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Edited by Mark Deniz and Sharyn Lilley 

Eneit Press (2007)


Reviewed by Alexandra Pierce (this review was first published in September 2007)

The first section of this anthology is subtitled “Winter: The Cold Fingers Approach”, and all of the stories here certainly involve winter or the cold in some way. In some, it’s insidious – barely noticeable; in others, it is a serious factor. I quite like this as a theme; cold certainly features in some of my bad dreams.

“Front”, by Miles Deacon, is one of those stories in which winter and coldness play a starring role. It’s set on the Front – any front, I think – in the trenches. John, an ordinary soldier, doesn’t freeze to death this night. He’s lucky … maybe. This story is very much in the vein of standard WWI stories, if perhaps a little more deliberately horrific than some.

It took me a while to get into “Cooling the Crows”, by Kaaron Warren – even to understand exactly what was going on. Who the crows were, in particular. It did eventually become clear, but I have to say that this was not one of my favourite stories. It was quite clever, towards the end, but by then I didn’t care much.

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Edited by Gillian Polack

Eneit Press (2010)

ISBN: 9780980691122

Reviewed by Joanna Kasper, July 2010

This anthology is a collection of stories from Australian authors, all talking about the baggage that people carry around with them. Each author has taken a different tack at the idea but ended up with a collection that holds together and reads as a complete experience.

When I heard about this anthology, my first thoughts were about the immigrant experience. I was expecting that most of the stories would be about the baggage that others brought to Australia. It was good to see that in amongst these stories there are also stories relating to the indigenous experience in Australia because that is just another part of the baggage that we, as Australians, all carry with us.

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Gillian Polack

Eneit Press (2009)

ISBN: 9870980691115

Reviewed by Joanna Kasper, March 2010

Life Through Cellophane, the latest novel from Canberra author Gillian Polack, is the kind of book you start reading lightly and then find that it has taken you over and suddenly it’s dark and the family wants feeding and you can’t understand where the day went.  I read it on my computer screen while sitting on a hard wooden chair and still didn’t want to move until it was finished.

It’s not that there is a lot of action in the book, great deeds are not done nor worlds in peril saved.  It’s a story about a woman, in her forties, unmarried, recently made redundant from a public service position made untenable by the Boss from Hell.  You’re thinking that this sounds like chick-lit, that it shouldn’t be reviewed on a site for fantasy.  But you see, there’s this mirror…

The book starts with Liz both looking forward to and also dreading her last week in a job she enjoys with a boss she hates.  The boss, whose expensively coiffured hair is the inspiration for the name “The Bee Hive”, given to her by her victims, has made Liz’s working life miserable and she plans to make life very difficult indeed for this middle management monster by doing just enough work to get through her last week and then hiding all the files.  Delicious little daydream, I’m sure we’ve all had it at some time or other.  Of course, things don’t always work out how we plan and when dealing with someone as vindictive and nasty as The Bee Hive it is always best to be prepared for the worst.

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