Hello readers! It’s been a busy month for me. Some of you might have seen the still on-going Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. It’s a large interview project spread across several blogs and involves many, many interviewees, both male and female. You can browse all the interviews among the blogs of the interviewers: Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely, Sean Wright and myself. Check it out to learn more about a slew of authors, editors, artists and more.
On to the reviews! This month our non-YA reviews were — surprisingly — almost all science fiction. For that reason, I’ve divested with my usual genre-labels and I’m just going to go through the books.
First up, we have When We Have Wings by Claire Corbett, which was reviewed by Jane Rawson. Of the near-future novel, where people can have wings surgically implanted, Jane writes:
It was great to read a novel which looked at the issue of how the rich get ahead not just by having more things, but by being more ‘perfect’. This is really well told through the thread of the story where Zeke worries whether to provide his son with wings or let him be just a perfect regular human. Intentionally or not, the book made me think a lot about the issue of smart drugs, and the things people have to do to their brains now just to keep up, let alone get ahead.
On a similarly futuristic and Australian bent — although that’s where the similarities end — Marianne de Pierres’ Peacemaker was reviewed by Dave Versace. He writes:
Peacemaker walks a strange line between futuristic police procedural and old-fashioned Western, mixing in a supernatural conspiracy to boot. With such a bizarre melange of elements, not to mention two lead characters with borderline-ridiculously iconic names, there’s no way this book should work. And yet it does, carried along by strong character work and a solid investigative core.
After garnering a lot of reviews last year thanks to its Stella Award shortlisting, The Sunlit Zone by Lisa Jacobson is back on the AWW radar. S’hi D’Amour reviews it, writing:
In The Sunlit Zone all the deep glimpses Lisa’s early poetry displayed are honed to razor-sharp awareness of line and meaning. The shimmering nuances of life are constantly on display. Subtle insinuations edge under the skin of the reader who can’t help but be awakened by breeze and shade and inclination
Jane Raweson’s Aurealis shortlisted novel, A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists, is a science fiction novel that seems to be map-inspired. David Golding reviewed it, writing:
I was particularly impressed by how Rawson foregrounds the economic situation of her characters. Life has not become a battle of tooth and claw, but of nickel and dime. And if everyone seems friendly and relaxed, that’s surely because there is a certain ease in knowing you’re all going to die soon.
And finally, a short story collection, which I’m pretty sure is not at all science fiction. Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter was reviewed by Victoria of vikzwrites. She writes:
Like the fairy tales which are a clear influence to these stories, these mundane situations are subverted by fantastical elements; Maps that enable you to reach the world of the dead, dolls which have human souls embedded with them., children who return from the dead, fairies who impersonate human children, towers and castles that disappear and reappear at will.
It’s an unusual book in that it’s a boutique paper release, but it’s also easily available in ebook form.
I’m Tsana Dolichva and I’ve been reading and enjoying Australian speculative fiction since I first started reading “grown up” books (back before YA was its own genre). More recently, I’ve been blogging my reviews over at the creatively titled Tsana’s Reads. I very irregularly blog about science in science fiction over at the Science Fiction Writers’ Guide to Space. When not reading or writing, I’m probably working towards my PhD in astrophysics.