Friday, 29 January 2010

Andrew McGahan Wonders of a Godless World

The Aurealis awards, for Australian Speculative fiction, were anounced on the 24th January. The winner of the Best Science Fiction Award was Andrew McGahan's Wonders of a Godless World. It is an apocalyptic tale set on an unnamed island, and is about nature, earth, madness and much more.

You can view the full list of Aurealis award winners at their website.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Summer Read

The State Library’s Summer Read program is running again this summer, featuring 10 great Australian books. There is a wide range of different types of books, fiction and non fiction, so everyone is sure to find something to enjoy. From M.J.Hyland's This is How, to Brett Hoffman's thriller The Contract, Steve Amsterdam's acclaimed short story collection Things We Didn't See Coming and Barry Dickins' moving memoir Unparalleled Sorrow. For the full list go to the Summer Read website

All these great books also have a Victorian connection - either being set in Victoria or are by a Victorian author.

You can also vote for your favourite to go in the draw to win some prizes including $1000 worth of book vouchers!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

It is sometime since I have read one of Margaret Atwood’s novels. Always a delight to read with her rich language and engaging dialogue with her reader this became increasingly more difficult to put down.

The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bed sheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands, where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories? Alone except for the green-eyed Children of Crake, who think of him as a kind of monster, he explores the answers to these questions in the double journey he takes - into his own past, and back to Crake's high-tech bubble-dome, where the Paradise Project unfolded and the world came to grief.

With breathtaking command of material which is both shocking and very challenging to our society today and her customary sharp wit and dark humour, Atwood projects us into an outlandish yet wholly believable realm populated by characters who will continue to inhabit our dreams long after the last chapter but also giving us an insight into a world manipulated by authorities and experiments in genetic engineering. This is Margaret Atwood at the absolute peak of her powers.

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