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Lisa L Hannett and Angela Slatter

Ticonderoga Publications (2012)

ISBN: 978 1 921857 30 0

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

The pedigree of Midnight and Moonshine was promising from the outset, right down to the cover design. Artist Kathleen Jennings was nominated this year for her artwork at the World Fantasy awards. Lisa L Hannett of Adelaide has scored awards and mentions in Australia and her native Canada for her WFA-nominated solo collection of last year, Bluegrass Symphony, also published by Ticonderoga. Co-writer Angela Slatter of Brisbane is hot from a historic British Fantasy short story award win this year and has won acclaim for both of her collections – Sourdough and Other Stories (Tartarus Press) and The Girl with No Hands and Other Tales (Ticonderoga), both released in 2010 – as well as a slew of other shorts.

Not coincidentally, Hannett and Slatter have combined on Aurealis Award-winning short story “The February Dragon” and, most significantly for this collection, “Prohibition Blues”, both published in Ticonderoga titles.

So we have publisher, artist and writers, and what a winning combination it proves to be.

As in Bluegrass and Sourdough, Midnight and Moonshine is a set of stories sharing a common universe, and as with Sourdough, there is a degree of baton passing from characters throughout. Midnight and Moonshine ramps up this interconnectedness, tracing as it does magical bloodlines from a mythic inception across the 13 stories into the present day. Overshadowing this mosaic is the winged form of goddess Mymnir, whose ambition sets up the journey from self-aggrandising nation building to the ultimate twilight of the gods. And what a fascinating figure she is, both divine and all too human. Read the rest of this entry »

Angela Slatter

Ticonderoga Publications (2010)

ISBN: 978-0-9806288-8-3

Reviewed by Guy Salvidge

Angela Slatter has written and published a great deal of stories in the “reloaded fairytale” genre in recent years, many of which are collected in this volume from Ticonderoga and also in Sourdough from Tartarus Press. The Girl With No Hands and Other Tales won the Aurealis Award in 2010 for Best Collection, and it’s not hard to see why. Slatter reworks a host of traditional fairytales, many of which will be familiar to all but some which are more obscure, putting a fresh, feminist slant on these already macabre offerings.

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Deborah Biancotti

Twelfth Planet Press (2009)

ISBN: 978-0-9804841-5-1

Reviewed by Angela Slatter

Deborah Biancotti’s first collection of short stories is jaw-droppingly good. Dammit.

These twenty-one stories, some reprints, some shiny and new, spanning the period 2000–2009, are divided into three sections, ‘End of Days’, ‘End of the World’, and ‘End of an Era’. It also has a sensible introduction by Justine Larbalestier, which urges the reader to just go and read the stories, then come back to the introduction afterwards. It’s okay, it’ll still be there when you’re finished.

So, what do we get in this collection? Well, there’s a healthy mix of horror, science fiction and fantasy – something to please everyone – and these stories do what Biancotti’s work does best: plumbs the dark everyday. She has a particular talent for reminding the reader that under every ordinary surface there lurks a range of dark rips and tides waiting to pull the unwary beneath.

Most have a distinctly Australian flavour that would be more informative for prospective tourists than any government-sponsored tourism campaign. Although, they might actually scare away the tourists, which would defeat the purpose, I suppose. There also seem to be nods to environmental concerns, but the political message never gets in the way of the story, so you are free to read for story alone if you don’t wish to take away an enhanced conscience. In the interests of brevity and not waffling, I’ll just touch on what were for me the stand-outs.

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