Ben Peek | Published works.
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Published works.

Leviathan’s Blood, Children Trilogy, Book Two – April 2016.

A new god has risen.
The immortal Zaifyr has arrived at the Floating Cities in chains, to await trial for murder. Despite this, he’s preparing for war against a new child god – for she will do anything to destroy those who stand in her way.

A city has fallen.
Ayae must fight to protect the survivors, and finds herself ensnared in a web of political intrigue. She’ll find politics can be as lethal as any sword, and hers is not the only life at stake.

A warrior has arrived.
Across the ocean, the exile Bueralan returns home. And he’s bearing a dead man’s soul around his neck. God-touched and grief-stricken, he treads a dangerous path. He’ll confront a legendary fighter . . . and discover a secret that will change the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Godless, Children Trilogy, Book One – August 2014.

The Gods are dying. Fifteen thousand years after the end of their war, their bodies can still be found across the world. They kneel in forests, lie beneath mountains, and rest at the bottom of the world’s ocean. For thousands of years, men and women have awoken with strange powers that are derived from their bodies. The city Mireea is built against a huge stone wall that stretches across a vast mountain range, following the massive fallen body of the god, Ger. Ayae, a young cartographer’s apprentice, is attacked and discovers she cannot be harmed by fire. Her new power makes her a target for an army that is marching on Mireea. With the help of Zaifyr, a strange man adorned with charms, she is taught the awful history of ‘cursed’ men and women, coming to grips with her new powers and the enemies they make. Meanwhile, the saboteur Bueralan infiltrates the army that is approaching her home to learn its terrible secret. Split between the three points of view, the narrative of Godless reaches its conclusion during an epic siege, where Ayae, Zaifyr and Bueralan are forced not just into conflict with those invading, but with those inside the city who wish to do them harm.

The first installment in Ben Peek’s exciting new epic fantasy series, The Godless is a fast-paced page turner set in an enthralling new world.

 

I am going to repeat myself again. The Godless is a DEBUT not to be missed. – The Book Plank.

Peek is a talented writer who juggles viewpoints, complex religious ideas, and conflict expertly, creating a vivid and detailed world for his characters to tromp around in, combining some complex issues with an excellent story. – A Fantastical Librarian.

A book that is unquestionably ambitious, packed to bursting with interesting ideas and challenging, thoughtful themes.Pornokitsch.

This is the first of a great epic and I get the same sense of immersion and depth of history that I got when reading A Song of Ice and Fire– Adventures of a Bookonaut.

An original, fascinating and bloody enjoyable work that all fans of fantasy should read! One of my reading highlights in recent years!Smash Dragons.

I have said it before; this dying gods sub-genre of fantasy can stick around for as long as it wants. The Godless is another great entry into this very specific classification.Fantasy Review Barn.

Questions of faith and religion and death drive the actions and character’s motivations, as what seem to be philosophical questions take on very real dimensions with dire consequences. The Godless is populated by a cast of vibrant characters, sets up a fascinating start to a new series and is well worth a read– British Fantasy Society.

The Godless marks the beginning of a new epic fantasy from Australian author Ben Peek, and it’s a remarkable achievement. Because as much as George RR Martin produces the gold standard of this type of story, Peek gives him a run for his money. – The Newtown Review of Books.

Peek weaves multiple threads of the plot together with considerable skill…readers fond of open-ended epic fantasies set in vivid, and occasionally lurid, worlds will find it right up their alley. – Publishers Weekly.

 

Dead Americans cover

Dead Americans – March 2014.

A collection of the critically acclaimed dark, weird, and surreal short fiction of Ben Peek. It presents a world where bands are named after the murderer of a dead president, where the work of Octavia E. Butler is turned into an apocalypse meta-narrative, and John Wayne visits a Wal-Mart. It presents a world where a dying sun shines over a broken, bitter landscape and men and women tattoo their life onto their skin for an absent god. It presents a zombie apocalypse, Mark Twain dreaming of Sydney, and answers a questionnaire you never read.

 

“Ten speculative fiction stories illuminate the talent of this Australian author (A Year in the City). Primarily focused on short fiction, Peek has written about two dozen short works in a variety of venues in the decade and a half since he was first published; this collection represents the best of that body of work. Herein can be found a John Wayne caught in a struggle for the soul of America, famed science fiction author Octavia Butler cast in the lead role of a Butler-style post-apocalyptic tale of asymmetric relationships, Mark Twain drawn into the brutal conflicts of colonial Australia, and immortals who regret too late the decisions that sent them into a second, inhuman life. Also included is a short but informative introduction to Peek and his work by Rjurik Davidson. Failure is always an option for Peek’s protagonists, but even if they can never reach the heights to which they aspire, they can at least envision them, a rarity in a field that too often rejects progress. Although Peek’s appropriation of other people’s lives for his own purposes can be disquieting, readers will be seduced by the outrage that drives much of his fiction and Peek’s undeniable skills as a writer.”

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review.

 

The strange stories of Australian author Ben Peek resist categorization, freely sampling from elements of horror, postmodern metafiction, SF, alternative history, and fantasy. But then hybridization is one of his main themes, with different selves often occupying the same body, or, confusing matters even more, the same self in different bodies. Making things all the more difficult, and interesting, is the fact that in Peek’s world none of these mixed parts get along.

Alex Good, the Toronto Star.

 

 

Above/BelowAboveBelow cover – 2011

A city has fallen from the sky.

In the wreckage, two men – Devian Lell, a window cleaner in the floating cities of Loft, and Eli Kurran, a security guard in one of the polluted, ground-based cities of Dirt – will find their lives changed.

Devian, who has done what few in the floating landscape have by stepping outside the sanctuary of his home, will be drawn into the politics of Loft, as he is recruited to be the assistant for Dirt’s political representative. On the ground, Kurran, still mourning the death of his wife, tries to remove himself from the violent politics of Dirt even as he is blackmailed into providing security for the diplomatic representative of Loft, a woman three times his age, and the oldest living person he has ever met.
A tale of two cities, the stories Above and Below make up two halves of another in the Twelfth Planet Press Doubles series. Written by Stephanie Campisi and Ben Peek, designed to be self-contained and complete as individual narratives, the two parts can be read in either order, yet also form a single narrative that has been intricately woven and designed to create a single, novel length story. It is a work that suggests not a single way of reading, but rather two, with conflicting morals that will continue to test the reader’s certainty in who, in the cities of Loft and Dirt, is in the right.

 

“Worth a look is the linked set of novellas, ‘‘Above’’ by Stephanie Campisi and ‘‘Below’’by Ben Peek. These two stories from Australia are bound dos-a-dos, and tell of the same events. ‘‘Below’’ is set in a city on the ground, dominated by a nation floating in the skies. When one of the sky cities crashes, war is the inevitable result. The stories concern diplomatic visits between the cities, and the terrible misunderstandings between the two, exacerbated by the ill-treatment of the ground people by the cities above, and in particular by the illnesses that doom those below to early deaths. Some of this ends up too programmatic, but the two stories are still interesting, with affecting main characters.”

Rich Horton, Locus.

 

 

26 Lies cover

 

Twenty-Six Lies/ One Truth – 2008.

My second novel and somewhat of a cult classic. It is best described as by this: Ben Peek presents a fictional autobiography of a man who has been nowhere, done nothing, and met nobody. It has a comic by underground comic genius Anna Brown, and the cover was done by Andrew Macrae.

A lot of people wrote a lot of nice, excellent things about me, and this book.

 

“Ben Peek is a writer I fully expect to blunder out into the scene like a run-away brontosaurus one of these days. He has titanic talent generally leashed to micro-detail projects when his true canvas is probably something much wider and deeper. Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth is a gently experimental text that uses a glossary of terms from A to Z to create vignettes, one-liners, and other supports for loosely connected narratives. Some are funny, some are most definitely not funny. All are lively and deserve your attention.”

 

 

“I emerged from the book feeling somewhat dazed and exhausted (having read it from beginning to end within a 24 hour period), and I’m not entirely sure what I feel about it. Impressed, certainly. Curious, definitely. A little pissed off… well, maybe.”

 

 

“What I got from it is this: that truth matters when it matters, and doesn’t when it doesn’t. And that each of us must find our own path as to where that distinction lies. 26 Lies, 1 Truth is an intelligent, playful, funny, challenging, thoughtful and deeply moving work. It is a book filled with outrageous lies. And it is a book filled with truth.”

 

 

“It ought to fail miserably. But, curse his eyes, Mr Peek has written a fantastic book. And despite its structure, Twenty-Six Lies has a powerful narrative drive. Mr Peek as deftly woven a story into his encyclopedia, complete with character development, unfolding themes, and a hard shock of an ending.”

 

 

“Quite extraordinary.”

 

 

“Ben Peek’s Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth is a memoir in the form of alphabetical entries, ten or so entries for each letter. The book is also semiotic, social commentary, a meditation on the truth-telling responsibilities of a writer, a part-time comic book, funny as hell, profane, and melancholy. Like the best memoirs it’s deeply personal yet engaging and universal. Peek lays out the truths and lies and is smart enough to trust the reader to fit everything together. Powerful stuff. Highly recommended.”

 

 

“This is a clever, moving, funny and insightful book. I laughed, and I would have cried, but I’m too fucking hard for that sort of shit. See, I understand, relate and empathise with a lot of the truth in this book, the truths I know are true.”

 

 

“This book is an autobiography. At least some of it is true, for whatever value you like for ‘true.’ It tells me (or you, or whoever the reader) over and over again not to trust writers. Writers lie. Words, by their very nature, lie.

I know better than to trust this book. I know not to let it seep into my mind, not to take too much too heart what I think it tells me about Ben Peek.

The only trouble is, I don’t know how.”

 

 

“I find myself unable to call it a brilliant book, although there are certainly brilliant bits, and I am instead left to describe it as an interesting book, which is certainly is – through and through.”

 

 

“Recently I read Ben Peek’s Twenty Six Lies/ One Truth. Yes it’s full of bluff and bluster, Peek coming across as a hard-ass, and yes, it’s very fucking good. There are moments, in fact, of brilliance.”

 

 

“A bit too clever.”

Dan Hartland, Strange Horizons.

 

 

“Ben Peek’s Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth is inebriating, an absinthe of self-deception, a smoke-filled room of conflicted emotion, a hall of mirrors, each of them distorting both perception and reality. Ben Peek dances on the stepping stones of Ben Peek’s supposed life, leaping from philosophy to pop culture, from insight to angst. As one reads this remarkable work, the question arises, “what is the line between the art and the artist”? Peek knows. I know. But you cannot know, for certain, until you pick out the lies. Do you trust your judgement that much? Do you trust Ben Peek? What makes you so certain that you can crack the code of Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth? I’d be careful if I were you. Deception awaits.”

 

Black Sheep cover

Black Sheep – 2007.

Black Sheep was my first novel and, with the fine hindsight of all authors, I can honestly say, it was my first novel. It has all the rough and tumble of a first novel, and in fairness, is a bit of a mixed bag, and really of interest only if you want to see the start of an author’s evolution (in particular, mine). Content wise, it was a dystopian novel in which multiculturalism has lost all value and is, in fact, a crime.

 

“Society has fractured into three supposedly pure race factions and multiculturalism is a crime in this bleak Orwellian debut, set in the far future. After the Culture War more than a century earlier, the United Nations divided the races to prevent violence and bigotry. Sydney, Australia, has become Asian-Sydney, Caucasian-Sydney and African-Sydney, and crossing the borders is strictly forbidden. Isao Dazai, a recent immigrant from Asian-Tokyo, dares to wonder what the other cities are like, despite fearful warnings from his wife, Kumiko. When she turns him in for speaking multicultural heresy, Isao is sent away for Assimilation, a dehumanizing procedure that strips him of his individuality. Thirteen years later, Isao manages to overcome his programming and becomes desperate to confront Kumiko, who has built a political career on her patriotic betrayal. Although the characters rarely rise above the roles of philosophical mouthpieces, Peek sketches chilling images of a future where individuality is deadly and only sameness provides safety.”

Publishers Weekly.

 

 Short Fiction

  • “Upon the Body” (2014) in Nightmare Magazine, #42.
  • “There is Something so Quiet and Empty Inside of You That it Must be Precious” (2014) in Dead Americans, ChiZine Publications.
  • “Octavia E. Butler” (2014) in Dead Americans, ChiZine Publications.
  • “In the Broken City” (2014),  In Shimmer #18, ed. Ann VanderMeer.
  • “Sirius” (2011). Clarkesworld, #63.
  • “White Crocodile Jazz” (2010). In Sprawl, ed. Alisa Krasnostein, Twelfth Planet Press.
    Reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, Volume One, eds. Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene, Ticonderoga Publications.
  • “Possession” (2007). Fantasy Magazine.
    Reprinted in Steampunk III: Revolution (2012), edited by Ann VanderMeer, Taychon Press.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “John Wayne (As Written by a Non-American)” (2007), Aurealis, #37, Chimaera Press.
    Reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2008, eds. Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt, MirrorDanse Books.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “Excerpts from Novels Fifty Years From Now” (2007). Overland, #188
  • “Black Betty” (2007). Lone Star Stories
  • “theleeharveyoswaldband” (2006). In Polyphony Six, ed. Deborah Layne and Jay Lake, Wheatland Press.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “The Souls of Dead Soldiers are for Blackbirds, Not Little Boys” (2006). In Agog! Ripping Reads, ed. Cat Sparks, Agog! Press.
    Reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2008, eds. Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt, Mirrordanse Books.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “Under the Red Sun” (2006). Fantasy Magazine, #4.
    Recorded as a podcast at Terra Incognita SF, #17, 2010.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “Mono” (2006). In Phantom, ed. Nick Mamatas, Prime Books.
  • “The Night of the Dead King” (2006), Potato Monkey, #4.
  • “An Investigation into the Chinese Made Roman Toga” (2005), Full Unit Hookup, #7.
  • “The Elephant’s Glass Prison” (2005). In Magistria, ed. G.W. Thomas, RageMachineBooks.
  • “Johnny Cash (A Tale in Questionnaire Results)” (2005), Shadowed Realms #4.
    Reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2006, eds. Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt, MirrorDanse Books.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “The Dream of a Russian Princess” (2005), TiconderogaOnline #3.
  • “The Dreaming City” (2004). In Leviathan Four: Cities, ed. Forrest Aguirre, The Ministry of Whimsy Press.
    Reprinted in The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2005, eds. Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt, MirrorDanse Books.
    Reprinted in The Best of Leviathan, eds. Jeff VanderMeer and Ann Kennedy. Forthcoming.
    Reprinted in Dead Americans (2014), ChiZine Publications.
  • “R” (2004). In Agog! Smashing Stories, ed. Cat Sparks, Agog! Press.
  • “The Lost World of the Stranger” (2004). In Amazing Heroes II, ed. G.W. Thomas, RageMachineBooks.
  • “Black Sunday Month” (2004), Antipodean Sci-Fi #81.
  • “Adala’s Memory: A March Collection” (2004). In The Spiny Babbler, ed. Brian Thompson.
  • “Dr Who? (Or the Day I Learnt to Love Tom Baker)” (2003). In Forever Shores, eds. Peter McNamara and Margaret Winch, Wakefield Press.
  • “The Recipe” (2003). In Elsewhere (Anthology), Michael Barry, Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild.
  • “Cigarettes and Roses” (2002). In Passing Strange, ed. Bill Congreve, MirrorDanse Books.
  • “Scratches in the Sky” (2002). In Agog! Fantastic Fiction, ed. Cat Sparks, Agog! Press.
  • “Camel” (2002), AurealisXpress, December Issue, p 3.
  • “Antique Spaceman” (2002), Antipodean Sci-Fi, #68.
  • “Killing the French Fry Girl” (2001), Voiceworks, #45.
  • “With the Lights On” (1998), Under Magellanic Clouds, #5.
  • “The Edge of the Universe” (1998), Under Magellanic Clouds, #5.
  • “The Owner of Ankou’s Sword” (1996), Dragon Soup, #11.
  • “Seeing Black and White” (1996), The Mentor, #92.
  • “The One Race, One World Conspiracy” (1995), The Mentor, #89.
  • “Changeling” (1997). In The Goblin Market, ed. Raechel Henderson, Eggplant Productions.

 

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