The Review of Australian Fiction continues to support not only Australian speculative fiction but Australian fiction in general, publishing two stories every two weeks. Volume 1, Issue 6 delivers us two great Australian writers, one notably at the top of her game and the other who should be making waves in the very near future.
Kaaron Warren’s Mine Intercom, is everything you’d expect of a Warren story - unsettling and off kilter but subtle and familiar. It’s well paired with Goldsmith’s The Jellyfish Collector, which while still speculative and unsettling is tonally much lighter.
The Mine Intercom is a story about Xanthe, a resident of an apartment building constructed over a mine that was the location of a mine collapse 20 years previously, entombing miners . Part of her reason for moving there is the rumour that residents hear voices of the departed and she hopes that she might be able to communicate with her sister. Warren hooks you in early with sympathy for the protagonist and the life she has endured and then strings you along with hope. Great stuff.
Thankfully The Jellyfish Collector begins somewhat lighter with aquariums, beaches, and fond childhood memories. The hardships that the protagonist Eva endures are those which most of us are likely to encounter at some stage. The reader is treated to snippets of Eva’s life and her her trajectory from a child interested in Jellyfish and the sea, to a marine biologist attempting to protect a particular marine ecosystem from development. There’s faint commentary on political indifference to the environment but essentially it’s interesting science mixed with the fantastic.
The Warren leaves me feeling delightfully chilled. The Goldsmith, while a kinder tale, leaves me with a sense of sad longing.
This copy was provided free of charge. You can subscribe to RAF here.
This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015. Please check out this page for more great writing from Australian women.