Breadth

Jun. 22nd, 2006 07:17 pm
threemonkeys: (Waxlion)
There is a line in the Clive James novel Brmm Brmm which goes "...look at Lillian, she's all agog". Render this in a cockney accent and you have the line that resonates in my mind whenever I see one of Cat Sparks' Agog anthologies. This kind of association is part of how our minds work. Another association I get is one that links Australian short speculative fiction with an emphasis on a kind of very serious dark introspective "literary" type of writing - except for ASIM that is - the need for an exception actually reinforcing the association. This association has been built up over a number of years reading various collections. It isn't universal and it isn't a reflection of the quality of the stories but the impression is common enough to create the association in the first place.

This is why Cat's latest anthology Agog! Ripping Reads is potentially so important. There does seem to be an editorial theme in this anthology whereby the stories are all set in fantastic/surreal worlds. But more significant is that the voices of the stories vary so much. There are a great many styles and tones taken in these stories and that is a joy to behold. The breadth of style in this anthology is very impressive and the stories are pretty damn good too. There are some pretty cool futures here - dark, light, chilling, silly etc.

You could say that it is a showcase for the state of play in Australian speculative fiction - well you would if you were Jack Dann. Personally I will just say that I enjoyed it and will wait to see how time treats it - although I suspect that time will treat it well and the associations in my mind will be changed forever.

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