Showtime is the fifth book in the Twelve Planets series published by Twelfth Planet Press – a series showcasing the quality and variety of Australian women’s speculative fiction through short collections of short stories and novella’s.
They are a chance for each of the invited authors to showcase their talent, to have a little fun, to produce work they might not get the freedom to produce elsewhere.
Showtime is an excellent example of that. I found the title a perfect fit for the collection and having listened to Narrelle speak at Continuum 8 I get the sense that this collection is an extension of her vibrant and dramatic persona.
Showtime is an eclectic mix in both tone and content. Comprised of 4 stories, Stalemate captures beautifully the oppression of the everyday, the suffocation of domesticity and family. Thrall gives the reader a modern take on the monstrous but slightly out of date European vampire. The Truth About Brains is a quaint story that every older sister would appreciate – your kid brother turned into a stinking zombie (some might say there’s not too much difference) and Showtime gives us a window into Harris’ characters from her longer work The Opposite of Life featuring the Gary the Hawaiian shirt wearing vampire ( who I picture played by Bruce Campbell).
This collection was a bit of a hoot, though there’s some seriousness and comment in both Stalemate and Thrall. As a showcase it’s worked – I am sorely tempted to pick up Narrelle’s longer fiction – featuring vampire’s sans glitter.
So in summary a very neat little package. My favourite’s Thrall as it returns us to the “evil vampire” and yet also casts that vampire as a relic of a bygone age.
Disclaimer: I am a fan of Twelfth Planet Press and contribute to the Galactic Chat podcast.
This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012. Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women.