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Edition 29: Book Review: The Never Never Land (eds. McHugh, Akhurst, Berrie)

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 Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston


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Disclaimer: I am friends with many of the writers from this anthology on social media, as our community is not excessively large. However, I bought this anthology and have no obligations for reviewing.

Canberra boasts one of the most cohesive writing communities in Australia, and the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild (CSFG) boasts some illustrious members. While also incorporating authors from other cities, The Never Never Land anthology boasts some of this country’s best authors, with stories that have a recognisable Australia in them.

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Edition 28: Book Review: Vigil by Angela Slatter

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 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


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Urban fantasy is one of those genres that is pretty saturated right now. Therefore, finding a real gem among the vast sea of titles is quite the challenge. When asked to review this one, I was a little leery that it might be one of a myriad of similar stories, but I’m happy to say that Vigil definitely stands out from the crowd.

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Edition 28: Book Review: Shadows of the Dark Crystal by J.M.Lee

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 Reviewed by Damien Smith


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Some three years ago now I recall seeing an open submission that blew my cynical mind. The Jim Henson Company (yes, THAT one) was teaming up with Grosset & Dunlap with an open call for submissions to find an author for a new novel set in the Dark Crystal universe. Brief visions of puppet-inspired literary glory flashed through my mind before the reality of the hugely restrictive (read: perfectly reasonable) submission time frame and the prospect of competing against a myriad of writers with, well, talent for this sort of thing brought me back down to Earth. Fast forward to a few months ago and, having completely put it out of my mind, this lovely if brief volume crosses my path.

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Edition 28: Book Review: Night’s Champion series by Richard Parry

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 Reviewed by Lee Murray


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New Zealand author Richard Parry has been on my radar for a while now. A former finalist in New Zealand’s Sir Julius Vogel Awards, he’s part of a friend’s critique group, someone who lives only a few blocks away, and, as it turns out, once worked with my brother. With those close yet nebulous connections you’d think our paths might have crossed at least once, but in fact we have never met other than via our novels. Recently, I read two of Richard’s titles: Night’s Favour and Night’s Fall (June, 2016).

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Edition 27: Book Review: Interspecies (The Inlari Sagas) edited by Ally Bishop

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 Reviewed by Lee Murray


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Shared-world anthologies—stories by multiple authors writing in a single universe—are difficult to get right. They require a collective mind-set and a sometimes lengthy collaborative process to develop the world building in a way that resonates for all the book’s players. Max Booth III, the editor of shared-world anthology Truth or Dare explains: “if you want to put together a shared-world anthology, please take your time. Know your universe in and out. Every crack, every pebble. Every buried corpse in the local graveyard. Every haunted house and every cannibalistic witch.” (Lit Reactor, December 2014) But done right, shared world-writing can be an innovative and exciting experience for participants as fantasy superstar George R.R. Martin describes: “writers work together, bouncing off of one another and reacting to each other’s stories and characters like a group of talented musicians jamming…” (Tor.com, June 2011). Read the rest of this entry

Edition 27: Book Review: The City of Mirrors (The Passage Trilogy) by Justin Cronin

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 Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston


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After the decimation of the original twelve antivirals, The City of Mirrors continues hot on the heels of the settling dust. Read the rest of this entry

Edition 27: Book Review: The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger

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 Reviewed by Mysti Parker


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Just when I thought familiar paranormal tropes couldn’t result in a unique story, Holly Messinger proved me wrong. This beginning to a series (though it’s not clear as on the cover) takes us back to the Old West, to cowboys, horses, ghosts and werewolves. Oh my. And even with these common elements, the rich tale woven around them makes it one interesting historical paranormal read.

The story begins in 1880 in St. Louis, when Civil War veteran and former almost-priest Jacob Tracy responds to a summons from a Miss Fairweather. He and his partner, Boz, normally work odd jobs like escorting supply lines out west, but there’s not much work to be had. Miss Fairweather promises some good pay for what seems like a very simple fetch and deliver task for a little trinket box she’s inherited from a deceased friend.

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Edition 27: Book Review: Apocalypse Machine by Jeremy Robinson

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 Reviewed by Damien Smith


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Apocalypse Machine is the latest Kaiju Thriller option from Jeremy Robinson, who I initially discovered through reviewing SNAFU: Survival of the Fittest. Read the rest of this entry

Edition 26: Book Review: The Eschatologist by Greg Chapman

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 Reviewed by Lee Murray


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In our time-poor society, novellas are becoming a mainstay of our literary diet: stories which can be told in manageable bite-sized chunks, ideal for bedtime reading or workday commutes. So, when Greg Chapman’s The Eschatologist came across my desk, just 96 pages of concentrated darkness, it didn’t languish on the pile for long.

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Edition 25: Book Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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 Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston


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The mere excerpt of Binti, published on the Tor.com website, drew this reader in. A Himba woman, painted in the clay of her homeland, Binti is leaving to take her place among the stars at Oozma University, leaving behind everything that has ever been important to her. She leaves behind a destiny in astrolabe creation and the familial and cultural confines of her loving family on Earth.

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