of the Yowie, on a quest to find something he has lost, and in the process returns other lost things to their rightful place. The result is a story that is a superb look at one aspect of suburban life, teamed with a gentle magic." - Alex Pierce, ASiF
"Thoraiya Dyer, "Yowie," Sprawl - I love this story completely. It took me three readings to completely understand it, but it was so worth it. The themes of motherhood and loss of identity and missing a person who is part of yourself are all so raw and powerful, the images so vivid. And yes, I did read this one for the TPP podcast, but you know, if I hadn't, I might have only read it once." - Tansy Rayner Roberts, Last Short Story
"The War of the Gnome and the Mountain Devil" - Zahir #23, July 2010
Read it here: Zahir Magazine
"Ambassador" - Destination:Future, Hadley Rille, February 2010
Buy it here: Amazon or Borders
Read reviews here: Melissajm, Rise Reviews
"Plant-based people are the only ones who can save stranded humans- but the cost is drastic. Talk about putting your characters in tough situations! And this story's got really neat aliens, too." - Melissa Mead
"Keeping the level of excellence high, Thoraiya Dyer's "Ambassador" shifts in a cascade of meanings that lead up to a surprising, poignant and uncanny moment of alien and human interaction" - Cat Rambo, Rise Reviews
"Sir Pesky Poos-A-Lot and the Pony" - Worlds Next Door, June 2010
Buy it here: Fablecroft Shop
"Death's Daughter and the Clockmaker" - Aurealis #43, June 2010
Buy it here: Aurealis Magazine
Read reviews here: HorrorScope Australian Dark Fiction
"Dyer's tale of death's daughter who lures a young apprentice to his doom is a beautifully dark adaption on the quest for eternal life. Both gripping and entertaining it is the perfectly executed tale of woe." - Mark Smith-Briggs, HorrorScope
"Finally Thoraiya Dyer offers "Death's Daughter and the Clockmaker," also arguably a horror story, but one that is sufficiently original, and with a sufficiently ambiguously toned ending, to please me more than most. The plot is simple -- an apprentice to a master clockmaker is lured to the strange woman in the upstairs room, eventually to be seduced by her apparent sad plight. She's not what she seems, of course. And the apprentice is in serious trouble -- but just perhaps there is a way out. And there is, but not the routine solution we might have expected. Nice work." - Rich Horton, The SF Site
"The Platter of Palate's Pleasure: A Tale of Belshazzar, King of Thieves" - ASIM #41, October 2009
Buy it here: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine
"Thoraiya Dyer gives us 'The Platter of Palate's Pleasure'. It's a fun intersection of Persian myth and the souring of one man's dream." - Tony Owens, HorrorScope
"There was also fine work from Thoraiya Dyer..." - Rich Horton, the Elephant Forgets
"The Widow's Seven Candles" - New Ceres Nights Anthology
Buy it here: Twelfth Planet Press Online Shop
Read reviews here: Specusphere, Not If You Were The Last Short Story On Earth, and ASif.
Review snippets (beware of SPOILERS):
""The Widow's Seven Candles," Thoraiya Dyer, New Ceres Nights: I first read this story much earlier in the year and it has stuck with me - simply a beautiful piece of work, a science fiction story that reads like an elegant but chilling fairy tale. The depiction of the master craftsman constructing the candles, and the dark sexuality of the story comes together to make a very memorable short story." - Tansy Rayner Roberts, Last Short Story
"Of the stories in New Ceres Nights, I was particularly taken by the sinister glow of "The Widow's Seven Candles", an exercise in brilliantly-sustained tension by Thoraiya Dyer..." - Simon Petrie, Specusphere
""The Widow's Seven Candles", by Thoraiya Dyer, is in some ways completely different from "Debutante" - its content and style are miles apart. Yet, aside from just being on the same planet, the two stories (as with most in the anthology) are held together by something more: a shared sense of the virtues and vices that are at the heart of New Ceres society (and therefore, I think, at the heart of our modern view of the real Enlightenment). Here, a chandelier - Etienne - is required to make seven candles for Widow Courboin. It's not nearly so easy an assignment as it sounds, of course, and there's an even greater twist just waiting to pounce on Etienne." - Alexandra Pierce, ASif
"Night Heron's Curse" - Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine #37 - Aurealis Awards, Best Fantasy Short Story SHORTLIST, Ditmar Awards, Best Short Story SHORTLIST
Buy it here: Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in ASIM or in Fablecroft anthology Australis Imaginarium.
Read reviews here: The Elephant Forgets and The Fix.
Review snippets (beware of SPOILERS):
"Written simply but beautifully, "Night Heron's Curse" is a tribal fairy tale steeped in the mysticism of native Australia. Well told and thoroughly enjoyable, this story is uniquely Australian in theme and gets better with every reading." - Aurealis Awards 2008 Fantasy Short Story Judges Report
"Four novelettes were standouts ... "Night Heron's Curse", by Thoraiya Dyer, from #37, is a strong story set in Australian Aboriginal culture, about two sisters, one of whom loves the man the other is supposed to marry, and the result of their resistance to this." - The Elephant Forgets
"Thoraiya Dyer also turns to Australian aboriginal mythology in "Night Heron's Curse." Swamphen is a plain girl in love with a man who is to be betrothed to her beautiful sister, Night Heron. But Night Heron doesn't want to marry Crooked Spear, so she runs away. Being a good sister, Swamphen goes with her. As they flee, Night Heron is cursed by their tribe's shaman and is turned into a cliffside. Swamphen is saved, but she must kill the gigantic Eel-Shark in order to save her sister from the curse. About the rewards of self-sacrifice and the vanity engendered from everything coming easily, Night Heron's curse is greater even than that which the shaman put on her. This story ends happily for Swamphen and is a sweet tale, almost a myth, about nobility of character." - The Fix
"The Peat-Digger's Tale" - Canterbury 2100
Buy it here: Twelfth Planet Press
Read reviews here: AS if!.
Review snippets (beware of SPOILERS):
"It wasn't until I got to Thoraiya Dyer's "The Peat-Digger's Tale" that I realised the stories up to this point hadnít had much in the way of romance. This isn't a bad thing as such, just an interesting point about the issues explored: focal relationships had tended to be friendships, or parent/child. Here, though, the focus is a married couple, and the lengths one will go to for the other. As with the other stories, there are also some broad hints at events from the intervening century. Medicine is one area that has been dramatically affected, as has transport; and this seems perfectly likely. The Peat-Digger is probably the nicest narrator of the anthology." - Alexandra Pierce, ASif
"Thoraiya Dyer's "The Peat-Digger's Tale" is another full-circle story that shows Earth's future as getting disturbingly close to being medieval all over again, at least in some social and technological aspects... well, apart from the robotic horses." - Tansy Rayner Roberts