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The Kyoto Bell



It’s 2141, the weather is savage, energy politics is brutal, and millions of climate refugees from Asia eke out an existence in a greening Australian desert.

Todd, the teenage son of powerful Indigenous energy mogul, Dr Madrigal Phipps, is kidnapped. A furious Dr Phipps gathers her old team from AuZgov Security Services and a renegade hacker, Andaman Marko, to hunt for Todd and his missing neo-Blues band, but both the climate chaos and her shadowy foes are treacherous.

The young people are held captive in a reclusive community in a central Australian gorge, run by a cult of privacy and silence, called the Qwietude. As adolescent tensions of sex and affection escalate, Todd and his friends plan their own escape. They scramble across the ravaged central desert to beat the arrival of the supercharged monsoon, and Todd calls up skills taught by his Indigenous Elders to survive.

Then, out of the blue, Madrigal’s 120-year-old father-in-exile calls with an extraordinary request from Kyoto, the only place on the planet where cherry trees still blossom.

Could Todd’s disappearance and the Old Man’s request be linked? And will the extreme weather prevent Madrigal from rescuing her son?

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The Capricorn Sky

A century into the future: the weather is lethal, sea levels have risen, and AuZtralia is a lot more complicated.

Andaman Marko lives in the Jointly Administered Territory of Capricornia – a new homeland for millions of climate refugees from Asia. Marko is a playboy by day, fraudster by night: making millions of $New by illegally decoding corporate and diplomatic komms to deal inside trades on the markets. And unknown enemies start to circle.

Then, in a society where prolonged peace is enforced through mass surveillance, eugenics and social engineering, a bomb goes off and Marko and his mysterious girlfriend, Flick, flee north to the climate ravaged badlands of Cape York.

Marko leads both would be assassins and his guardian angel, Dr Madrigal Phipps, in a wild pursuit through a world where the peace is cracking apart.


What others say

Dystopia is no longer enough – we need writers who can imagine ways to survive and repair our damaged futures. In The Capricorn Sky, Colly Campbell brings his real-world knowledge of politics, social structures and the intricacies of human interaction together to create a compelling, convincing story that takes us off the beaten path and into a very plausible far-future Australia.
Jane Rawson, author of From the Wreck
The Capricorn Sky is a timely read .... The bleakness Colly Campbell predicts is already casting a long shadow over today's world of mass surveillance and political mendacity. Campbell's characters - good and evil - are well-drawn and authentic. The plot is frighteningly plausible ... The Capricorn Sky provokes, informs and lays bare some unpleasant truths and dire possibilities.
Alan Murray, author of Luigi's Freedom Ride and The Turncoat
Great story, cinematic settings to die for, wild slang, fast and furious and glamorous, waiting for the next one. Better than the Booker.
Stephen Hall
This is a fast paced action story with some very nasty, shadowy villains countered most notably, by the fabulous, 'Indijj' super-hero in the making, Madrigal Phipps. The central character, cryptic speculator, Andaman Marko, is too clever for his own good. A big fish in town but he's no shark. He has however attracted the attention of the powerful and terrifying and has become very dangerous company to keep. And, with the Ville now reshaped by rising seas: Pallarenda an Island and Magnetic no longer protected from the great ocean swells since the Reef fell to bits, it's not a pretty picture but compelling indeed for any local brave enough to imagine what could well be our future. So, while we writhe in frustration that Adani is now selling our coal, here's a future vision that isn't messagey. It doesn't need to be. With a style that draws from the likes of speculative fiction master, Bruce Sterling, with a world we are allowed to see just enough of to let our imaginations kick into overdrive, 'Capricorn Sky' is seasoned with a political insider's cunning, something, Townsville-born, Colly Campbell saw enough of as a Labor media and policy advisor over many years in Canberra and in the north.
George Hirst, filmmaker



All short stories on this website are works of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.