The Sound of Killing Gravity

I’ve spoken before about how I originally envisioned Killing Gravity – as a space post-hardcore EP, as opposed to a space opera – but I haven’t spoken in detail about my thinking behind it, or the music I was specifically referring to when I coined that (admittedly clunky) term.

See, operas are big, dramatic, “epic” performances; not only that but it’s also an old artform, carrying with it the musty scent of tradition. I didn’t want to write something big or unnecessarily complicated, “epic” for the sake of genre conventions. I wanted to pare everything back, cut right to the core, and tell a personal story that hints at larger conspiracies and larger battles but remains focussed on a small group of outsiders. So, if I wanted to write a space opera without the opera part, what would I use instead as inspiration? That’s where the idea of the post-hardcore EP came in.

An EP is short. A post-hardcore EP is short, short, dirty, with jagged sound that reaches out of your speakers and grabs you, forces you to listen close. There are moments of chaotic screaming noise offset by downbeat stretches of experimentation. There’s a poetic and broken quality to the lyrics, nonsense and beauty screamed in the same hoarse tone. There are weird syncopated rhythms and abstract time signatures.

And that’s everything I wanted to do with Killing Gravity, to put everything I love about These Arms Are Snakes (and to a lesser extent Genghis Tron, Refused, At the Drive-In, and Dillinger Escape Plan*) into words. I don’t know if I succeeded, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

If all that sounded like nonsense without the music to back it up, then you’ll be glad to find the links below.

These Arms Are Snakes Discography | TAAS/Harkonen Split EP | Genghis Tron – Board Up the House

Listen to everything at those above links non-stop for a month, and you’ll know what writing KG felt like.



*I’m deliberately leaving out Young Widows because I didn’t discover them until later, but they were basically the sole soundtrack to the writing of the third VoidWitch book.

Pre-order Void Black Shadow

Void Black Shadow CoverCorey J. White’s space opera Voidwitch Series continues: Mars Xi returns in Void Black Shadow, sequel to Killing Gravity.

Mars Xi is a living weapon, a genetically-manipulated psychic supersoldier with a body count in the thousands, and all she wanted was to be left alone. People who get involved with her get hurt, whether by MEPHISTO, by her psychic backlash, or by her acid tongue. It’s not smart to get involved with Mars, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying.

The last time MEPHISTO came for Mars they took one of her friends with them. That was a mistake. A force hasn’t been invented that can stop a voidwitch on a rampage, and Mars won’t rest until she’s settled her debts.


Void Black Shadow is sort of the Empire Strikes Back to Killing Gravity‘s Star Wars. Here, everything that can go wrong does go wrong, people are hurt, and people are changed. It’s dark, and it’s more political than KG (though, still subtle I hope). Did I mention it’s dark? There’s a reason why I settled on that title. I never wanted to do more of the same with the follow-up, and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Some people will love it, some will hate it, but I wrote the book I had to write at the time.

After it’s out, I’ll probably write about some of the people, places, and things that influenced the story, and maybe some of the influences I had to leave out.

It will be released in ebook and paperback formats in March, 2018. You can preorder it now from all the usual suspects.

B&N NOOK | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

Amazon US | Amazon UK | BookDepository

Brisbanites, hit up Pulp Fiction in the CBD. They’ve been big supporters of Killing Gravity, and I am sure they’ll be supporting Void Black Shadow just as much. Sydney-siders, Galaxy Bookshop might be your best bet, as they’re the sci-fi and fantasy specialists in town.

Also, QBD did a great job supporting me and the other authors at Supanova in 2017.  Otherwise, you can simply ask for your local bookstore to order it in for you. Just quote the title, and the ISBN (Void Black Shadow, ISBN: 9780765396938) and the staff will no doubt be happy to help you out.

Supanova, Brisbane

This past weekend I was a guest author at Supanova in Brisbane, which was as amazing and hectic as you might imagine. I still feel a little run-down so the best my brain can do is a listicle.

[Arbitrary number of] Things That Happened at Supanova, and 2 Things That Didn’t

  1. I got to spend the weekend with some fantastic authors in our little book grotto built and maintained by the fantastic staff from QBD and the tireless Supanova volunteers (special shout-out to Paige and Kylie, our expert author-wranglers).
    List of Said Authors (List within a List. Listception. Yo, I heard you liked Lists so I put a List inside your List. Et cetera)

    1. Kass Morgan is the writer of The 100, and was (still is, I’m sure) a lovely person. She had a tonne of insight from both writing a series adapted into a TV show and from her day job editing YA fiction.
    2. Keri Arthur is a veteran of Australian fantasy. She was super friendly and relaxed… she’s done the convention thing all before and nothing can faze her now.
    3. Marc and James Lindsay are two brothers going all-in on the self-publishing game and doing it right. Seriously, if everyone who self-pubbed put as much effort and thought into the process as these two do, it wouldn’t be looked down upon. They’re also a pair of gregarious lads. They’re writing mythology-inspired action and adventure, so if that’s your sort of thing, check them out.
    4. Dr Karl is just as effortlessly entertaining in person as he is on the radio. And from the number of books he signed over the weekend, I think a lot of Aussies are learning more about science from him than they ever did in school.
    5. Ian Irvine – I hardly had a chance to talk with Ian because we were sitting apart and not on any panels together, but after sitting in on the ‘Pushing the Boundaries of YA’ panel and hearing what he had to say, I had a lot of respect for him. He was writing epic fantasy with deep female characters back in the day when many authors were happy with burly men and damsels in distress.
    6. And of course, last but not least, Marlee Jane Ward, my partner and one of the most original up-and-coming voices in Australian spec-fiction.
  2. I got to sit on some great panels with the other authors, with intelligent questions from the crowd, and the excellent Rihanna Patrick MCing. She’s an absolute natural, guiding the conversation and asking great questions as though she were born with a wireless mic in her hand.
  3. I got questioned on two separate occasions at the signing table. First was a group of Masters students looking for some advice on their sci-fi manuscripts. I really wish I’d been on the ball enough to ask them where they studied, because as both Marlee and I have mentioned in the past, our experiences with university were very unfriendly toward genre writing. Later, I was grilled by Eden, the 9-year-old future-journalist. She was the daughter of someone from a nearby stall, and on her own volition she came by to ask each of us authors about our books and our writing, and what our 16-year-old selves would think of the books we had written.
  4. I got to meet readers and sign for them – including people who had only just picked up the book, others who had read it on ebook and wanted a hardcopy, and others still who just wanted to stop by and tell me how much they enjoyed Killing Gravity. When you’re only 6 months into your career, any number of readers seeking you out is a great thing, so I really appreciate everyone who took time out of their busy convention schedule to say hello.
  5. I saw a guy dressed as a Stonecutter from the Simpsons, and another guy dressed as Raphael in his gumshoe disguise from the first TMNT film. I mean, there were so many fantastic cosplay costumes, but those 2 were my personal favourites.
  6. Got to chat briefly with Tom Taylor, an award-winning and bestselling writer of plays, comics, and TV, and a really nice guy. I mean, he even managed not to roll his eyes when I told him I want to do some comics writing in the next couple of years (something comics writers must hear ALL THE TIME), so you just know he has the patience of a saint.
  7. Drank an unhealthy amount of coffee.
  8. Ate some great vegan baked goods in the green room.
  9. Managed not to buy anything (my luggage was already over and I was flying one of those airlines, so I couldn’t allow myself a little retail therapy anyway).
  10. Had a very brief chat at the airport with a fellow Melbournian Supanova-visitor, who complimented me on my tattoo. Maybe one day I’ll write about that tattoo. I have no idea if she knew Marlee and I had been at Supanova, but I (almost) always like talking tattoos anyway.
  11. Probably more things I’m forgetting.
  12. Oh, but I didn’t see Stan Lee at all. Pretty sure he doesn’t exist. He’s a mass hallucination. Or maybe a character created by Jack Kirby.
  13. And I didn’t have time to get across the river and visit Pulp Fiction. Did I mention how hectic my weekend was? I wanted to pop in and thank them for all the support they’ve given to Killing Gravity. They’re an amazing, genre-focussed bookshop right near Central Station in the CBD, well worth a visit for any Brisbanites.

Void Black Shadow

Over at the Barnes & Noble sci-fi blog, they’ve revealed the cover for VOID BLACK SHADOW, the sequel to Killing Gravity.

Void Black Shadow cover image

Void Black Shadow (March 27, 2018)

Corey J. White’s space opera Voidwitch Series continues: Mars Xi returns in Void Black Shadow, sequel to Killing Gravity.

Mars Xi is a living weapon, a genetically-manipulated psychic supersoldier with a body count in the thousands, and all she wanted was to be left alone. People who get involved with her get hurt, whether by MEPHISTO, by her psychic backlash, or by her acid tongue. It’s not smart to get involved with Mars, but that doesn’t stop some people from trying.

The last time MEPHISTO came for Mars they took one of her friends with them. That was a mistake. A force hasn’t been invented that can stop a voidwitch on a rampage, and Mars won’t rest until she’s settled her debts.

I loved the cover art for Killing Gravity and received plenty of comments on it, so I was sure it was going to be hard to beat, but Tommy Arnold absolutely knocked it out of the park with the art for Void Black Shadow.

This book a different beast to Killing Gravity, so I’m excited and a little scared to see it get out there. I’m sure some people won’t like it as much because it goes to some darker places, but it’s the book I had to write. Hopefully it ends up being well-received, because I would love to go into detail about where the book goes and why, but time will tell. We’ll both have to wait a few more months to see…

Supanova, November 2017

Announcement time – I’m going to be at Supanova in both Brisbane and Adelaide this November!

Obviously they made a mistake, seeing as I’m ABOVE Stan Lee and most everyone else.

Supanova is billed as a pop-culture convention, and features guests from film, TV, anime, and comics, so it’s great that they’ve also been supporting authors of science fiction and fantasy – both local and international. Also with me at the author desk will be my partner Marlee Jane Ward, author of the brilliant Welcome to Orphancorp and Psynode – so come along and say hi to Australia’s Science Fiction Novella Power Couple (TM).


If I’ve been a little quiet lately, that’s because I’ve been focused on completing a novel. I set myself a goal of finishing it in 3 months, and then beat myself up when I lost most of July to various things like illness and a convention (and convention-related anxiety). Still, I know I should cut myself some slack – I completed a 90k word novel in under 4 months, and that’s pretty fucking berserker.

Project Targets

(As I said on twitter, the book is entirely stand-alone, but I had to make that Bojack Horseman joke.)

There’s no rest for the wicked though, oh no. I’ve got a couple of weeks of time to edit the manuscript and get it to my three usual (trusted, brilliant, intelligent, and dangerously-attractive) beta readers, maybe a little time to relax, and then it’s on to Killing Gravity 3: Kill Gravity with a Vengeance. Oh, did I forget to tell you? Well, guess what? Publishing have commissioned a third and final book in the VoidWitch Saga!

This is incredibly exciting – not just because of the support this first-time author is receiving from his publisher, and not just because I have an awesome agent who went to bat for me on this, but because I always kind of envisioned Killing Gravity as the first novella in a trilogy. The original Star Wars trilogy is always going to loom large in my mind because it got in there at such a young age, and now I have the chance to do my own space opera trilogy and get it out there in the wild.

Oh shit, I just thought of a title for KG3 – Return of the VoidWitch. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Also, at that link above you’ll see they sneakily announced the title of KG2 – Void Black Shadow. The book gets as dark as that title may suggest… But I’ll be able to share more about that soon.


I mentioned Ecopunk! previously, but it’s an anthology of stories that look at our climate change affected future (and present), but with an eye toward optimism and innovation, rather than the dystopian visions that seem to clutter popular culture. Right now, Ticonderoga Press are running a Kickstarter for Ecopunk!, which is a perfect chance for you to pre-order an ebook, paperback, or a limited hardcover edition of the anthology.

Ecopunk! is edited by Liz Grzyb and Cat Sparks, and features a selection of amazing authors (and me). Liz is the award-winning editor of multiple anthologies, and Cat is one of the central figures of Australia’s spec-fic scene, so you know you’re in good hands here.

Check out the kickstarter campaign here.


Two exciting things have happened recently, one of which I’d been meaning to post about for a while.


First, I signed with literary agent Martha Millard at Sterling Lord Literistic, based in NYC. Martha reached out to me after reading Killing Gravity, was super enthusiastic, and had some great advice for me in regards to turning this little book of mine into an actual writing career. Martha’s been in the business for a long time, and represents some big names in science fiction, like William Gibson and Ian McDonald. If you’d told teenage-me with his nose buried in Neuromancer that I’d one day share an agent with Gibson, I would not have believed you.

The second thing is that Warren Ellis was kind enough to find time in his consistently-crazy work schedule to write up a couple of paragraphs about Killing Gravity in his Orbital Operations newsletter.

I’ve been a fan of Warren Ellis’ comics, prose, and newsletters for a long time now, so this means the world to me. (And if you think ‘being a fan’ of a newsletter is a bit weird, you’ve obviously never subscribed to one of Warren’s. You’ll get everything from political, sociopolitical, and technological commentary, to recipes, to ‘reviews’ of books and films, music recommendations, the occasional blistering rant, and gems of writing advice. I’d say his insights into the writing process are invaluable for any writer, but particularly for anyone with aspirations to write in the comics field.)

Now, if you’ve somehow discovered my work before Warren’s, then let me make some recommendations. As far as prose goes, Normal is fantastic. It’s a 2016 novella put out by FSG, and it’s Warren at his abyss-gazingly best: hints of William Gibson’s Blue Ant trilogy and Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach trilogy (to me at least), with characters that could only have emerged from Ellis’ mind, and a sort of technological paranoia/perversion that seems a perfect response to the surveillance capialism of today.

For a look at the sort of ‘thinking out loud’ you get in Warren’s newsletters, you can’t go past Do Anything, which I could try and describe, but would probably fail – so instead, click here.

And in the comics realm, there is so much to choose from. Some personal favourites though:

  • Black Summer – a superhero decides the President of the United States is a war criminal beyond redemption who needs to be killed. But that’s not the arc of the comic, that’s the opening few pages. Was written as a response to George W. Bush deceiving the Western world into a fucked up war in Iraq, but will probably still appeal to people today who like the idea of POTUS being slain.
  • Desolation Jones – Ellis’ take on the classic ‘noir detective in LA’ genre, but where the detective is a former British spy who lost all fear and human empathy after being subjected to a particularly fucked up experiment, and who is on the trail of Hitler’s personal porn stash.
  • Global Frequency – a fantastic series of connected sci-fi one-offs. A TV pilot was filmed, and it’s criminal that it was never picked up – it had the potential to be something akin to Person of Interest meets Fringe.
  • Trees & Injection are two newer series, that have a couple of volumes each so far and are shaping up to be some of the best SF comics of the 2010s.
  • And if you’re more of a superhero person, Ellis’ runs on Stormwatch, Authority, and Planetary are some of the best super stuff you’re going to find.

So yeah, exciting times. But that’s enough for now. I’ve got a book to write and another book to edit. Take care of yourself, and those closest to you.

Continuum 13

This long weekend, Australia’s Natcon is happening in Melbourne – Continuum 13. As well as Guests of Honour Seanan McGuire and Likhain, and authors and fans from all over the country, you’ll also be able to find me at the con. I’m going to be doing a reading on Sunday morning, I’ll be on a couple of panels, and I’ll be happy to sign any copies of Killing Gravity that come into my hands.

So, if you’re going to be there, please say hi. Don’t be shy, that’s my job.


My schedule:

Saturday 4pm
When Spec Fic Becomes Reality

Rachel Nightingale, Emma Osborne, Cat Sparks, Corey J. White, Ju

Science fiction has been known to predict the future, for instance Octavia Butler wrote about a zealot who promised to “make America great again” in Parable of Talents, and Synners by Pat Cadigan is so relevant today. We’re chatting about books that are far less fictional now than they were when written.

Saturday 6pm

Kathryn Andersen, Robert New, Emma Osborne, Corey J. White, Nuke

The classic 1973 Hugo and Nebula nominated movie has been turned into a stunning HBO series. What was great about the original, what’s changed and been modernised for the series and is this our future?

Sunday 10am
Author Readings

I’ll be doing a reading, along with JS Bruekelaar and Michael Pryor.

Monday 9:30am
Communicating with Other Life Forms: Starting with Life on Earth

Never mind the aliens. Dolphins might have near-human intelligence, and octopi can use tools. How close are we to communication with animals, and how would society change if we achieved that? (Bonus points to any prospective panelists who can talk about seaQuest!)