Andrew McBurnie was born in Hull, UK, and emigrated with his family to Australia in 1966. He lives in Sydney.
"Fear Week" is about the city where I grew up, Hull, in the Yorkshire East Riding. It was the second most bombed city after London, but this had always been kept secret during the war. Hull was only referred to as "a north-eastern city". To this day, this is not widely known. As children, we were accustomed to bombed-out ruins: in the way of children, we thought this was normal.
The early sixties was an era when all young people knew that at any moment, their lives might be ended by a nuclear war, a threat that was just called "The Bomb". The Cuban missile crisis was very nearly the end of the world.
Where to find Andrew McBurnie online
Teenager Adrian Thorby is about to experience a week of embarrassing and comic incidents. He's scared: it's 1962, the week of the Cuban missile crisis, and nuclear war menaces the world. Adrian wonders if all adults are insane. He's a science-fiction fan who fears he won't live to see a futuristic world of high-technology, including space travel and robots. And he will never have a girlfriend.
Mr Malfast, and other stories
A collection of short stories previously published in the Australian magazine,"Quadrant".
Mr Malfast is a new Departmental Head brought in to downsize the organisation. He appears to be tormenting his staff into resignation. But who is he really?
Six short stories, originally published in "Quadrant" magazine, Australia: there's more to Sydney than just a pretty harbour; there's more to Australia than Kangaroos. Australia is a distant planet.
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Smashwords book reviews by Andrew McBurnie
on May 27, 2011
I enjoyed this: a science-fiction novel depicting a London whose streets, buildings and people undergo regular and unexpected shifts and disappearances that only the apparently autistic Graham Smith notices.
The suggestion here that those who don’t seem to fit into our world _really_ might not be quite in it is an interesting story device. Without revealing too much of the plot, this is a “many-worlds” tale, although the nature of the many worlds does not become clear for a while. There is a (naturally) evil multi-national company, which has been able to profit from other parallel worlds. Graham Smith is fundamental to the success of the evil multi-national, so we get a “caper” story, but with unusual twists.
If I had a criticism it would be the title, which is singularly uninformative until you have read the book. I would have gone for something like, “Graham Smith’s war of the worlds”. Well, that’s corny, but the idea is to focus on the hero.
If you are tired of bookshops whose so-called “science-fiction” shelves are laden with great fat multi-volume sword and sorcery novels, and if not that it’s vampire books, this science-fiction tale is for you (sorry if my prejudices are showing).
on June 15, 2011
I recognised and enjoyed the "hard-boiled" genre style of this book. It has all the frequent characteristics of such tales: a disillusioned law-man, in this case an ex-prosecutor, Andrew Giobberti, separated from his wife, their dead child. Giobberti is living an idle life with his pregnant girlfriend, he has a half-hearted attempt at an affair with a neighbour and takes a generally gloomy perspective on everything. Walking his dog, he keeps running into a strange man in the park, some antisocial drop-out whom he names "the golem", a person he wants to avoid who seems to know his girlfriend, and is in general all "wrong". This stranger pays no part in the plot, and is probably somebody the author has actually run into, but in this book the golem-man may symbolise the protagonist's own fears of what he may become.
To the plot: of course, there is a suspicious character, in this case a millionaire rapper, a beautiful but possibly dangerous woman, some murders, etc, etc, but I don't want to talk about it. What I want is to give two quotes:
"Talking to me on a Friday morning is like watching a motorcycle crash while you’re mailing a letter: somewhat horrifying, to be certain, but at least it’s a change of pace."
"There I am, a big idiot lawyer on the steps of Supreme, encircled by the hungry mob. My necktie is crooked, my hair is too long, my face is too tanned - in other words I look just about right for the job, even if I don’t look like myself."
The real point of this review is one observation: Reuland can write.
- Death and the Dream
on Sep. 30, 2011
This is a collection of short stories about womens' experience of death and loneliness. There is an intriguing use of scientific themes. One story, about a female laboratory worker, is partially in the form of an experimental report. The final story, "Rain Dream", introduces marine biology in its depiction of a female scientist struggling with loneliness and a drinking problem. (The description of her bad behavior in a restaurant as that of an apparently different character is effective.)
I'm not sure if "Rain Dream" is successful in its use of lobster biology as a means of delineating the woman's fears - lobsters spend much of their lives hiding away, amongst other things. But maybe it's just that this is a novel approach. There is a suggestion via the obsessing on lobster biology that the woman is pregnant and is frightened of a male who may be violent to her.
I'd call the collection interesting, however it didn't engage my emotions. But then, neither does Chekov, though I love his stories.
- The Convict Maiden
on Jan. 27, 2013
This is a tale about the brutal life of a young convict woman, Julia Hannaway, in 1820s’ Australia. The historical background has been very well researched: I’ve lived in Sydney for many years and it’s an odd feeling to see familiar suburban and country centres, Cabramatta, Parramatta, the Blue Mountains and Bathurst depicted as ghastly wildernesses. I suppose nobody now knows what New South Wales actually felt like then, but this novel creates a convincing, and gloomy, milieu.
The author also succeeded in making me care about Julia Hannaway, to the extent that every time she made one of her several disastrous decisions, I found myself thinking; don’t do it you fool! He depicts compellingly her transformation from an educated, respectable English county girl into a traumatised survival machine, driven to abandon her former manners, and her religious faith, but finally achieving a life.
The author is a criminal lawyer from Brooklyn, New York City, whose other works are modern day crime novels. Why does his authorship of The Convict Maiden surprise me? The United States was founded by people fleeing oppression to reach freedom. Australia began as a prison and was effectively a police state, with added gangsters (just google “Rum Corps”). Is this what makes some Americans curious about Australia, or perhaps for this author, its legal system?
I fully recommend The Convict Maiden.