Review: Suspended in Dusk, Ed. Simon Dewar

Suspended in DuskI’ve been wanting to read Suspended in Dusk for some time, given all the praises flying around in my social media circles. SQ Mag (the ezine I edit) competed against this anthology in a strong field for the Best Edited Work of 2014 in the Australian Shadows Awards, from the Australian Horror Writer’s Association. Some of the eminent Australian speculative fiction authors even featured in both our works.

In Suspended in Dusk there’s monsters in the traditional guise and monsters loosely associated with human beings. There’s a tangible thread of the threat of dusk woven through this collection of thematically diverse stories, each bearing up a dark or horrific element. While the thread linking the stories is tenuous, Simon Dewar has collated some excellent pieces.

Alan Baxter’s palliative care nurse protagonist drifts dreamlike through wards, compassionate and available, in Shadows of the Lonely Dead. Rayne Hall’s Burning world is pure small town nightmare. Maid of Bone draws out the ostracised, the lonely in an intimate way Tony Bennett seems to know. Miriam Vale is seemingly picked straight from memory by S.G. Larner, and that phenomena where the stranger always knows best. Tom Dullemond perfect captures the clinical detached psychopath in Would To God That We Were There. Wendy Hammer’s Negatives is an excellently painted twin horror in a deserted theme park.

There’s other situations that are unexpected, like vicious coral zombies and devolution, in truly abhorrent settings like fat camps. Angela Slatter turns some post-apocalyptic tropes on their heads in The Way of All Flesh. Where recognisable creatures from the dark appear, the authors have tried to give their kind a new twist, a deeper meaning.

On the whole, Suspended in Dusk is a well put-together anthology. Some of the stories are reprints, if they seem familiar, but each was a piece worth reinvigorating. As with any collection, some of the pieces had a style or voice or plot that was more appealing, but that’s the downside of collected works: short stories are always compared.

Suspended in Dusk is a strong first anthology from the collaboration of Simon Dewar and Books of the Dead Press. If a creeping chill is your choice of entertainment, Suspended in Dusk won’t disappoint. It is obvious why this appealed to the Australian horror community, and its follow-up anthology will be eagerly anticipated.

Review: Justice by Sarah Ciacia

justice-sarah ciacia

A few words before I begin my review: Sarah and I have connected over the internet, due to a wonderful mutual friend who put us together due to our mutual interests (love of writing and dogs, the city of Melbourne…). However, I bought this book, so I have no other obligations to this review. And it’s very tardy. Sorry Sarah. 

Justice begins the story of a victim; Justice is beaten by her father, demoralised at school, plagued by suicidal ideation. However, this isn’t to be Justice’s lot, as she fights back and kills her father. It provides her with freedom and a new lease on life, although she keeps looking back at the high price of her liberty.

For once, Justice is able to be the young woman she was held back from: one with her own style, and not so crippled by her self-doubt and depreciation. The people around her begin to notice.

Justice is a dark fiction novel for the young adult market. There’s some graphic scenes, and this book comes with a trigger warning for rape and murder. It has good flow and readability for a short novel.

Although some previous reviewers found her relatable, Justice so brimmed with bitterness, or alternately, bleak detachment–in a justifiable way, given her experience of life–that I found it hard to relate to her. She’s nuanced and flawed, with moments where you see the pure teenage girl in her; while it’s great for the realism, it’s not always great for being able to relate.

That being said, the despair of being a teenage outcast is very accurately portrayed in this book, so there’s much to relate to for teens negotiating the tumultuous time that is adolescence. And Justice certainly gets herself into troublesome situations like only a teenager can.

While I know there is a sequel in the works, for me the book would have been better served by telling the whole story within this novel. Not to spoil it for anyone interested, but the end leaves a lot of threads hanging. Like all the other readers, I will have to wait until the sequel is done to have the answers I so often prefer.

Justice is a strong first novel from Sarah Ciacia, which leaves you wanting to find out what happens to Justice. I’d recommend this novel for mature young adults and older who enjoy the grimmer side of literature. If you’re interested in the novel, you can find purchasing options here.

Leaving Time: Mothers and Daughters

leavingtime cover

There’s a lot I share with my mother: her father’s line’s dark colouring, a streak of stubbornness with a yearning to better the world, as well as a love of animals, history and literature. Unsurprisingly perhaps, we also share a love of women’s stories, a touch of the romantic and a deep appreciation of the writers who can weave these elements into a entrapping narrative, one of them being Jodi Picoult.

Leaving Time is Jodi’s latest offering, and what I selected for my mother’s Christmas present. Where could I go wrong–it is the story of mothers and daughters, and the elephants both of them loved (and an animal my mother also loves).

I actually began this reading process with the earlier released novella, Larger than Life, which tells the story of the mother of this story, Alice, researcher and neurobiologist, in the time she was working on her doctorate in Botswana. Alice’s work is on the behavioural aspects of elephant herds, the remarkable memories of matriarchs, and the communal raising and supporting of calves and the herd. This is a snapshot into the life of the scientist, of the empathetic and compassionate woman who rescues an orphaned elephant calf, learning a hard lesson along the way.

Leaving Time brings us Alice’s teenage daughter, Jenna, who has spent her life searching for her mother, missing in the aftermath of death due to an elephant trampling at the Elephant Sanctuary she loved. By chance, Jenna stumbles upon a psychic, Serenity, whose close connection to the spirit world once made her famous for finding missing persons. After a spectacular fall from grace, Serenity had retreated, her connection broken, until Jenna appears on her doorstep.

When turned away, Jenna hunts down the last detective on the case, Vic, an alcoholic private eye chasing cheating spouses, who is still haunted by the case he didn’t fully investigate: the unusual death and Alice’s disappearance.

Despite their quite unorthodox combination, the three manage to make some headway on a case long cold. Lost items appear that belonged to Alice, and as memories begin to return to Jenna, it appears that not all was right in her mother’s world. Did she leave willingly, and what kept her from coming back?

Interspersed in amongst the mystery are snippets of Alice’s observations and memories, cataloguing the stages of grief of mothers, of the herd, and the support structures of elephant families. It ties in with her work on memory from the novella, and each portion brings the reader closer to her return to New England from her work in Africa, to understanding her relationship with Jenna’s father Thomas, and the little community that held the elephant sanctuary together for as long as they could.

Truly, the best part of this novel and its associated novella, were the beautiful characterisations of female elephants in their roles as guides, role models, mothers and leaders. Elephants are truly remarkable creatures; their memories are astoundingly long, seeming to remember what they couldn’t possibly know in terms of long-avoided watering holes and paths. Jodi links the investment of elephants in their calves, 22 months of it and over a decade of rearing, to the deep attachment they have to their babies. And knowing this is all based on real researcher’s observations of wild and captive elephants makes the (true) stories of the elephants all the more harrowing.

The combination of a drunk detective, a moody yet intellectually advanced teen and a psychic isn’t her most original character collection, but their dynamic is a nice one: not too judgemental, or disrespectful. Particularly the thread tying mother and her past to her daughter now is a sweet testament to how lots of love can be an antidote to perhaps not the most responsible parenting.

The narrative sensitively touches on mental illness, and the violence that can sometimes go hand-in-hand with some conditions, but without overly judging either party. There’s several twists and turns as the story progresses, some that I didn’t entirely see until the ending.

People who have enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s previous work will likely enjoy this book. If elephants and their behaviours are of interest, then the depictions of the elephants at the heart of this story will enchant you.

Books like Leaving Time make me grateful that I was raised in a home full of love, that I could connect with the mother-daughter love in this book and share it with my own mother. From my own standpoint as a writer, I hope that one day, I myself can write a book so well researched, crafted and portrayed as Leaving Time.

Review of I, Claudius

Seldom do I have books physically thrust at me, as recommendations to be read. “You need to read this.” (Paraphrased; Mark is much more eloquent than this small statement suggests.)

Now, Mark has a much more intricate palate when it comes to fiction than I do, but he’s a great friend and his love of literature was enough to encourage me to give it a go. I still did look a little askance at Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, even though the times of the Roman Empire are of exceptional interest to me.

At first, the dry tone of our narrator, the intricacy of the families and the royal lineage that the author was trying to reconcile for the reader was a bit much. But slowly, he grows on you, this detached and outcast chronicler, until you enjoy his voice and dry observation. And as the narrative progresses, the level of detail and the backstory of the family becomes necessary for understanding the bigger picture.

Claudius hovers at the edge of the action, out of the firing line, documenting from the safety of the sidelines. It’s ringside seats for political intrigue from megalomaniacs devolving into psychotic episodes, rigorously documented by intrepid historian. It’s dynasties and betrayal and death–all of the best parts of a historical novel combined. The intricate knowledge of the family tree and relationships, as well as languages and the settings and outcomes of Roman campaigns, is also suggestive of extensive research on the subject.

Robert Graves has a superb command of voice, creating this unique character, who we understand little to begin, and who with every passing chapter becomes more real and dearer to the reader. It’s a great example of what a writer who allows his character to have a voice and to tell the story in their own way.

I, Claudius is an excellent example of literary fiction done in the correct way–unique voice, distanced from today’s speech, and well-researched. Highly recommended for people who enjoy historic fact with their fiction, and a generally excellent read.

Subtropical Suspense Review

SUBTROPICAL-SUSPENSE - front cover - mediumWhen this anthology was in production, I had a short chance to read some of the stories as part of the collective proofing process. Unfortunately, it didn’t give me much time to really enjoy them so I decided I would come back to look at them when I had more time to appreciate the hard work and craft that went into each one.

What I love about the concept of this collection is that it represents Australians and in particular Queenslanders. Queensland is well worth the attention. It’s a state of contrasts: arid outback, lush and steamy rainforest, tropical beaches and mangroves. Its people are a friendly and talkative lot, who, overall, take life a lot less seriously. There’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek rebellion against the older, staider states. My home state needed representation in fiction.

Enter Cameron Trost: author, editor and head of Black Beacon Books, a Brisbane-based publisher. Wanting to see his home state immortalised, he started calling out for submissions of suspense stories set in Brisbane or surrounds. What resulted was a collection of fine works with the flavour of Queensland.

Brisbane surrounds, the glitzy Gold Coast and the suburbs are all represented here. The flavours of a Queensland upbringing are definitely present in the sweltering humidity and the summer storms, the hiding from the sun and heat. Tales largely told for old-fashioned suspense and intrigue, a few of these tales have a supernatural bent.

Several stood out for me, in no particular order. FN Karmatz’s Magnetic North with the indigenous police officer on the train of a perpetrator of a violent crime (though the science missed the mark for me). Missing by Kerry Whalen taps authentically into the fear of every parent: the disappearance of children. Like Me, The River from Duncan Richardson follows a young homeless boy’s journey.

My favourites were from Linda Brucesmith, The Final Cut, which captured a side of Queensland that is still a sadness for me, and Helen Stubb’s tale of young infatuation and the iceskating rink, which evoked the intensity of being a teenager in summery Queensland.

There were a couple of stories that needed some cutting in my opinion, or a perhaps a bit of refining, but all of them definitely captured the feel or location, so their selection for the anthology made sense.

Overall, this is a fine collection and it was wonderful to see some emerging and established Queensland names in this anthology. Each author’s story was unique and this anthology did what it set out to accomplish: represent a great and unique state so that we might see more narrative that includes it. An aim that I wholeheartedly support, and was glad to be a part of.

Review of Harvest, Hyddenworld Book III

Harvest: Hyddenworld

William Horwood’s Harvest is the third in a tetralogy of books written in his Hyddenworld, and it’s where we finally are seeing significant ramping up of tension leading to the culmination of the story.

Awakening (summer) left Hydden journeyman Bedwyn Stort and the others fleeing the home of the Emperor of the Hyddenworld, Bocum, with the gem of Summer, which he gives to his now-grown love, the Shield Maiden Judith, daughter of his giant-born friend Jack, and partner Katherine.

Stort has no idea where to find the next gem, and only knows that he must look to the original holder of the gem, Al Faroun, the Emperor’s former teacher and famous Hyddenworld designer.

Meanwhile, back in the human world, Professor Arthur Foale, Katherine’s surrogate father, becomes of interest to the military through his former student, Erich Bohr. When taken into custody to help ascertain what role the Hyddenworld plays in the current geological disasters, Arthur must figure out how to escape, back to his friends in the Hyddenworld.

That’s where his wyrd (fate) brings him into contact with the former Emperor’s trusted right-hand man, Nikolas Blut, who in his mentor’s abdication, has become the Emperor himself. But his intentions are being thwarted by some shady machinations of the military wing of his own government, the sinister Fyrd.

All this while the earth begins to rebel against centuries of abuse by the humans, and the retrieval of the gems is all that stands in the way of the end of days.

Harvest has what was lacking in Awakening: a significantly tense plot. And while that could be somewhat forgiven as part of the thematic structure, as summer is a time of growth and play and good times, this is the book where the series starts to come into its own.

Writing socio-political and military-type intrigue is one of Horwood’s strengths as a writer, and it is good to see this appear in the third novel. The subtleties of the political machinations and counterplots in the Hyddenworld adds an interesting comparison to the same activities in the human world, and is an interesting counterpoint.

In the years since the books of the Duncton Wood world, it has been easy to forget just how graphic Horwood can be. In Harvest, the gore and horrific deaths return. Horwood has incredible way of getting under the skin and making brutal deaths of characters in his novel get under your skin.

As this series moves on, some of the favourite characters seem to get less interesting, but this is countered by the introduction of some new and nuanced characters, particularly the new emperor Blut. It is saddening though to see the prominent female characters have less agency and exist in largely traditional female roles without good characterisation. Even the Shield Maiden Judith, who promised to be incredibly fascinating with her accelerated growth and a fierce anger derived from her pain and from acting on behalf of the earth. She becomes Stort’s love interest, to the detriment of the story.

Now that the epic is starting to get into the upswing of the climax of the series, it’s definitely at a pace that many epic fantasy readers will enjoy. Due to the level of violence and gore, it may not be suitable for preteens, but anyone older should be able to relate to it. Harvest has given a fine preview of what Horwood could do with the resolution of the Hyddenworld series, so I look forward to the final book, Winter, which I will review for SQ Mag in September. You can find my review for Spring (Book I) here.

Review: Best Man by Ebony Olson



Before I begin this review, I must say that I know the author, and I read the beginnings of this novel when Ebony was posting it online at her blog, where she eventually took those parts of it down before she published. I purchased the book because I had to know how it ended.

Jess returns home for her sister’s wedding, the first time since leaving in the wake of personal disaster. She meets the delectable and mysterious Ethan, who she discovers is her new brother-in-law’s best man. While Jess wonders if she is ready to come home to her family and friends, her past comes back to the fore, and another devastating secret will come out.

Best Man is a commentary on the dysfunction and difficulty of familial and romantic relationships, and how these two can sometimes be worked around to make fulfilling connections for people. Particularly displayed in the relationship of protagonist Jess with Ethan, and also with her mother, who she struggles to have good relations with.

The interplay between Jess and her flirtatious fling Ethan is the best part of this book. Two broken people dancing around each other, each attempting not to get hurt or get involved, rung true as a tribute to the baggage people carry into their love lives in the modern world. I also liked how Ethan is woven in as a part of Jess’ world, before she even know about it.

My major criticism is to the brevity of the discussion of familial violence and how it is treated as a subject. So as not to spoil some of the events of the book, this comment will be kept obscure. One of the characters has a history of violence towards another, and every one ignores it and expects the victim to play nice, knowing the extent of previous violence. To me, there was no feeling of it throughout the book in the victim’s reactions to their abuser in any way, or in the way other members of the family reacted, and it felt like an unneeded plot point. I know that the author does not take this subject lightly at all; to me, it’s just not been woven into the overarching narrative well. In my opinion, selfishness and self-involvement could have inflicted the hurts the victim suffered, and still reflected badly enough on the other character.

One other criticism is less major and more a reflection on the copy editor who read this novel, who left in homophones and several other small mistakes that do not reflect well on their professionalism.

Best Man can certainly be classified as romantic, but I would say that’s only one part of the story. There’s some steamy scenes between Jess and Ethan that should titillate most readers of the genre. I would definitely recommend it only for adult readers, given the subject matter.

For a self-published first novel, I think Ebony Olson has done extremely well. The narrative kept all the best character development and interaction that engaged the readers in the initial release of this story. I commend Ebony on her first book, and look forward to seeing her writing going from strength to strength as she hones her craft. I look forward to the release of her next book, which she has told me privately she hopes to publish towards the end of 2014.

Arabian-Islamic fantasy sojourn: Throne of the Crescent Moon review

What a beautiful cover.

Sometimes it takes a different perspective to refresh a genre. Sword and sorcery for a long time has been too full of clichéd plot and motivations. It is a paucity of different cultural voices that has tired this genre; but the wonderful news is that Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon is a refreshing read with a flavour of the historical Arabian empires.

Set in the Kingdom of the Crescent Moon, Doctor Adoulla Makhslood is the last of the ancient profession of ghul (demon/animated substance, for those of us without the proper grounding in Arabic folklore) hunters in the city of Dhamsawaat. More interested in his tea and delicacies, Adoulla is tiring of the hunt and ageing faster every day. His beloved city teems with tension, caught between a Khalif ruining the city with his selfish desires and an outlaw calling himself the Falcon Prince. Even with the help of his warrior dervish assistant, Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla is on the back foot with the latest bone  ghuls stumbling his way.

After a rescue by the shape-shifting tribeswoman Zamia Badawi, last of the Badawi band murdered by the marauding ghuls, an uneasy alliance forms between the hunters. It is crucial, as ancient dark forces thought to be long extinguished are working their way back into the world, and the threat to the world is great.

It seems so trite to compare a stories of folklore origin, especially since Throne of the Crescent Moon is such a breath of fresh air. This novel does, however, conjure all the mystique and magic of Thousand and One Nights. But there’s much to enjoy in the characters themselves: tortured love, loss of faith in life’s path, enduring love of age, greed, unwilling heroes, devotion to tribe and family…Saladin’s novel is populated with people. This may sound like it should be a given with most books, but few writers manage to do it well. Shifting tensions between the devout Raseed and his mentor, the irreverent Adoulla, are a lovely contrast to the traditional reverent student-teacher relationships that appear so frequently in sword and sorcery novels.

The rich culture of the world is brought to life in the small details, from Adoulla’s tea, to his conversations and the architecture. Social structure of historical Arab-Islamic cities strikes me as genuinely reflected, and the Badawi tribe appears a nod to the role the African tribes played in the history of the Arabs. Fight scenes, which are not normally a drawcard for me, intrigued me, particularly the dervish fighting Raseed embodied. And even if the battle is the good versus evil, there are small details that allows Saladin to paint in some shades of grey.

Throne of the Crescent Moon was Hugo and Nebula-nominated for good reason; that it was a debut novel recommends Saladin Ahmed’s work even more strongly. If a fan of the traditional sorcery genre, expand your horizons; this has all the adventure of the genre with more soul. If a general speculative fiction fan, pick it up for a good read that redefines what the speculative fiction voice is.

You can find out more about Saladin Ahmed at his website, or follow him on Twitter to be entertained, educated and appalled about how pervasive anti-Islamic (and even just extremely ignorant) voices are in the field of fiction and in the greater world in general.

Pro-tip: If you enjoy the book, I was lucky enough to discover that Saladin Ahmed has a short story collection, Engraved on the Eye, that has a story involving the good Doctor and Raseed, and I was lucky enough to pick it up on Amazon for the lovely price of free. Plus there’s some other intriguing shorts that make it worthwhile.

Review of Stephen King | On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft


When a book, particularly On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, has been touted at “the best craft” book for writers, it’s really hard to approach it in a neutral frame of mind. Especially when you are not a big reader of his work, that kind of touting can result in disappointment of an equal scale. I have to say, it wasn’t what I was expecting, but what I should have been.

I opened the book expecting a break-down of what writers need to succeed, based on Stephen’s own experience. But what this book is entailed in the title: a memoir. The first third of the book is the story of how the inexperienced young man became a writer. It pulls no punches: there was lots of rejection, a good dose of struggling by with menial employment, and a whole lot of hard work. Some people are horrible narrators of their own experience, and make it out to be a glorious quest. But Stephen writes with his characteristic gritty realism, simplified language and trims out the unnecessary.

The second section of Stephen’s craft book is a brief run-down of what it takes to be a good writer. He makes sure to clarify that he does believe there are people who cannot be writers, people who can be crafted into good writers, and great writers. He doesn’t give himself any airs: he is well aware that he is not considered to be a master wordsmith, but he says he must be reasonable, given how others enjoy his work.

Some of his tips are standard (though whether they are standard because of his book or whether they predate it, I do not know, given the original book was published in 2001): write a lot, read as much, have your own space for writing, write your own truths (versus write what you know), to write good dialogue writers must listen, give your drafts a rest before you edit and most importantly, don’t do it for the money.

He does discuss some aspects that aren’t as often discussed. He’s not a fan of plotting, more of allowing the story to be unearthed naturally. Keep your enthusiasm for the story by keeping working on it, by keeping it to yourself for at least the first draft. The extra touches, he advises, can be built into the later drafts. Backstory should be simple and elegantly woven in; research it if you must, but work to make it seamless and the story authentic.

My only criticism of his advice was he chose to talk about agents, which I got the impression that he himself had very little experience with. He did talk mostly of friends who had acquired agents after some time, after some successes, and by picking those who already represented similar works. The trouble is to my mind is that he has not had the personal experience of one; his own trajectory was a very different one. It is also not quite as relevant given the plethora of ways a writer can achieve success in the current market; so this section of the book was a little outdated for me.

The finishing section is unique to the 2010 edition, I believe, talking about Stephen’s return to writing after he was hit by a van and hospitalised with severe trauma. It is a real testament to his commitment to his craft, and his description of his first session writing after the accident was an intense reminder that dedication is a huge part of this career. His descriptions of his injuries and his conduct during his (probable) delirium actually elicit a few smiles, even through the internal horror realising what he must have been going through.

All in all, I enjoyed the style of Stephen King’s On Writing; more memoir than serious craft novel, but all the more engaging for the personal touch. It is also understandable that many could relate to it: Stephen is humble about his own gift and his achievements, which is unusual for a writer of his level of success.

I do recommend it to other writers, particularly those who haven’t read a lot of other craft books, as it is innately readable and offers clear, constructive advice. Those who enjoy his other work will undoubtedly enjoy getting to know the man all the more.

Flitting around Neverwhere

neverwhereThose of you who have seen my reviews before, it’s no surprise to see I am reading another Neil Gaiman book. After my friend, Thor Gunnin, introduced me to American Gods, I have been an ardent fan of Mr Gaiman. So Neverwhere, one of his other lauded novels, the one the fans beg for a sequel of, had to be on my ‘To-read’ list.

Richard Mayhew has his life together; he’s got a good job, he has his own flat, he lives in London and has a beautiful fiancée, Jessica. But it all changes when he stops to help a girl in the gutter, the seemingly injured Door. After his world connects with London Below, the London that has fallen through the cracks, he loses his connection to the life he knows and love. And his only solution is to seek out the mysterious Door, who is facing her own tribulations and being pursued by two unsavoury characters.

But the world below is much more dangerous than it seems, a place of magic and full of creatures of lore. Richard must adapt to survive and join Door’s adventurers to learn, about life and about himself.

Bluntly, I think that American Gods is still my favourite, closely seconded by the raw emotions of The Ocean at the End of the Lane (which I reviewed for SQ Mag). But Neverwhere is still an engaging novel that stands up to Neil’s usual high standards. The tidbits of about the London Underground, and historical weather patterns, and fashions of yesteryear, are fascinating and so much a part of his fastidious style, displaying his extensive research. Managing to paint despicable antagonists that make your skin crawl, particularly Vandemar and Croup, and the depiction of the emotionally detached Angel, are the workings of a genius at characterising human (and by extension, supernatural) life forms. Even when I didn’t much like the early actions whinging protagonist Richard, Gaiman still managed to make him sympathetic. It is a strength that there are so many flawed and somewhat unsympathetic characters in this novel, and it is still mostly enjoyable reading; a reflection I believe on the difficulties of life ‘below’, and the selfish side that is a requirement for survival.

I do think that Gaiman’s work has evolved, and that his structure is a lot cleaner, tighter, in places than it was for this novel. And I can see why it has a huge fan base; the story of being unnoticed, of falling through the cracks to be forgotten, is one that so many of us can relate to. And as always, he a master of weaving lore into present day life in a way that doesn’t turn the reader away.

So I would definitely recommend Neverwhere to others, particularly those weathering a time in their lives where they might feel isolated, but it would be in a raft of reading of his books, to get a flavour for all the styles of his fiction. It’s infinitely suitable for preteens and up, and best suited to this audience.