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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 »

Lisa L Hannett

Ticonderoga Publications (2011)

ISBN 978-1-921857-01-0

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

Bluegrass Symphony is the debut collection from Lisa Hannett, a purpose-written suite of stories (with one reprint) that is quite extraordinary. “There’s something very strange going on,” writes Weird Tales editor Ann VanderMeer in her foreward, and it’s something of an understatement. The dozen stories are set in a mythical state that is a fractured mirror of the American South, where chickens are fortune-telling chooks and rodeo stars vie for wedded bliss once the minotaurs are sated, where Pegasus analogs share the trails with semi-trailers and sticks and stones can do far more than merely break bones.

Some of the stories bridge the hazy county line between fantasy and magic realism, where the extraordinary is rendered everyday in the eyes of the characters, making it all the more uncanny for the reader. Hannett, a Canadian we happily claim as an Australian, evokes a wonderful sense of place through the patchwork quilt of these stories, as told through the eyes and the vernacular of her characters. She brings a broad palette to the landscape – first person, second person, a mix of tenses – and all firmly anchored in the reality of her characters, so much so the reader risks saying ain’t and yerself for days after.

Read the rest of this entry »

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