I’ve a review for you this week. I’ve just finished re-reading Collisions, a ‘fictions of the future’ anthology from Australian Indigenous writers and Writers of Colour, published in 2020 by Pantera Press in partnership with LIMINAL magazine. Consisting of the inaugural LIMINAL Fiction Prize longlist, Collisions is a collection of short stories from diverse voices, which deserves to be on every bookshelf.
“Collisions: A Liminal Anthology” edited by Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein, and Hassan Abul.
In the book’s introduction we are introduced to the challenge against white Australian literature and narratives:
To exist in a non-white body is to collide: against eurocentric ideals, against narrow concepts of excellence, against stagnant ideas of the world to come. But collisions also manifest in the way our lives come into contact with others, how our pasts shift against the present, and how our imaginations sit against our realities.Leah Jing McIntosh, co-editor, Collisions
… And the anthology certainly delivers on its promises.
The stories are organised into three sections: Bodies / Momentum / Contact. I found the first section, Bodies, to be the most outwardly literary, exploring in each story the place of bodies in the world, in time, in memory, and in relation to others. My favourite of these was Naima Ibrahim’s ‘Auburn Heights’, a melancholoy story about the slow edging-out of bodies of minority and culture in the suburbs. I also loved the shock of Jessica Zhan Mei Yu’s ‘Tongue’. This section also included Bryant Apolonio’s LIMINAL Ficiton Prize Winner, ‘Bad Weather’, a master in form experimentation and the embodiment of collision.
In the second section, Momentum, ‘Dried Up In Aralkum’ by Hannah Wu was a standout for me. The first sentence drew me in: “The Aral Sea has been shrinking for fifty years now, and when I woke up this morning, I couldn’t even see it on the horizon.” But the story is only mildly speculative; it is more introspective, using the disappearing water as a metaphor to explore decaying relationships, the loss of time and futures and love. The collection of stories within this section are described as considering ‘shifting and sinking temporalities: bodies in motion across time.’
The final section, Contact, resonated the most with me, as it contained more speculative stories that considered futures near and far. I loved the hopeful vision in CB Mako’s ‘West of Sun and Sea’, in which diversity is welcomed in society. The contrast to the following story, Bobuq Sayed’s ‘The Revolution Will Be Pirated’ was clever placement by the editors–in Sayed’s world, immigrants have to take readmission citizenship tests, surveillance is higher and more intrusive than ever, and fascists march under a Kyle Sandilands government. To end the collection, Claire G Coleman’s ‘Wish You Were’ explores identity and ownership of self. This final piece leaves you wondering, a sense of unease that such dystopia could easily occur, and that in some ways it already has.
There are many stories within this collection that caught me, that I continued to return to long after my first read. And that is the beauty of this anthology: Collisions exists as a challenge to white-centred literary fiction prizes, to white (especially colonial) narratives, to white-centred bias that we often do not realise we have until we are challenged. I believe in this challenge, as I support these endeavours. And I urge you to also do the same.
“In colliding–with institutions, with ideas, with each other–we’re able to sound out the structures of our worlds, and shake them down. We clutch this desire for multiplicity, for an abundance of understanding, close to the chest. We create these sites of collaboration for one another, and for the world we hope will come.”Leah Jing McIntosh, co-editor, Collisions
Buy Collisions here: LIMINAL.
I was recently interviewed for new Australian speculative fiction publication, Etherea Magazine, about my journey to book publication via agent querying (and yes, I’m still looking). I talk about using the hashtag #AmQuerying to commiserate–and share congratulations on successes–over on Twitter, what resources I use when looking for agents, how to not quit, and of course all about my amazing writing and reading communities. Support is number one when you’re yeeting into the void!
Check out the interview if you’re interested. The magazine also includes some fantastic stories, book reviews, an interview with Matthew Reilly, and more.
Thanks for reading. 🙂