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Synopsis

Volume One of the 'Awkward Stories' collection

An excerpt from the story 'Black Prince':

He noticed a movement out of the corner of his eye. He looked down and beheld the shadow of a cat, moving on the white of the wall.
“Heh, Kitty,” he said aloud, turning and searching for the original. He scanned along the top of his fence.
There was no cat.
Damn things move too fast, he thought, and looked back at the wall.
The shadow was still there.
He looked back at the fence, then again at the wall in a doubletake.
Still there was no cat, anywhere. And now he realised – there was no angle that could have put a cat’s shadow on the wall. Not in that way.
Fear. A pulse of it hit him, surprising him and leaving him breathless. An icy chill had crept down his back and he felt his hair standing up, his heart pounding. In the back-room of his mind a voice had whispered ...

• Black Prince
A disillusioned man's life is turned upside-down when he walks out his back gate one night. What he finds cannot be there, cannot have stayed hidden for so long, and cannot be so smart ...

• The Ghost Of René Magritte
A team has nearly achieved full-realism Virtual Reality, directly interfaced to the nervous system. But one of the team discovers that, when push comes to shove, reality isn't what we expect.

• Come Silent Winged Sleep
Two homicide detectives are drawn into an investigation, following a shocking incident. They soon find what lies behind it is far more frightening than random violence, or terrorism. And to make matters worse, now their supposed allies seem to be keeping secrets.

Here are five 'long' stories, by Australian author Jonathan Swords-Holdsworth.

These tales embrace both the new genre of 'Slipstream' and of hard, near-future Science Fiction. They speculate on subjects from electronics and bio-tech to deep metaphysics, and cover locations from Australia, Europe and Asia to beyond our world - as they pull you into the unexpected.

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