I’m sticking with the small press theme of my last post. From Felicity Dowker’s book, Bread and Circuses, we go to Narrelle M Harris’s Showtime. From Ticonderoga Publications we go to Twelfth Planet Press.
As well as anthologies, collections, novellas and novels, Twelfth Planet Press is publishing a series of mini-collections by some of Australia’s best women short story writers. Titled Twelve Planets, there is (not surprisingly) twelve books planned for the series — each one containing four short stories. Narrelle’s Showtime is the third out of the seven thus far released. The other six are:
- Through Splintered Walls by Kaaron Warren
- Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex
- Nightsiders by Sue Isle
- Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts
- Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan
- Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti
And Asymmetry by Thoraiya Dyer is the next scheduled release.
Narrelle M Harris is an extremely engaging writing, and I’ve loved her stuff ever since her fanfic days (yes, lots of writers got their start in fanfic). I particularly love her Melbourne-based vampire novel, The Opposite of Life… and I am very much looking forward to reading the sequel Walking Shadows. But now, on to Showtime…
Four stories, all of them excellent. “Stalemate” is a story about unhappy family relationships with a paranormal twist. It’s a good opener. Next up is “Thrall”, an amusing look at how an ancient vampire might fit in (or not) in modern society. And then we have my favourite, “The Truth About Brains”. This is, I guess, a YA zombie story. It’s funny and it’s engaging, with likeable (and not so likeable) characters, but it also has its darker moments. Finally we have the title story, “Showtime”. It’s a great way to finish. Gary and Lissa, the vampire and the librarian from The Opposite of Life, are back for a little mini adventure at the Royal Melbourne Show. Fun times! 🙂
All the stories deal with the concept of family and they all have a supernatural element. But each story also has a unique approach, often twisting an expected element.
I think that Harris is at her best when combining dark supernatural themes with humour. And you certainly get that in Showtime. It’s an excellent little collection and a great introduction to her writing. My only complaint is that four stories are not enough.
Catch ya later, George
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