Thirtysomethingella

A Halloween cautionary tale

The Fairy Godmother waved her curling wand, turning Thirtysomethingella’s limp strands into passable locks. “Have fun at the ball, deary, but don’t forget to be home by midnight.”

“Why, what happens at midnight?” Thirtysomethingella turned her head from side to side, admiring her hair in the mirror.

Dark clouds gathered around the Fairy Godmother and she lowered her voice. “At midnight… you will turn into a pumpkin!”

Thirtysomethingella arched her filled-in brow. “You mean my carriage will turn into a pumpkin?”

“Don’t be silly, you’re taking an Uber.” The Fairy Godmother slipped a pack of anti-hangover magic dust into Thirtysomethingella’a purse. “But imagine what happens to a pumpkin under the wheels of a carriage. That’s what your head will feel like in the morning if you’re not in bed by twelve.”

Thirtysomethingella sulked. “That sounds grim.”

“You think?” The Fairy Godmother cracked her stiff neck. “Just you wait till menopause.” She dropped her head back and laughed and laughed…

The End

Upcoming Anthology publication

Exciting news! My post-apocalyptic short story, Windy Wellington, will be published in the SpecFicNZ Anthology later this month, along with (I think) 24 other stories from Kiwi authors of speculative fiction.

Note: The interview below was first published on the SpecFicNZ blog.

Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, due for release in early April.

The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.

Today, we’re chatting with Alla Zaykova

  1. Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?

I got the idea for my short story from re-reading Dune last year and the harrowing desert wind described there. I transposed that wind to New Zealand’s capital, where I have lived and worked for the past decade, to see what happens — a speculative twist on the “Windy Wellington” adage.

  1. How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?

The pandemic proved Kiwis are pretty sensible in a crisis and look after one another.

  1. What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?

I hope to never find out but I’d like to think I can spin a pretty kick-ass tale. It may not seem like much, but stories are vital for the survival of civilisation.

  1. They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?

I lose pens, so I prefer to write digitally. However, in the most recent sci-fi book I’ve read, a metal pen was used to perform an emergency tracheotomy. So there you go.

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m currently revising a gritty space opera novel called Blackjack Interstellar. It’s a bit of a modern take on old-timey pulp fiction like The Stainless Steel Rat.

  1. Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

I post about my writing journey on instagram under @azaykovawriter

I can also be found at www.azaykova.com

Please visit https://specfic.nz for more info.