JM: Overland published ‘Crabs’ just before Whitlam was elected – historically a time we remember as full of political hope for the future. But the story is suffused with a punk sentiment of ‘no future’ nihilism. Where did that energy come from? What was it about the Australia of that time that produced such a dark story?
The destroyer rested in the channel, broadside to Wharekaho Beach, its bow pointing towards the northern cape of Mercury Bay. On the crest of the hill above the beach, Stan stood with his hands in his pockets, concentrating.
The woman fibs her age of thirty-eight bleached, Does. Right. The Desperate Affirmations. Pixie naked stands in front of the mirror built-in custom made Scandinavian closets. She cannot bear to look at her bare. Body lost pretty perk. Faint streak veins a few stretch lines train tracks leading down.
It’s pre-dawn, all dark. Breeding season. Elise wakes just before her alarm goes off, skin sharp in the cold air. She tugs the blankets back across her body, curls her knees in and lets herself – for a moment – think of Dan asleep at home in Brisbane, long limbs spidered into all the corners of their bed.
800 stories were submitted for consideration this year, many exploring the politics of this decade. After six weeks of reading, we decided on a shortlist of ten impressive examples of the contemporary short story, which included this year’s three finalists.