Melbourne-based publisher Morning Star Publishing will launch its new fantasy imprint this coming Friday 16th December 2016. The new imprint, to be known as Stone Table Books, will focus on publishing new and exciting books in the fantasy genre. Devoted readers of the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis will understand the symbolism encapsulated by this imprint’s name.
At the launch, the imprint’s first two titles will also be launched. Both titles have been written by the eminently suitable Mark Worthing who is an author, and pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in North Adelaide, South Australia. Fantasy has long been a passion of his. He has taught the writing of fantasy literature at tertiary level as the former head of the faculty of Humanities and Creative Writing at Tabor Adelaide.
The first title (with cover art shown above) is Narnia, Middle-Earth and the Kingdom of God: a History of Fantasy Literature and the Christian Tradition. This title explores the fascinating, and arguably, symbiotic relationship between Christian faith in all its manifestations, and fantasy literature. I will be posting a more thorough review of this book in the next few days.
The second title to be launched is also by Mark Worthing. It is Phantastes: George MacDonald’s Classic Fantasy Novel as retold by Mark Worthing. This modern retelling of an iconic work of the mid-1800s makes this significant novel far more accessible to today’s readers. Once again, I will give a thorough review of this title in the next few days. The cover artwork is shown below.
The launch of the new imprint, as well as the two titles mentioned above, will take place this coming Friday 16th December 2016, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 139 Archer Street, North Adelaide, South Australia at 6:30pm for a 7:00pm start.
The editor of Stone Table Books and the CEO of Morning Star Publishing will be present to talk with prospective authors.
Tabor Adelaide Creative Writing programme and Stories of Life Competition will also have information stands on the night.
Come and celebrate the launch of these two books, as well as the launch of Stone Table Books. Drinks and nibbles provided.
Please note that there will only be cash sales on the night. The books may also be ordered via the publisher’s website (see below).
Fiction #47 Leon
Leon wasn’t the sharpest chisel in the set, but he was my mate in primary school. His father farmed the property a mile down the road. Despite being so close Leon and I rarely played together out of school hours. I didn’t have a bike – in fact I didn’t have a bike until I was married with two children – and Dad never saw the need for me to have a bike. And Leon couldn’t come over to my place to play because he had so many responsibilities around the farm.
His father was so disorganised he needed Leon to tend to various animals on a daily basis, feeding and watering as required. He was expected to do the rounds of the animals from a very early age, starting before going to school each day and continuing after school.
They had about a dozen chooks that laid the odd egg or two for breakfast, a family of ducks that pooped all over the paths and lawns, four pigs being fattened for eating someday but never reached the slaughter house, three cows, a horse that no-one could remember the last time anyone had ridden him, and flock of almost wild geese that roamed the farmyard around the sheds and the adjoining paddocks like they were the sole owners of the entire countryside. No-one ever messed with those geese if they wanted to remain unscathed.
I was in the same classroom as Leon. In fact, all of the children of the district shared to same room in the one teacher school. We were also in the same class in Sunday School in the local – the only – church in the small mallee town where we grew up. Most of the community were Lutherans; the few who weren’t Lutheran worshipped nowhere as the distance to the next town was too great to travel to church. People weren’t as mobile in the 1950s as they are today.
On one infamous occasion the teacher’s wife, a wonderful woman who never said or even thought ill of anyone, came to a church service one Easter. Being of the Churches of Christ denomination she was not only astonished but somewhat offended when she was refused permission to receive Holy Communion in the Lutheran Church. That was probably a watershed event which led me to one day abandon my membership of the Lutheran Church.
Leon’s faith was as simple as mine was complicated. He simply believed in God and took to heart all the stories about Jesus and Noah and Samson without question. God was God and was to be obeyed and feared. My faith by way of complete contrast was a convoluted expression and awe inspired mixture of love and fear and amazement. God was indeed to be feared, but he was also, through the expression of his son Jesus, an amazing example of love, a God who desired love in return. Fifty years later Leon still has an uncomplicated faith while I still have a cocktail of faith elements swishing around in my mind. I might manage to work it all out – providing I live another thirty or forty years. I am a work in progress.
Leon was a truly laconic Australian boy. I think he was the one they had in mind when they invented the word. He spoke with a deep, drawn out drawl, never getting excited in thought or speech. He could lull you into slumber with a drawn out description of wrestling with a reluctant bull for an hour when trying to load him on to a truck. After every sentence or two he would throw back his head and laugh, the deepest laugh I can ever remember hearing; slow, deliberate and taking delight in the memory of his misfortune and seeing the funny side of everything. It was the laugh which kept you from nodding off during one of his recounts of farming life.
Student life and Leon never became close friends. He never made it to high school; he was needed as an unpaid farmhand from an early age. In fact, I believe he even had to regularly ask his father for money when he eventually married. Leon survived primary school as best he could. He barely learned to read and write, but then, farmers didn’t need those skills to succeed on the land in the 1960s. He never excelled at anything academic in complete contrast with my levels of success. I managed to set new levels of excellence in all subjects attempted during the examinations in my final year, records which still stand because the school closed its doors for good several years later when all the children were taken by bus to the nearest large town.
Our friendship was a strange one; opposites attract they say. Intellectually we were poles apart, spiritually we saw life quite differently, emotionally I was a see-saw while he was a solid rock and physically he was tall, strong and stocky while I was short, thin and weak. Yet there was a bond that drew us together, a bond usually only felt by close brothers.
I cannot explain it, yet it was real, tangible. And long lasting. Only last year we were at a funeral and met up again after many years apart. He took one look at my bulging waistline and commented in a way only Leon could, ‘Looks like you’ve been in a good paddock.’ Only a friend like Leon could get away with a statement like that and not offend me.
© 2015 Trevor W. Hampel
All rights reserved.
- Although I have listed this piece of writing under fiction, some of it is true, based on a real life. Mine.
- This piece was originally written as a warm-up writing exercise.
- You can read more of my stories here.