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Book Review: Collisions: Fictions of the Future (Pantera Press)

An anthology featuring the best pieces from Liminal magazine’s inaugural fiction prize 2020.
Book Review: Collisions: Fictions of the Future (Pantera Press) Book cover image: Collisions: Fictions of the Future. Photo: Pantera Press.

Julia Faragher

Monday 9 November, 2020

Collisions: Fictions of the Future is an anthology featuring the best pieces from Liminal magazine’s inaugural fiction prize. It contains writing from both emerging and established Indigenous writers and writers of colour from around Australia, including prize winner Bryant Apolonio. The stories consider what the future may hold, and challenge the overwhelming whiteness of the Australian literary landscape.

The anthology is a collection of portraits, just like Liminal’s online interview series with Asian-Australian creatives, as the anthology contains little snapshots of fictional moments in time. The stories are grouped into three categories: bodies, momentum and contact.

The opening story, ‘See You Tomorrow’ by Claire Cao, sets the tone of the anthology: these are stories written in a beautiful lyrical style about diverse Australian characters who are reflecting on the past, the future or both. ‘See You Tomorrow’ follows grandmother Li Xian as she meets old friend Ru Lian for yum cha in Sydney’s west. Seeing her for the first time in several decades causes Li Xian to reflect on the time they met as young girls.

‘The Voyeur’ by Elizabeth Flux is a real highlight of the collection, a tale of family, history and grief. It explores the possibility of being able to travel back in time and live through the eyes of your ancestors. We follow as the main character pieces together her own memories and knowledge with that of family members past and learn the dangerous temptation of getting stuck in the past. Flux is an evocative writer and this is a spellbinding story that holds your attention until the very end.

In ‘Dried Up in Aralkum’ by Hannah Wu, the protagonist is watching as the Aral Sea shrinks. They are focused on retrieving a silver ring that they once dropped in the sea, but really they are mourning a lost loved one. As they wander across the seabed, they address their thoughts to the elusive ‘you’ they have lost. Ultimately, it is a story of the undeniable reality of both climate change and their yearning. Wu cleverly compares the traditional heartbreak feeling with a desperation for the loss of the planet.

‘Wish You Were’ by Claire G. Coleman is a rare second-person marvel of a story, placing the reader into a strange, foreign body as you try to figure out who you are. As the final story of the anthology, the reader is ‘dead’ and Coleman ends things on a compelling yet dystopian note.

4½ stars out of 5 ★★★★☆

Collisions: Fictions of the Future Edited by Leah Jing McIntosh, Cher Tan, Adalya Nash Hussein, and Hassan Abul
Publisher: Pantera Press
ISBN: 9780648795186
Format: Paperback
Categories: Anthology, Australian
Pages: 141
Release Date: 3 November 2020
RRP: $29.99

About the author

Julia Faragher is an artist, specialising in writing, photography and film. She makes films at Skybound Productions and is the former Editor-in-Chief of Woroni. She was named the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year for Arts and Multimedia 2019.