H A P A X  L E G O M E N A

Words from the decaying mind of Paul Haines




Publisher: The Mayne Press Year: 2009


Paul Haines sliced through the Australian writing scene with his twisted and murderous black humour in 2002. he has since won many awards and praise for his dark and surreal stories that make you think twice about his sanity and good taste.

Published here together for the first time are the Ditmar winning story "The Devil In Mr Pussy", the Aurealis Award shortlisted horror story "Doof Doof Doof" and the complete "Slice of Life" series of stories, including the previously unpublished "Slice of Life - A Spot of Liver" which also won the Aurealis Award 2009 for Best Horror Short Story.

HAINES' SLICE OF LIFE - seventeen glistening stories, sweating with twenty first century paranoia and anxiety from the decaying mind of the winner of the 2005 Ditmar for New Talent.


  • Winner 2010 Ditmar Best Collection
  • Winner 2010 Chronos Award Best Collection
  • Nominated 2009 Aurealis Award Best Collection
  • "Slice Of Life - A Spot Of Liver" Winner 2009 Aurealis Award Best Horror Short Story


Exuberant, profane, and totally whacked out - Ellen Datlow

The anxiety in these stories is palpable. Love the paranoia! Love the self loathing. Love the psychosis - Aurealis

It's a great, nasty read. Recommended - Jenny Blackford, World Fantasy Award judge

Haines’ work is not for the faint hearted. Aficionados of all things quirky, intelligent, and dark will devour Slice of Life. It is horror, it is action, it is social commentary, it is savage fantasy and unrelenting realism, is it a psychological journey into a warped and familiar place. It is, truly, a slice of life. (full review here) - The Specusphere #11

Twisted and wildly entertaining - Beat Magazine

...travel the dark back roads of horror. We're not talking mainstream horror here, we're talking confrontational in your face stories from the perspective of every day people. If you don't trust that weird old dude over your back fence then Paul Haines' collection could just give you the reason why ... Paul Haines has compiled a collection that is a highlight on the 2009 short story calendar. It's not for the faint of heart, there's some deeply disturbing visions going down, but is well worth reading if you appreciated decent horror of the short story form. (full review here) - Scary Minds

Slice of Life is not for those who like pretty stories of love and derring-do. Look elsewhere for that. What it does contain is original storytelling with a strong and compelling voice that you sometimes may not want to listen to and yet you’re powerless to resist. You have been warned. (full review here - scroll down for Slice Of Life) - Aurealis

Slice of Life is brilliantly nasty and engrossing. Haines may very well be the best writer of dark fiction in Australia today, and genre readers cannot afford not to pick up a copy of this collection. (full review here) - HorrorScope

I...picked up Slice of Life and felt like I'd been thrown into a cold river. I came up, wide awake, eyes open, thinking, I'm alive. The stories were tight, carefully crafted, original (and also reminiscent of someone like Ellison), daring and funny. I laughed out loud three times in the first two stories. Do you know how rare it is for me to laugh out loud? I have some criticisms, but don't we always have them? Let's not dwell on them. But one of the things I thought was - these stories should be better known, fuck it. I mean, I work at one of the top literary journals in OZ, and it's rare we'd ever get anything as good as "The Devil in Mr Pussy." - Rjurik Davidson, associate editor of Overland magazine.

Bleak, blackly humorous and brutally self-deprecating, this is uncomfortable yet fascinating and engaging fiction from an author whose no-holds-barred, no-prisoners-taken approach to writing is on glorious display in this collection. Juxtaposing life with air travel, psychosis and Machiavellian talking cats, this is Australian masculinity and sexuality as fiction at its most dark and disturbing. Not for the faint of heart, read a "slice" at a time. - 2009 Aurealis Awards Judges Report

This is a remarkable book by a writer whose deceptively clean and easy style masks real depth, and the kind of truthfulness that makes his version of horror visceral, nasty, and yet as fearsomely compelling as the sight of a shrouded corpse beside a wrecked car on the verge of the road. This is really strong work, and if you like horror, or dark speculative fiction, you owe it to yourself to get a copy. - Dirk Flinthart (www.coolshite.net)

A collection that’s like nothing else out there, brimming with incident and irreverence, both as regards the idea of author as creator and the tropes of genre, absurd and yet deadly serious in some of the things it has to say. It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re of an iconoclastic bent the Paul Haines experience might be just what you’re looking for. - Pete Tennant, Black Static #15

Haines tells stories that not only rub you up the wrong way, but skin you. They don't try and make you think, they burrow into your brain and begin breeding (full review here). - Rachel Holkner, ASiF



Table Of Contents

  1. Slice Of Life
  2. The Devil In Mr Pussy
  3. Mnemophonic
  4. This Is The End, Harry, Goodnight!
  5. (It's Not Like) The Good Old Days
  6. Going Down With Jennifer Aniston's Breasts
  7. The Punjab's Gift
  8. Failed Experiments From The Frontier: The Pumpkin
  9. Slice Of Life: Cooking For The Heart
  10. Inducing
  11. Lifelike and Josephine
  12. Yum Cha
  13. A Tale Of The Interferers: Necromancing The Bones
  14. Shot In Loralai
  15. Doof Doof Doof
  16. Where Is Brisbane and How Many Times Do I Get There?
  17. Slice Of Life: A Spot Of Liver

2010 Chronos Award