Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 ends with a bang

An unexpected flurry of activity to end the year:

"Dead Air" published in Zombies.

"Fortunate Lives" published in Borderlands.

"All You Need is Love" published in Dark Tales.

In 2008, I'm expecting:

"Feast of Famine" to appear in Macabre.

"Night Terrors" to appear in Black Box.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas

Originally uploaded by garykemble

My Dad and my daughter Aurora share a moment on Christmas Day, 2007. I think this photo says a lot about Christmas!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dead set keen on zombies

My local paper, the Westside News, has kindly done a write-up on the appearance of my short story "Dead Air" in Robert N Stephenson's Zombies anthology.

When the reporter asked me if the character in my story is based on me, what I meant to say is: "No, he's a successful writer, and no, he cheated on his wife and no, I don't think I could ever bring myself to stab someone through the eye with a plastic knife."

You can read the article here.

Buy the anthology here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Writer wanted for collaborative project

Writer wanted to join myself and UK writer Mark Wagstaff on a
collaborative writing project.

The book is a crime/thriller (more thriller than crime) set in present-day London.

Participant will be required to write 25-30k, as well as critique other writers' work.

The participant will be writing mainly from the perspective of a North American character, so some knowledge of life in the US (as opposed to how the movies portray life in the US) would be an advantage.

Timeline: planning from now until December 31; writing from January 1 to March 31; polishing April 1 to June 30. Submitting to agents/publishers from June 1.

I know this is short notice, but this is due to a writer pulling out of the project. Their loss could be your gain!

More details available upon request. Please send samples of your writing (eg a short story) to

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The zombies are coming!

(Check out the non-blogger'd version of this pic here)

Robert N Stephenson's Zombies anthology is on its way - set for a December 1 release... just in time for a very zombie Christmas.

My local paper, Westside News, interviewed me this week, and we did a photo shoot out at Toowong Cemetery.

(I offered them the above pic, but they were worried about copyright issues, since the zombies are courtesy of The Zombie Diaries).

Zombies features my story "Dead Air" about a zombie outbreak on-board a 747 en route from LAX to Brisbane.

You can buy the anthology here.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

ZOMBIE07 designs: get 'em while they're hot!

Xavier Ricebury has given me permission to upload cc-licensed versions of his ZOMBIE07 designs -- there are two for t-shirts, and one for a bumper sticker (although the t-shirt ones can be repurposed for stickers, magnets, whatever really).

Get 'em while they're hot!

Friday, November 09, 2007

ZOMBIE07: My kind of party

HorrorScope reports that some wag has set up a lobby group to champion the rights of the undead (or, at least, sell a few t-shirts).

Xavier Ricebury, who I once teamed up with to write a book, says:

"I know I'm trying to sell stuff, but on the other hand it is a lighter angle on the election, it's a link between current affairs and horror tropes, and then there's the Romero-esque subtext - many would say most of the electorate are zombies."

Check out the full story at HorrorScope.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Insight into Australian horror

There are signs in the US and the UK that horror fiction is in the throes of a comeback but Australia is yet to follow suit. So what is on the cards for Australian horror? Marty Young formed the non-profit Australian Horror Writers Association in 2003 to further the development and evolution of dark fiction and provide a sense of community for Australian horror scribes. To celebrate All Hallows' Eve, Articulate spoke to Young about the challenges facing Australian horror writers.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm more famous than Gary Kemble!

The Waikato Times laments the fact that I'm more famous (at least, in Google) than my rugby league-coaching namesake!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Zombie Chews - 'Lots a fun!'

Meels found this for me at a shop in Sandgate. The package reads 'Lots a fun!'. Made in Pakistan - I bet it's lots a fun! Haven't been game to eat it yet. Worried about the zombification process.

(Check out the big version of the pic @ flickr)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I'm the special guest on the Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus forum for the next fortnight.

Feel free to drop by and ask me a question.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The new Articulate

Articulate has relaunched, so please update your link to:

Now powered by Typepad, it offers the opportunity for comments, as well as the ability to view science fiction, horror and fantasy content.

Check out my Movie Minutiae on Aliens, and this post on Alisa Krasnostein's New Ceres project.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Horror making a comeback?

Last week I asked Shona Martyn, publishing director at HarperCollins, what her take was on the likelihood of a horror comeback.

She said there was no sign of Australia following the lead of the US and UK, but that it could just be a matter of time.

Agent Sydney (of the recently launched Call My Agent! blog) says horror will probably always be a niche market.

You can read Agent Sydney's full response here.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Convergence 2: special coverage!

(Well, as special as is possible without actually going!)

Rob Hood: Revenge of the giant monsters: Wollongong-based writer and editor Rob Hood turned his love of giant monsters into an anthology of short stories by writers from around the world, Daikaiju!, which went on to win the Ditmar award for best collection. But like any monster worth its scales, Hood has lost control of his creation, and ended up editing not one but three books full of giant monster stories. As he prepares to launch volume two - Revenge of the Giant Monsters - at the National Science Fiction Convention, Hood spoke to Articulate about his obsession with big monsters and some of the more bizarre takes on the theme.

Jason Nahrung and Mil Clayton: Looking on the dark side: In 2000, stranded three states apart, Brisbane writer Jason Nahrung and partner Mil Clayton started writing a story together, a chapter at a time, by email. Four years on Nahrung unearthed the novella and set to work transforming it into supernatural thriller The Darkness Within. He successfully pitched it to Australian publisher Lothian, which was soliciting for an adult dark fiction line. Lothian was then swallowed up by Time Warner, which was in turn bought by Hachette Livre. Lothian's adult dark fiction line was cancelled, but the books already contracted - including Nahrung's - were kept on. Ahead of the book's launch at Convergence 2, Nahrung and Clayton spoke to Articulate about the sometimes rocky road to publication, and the fortunes of dark fiction in Australia.

Tansy Rayner Roberts: Finding the Lost Shimmaron: In what appears to be an industry first, Australian writers group wRiters On the Rise (RoR) has sold a seven-part children's book series to ABC Books. The Lost Shimmaron tells the tale of the crash of an alien spacecraft in rural Australia and the quest of the 'mystical energy beings' to rebuild their ship and return home. As the 46th Australian National Science Fiction Convention gets under way in Melbourne, Articulate caught up with Tansy Rayner Roberts, who leads the series with Seacastle.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"Fortunate Lives" to appear in Borderlands

Heard from Stephen Dedman yesterday that the editorial committee of Borderlands has unanimously decided to buy my short "Fortunate Lives".

It's a big thrill because I was trying to push myself in a different direction with that tale - blending a love story (and a sense of melancholy I was feeling at the time) with sf tropes.

Special thanks to Miranda Siemienowicz, Chris Lynch, Damon Cavalchini and the folks at Cafe Doom for helping me make the story (then known as "Only Love Can Bind Us") as good as it could be.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

'All You Need is Love' wins £100

Just found out that my sf/horror short story "All You Need is Love" has won the Dark Tales Spring 2007 competition.

The story picked up the £100 first prize, and will be published in issue 12 of the British dark fiction magazine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shaun Tan: Solving the puzzle

Western Australian illustrator Shaun Tan has picked up a host of awards for his work, most recently overnight he picked up the New South Wales Premier's Book of the Year award for the haunting The Arrival, and also two gongs at the Aurealis Awards. As he prepared to put some young artists through their paces at the Sydney Writers Festival, he offered Articulate a fascinating insight into the creative process.

Read on...

(Vote on Newsvine)

Margo Lanagan interview

Australian writer Margo Lanagan is best known for her short stories, with collection Black Juice winning two World Fantasy Awards and "A Fine Magic" picking up an Aurealis Award. Her latest collection, Red Spikes, has been nominated for a Children's Book Council of Australia award. However, she has also turned her hand to novel-writing, with The Singing Stones coming out soon as part of The Lost Shimmaron series, and "most of a draft" of another longer-form work in the pipeline. Lanagan spoke to Articulate ahead of the Sydney Writers Festival.

Read on...

(Vote on Newsvine)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sean Williams interview

Prolific Adelaide-based science fiction writer Sean Williams kicked off his career contracted to write nine books in two and a half years, and hasn't slowed down since. He's taking a break from his "gothic noir space opera" series Astropolis, novelisation of a Star Wars game and a series of dark fantasy novels for kids to take part in a packed schedule at the Sydney Writers Festival. In the lead-up to the festival, Williams found a slot in his hectic schedule to correspond with Articulate.

Read on...

(Don't forget to vote on Newsvine and Digg!)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Matthew Reilly interview

Matthew Reilly has likened his novels to big budget Hollywood action movies, without the budget restrictions. The Sydney-based author is set to get a taste of Hollywood himself, when he moves to the US later this year to work on a TV pilot. Meanwhile, the film adaptation of Hover Car Racer is crawling through the works at Disney. As Reilly prepared for his Sydney Writers Festival duties, Articulate asked him about his plans for Jack West Jr and Shane Schofield, breaking readers' expectations, and dealing with the critics.

Read on...

And don't forget to vote for this feature at Newsvine!

And also at Digg.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The newest Kemble

Originally uploaded by garykemble.

Aurora Ruby, born 10.38am, April 29. Amazing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Learning the hard way, now on Newsvine

There are writers who hone their skills writing short stories, attend a few workshops to network and learn a few tricks, and then sit down and tackle the biggie, the novel-length manuscript.

Then there's people like me. Compulsive novelists. Over the past 10 years I've written or co-written five novel-length manuscripts, all but one rejected. I've had a lot of fun, but if I had my decade over again I might do things a bit differently.

Think there's nothing worth knowing from a failed novelist? Think again.

Read the feature on Newsvine...

(Note: feature first published in Writing Queensland, April 2007)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Review: 'Feast or Famine'

Kathryn Linge has reviewed my short story, "Feast or Famine" (from The Writing Show's Seven Days of Halloween) for ASiF.

"Now, let me warn you about 'Day Three with Gary Kemble' and, specifically, Kemble's story 'Feast or Famine'. If horror is demonstrated by me, running from the room, squealing with my ears covered, then I guess Kemble has done his job. It wasn’t so much that I was scared by the story, it was the realistic and unrelenting gore that got me in the end. I'm not good with blood and Kemble's story does not come with an 'explicit' rating for nothing."

Kathryn says the ending is "anticlimactic", "unrealistic" and "possibly supernatural". Stubborn as I am, I probably wouldn't have admitted this to be true but, after seeing what Angela Challis and Marty Young helped me get out of the story for Macabre, I can see her point of view.

I'm happy to say the new version of "Feast or Famine" has a much stronger ending although, given Kathryn's aversion to gore, I don't recommend she read it!

Read the full review, of all the stories, here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Speculative fiction links

Have been playing around with, and thought I'd generate some speculative fiction linkrolls. (If you'd like to be added, suggest a link.)


Science fiction


Ben Templesmith: Comics 'in the blood'

Posted an interview with WA artist/writer Ben Templesmith yesterday, who has just been nominated for two Eagle Awards and whose vampire-fest 30 Days of Night will appear as a major Hollywood blockbuster later this year.

Since publishing a feature about Character Sketches a while back I've been getting tip-offs about happenings in the comics scene, and the more I hear the more interested I become.

I was in Borders the other day and thought I'd check out their comics section, but it was a total dog's breakfast. Didn't seem to be any order whatsoever.

Anway, here's a couple of choice quotes from the Templesmith interview.

On seeing 30 Days of Night on the big screen:

"It's going to be crazy to see something I came up with on my drawing desk at 3am in the morning living and breathing on screen."

On working with comic industry legend Warren Ellis:

"Warren's mind is like the Ganges river. You just don't know what might float on by next. He has so many ideas."

I also thought it was kind of cute Templesmith was stoked about Melissa George's involvement in the project. (He described it as "funny and cool as hell").

Read the full feature at Articulate.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Google adopts P-Mail!

Google has ripped off my p-mail project! :)

Ditmar nomination

I've been nominated for a Ditmar Award in the Professional Achievement award, for my coverage of speculative fiction in Articulate.

It's a great honour, but as I said to fellow nominee Angela Challis today, for me writing about speculative fiction (and horror in particular) is a "no brainer". It gives me a valuable insight into writing/writers, and I think speculative fiction is sadly neglected by the rest of the mainstream media.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be in a position to write about something I'm interested in.

You can read the nominations here.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

'Swarm' interview tops busy week

My interview with Matt Hanson - the driving force behind A Swarm of Angels - has ended a busy week.

Hanson's enthusiasm is contagious, even via email, and I think the following quote sums it up pretty nicely:

"Everyone knows Hollywood is broken. Hell, even Hollywood knows it. Their business model is hopelessly outdated for the digital age. But A Swarm of Angels isn't about competing with that, it's about creating a complementary entertainment ecology that is peer-to-peer friendly, and offers a way to create large-scale works that are free to give away and share."

Also had the opportunity to post a feature on an interesting comic project by Sydney artist Matthew Huynh, whereby he illustrated the stories of Cabramatta and Canley Vale residents.

(Comic fans should check back at Articulate next week, for an interview with 30 Days of Night artist Ben Templesmith.)

And Movie Minutiae - which has been gaining in popularity since I teamed up with fellow blogger Katie Cassidy - featured an article about The Thing written almost entirely by an Articulate reader (which was what I intended when I started the column 18 months or so ago).

I also received some exciting news this week, but I've been sworn to secrecy!

Stay tuned...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Review: 'Book of Shadows'

Over at ASiF Tim Kroenert has reviewed Book of Shadows Vol 1.

Here's what he had to say about my contribution, "Ad Infinitum".

Perhaps the most effective and memorable of these longer stories is Gary Kemble's "Ad Infinitum". With a heady mixture of empathy and sadism, Kemble has his narrator (and hence his reader) awaken into a succession of increasingly disturbing nightmares. Themes of infidelity and guilt, overseas business travel and fears of crime and terrorism haunt each dream, hinting at the nature of the narrator's waking life and his overarching psychological and emotional state. Kemble, however, takes a surreal, Lynchian approach by keeping the markers of solid reality shifting, so that it’s never entirely clear what’s "real" and what isn't. The overall effect is at once disturbing and strangely moving.

"Lynchian"... cool!

Read the whole review here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Zombies and night terrors

Got paid today for "Dead Air", a short story that will appear in Robert N Stephenson's upcoming zombie anthology. It's the first time I've been paid for something before publication. The anthology is slated for a September release.

Also just found out that my ultra-short story "Night Terrors" will appear in the Black Box charity e-anthology (Brimstone Press), alongside such dark fiction luminaries as Will Elliott (the 2006 Australian Shadows winner), Lee Battersby, Paul Haines and more.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Zombies are people too!


Here's me in my favourite birthday present, my "Zombies are people too" t-shirt, custom made for me by my sister-in-law, who is setting up a fabric printing business.

Pretty cool, huh?!

I know there are other ZAPT t-shirts out there, but I love the simplicity of the design. Check out the detail here.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Review: The Devil in Brisbane

Over at HorrorScope, Miranda Siemienowicz has reviewed The Devil in Brisbane (which features my "gritty and emotive" story "The Deal").

"The Devil in Brisbane is a charming and unique anthology. Using thirty stories all building on the same central premise, a portrayal of the art of writing, the character of the Devil in literature, and the colourful waterside city of Brisbane emerges that feels more rounded than it could in any one of the stories within. Images recur of writers' aspirations and dreams and the turbulent relationship they hold with writing. In some ways it is a self-indulgent anthology, written by and for writers. Reading it is a playful and warm experience, delightful for anyone who can relate to the angst and desire of the characters within; a perfect book for the dedicated wordsmith."

Zombies on the cards

Meant to blog this closer to my birthday, but work has been crazy-busy.

This is the excellent birthday card my wife made for me. And she doesn't even like zombies!

(The woman screaming is taken off my version of Stephen King's Different Seasons)

Make sure you also check out the back.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Learning the hard way

Have been on many 4.30am starts lately, hence my lack of Kemblogging.

However, I heard the other day that an article I wrote, "Learning the Hard Way" -- recounting all the stuff I've learnt from having my novel-length manuscripts not published -- will feature (hopefully) in the April edition of Writing Queensland.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Terry Pratchett: conventions, guilty pleasures and orang-outangs

If you haven't heard of Terry Pratchett or at least seen the rows of Discworld books monstering the fantasy section of your local bookshop, then welcome to Earth.

You're unlikely to know Pratchett, who has sold about 40 million books worldwide, is in Australia this weekend for the first Australian Discworld Convention.

It's also possible you're not totally au fait with the role Pratchett has played helping amateur dramatics groups save the orang-outang, or how reading Discworld books is one of life's guilty pleasures.

Read on to become enlightened!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

'Feast or Famine' makes Macabre

My short story "Feast or Famine" -- about a war correspondent and photographer trapped in a bunker in Afghanistan -- will be published in the upcoming Brimstone Press title Macabre: A new era in Australian horror.

The story has been significantly improved since its appearance as part of The Writing Show's Halloween podcast, thanks to the judicious editing of Angela Challis and Marty Young.

It is certainly the most macabre story I've ever written.

The contents list is a veritable who's who of Australian speculative fiction, with authors such as Shane Jiraiya Cummings, Stephen Dedman, Terry Dowling, Russell B Farr, Paul Haines, Richard Harland, Robert Hood, Kirstyn McDermott, Kyla Ward, Kaaron Warren, Sean Williams and more.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Australian Shadows judge

I've accepted an an invitation from Australian Shadows Award director Kirstyn McDermott to join the judging panel.

Myself and two other judges will prepare a short-list for the guest judge.

It's a great honour to be asked and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into Australian horror and also contributing something to the community.

(For those who don't know, the Australian Shadows is an annual award presented by the Australian Horror Writers Association and judged on the overall effect - the skill, delivery, and lasting resonance - of a work of horror fiction written or edited by an Australian and published either in Australia or overseas.)

True lies with Ben Peek

Writers tell lies - it's their job. But when they present lies as truth, readers are often outraged. Sydney writer Ben Peek explores the nature of truth, and the history of literary hoaxes in his novella Twenty-six Lies, One Truth - billed as "an autobiography by a man who has been nowhere, done nothing, and met nobody" - and found enough room to mount a spirited defence of the c-word.

Read the feature...

Save the robotic zombie assassins!

On the Million Penguins wiki-novel project, blogger Jon Elek, says he is pumped but he's also expecting the worst.

"In an ideal world, we could throw in a sense of plausibility, balance and humour. That's asking a lot, and in truth I'll be happy so long as it manages to avoid becoming some sort of robotic-zombie-assassins-against-African-ninjas-in-space-narrated-by-a-Papal-Tiara type of thing."

It's going to be boring, in other words.

What I say is, there should be more robotic zombie assassins and more African ninjas in space.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Frontiers of Technology: air travel (c1983)

From Frontiers of Technology (Marshall Cavendish, 1983)...

Airlines have booking offices in every big city. Within minutes, a booking agent can confirm a flight, reserve a seat on the plane and confirm a ticket! There's no fuss, no long form to fill in ... the agent just presses a few buttons. What's the secret?

It's all done by computer
An airline's bookings are stored by computer. Each booking office is linked to the airline's computer, which may be anywhere. For example, British Airways offices the world over deal with their computer at London's Heathrow Airport, and British Caledonian offices deal with a computer that happens to be in Los Angeles!

The visual display unit
Messages sent to the computer and its replies show up on this TV-type screen. The VDU can find out what flights there are, take bookings, list fares, or send special instructions about what the passenger wants, such as vegetarian meals. It can even arrange an entire round the world trip complete with hotel reservations.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Aurealis Awards

Checked out the Aurealis Awards in Brisbane on Saturday night.

It was a very swish affair -- the organisers can be proud of their achievement.

As well as the actual awards, it was a great chance to put faces to names and voices to email addresses.

You can read my report for Articulate here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Happy Australia Day


You need to check out the big version to get the full effect.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Honourable mentions

Ditmar Award-winning writer/editor Shane Jiraiya Cummings has kindly put my name forward for consideration as a nominee for this year's Ditmar Awards - under the Best Professional Achievement category. I'm humbled to make his list, alongside industry stalwarts Russell B Farr and Angela Challis.

Elsewhere, writer Ben Payne has given my short "The Infinite Temple" (Borderlands #6) an 'honourable mention' in his imaginary Year's Best anthology.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Pine Coffin, Folded Flag

My short story "Pine Coffin, Folded Flag" - about a man's struggle with his conscience over his decision to dodge the draft during the Vietnam War - is now available at Espresso Fiction.

Charlie smacked his lips together and tried to work some moisture back through his mouth. This part of the country was always dry. The yellow land gave way to a piteous blue sky and searing sun that burned just as hot at eight in the morning as at midday or six in the evening. He thrust his spade half-heartedly at the unyielding ground, sending the solid clunk of steel on stone out into the endless drone of cicadas. He looked down into the hole, now about half as deep as it needed to be and roughly rectangular, and decided he deserved a break.

It's good to finally see it in print!

P-Mail: 'Like e-mail, only slower'

P-Mail -- paper-based e-mail

Inspired by Get a First Life, which I discovered on BoingBoing yesterday, I've developed P-Mail - paper-based e-mail!


1. Download the P-Mail template.

2. Print it out. (You'll need to scale it, so it all fits on one page)

3. 'Write' to your friends.

4. 'Post' the letter (this requires an envelope and stamps).

UPDATE 3/4: As used by Google!

UPDATE 24/1: Eay has kindly produced an easy-to-use PDF file. (You can also check out his note on Flickr) Thanks!

UPDATE: I've been BoingBoinged! Woohoo!