’70s-style dystopia: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

This Perfect Day is a dystopian sci-fi novel, published in 1970, in the vein of Brave New World and Logan’s Run. People are born into a happy (read: bland) unified society, ruled by UniComp, which is literally a giant computer. Over the generations heterogeneity has been genetically blended out, and every member of ‘The Family’ … Continue reading ’70s-style dystopia: This Perfect Day by Ira Levin

Guest review: Alice Grundy on Mr Peanut by Adam Ross

Vintage, 9780099535379 (Aus, UK, US) Reviewed by Alice Grundy The cover of Adam Ross’ first novel, Mr Peanut, is swathed in praise from no lesser lights than Stephen King and Michiko Kakutani. The title page features a reproduction of Escher’s ‘Mobius’ flagging the role of the double in the plot. All the signs point towards … Continue reading Guest review: Alice Grundy on Mr Peanut by Adam Ross

Guest review: Matthia Dempsey on What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us by Laura van den Berg

Scribe Publications, February 2011 (Aus, US, UK) 9781921640896 Reviewed by Matthia Dempsey Laura van den Berg has particular skill in capturing the strangeness that can come at times—the sense of being a stranger to your own life and the world. For many of the women in her stories this feeling is the result of a … Continue reading Guest review: Matthia Dempsey on What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us by Laura van den Berg

Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn's Geek Love

Vintage, 1989 9780375713347 (2002 edn) (Also Aus, US, UK) Miss Olympia is an emotional, hunchbacked albino dwarf, and the complex narrator of this wonderful novel. In the present, Oly secretly watches over the remaining members of her carnival-of-freaks family: her daughter, Miranda, and her mother, Crystal Lil. Why her observance and care is secretive is revealed through … Continue reading Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn's Geek Love

‘If only a nippleless bra could make it all work’: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story

Granta, September 2010, through Allen & Unwin in Australia (Aus, US, UK) 9781847081032 Super. Here’s a too-easily-imaginable near-future world where everyone is attached to a device, books are obsolete, people walk around half-naked and rate each other’s bits, the American empire is failing, and it’s hard to make a true and lasting connection. Sad. The … Continue reading ‘If only a nippleless bra could make it all work’: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story

Guest review: Chris Flynn on Justin Cronin’s The Passage

The Passage Justin Cronin (Aus, US) Orion 9780752897851 Reviewed by Chris Flynn It’s funny how movies influence books so much these days. The fact that The Passage was optioned by Sir Ridley Scott for $1.75 million within a week of Cronin settling on a $3.75 million publishing deal for his vampire apocalypse trilogy is unsurprising … Continue reading Guest review: Chris Flynn on Justin Cronin’s The Passage

Like, embrace the pain: the Bret Easton Ellis interview (part 2)

It's very telling, you know? Find part 1, right here, folks. Kathy: My two very favourite novels of all time are Lunar Park, and Pet Sematary by Stephen King, which kind of makes perfect sense… Bret: Yes, it does. Kathy: I’m really interested in the idea that Lunar Park may be becoming a film. I’m … Continue reading Like, embrace the pain: the Bret Easton Ellis interview (part 2)