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Peter McNamara and Margaret Winch (eds.)

Wakefield Press (2003)

ISBN: 1-862546-22-3 

Reviewed by Lorraine Cormack (this review was first published in May 2006)

Forever Shores is an outstanding collection of 17 Australian short stories. The editors have specifically sought to anthologise fantasy stories. While there is always room for argument about the line between fantasy, science fiction, and other “genres”, I think that in this case most readers would agree that all these stories are closer to fantasy than science fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, and struggled with this review simply because the quality of each story was so high that it made it difficult to settle on which to single out for comment.

As a collection, this also works; although the stories are linked through their fantasy theme, they are nevertheless a diverse selection. There’s a connection that makes the anthology a satisfying whole, but doesn’t produce the same-ness that can arise from a theme that is too tight. There’s variety in the length, as well. In the end I was satisfied not only by each individual story, but by the collection as a whole.

Most – but not all – of the authors represented here would be familiar to regular readers of Australian science fiction and fantasy. Certainly, there were few writers here I had never heard of. Nevertheless, this was an original volume – none of the stories were familiar to me, unlike some anthologies where I find I’ve read half the stories before in other volumes. That doesn’t mean that these are cut-rate stories, sold on the writers’ other successes; they are universally strong and well written. Read the rest of this entry »

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