[this is Tansy posting. Will remember to use my own login next time]

Can’t let Mondy have all the fun!  You all missed me, right?  Here we go, reading for 2011.  Wheee!

Above/Below, by Ben Peek & Stephanie Campisi (Twelfth Planet Press)

This is the first of the Twelfth Planet Doubles in which the paired short stories are actually intended to be read together – Peek and Campisi, two Australian spec fic writers known for their experimental approach to short fiction, have collaborated on a shared story of floating cities, cut-throat politics, war, cancer and loss.  When a city crashes to Dirt, there are stark ramifications both in the relative safety of the other cities above and the very vulnerable Dirt below.

Campisi’s “Above” tells the story of a diplomat sent from Dirt to prevent a war from the point of view of his uncomfortable host, while Peek’s “Below” has the rather more action-packed storyline of a native of Dirt dealing with the threat from the sky.  Both stories reflect each other in multiple ways: the protagonists are broken men, dealing with dead/dying wives, and apparently unsuited to play host to diplomats.  Both are surprised by what they learn of the ‘other’ world.  Both are men with very little to lose, and a disassociation from their own culture.  Above/Below does not provide nearly as many answers to the narrative questions raised with in the text as a reader might like, but both stories are cleverly and at times beautifully written, and the whole is worth far more than the sum of its parts.

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3 Responses to Above/Below

  1. Pingback: Twelfth Planet Press | Above/Below

  2. Pingback: Twelfth Planet Press | Above/Below (epub)

  3. Pingback: Twelfth Planet Press | Above/Below (mobi)

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