Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek

Above/Below Review

The year is ending.

Over at the Last Short Story blog, Above/Below was reviewed:

This is the first of the Twelfth Planet Doubles in which the paired short stories are actually intended to be read together – Peek and Campisi, two Australian spec fic writers known for their experimental approach to short fiction, have collaborated on a shared story of floating cities, cut-throat politics, war, cancer and loss. When a city crashes to Dirt, there are stark ramifications both in the relative safety of the other cities above and the very vulnerable Dirt below.

Campisi’s “Above” tells the story of a diplomat sent from Dirt to prevent a war from the point of view of his uncomfortable host, while Peek’s “Below” has the rather more action-packed storyline of a native of Dirt dealing with the threat from the sky. Both stories reflect each other in multiple ways: the protagonists are broken men, dealing with dead/dying wives, and apparently unsuited to play host to diplomats. Both are surprised by what they learn of the ‘other’ world. Both are men with very little to lose, and a disassociation from their own culture. Above/Below does not provide nearly as many answers to the narrative questions raised with in the text as a reader might like, but both stories are cleverly and at times beautifully written, and the whole is worth far more than the sum of its parts.

You can pre-order the book here, and get it in the shiny new year, which obviously you should do.

Outside this, I hope everyone is doing fine. There's a lot of flooding up in Queensland, in places I've been, even, and where people were nice to me, and my memories are good, so I hope people are doing okay up there. A special shout out for Lynda Hawryluk (lyndahawryluk), who we all hope is doing okay. I use the royal we because I know you all care and are concerned about her too, even if you've never met her.

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