Millennium: Time-pieces by Australian writers
Penguin, $14.95 pb, 342 pp
You can’t write a review of millenarian ‘time-pieces’ without showing your hand. I hereby declare that the first thing I do on looking into such a collection is a simple calculation, to which the answer in this case is 16:25.
Not bad, certainly, if you compare it to a similar notional collection prepared just before 1000 CE. Not great, either. In the spirit of these times, rather than those long gone, how about proportional representation? In a straight statistical sense, that would of course mean weighting the ratio in favour of women. I contend it would also be legitimate to give women more space according to the talents of the writers working in Australia. To name some who don’t appear in this line-up, and who would certainly not have let the side down if they’d been used to bring the numbers up to 50/50: Gabrielle Lord, our best futuristic fabulist; Jean Bedford; Janet Shaw; Barbara Hanrahan; Helen Hodgman; Rosie Scott; Judy Duffy; any of a number of younger writers such as Stephanie Johnson; some of the better crime writers such as Marele Day.