It’s not too often one of our own writes a novel. Lachlan Walter (aka Lachlan Wrong) has written a dystopian Australian outback fiction called The Rain Never Came published by Odyssey Books. Lachlan has completed a PhD in Australian post-apocalyptic fiction and national identity. He writes science fiction criticism for Aurealis magazine and its blog and of course has written numerous reviews for Cyclic Defrost. You can read his Cyclic work here.
We’re pretty impressed, so we thought we’d publish a short excerpt from this sun parched novel:
Without the slightest warning, a raging noise blew in – a roar that tore through the night and
shook the earth. The dogs out the front of the pub started howling. Conversations faltered as
everyone fell quiet. The noise kept on, steadily growing louder. Tobe and I turned, scanning
the sky, seeing nothing. I looked over at him – he was already running for the road, heading
for the hill behind the pub.
I followed, unexpectedly clearheaded, taking everything in as if it had been laid out on
Everyone ran with us. Sheldon huffed and puffed, cursing his old body. Louise jogged
next to me, smiled at me, rapidly overtook me. The Veidts hurried along, somehow making
the process look dignified. Max and Maxine moved fast yet made it look like they were
taking it easy. Cathy Ng half-limped and half-ran, clutching at her dressing gown, trying
not to catch herself in it. The Kumari Kid darted back and forth, circling the crowd, urging
everyone to move faster. The First Country captain led his people on, trailing well behind,
watchful and wary.
We kept running. We crested the hill. We all stood in silence, raggedly trying to catch our collective breath.
The wind started, furnace-hot. Its screaming whine and the roar that tore through the sky were the only
sounds in the world. From the corner of my eye I saw someone lick their finger and hold it up in the air. I
heard someone else say: “It’s coming from the west, dickhead.” And then the word rain seemed to be falling
from everyone’s lips.
A flash lit up the horizon, staining the sky dull-orange and crimson-red. Someone started
yelling: “Light! Light! Light to the west!”
For a moment, it burned too bright, blinding me. It soon faded away, only to then happen
repeatedly. I looked around; everyone seemed to have their eyes shut and their fists clenched.
The world shook again.
We waited, all eyes fixed on the horizon, everyone saying the same word over and over:
Rain! Rain! Rain! But none came. After a while, people started drifting away and the only
sound left was their angry mutterings and disappointed sighs. I turned my back on the horizon
as well. Like everyone else, I stared at the ground as I walked. No one wanted to look
anyone else in the eye.