Books & Literature

Book Review: Collisions: Fictions of the Future, edited by McIntosh, Tan, et al

SHORT STORIES: Experimental, genre-bending, lucid stories of the future from the inaugural LIMINAL Fiction Prize longlist.

Some of Australia’s best writing.

Established in 2017, Liminal Magazine seeks to explore the Asian-Australian experience through writing and visual representations. In researching fiction prizes in Australia, Editor Leah Jing McIntosh found that there was (surprise, surprise!) an historical bias in favour of white writers. Clearly not one to sit around in a huff, McIntosh founded the Liminal Fiction Prize last year. Writers of colour and of indigenous backgrounds, were asked to submit works loosely based on the theme of ‘the future’.

Collisions: Fictions of the Future is the anthology which gathers some of the stories submitted for the inaugural prize in 2019.

Divided into three sections – Bodies, Momentum, and Contact – Collisions presents a lively and satisfying collection of contemporary writing. Some stories are only three pages long; others are several. Some are written in third-person; others in first. There is a well-curated balance of styles, voices, genres, and sub-themes. Some of the works take the theme of ‘future’ literally and present us with touches of sci-fi. Others imagine a future of social change. Still others play around with the humour of future imaginings. The Melbourne suburb of Sunshine gets a make-over in at least two of the works!

Each story in this collection is a gem in its own right, but some stand out. Claire Cao’s See You Tomorrow is a moving love story of an Asian-Australian grandmother; Naima Ibrahim’s Auburn Heights charts the future through the ups and downs of a suburban shopping centre; Victor Chrisnaa Senthinathan tells the story of a family making money from turning their backyard into a cemetery in Suburban Graveyard.

Bryant Apolonio, presents Bad Weather in a two-column format. Two stories sit, literally, side-by-side. Gradually the narratives interweave and become one. Yet the reader must decide how they are going to consume this story: a bit of each at a time? Read one to the end and then the other? In this work, reader and writer become as intertwined as the two stories, each partially responsible for creating the narrative. It is not difficult to see how this won the inaugural Liminal Fiction Prize.

Every story in this anthology has earnt its place. Collisions is full of humour, pathos, anger, warmth, and compassion.

Above all, it is full of outstanding writing.

Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Twitter: @TraceyKorsten

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Australia
Released: November 2020
RRP: $29.99

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