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Horror Australis: Martians Attack Australia!

War of the Worlds - Battleground Australia

When the monstrous metal tripods of H. G. Wells’ late 1890’s science fiction tale were destroying Britain, were other Martian invaders creating havoc elsewhere on the globe, and specifically, what would have happened if they’d stomped across that isolated ‘colonial backwater’, Australia? 

That question electrified three writer-editors who specialise in packaging books for the Mystery-Horror-SF market: Steve Proposch, Christopher Sequeira and Bryce Stevens, collectively aka ‘Horror Australis’ or HA.

Christopher Sequeira and Steven Proposch

The three reached into their virtual rolodexes and the end-result was that some of the biggest names in genre and literary fiction in the country produced stories for an amazing, five star collection of brand new fiction: War of the Worlds - Battleground Australia.

Contributors include SF giant Jack Dann, best-seller Sean Williams, mystery great Kerry (the Phryne Fisher Mysteries) Greenwood, internationally-lauded horror writer Kaaron Warren, award-winning Dmetri Kakmi, and several more.

Like other projects that members of the HA team have put together (Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook, and the Cthulhu Deep Down Under series) the conceptualists/editors are reacting to a fierce demand.

“We do conventions, and signings, and get emails, and have a yarn over a coffee or a slightly stronger beverage, and people constantly bombard us to say that they love classic genre tropes but why is there never an antipodean perspective? Well, simply put, we agree, and so we put top talent together to not just execute those possibilities, but to so in a way that’s worthwhile: Bloody GOOD stories on these various themes. HA prides ourselves on doing this; getting great, imaginative writers who are capable of coming up with an inspiring array of different takes on a central premise, and then, as much as possible, me, Bryce, and Steve get out of the way of the creators so they can let rip!” said Sequeira. 

“With this War of the Worlds book, we also expanded the Wellsian notion with original ideas of our own that we asked the writers to respond to: We wanted a section set in 1896, but also a section set NOW that posits; What if some Martians survived, and they may or may not have integrated too well in our world? And what of the far future; Would a Martian presence on Australian soil create a blended society, or an horrific regime of intolerance - theirs, or ours, or both?”

Sequeira had praise for the publisher of the new book. “Finding publishers with vision, who care about local readers, and who see that the snobbery against genre fiction is just keeping some publishing houses as well as the talent ‘poor’ is sometimes a challenge. But that didn’t make us give up on the project, because you only have to look at what Australians are devouring on TV, movies, in comics and in books from international houses to know what they want, and that made us all the more keen to fight for a way to get it to them.  And, sure enough, Clan Destine Press, in Victoria, didn’t hesitate for a second when they knew this project was up for consideration; they grabbed it – but then, they’ve been backing local genre talent for ten years, so it was a great fit!”

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