Ben Eltham

Ben Eltham reviews 'Making News' by Tony Wilson

Ben Eltham
Thursday, 20 August 2020

Making News is Tony Wilson’s second novel for adults. It is a romp over the fertile ground of tabloid media, celebrity sports stars and family crisis. Lucas Dekker is the bookish teenage son of Charlie Dekker, a high-profile Australian soccer star who has just retired from the English Premier League. Lucas’s mother, Monica, has graduated from footballer’s wife to bestselling self-help writer, comfortably eclipsing her husband’s earning power in the process. When Lucas wins a young writer’s prize to become a columnist for tabloid daily The Globe, it seems as though he might follow in his mother’s literary footsteps.

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John Birmingham’s After America is the second book in what is clearly intended to be a trilogy of page-turners – a follow-up to his Axis of Time trilogy, the swashbuckling alternative history which saw a US carrier battle group transported back in time to the middle of World War II. After America, the sequel to Without Warning (2009), is set in a decidedly dystopian alternative present, the result of a mysterious energy wave that wipes out most of the human and animal life forms in North America in 2003. As one might expect, chaos ensues. A global ecological catastrophe has accompanied the human disappearance, a civil engineer from Seattle (the only big US city to survive the wave) has been elected president, Israel has launched nuclear strikes on its Middle East neighbours, and groups of well-organised pirates from Lagos have taken over New York City.

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Rupert

Ben Eltham
Friday, 27 September 2013

When I was a teenager, I attended a theatre workshop organised by Australian Theatre for Young People. Nick Enright, who led the workshop, told a story about seeing the opening-night production of David Williamson’s The Removalists (1971) from backstage. Twenty years on, Enright’s description of the look on the audience’s faces as they contemplated the ...

Stephen Scourfield’s As the River Runs is set in the Kimberley of contemporary Western Australia. A loose sequel to the award-winning Other Country (2009), As The River Runs retains Scourfield’s focus on the scenery and characters of the Western Australian outback, but moves the action forward twenty years to the present day.

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The Marmalade Files is a novel by Canberra press gallery veterans Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann. Set in 2011, it is a fast-paced political thriller with decidedly modest ambitions. Probably intended as a thriller or a light-hearted romp through Canberra’s back rooms, The Marmalade Files fails on both counts. It is a sort of bastard potboiler, weirdly ...