Tales from the Bell Club TOC

tales from the bell club logo

I’ve only just stumbled across the table of contents for Tales from the Bell Club (edited by Paul Mannering for KnightWatch Press), in which I’ve managed to place a story entitled ‘The Kiss’.

It was one of those yarns that popped up out of the ether, a happy collision between a visit to the gallery to see an exhibition about the Secessionist painters of early 20th century Vienna and the announcement of the anthology. In particular, a painting of Count Verona by Oskar Kokoschka and the unavoidable if enigmatic presence of Emilie Floge. It took a while to get this one to come together; I was dreading trying to reconfigure it if it missed the mark for the Bell Club. I realise now that, with last year’s riff on the disappearance of Harold Holt, I’ve definitely joined the ranks of alternative history; bless you, Emilie Floge, and your crazy band of artists! It will be interesting to see who else is rubbing shoulders in the Bell Club halls…

emilie floge (detail) by gustav klimt

Emilie Floge

count verona by oskar kokoschka

Count Verona, 1910

The TOC:

The Adventure of the Laboratory – Kathleen Brandt
Tell Tom Tildrum – Edward M. Erdelac
The Quarrantine Station – Lee Zumpe
A Gentleman’s Folly – Phil Hickes
The Kiss – Jason Nahrung
Divine Providence – Robert J. Santa
The Widow Dotridge – Jason D. Moore
Spawn Of The Crocodile God – John McNee
Life and Limb – Andrew Freudenberg
The Girl In The Cabin – Richard Barnes
The Wager – Jeff C. Carter
Sayuri’s Revenge – Helen Stubbs
Fluke (originally: untitled) – Lynne Jamneck
The Shrieking Woman – Doug Manllen

the kiss by gustav klimt

Aussies on Locus recommended reading list

A few Australian writers appear on Locus magazine’s list of recommended reading from 2011 — novels by Kaaron Warren, Alison Goodman, Jo Anderton, Scott Westerfeld (who straddles the Pacific divide); collections from Margo Lanagan, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Lucy Sussex; anthologies edited or co-edited by Jack Dann and four (!) by Jonathan Strahan; novelettes by Peter M Ball, Isobelle Carmody and Margo Lanagan; and short stories by Peter M Ball, Damien Broderick, Terry Dowling, Thoraiya Dyer, Margo Lanagan, Chris Lawson, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Kaaron Warren.

Apologies for anyone I’ve missed through oversight or ignorance.

AWWNYRC #2: The Shattered City, by Tansy Rayner Roberts

This is the second book I’m reading as part of my list of 10 for the Australian Women Writers 2012 National Year of Reading Challenge.

The Shattered City

Book 2 of the Creature Court trilogy
by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Harper Voyager, 2011, ISBN: 9 780 7322 8944 7

shattered city by tansy rayner roberts

IN WHICH the Tasmanian author furthers the tale begun in Power and Majesty (reviewed here). For those who came in late: the city of Aufleur is under attack, with interdimensional rifts trying to destroy it overnight. Defending the city is a bunch of hedonistic and political shape shifters, led by a Power and Majesty. In book 1, the ruling P&M was whisked away through a split in the sky, and was replaced — not by the most likely candidate, the damaged and reluctant Ashiol, but seamstress Velody.

It’s a complex world, with Italian Renaissance overtones, and both the workings of the magical world and its relationship with the physical are explored further in The Shattered City. Velody grows into her role on the great chess board, introducing a new regime of polite behaviour — of community — into the fractious, scheming Court, while her fellow seamstresses — Rhian, all but neglected for much of this story, and fiery Delphine — also find their place in the new world order.

australian women writers challenge 2012The actual story that drives this book — an assassin in the ranks and the sense that the city faces its most deadly threat yet — takes a while to get going, but there’s no time for slacking off. There are so many points of view, often thrown altogether within each chapter, and some make only one or few appearances: it’s easy to lose track of just whose head you’re in.

It’s a strength that the immediate story arcs of books 1 and 2 are both resolved between their covers, while the larger story stretches across them. As with the first, the second delivers some delicious moments, beautifully dressed and dead sexy, and what a relief it is to finally have the plot point that kicked the whole thing off finally out in the open. Rayner Roberts is wise to not present it as a surprise, but use it as leverage for a greater goal. The Creature Court series offers a layered, detailed, credible world, peopled with a cast of complex, motivated individuals. How fortunate that, given the impending showdown foreshadowed here, that book 3, Reign of Beasts, is out now!


This review has also been posted at Australian Speculative Fiction in Focus, who made the review copy available.

Previous Challenge reviews:

  • Frantic, by Katherine Howell, crime.