This is a sneak preview from our up-coming Going Down Swinging #33 from a collaboration between Cate Kennedy and Simon MacEwan. We will be launching the new GDS #33 on Sunday 2 September at the Toff in Town with an amazing line up of performers.

Event details can be found here.


From Atlas Dharma by Cate Kennedy, illustrations by Simon MacEwan.


…I’m immersed in the atlas now, feeling the same faint prickle of

apprehension as I turn the pages back towards what I know awaits me

buried in the middle. I can tease myself with this creepy approaching

shudder; I can dilute and offset some of the fear by scaring myself

first with the image of the world’s deepest oceans, a shelf of water

that begins shallow and pale blue then plunges off into midnight

depths filled with horrific fish with jaws hinged like traps and small

burning lights on antennae hung over their heads, down there in the

blackness. You can imagine a tiny, tiny human figure swimming out

in the pale shallows away from the safety of the beach and continuing

oblivious to what lies beneath them, kicking their legs, suspended

over the deep while sharks and trap-jawed monsters and tentacled

octopi notice them and begin to rise, jaws stretched open…

I sense my parents glance at me occasionally as I turn the pages,

saving my last piece of chocolate. They want to include me in this easy

ritual of laughter, this single thing we all do together, here in the den,

but I am off in that book again, flipping quickly from the darkening

shelf of terrifying water, feeling the familiar tingling horror along

the back of my scalp as I get close to the page I dread and yet aim

towards every time.

Here is the one at the beginning of the book: Where Earth

Belongs: The Solar System. The glowing planets are like faces lit up

by birthday candles by the sun, which is quite small compared to the

masses of Jupiter and Saturn. They hang there in this mysterious,

velvety candlelight, and there’s earth, this tiny droplet here on its

orbit so near the fiery sun, the marble-like globe on which every one

of those continents rests, every single place-name rendered to specks.

Specks of specks of specks, more than enough to be contemplating

without turning the page, and anyway here is Benny smirking in a

sombrero, pretending to play the guitar, his face round and bland

as a pie. Soon will come the fast-motion chase scene where he runs

after more and more people, on one side of the screen and onto the

other, hands outstretched, the women in underwear, and the fast blurting

saxophone theme song they play as the credits roll, but for

this moment I can hold everything still before I turn the page, saving

the dread like a crumb of chocolate before I let it slowly collapse and

melt on my tongue, feel it saturate through me until the foil shiver

rolls up my spine.

Here is the section, warning you, The World As We Know It…