Short Stories


Below is a list of all the short stories I’ve had published. I’ve also included some notes on what inspired each story, plus links to sites where you can read or purchase them.

  • ‘The Hunger’ 

Danse Macabre Online Literary Magazine, # 99, July 2016.

The story of a ravenous, strangely inchoate being…

  • ‘The Weight of His Wings’

Aiofe’s Kiss, 12th anniversary issue (in press).

This 7600-word novella is the story of a winged man condemned by war to live in an underwater city.

  • ‘Anvil of the Sun’

Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012, edited by Liz Gryzyb and Talie Helene, October 2013.

‘Anvil of the Sun’ originally appeared in Aurealis and was selected for republication in this anthology of 34 short stories and poems from “New Zealand and Australia’s finest writers” (the publisher’s words, not mine!). Order a copy here.

  • ‘Embracing the Invisible’                                                                    

Bloodstones, edited by Amanda Pillar, October 2012.

The dark fantasy tale of a young Chinese woman named Chen Ying. Ying becomes involved with a man who has dabbled with the dangerous art of waidan, or ancient Chinese alchemy, in his efforts to preserve his former lover. This story was inspired by conversations with one of my colleagues here in China, so thanks Bruce!

Bloodstones is available on Amazon. Click here to buy.

  • ‘Madame Melodia and the Love Machines’                                    

The Lorelei Signal e-zine and Mystic Signals print magazine, #16, Oct/Nov. 2012.

An uncharacteristically light flash science fiction piece, in which Madame Melodia, the famous space opera singer, is invited to judge a male beauty contest and finds herself facing an unexpectedly difficult decision… Available to read online, or you can buy the print version here.

  • ‘Anvil of the Sun’                                        

Aurealis #54, September 2012.

This is the dark and disturbing tale of a young mother-to-be swept up in political events far beyond her understanding. Available to buy here.

  • ‘Out Shooting’

Antipodean SF, Issue #168, June 2012.

A flash fiction story about a couple of war correspondents with strong appetites for madness and mayhem. Read it here.

  • ‘The Feast’

Indigo Rising Magazine, Issue 21, June 2011.

This is the spooky tale of a young refugee who returns to his former home in Croatia five years after fleeing to Australia, only to discover that some demonic visitors have taken up residence in his hometown. It draws upon Slavic mythology and on the experiences of my husband, who lived in Croatia until he was 17, during and after the Yugoslav civil war. ‘The Feast’ is also my first US publication. Read it online here.

  • ‘The Last Deflowerer’

Originally published in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Issue #32, January 2008.

Reprinted in Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volume 5, edited by Bill Congreve, July 2010. Available to buy here.

The quirky tale of Salus Sententiae, the Deflowerer of the story’s title, a rather repressed old fellow who is desperately and secretly in love with his gorgeous and spirited secretary, Miss Monitus. This story was a finalist in the Best Fantasy Short Story category of the 2008 Aurealis Awards. The judges’ official report describes the story as “a sly, vivid and lushly told tale of nature and passion triumphing over discipline and order… clever and highly innovative”. Read the rest of the judges’ report here.

  • ‘A Portrait of my Mum and Dad’

Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Issue #41, October 2009.

A story that combines my love of art and fantasy with the all-too-common experiences of a child growing up in an environment marred by domestic violence and addiction. Thankfully it has a happy ending.

  • ‘The Couch’

Antipodean SF, Issue #132, June 2009.

A flash fiction piece about a haunted piece of furniture! This is based on a story told to me by a drunken Scotsman one night, who swears he once encountered such a couch! Read it here.

  • ‘The Alchematon’

Borderlands, Issue #11, April 2009.

This story takes place in a steampunk world and is the tale of a child prostitute who goes to extraordinary lengths to transform her life, with the help of a ‘magemachine’ called the Alchematon.

  • ‘Fighting for Peace’

Antipodean SF, Issue #111, August 2007.

Another flash fiction piece about the perils of multi-specism. One of the few science fiction pieces I’ve written. Read it here.

  • ‘Manisha’s Sari’

Orb Speculative Fiction, Issue #7, June 2007.

Set in India, this story was inspired by my backpacking years. It’s the story of a young woman named Chloe who, after leaving her cheating boyfriend, finally discovers ‘mystical’ India for herself, and saves a grieving widower in the process. Back issues are available from the Orb website.

  • ‘Paralysis’

Infinitas, July 2006 issue.

This story about sentient plant life was shortlisted in the New South Wales Writer’s Centre’s Flash Fiction Competition in 2006. Read it here.

  • ‘Miss Glowlit’s New Rules’

Infinitas, August 2005 issue.

Another flash piece, about the hardships of teaching. It’s available to read here.

  • ‘Through the Window’

Antipodean SF, Issue #87, August 2005.

My first ever fiction publication! The story of a young girl who gets the better of a creepy voyeur. Read it here.

Other Publications:

  • Stempelvariaties, Tirion Publishing, 1994.

In 1994, while living in the Netherlands, I designed a series of fantasy/SF-inspired images which were made into rubber stamps and sold in craft stores in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. The book Stempelvariaties is an instructional craft book describing how to use the stamp kits. This was my first-ever experience of publishing and it gave me quite a buzz to see my name (my maiden name, Karen Louise Spencer) on the cover and my illustrations inside! Incredibly, it’s still available to buy online.