Benjamin Chandler

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'All Fall Down' by Cassandra Austin

Benjamin Chandler
30 April 2017

The collapse of a bridge is the catalyst in Cassandra Austin’s All Fall Down, isolating the small town of Mululuk in true Australian gothic fashion ...

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Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Change Trilogy: The Silent Invasion' by James Bradley

Benjamin Chandler
30 March 2017

The Silent Invasion, James Bradley’s first Young Adult novel and the first in a trilogy, begins in generic post-apocalyptic fashion. Humanity crowds into restricted safe zones, hiding from an intergalactic plague that infects living matter with the mysterious Change. Adolescent protagonist Callie’s younger sister Gracie is infected; to prevent her demise at the hands of Quarantine, ... More

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Tale of Shikanoko: Emperor of the eight islands' by Lian Hearn

Benjamin Chandler
23 May 2016

With Emperor of the Eight Islands, Lian Hearn delves into the mythic past of the world she crafted so perfectly in the Tales of the Otori series ...

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Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Red Queen' by Isobelle Carmody

Benjamin Chandler
25 February 2016

Twenty years before Katniss Everdeen competed in The Hunger Games (2008) and dominated the post-apocalyptic landscape, Elspeth Gordie went to Obernewtyn (1987) in her own ruined world. She would grow from orphan outcast to rebel conspirator and community leader, overthrowing religious and secular powers and carrying a darker fate as the Seeker who ... More

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Asylum'

Benjamin Chandler
25 June 2013

In The Asylum, the latest dark suspense novel from John Harwood, the author manages to walk a fine line between Gothic romance and contemporary psychological thriller. Or rather, he gambols gleefully along it, delighting his reader with familiar Gothic tropes while deftly interrogating his protagonist’s sense of her own self. There are mirrors here, a ... More

Benjamin Chandler on 'A Very Unusual Pursuit: City of Orphans'

Benjamin Chandler
27 May 2013

The Victorian era has gripped the collective imagination of speculative fiction writers in much the same way the medieval period influenced our forebears. The nineteenth century gave us the Penny Dreadful, Dracula, and Frankenstein, and the melding in fiction of fantasy and reality, superstition and science. A spike in child labour was followed by its ... More

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Liberator' by Richard Harland

Benjamin Chandler
22 August 2011

Richard Harland’s Liberator begins three months after its predecessor, Worldshaker (2009), left off. The optimism and exuberance that marked the success of the revolution has dimmed as the inhabitants of the newly renamed Liberator struggle with the realities of running the mobile juggernaut. A saboteur breeds havoc and mistrust between the governing council of Filt ... More

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Yellowcake' by Margo Lanagan and 'The Wilful Eye' edited by Isobelle Carmody and Nan McNab

Benjamin Chandler
21 April 2011

The ten tales in Margo Lanagan’s Yellowcake offer an eclectic glimpse behind the slender veil separating the everyday from the fantastic. The collection is peopled by monstrous gods and godly monsters, by scavengers, drifters, and fascinators. Its landscape incorporates hellish war zones, apocalyptic streetscapes, and haunting carnivals. There is hope and ... More

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Chasing Odysseus' by S.D. Gentill

Benjamin Chandler
26 March 2011

S.D. Gentill’s Chasing Odysseus provides a fresh perspective on Homer’s The Odyssey for young readers. It focuses on the adventures of Hero and her three brothers – Machaon, Lycon, and Cadmus – during the fall of Troy and on their subsequent pursuit of Odysseus, king of Ithaca, throughout his legendary voyages. The siblings are raised among the Herdsmen of Ida, who are ... More