Tansy Rayner Roberts

Twelve Planets, Volume 2

Twelfth Planet Press (2011)

ISBN: 978-0-9808-274-4-6

Review by Mitenae

What do you get if you cross a classical historian who did her PhD thesis on Imperial Roman women with a speculative fiction writer? You get Tansy Rayner Roberts and a new subgenre: Romanpunk. When I received this collection of four stories to review, I was absolutely delighted, because I love her work and this volume does not disappoint.

“Julia Agrippina’s Secret Family Bestiary” (my favourite) tells you all about the Julias and their adventures against lamia, dragons, harpies and griffins. This bestiary is far too much fun. The other three stories are equally good. “Lamia Victoriana” tells the story of Frances Wollstonecraft and her time with her sister Mary and two lamias (an older form of vampire) as they travel through Victorian Europe. In “The Patrician” Clea Majora lives in Nova Ostia, a replica Roman town in New South Wales (Australia) and meets Julius when he comes to deal with the last of the lamias. And in the final story “Last of the Romanpunks”, Sebastian (grandson of Clea Majora) finds himself in a Roman themed zepplin (airship) with his ex-girlfriend, Eloise, who plans on turning everyone she can into a lamia and the others she intends to feed on.

I absolutely adore what Roberts has done with Ancient Rome. It’s a unique blend (as only Roberts can do) of mythology, history and humour that has me wanting to read more. She’s included a massive variety of mythical creatures and some uniquely Roman to spin Ancient Rome into an entirely new world I want to spend more time in.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of these stories. I just love the Julias and the twist she’s put on the family of Caesars, whom I will never look at in the same way again. As well as how she manages to link it down the generations into a future time, developing her Ancient Rome into Romanpunk.

Love and Romanpunk is a fantastic read and one I heartily recommend. It showcases the brilliantly talented Tansy Rayner Roberts whom every speculative fiction reader should be looking at, following up Nightsiders, volume one in Twelfth Planet Press’s Twelve Planets series, with another fantastic collection of stories by Australian female authors.