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February 21st, 2007

Reviews (Mono and Under the Red Sun)

'Mono' (in Phantom):

"There aren’t many stories that make as interesting a use of format as this one, in my experience. Dialogue is shown with different font and alignment; the progression of days is shown by decreasing font, and smaller columns. It’s very effective - for the passing of time, and Chilam’s deteriorating eye condition too. The situation: some time ago, “the world burned with white light”. Since then, every white person on the planet has gone mad. The narrators are, therefore, either Black or Native American (I think; it seems to be set in America. All that matters is they’re not white), and they’re having to deal with the whites who are intent on jumping the wall into their safe compound. The story takes place over 12 or so days. It’s riveting and poignant and a really gripping read."

Under the Red Sun (in Fantasy Magazine #4):

"This is quite a frightening story, a frightening world. The red sun and red sky dominate, and it’s not clear until the end just why the sky is red. The world is one of Morticians and Surgeons: Morticians inscribe tattoos on your body so that God knows your history, and Surgeons create the Returned - people who have died but been given new life with others’ skin and mechanical organs. Very Frankenstein. Fiona has died of a wasting sickness, and her brothers William (the narrator) and Henry are worried that her body will be scavenged for use by the Surgeons. The story follows William as he thinks about his family, his past, his relationships, and his world. It’s quite long for a short story, but it dragged me along relentlessly - the exposition is so niggardly, yet so skillful, that I had to get to the end so that I could know as much as possible. It’s beautifully written, with some lovely description and (sometimes all too) believable characters."


I seem to be doing okay with reviews, hey?


Kill Kill, Knife Knife

On Saturday, I stood in Woolworths during my lunch break, and decided that colour coded post-it notes were the way to go. When the thought passed through my mind, I realised that, yes, I did not deserve to be alive.

Later, in class, I would say to students, "I don't suppose you've got a knife, do you?"


"A sharp knife would be best."

I rubbed at my wrists to give the hint a little extra push, but no, they had none.

And so, once my post-it note related self loathing passed, I rejoiced, for I had coloured post--it note strips, and lame though it may be, I was busy taking notes and pasting them into books, and was good with my personal lameness. On the back of the notes I wrote a bit relating to theory or history or maybe a story fragment, each marked out by the colour of the note, and left them near the section that gave the thought. If you're curious, this research is based around the historical events relating to Indigenous family displacement in the British conquered Australia and this will inform the novel I am currently writing, and which bears the ever so funky title, Across the Seven Continents of the Underworld. I am also interested in bushrangers, the new weird, a bit of steam punk, and revenge narratives, but the main thrust of it is this history of destroying Aboriginal families and culture. It will be the final thing I've have to write that relates to Australia for a while, I think; after this I have a plan for a novel set in America, and hopefully that'll work out, but even if not, after three books* which have, in one way or another, dealt with race, immigration, and the surrounding issues within Australia, I'm thinking that it will be time to move to a new interests.

Which is not to say that the old interests will have been done with, or solved, only that movement keeps everything fresh, and if you've got to do a gig that pays badly, offers no benefits, and will likely go neglected by the majority of world, then you ought to keep it fresh.

* Black Sheep and A Year in the City are the first two (and Year isn't with a publisher yet, so there's no guarantee you'll see it). 26Lies is an entirely different book to these others.