Joelene Pynnonen

 

Joelene Pynnonen is a Brisbane based writer who loves YA fiction.

ITH CoverStories of other worlds–or of our own world altered almost beyond recognition–have fascinated us for time immemorial. Insert Title Here, FableCroft’s latest anthology, offers a glimpse into a few of these worlds. Whether it’s exploring the distant future, exploring a future that took a slightly different historical route, or exploring a new reality, you can expect an onslaught of imagination in these pages.

The stories vary wildly in content. A Guardian whiles away his days defending the sacred Chalice that protects his homeland until his faith is tested. A shearer risks the wrath of the Governor when he rescues the man’s captive wife–only to discover that he has stirred up more trouble than he could have envisioned. A man who summons demons is called upon to summon an angel–and the world may never survive the repercussions.

These are a few of the tales to be found in this anthology. The stories here are far more adult than the other anthologies I’ve read from Tehani Wessely and, as she says in her introduction, they are darker than the other anthologies she has edited before. There’s none of the fledgling hope that One Small Step boasts, nor any of awed respect commanded by the stories in Cranky Ladies of History.

What is abundant in Insert Title Here, however, is consistently astounding world-building. Story after story explores unfamiliar realms – and story after story succeeds in making those realms blindingly convincing. As the title suggests, the possibilities in these stories are endless, and some of the worlds are so lovingly rendered that they would be more suited to a novel.

Some of these stories sacrifice character-building to create the worlds they depict. However, one that achieved the perfect balance of character, world-building, and plot was Stephanie Burgis’s ‘The Art of Deception’. The main characters, Julia and Hrabanic, counter each other wonderfully. She with her ability to manoeuvre delicate political trysts and he with his talent for anticipating and neutralising physical danger: both sorely needed traits in the perilous world they inhabit.

It’s difficult to know what to expect when settling down to read a book entitled Insert Title Here. In this case, a collection of wildly imaginative speculative short stories set in different times, dimensions or worlds. There are some gems hidden in these pages, but wait for a dark night to read them.

 

 Insert Title Here – Tehani Wessely (Ed.)

 FableCroft Publishing (April 1, 2015)

 ISBN: 9780992553418

Dear Readers Mine, as you know I don’t write a lot of short stories, so when one’s about to come out, it’s a big thing for me. It’s even more satisfying that the story is in a collection put out by an indie press that I love.

The Insert Title Here will be launched at Swancon 2015 by Tehani Wessely from Fablecroft Publishing. My story is SF horror and is entitled SALVATRIX.

CHECK. IT. OUT!

ITH Cover

 

Table of Contents

Kathleen Jennings The Last Case of Detective Charlemagne
Joanne Anderton 2B
DK Mok Almost Days
Matthew Morrison Sins of meals past
Tom Dullemond The Last Voyage of Saint Brendan
Dirk Flinthart Collateral Damage
Dan Simpson The Winter Stream
Darren Goossens Circle
Alan Baxter Beyond the Borders of All He Had Been Taught
Thoraiya Dyer The Falcon Races
Robert Hood Footprints in Venom
Caitlene Cooke Circa
Tamlyn Dreaver Reflections
David McDonald Her face like lightning
Marianne de Pierres Salvatrix
Dan Rabarts Oil and bone
Ian Creasey Ministry of Karma
Stephanie Burgis The art of deception
Marissa Lingen & Alec Austin Empty Monuments
Sara Larner Living in the Light
Alexis A. Hunter Always Another Point
Mandy Wrangles

Amanda Wrangles is a Victorian based writer and previous Scarlett Stiletto winner.

anderton_Guardian-coverI was thrilled to learn FableCroft Publishing had picked up Book Three in Jo Anderton’s Veiled World Trilogy – Guardian.

I’d already read and loved books one and two– Debris and Suitedand was really looking forward to finding out how Anderton would manage to tie up such a complex storyline. But before I begin, a little disclaimer–I’m intentionally vague with this review. Being the last in the series, it’s all too easy to drop spoiler-bombs for the first two books, and these stories are far too good for that.

The Veiled World trilogy is big. I don’t necessarily mean in page numbers (though they’re all decent sized books, just not door-stops), I mean in the sheer scope of story. I’ve mentioned before that Anderton is a master world-builder, and she well and truly proves it here in the final instalment when protagonist Tanyana begins to slide across the veils–or through the doors–to even more worlds: worlds that are still connected to the one she shares in Movac-under-Keeper with Kichlan and her Debris collection team–Tanyana’s home.

As with Suited, Jo Anderton kicks this novel off with a deft recap of the last book. Rather than a “Previously…in The Veiled Worlds” type of summary, she manages to give the reader swift and unique catch-up by means of a report from a character whose thoughts we don’t usually get much of. Not only is this a clever tool to jog the reader’s memory, but it places the story smack into what we once believed was nothing more than the mythology of the Veiled Worlds.

In my review of Suited, I wrote about the fantastic character development from book one to two. So many novels with complex world building drop the ball when it comes to giving the reader characters they can really care about. Anderton has again pushed further than I expected. I felt comfortable with both Tanyana and her supporting cast–maybe too comfortable–and loved the way I was propelled forward alongside the characters as they were forced to keep moving, keep fighting, with little more than hope to keep them going. The Veiled World trilogy is written at a frantic pace, and the character development keeps up with the plot. These are people who can’t be unchanged for what they have seen and endured, both mentally and physically (oh, the physical!) Even after a long break between reading books two and three, I slipped straight back into an emotional investment in Tanyana and…and I’m so not going to say who else (I did say no spoilers).

Tanyana herself undergoes the biggest changes, and it is her strength and growth of character that impressed me most. Over the course of three books, she has grown from a talented and privileged member of society (though maybe a little too privileged?), to scraping the bottom of that same culture, to becoming the strong and deserving champion.

I felt Guardian was more science fiction than fantasy, and definitely more cyber than anything else. This is a little change from the first two books, though the mythological elements still hold this story together at the end of the day. Jo Anderton slips the reader information like jellybeans (or Lindt chocolate–whichever is your poison), only the smallest morsel at a time, which makes it hard for the type of reader who likes to problem solve ahead of time. I found the author to have great control over what she wanted us to know and when we could know it.

My single frustration with Guardian was with the evil Puppet Men. As antagonists, I found them to be a little too nebulous–though that could well have been Anderton’s intention, as I’m sure Tanyana felt the same.

There’s tragedy, relief, and still plenty of ‘a-ha!’ moments. I’ll give fair warning…there will be tears, so have the tissues handy. After three books, it’s impossible not to lose it a little when a story like this comes to an end. For this reason, even though Guardian could possibly be read as a stand-alone novel, to get the most from it, I recommend reading Debris and Suited first if you haven’t already done so.

 

Guardian

Book Three of the Veiled Worlds Trilogy

By Jo Anderton

Fablecroft Publishing 2014

ISBN – Print: 9780992284442 (RRP: $16.99)

ISBN – ebook: 9780992284459 (RRP: $7.99)

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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