Published by Allen & Unwin on December 2014
Genres: Anthology, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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Be transported into dystopian cities and other-worldly societies. Be amazed and beguiled by a nursery story with a reverse twist, a futuristic take on TV cooking shows, a playscript with tentacles - and more, much more. Plunge in and enjoy!
A collection of sci-fi and fantasy writing, including six graphic stories, showcasing twenty stellar writers and artists from India and Australia: Isobelle Carmody, Kate Constable, Penni Russon, Margo Lanagan, Mandy Ord, to mention only a few.
Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean is a collection of short, speculative stories written and illustrated by Australian and Indian authors. Some are collaborations, while others were written independently. There are several stories that use pictures but most are in the usual short story format. Some of the Aussie authors involved include Kirsty Murray, Isobelle Carmody, Margo Lanagan, Kate Constable and many others. I wasn’t familiar with any of the Indian authors but I enjoyed their stories so much that I may have to look up some of their other work.
Some people, myself included, are slightly annoyed by short stories – especially those of a speculative nature. The really good ones make you want to learn more about worlds and societies, and there’s just no room to do that in a short story format. The stories in this anthology are no exception, but they are very enjoyable and didn’t leave me too frustrated afterwards.
Most of the stories have a girls-being-awesome tint to them, but I didn’t feel like any of them were approaching in-your-face feminism, just positive empowerment. Some were creepy, scary or weird, while others were uplifting, beautiful or sad. One is even about MasterChef!
My favourite stories, or at least the ones that have stuck with me after I finished reading, include these:
Cast Out by Samhita Arni
Women are not allowed to do magic. Boys who are found to have magic are taken away to become weather magicians, to control the Demon Clouds that ravage the oceans, but girls found doing magic are flogged until they confess, then cast adrift in a barrel in the ocean to die. Karthini’s mother makes her promise to hide her magic, but eventually she, too, is discovered. But what really lies out across the sea?
Little Red Suit by Justine Larbalestier
Poppy lives with her mother in a tiny room in the undergound city that was once Sydney, protected from the harsh world outside. Her grandmother, lives in one of the last remaining protected houses outside the city, but Poppy hasn’t heard from her in a while. It’s not safe to cross the city above alone, but Poppy is determined to check on her grandmother.
Memory Lace by Payal Dhar
A slave is sold into a rich woman’s family as a companion for her teenage daughter. But all is not as it seems in this matriarchal world. I can’t say any more about this story for fear of spoilers, but it’s an amazing work and well worth seeking out! I was blown away by this particular story.
I’d highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this book if you like the idea of a wide range of short tales.
– A great collection of speculative short stories with a girl-empowering slant.