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Why don't horror, sci-fi and fantasy books get more esteem from readers? DREW TURNEY investigates.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • In the early 1900s, the luminescent properties of radium – a highly radioactive metal – had just been discovered, and entrepreneurs were quick to identify its marketing potential. They flooded supermarket shelves with radium-based products, and thousands of young women in North America were hired to paint clock dials with radium. The girls would go home with their hands aglow, oblivious to the bone-destroying radiation they had been exposed to. We spoke with London-based author KATE MOORE about these workers’ stories, which appear in her new book, The Radium Girls. Read on >
  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. Read on >
  • Read this and the ordinary world disappears,’ says Stephen King of
‘The Passage’ series. ANGUS DALTON talks with bestselling author JUSTIN CRONIN about his post-apocalyptic trilogy, the vampiric creatures he created to end humanity, and the last instalment of the series, The City of Mirrors. Read on >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. Read on >
  • KIRI FALLS was introduced to the works of English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) when she saw the 2004 BBC production of North & South. Last year, the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death, Kiri decided to make a pilgrimage to the newly renovated Manchester home of the great lady. Read on >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • ARMANDO LUCAS CORREA is the Editor-in-Chief of People En Espanol,  the top-selling Hispanic magazine in the U.S. Here he writes of his personal connection to a group of Jewish refugees that departed from Hamburg, Germany in 1939 seeking refuge in Cuba. His novel The German Girl is a fictional account of the doomed voyage. Read on >
  • The nose is a wonderful thing. A new study has found that the human nose can distinguish between at least one trillion different smells. I love nothing more than sticking my nose inside a blooming rose as I walk Baxter along the street. But I also have a passionate hatred of the choking diesel fumes disgorged from nearby cruise ships. So even though I may be able to detect over a trillion odours, there are many of them I don’t want to smell! Kate Grenville’s new book, The Case against Fragrance, has had me pondering the aromas, the scents and odours that enter my nose – whether I want them to or not. In 2015 Kate started to get frequent headaches and other signs of ill health and, strangely, they seemed to get worse when she was on tour to promote her latest book.After some effort to isolate the cause, she discovered that it was perfumes or other fragrances that were the culprits. She felt debilitated. She loved to meet her readers but was bombarded with fragrances in crowded rooms. She was compelled to find out what it was about perfumes that could be causing her these health problems. She opened a can of worms. Read on >
  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author Amy Stewart stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with a officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series based around Constance and her two sisters, set in New Jersey in 1915. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, Angus Dalton finds out more. Read on >
  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This beautifully crafted book, continually referring to the bees as a symbol of vulnerability, life and hope, creates more empathy in me for asylum seekers than any media or news bulletin. The constant memory of the bees, images of his homeland and his care for Afra, make Nuri courageous and persistent. Through Lefteri’s sensitive, vivid descriptions, I experience the contrast between broken and unbroken worlds, the coldness of bureaucracy, and the different responses of people to trauma. Read on >

  • Atkinson weaves together several sets of characters who are involved in apparently separate investigations – which all turn out to be closely connected to a criminal ring exploiting the hopes and dreams of young migrant girls who believe they are coming to England for a job in hospitality, but soon find themselves sex slaves. Read on >

  • McEwan’s writing is superb and the storyline intriguing. I did find a couple of the premises he sets up for his characters a bit of a stretch, but we are talking an alternate reality here, so I was happy to let them go and just enjoy the ride. I can see this book starting many a spirited book club debate. Read on >

  • The Carer is divided into three parts. The first is annoyingly repetitive as chapters are given to Phoebe and then to Robert to describe developments. I continued turning the pages, however, and am pleased I did. Parts two and three provide revelations that surprised and rewarded me. Read on >

  • The Braid kept me engaged right through, and delivered an unexpected ending. It is a sweet, uplifting book that communicates a simple message about women’s resilience. I can see The Braid becoming a book club staple. Read on >

  • This is a novel for someone who loves a sweeping Australian drama with romance and hardship thrown in. Read on >

  • This is a novel that breaks the rules. It’s both serious and hilarious. I found it fun, enlightening and thought-provoking even though I didn’t always understand Abdullah’s contemplation of his place in the world. Read on >

  • Are children really a blessing? This novel explores that question through two women, one the mother of an autistic son and the other a career-driven lawyer who has left it almost too late to have a baby. There’s a happy, optimistic ending, despite all the loss, so maybe that’s the ultimate message in this novel. Read on >

  • Disappearing Earth had me by the throat to start but didn’t maintain enough of that momentum to keep me totally engaged. Each of the following chapters focuses on the next 12 months after the girls’ disappearance, with each chapter introducing us to new characters. This pace slows considerably, the initial mystery fading into the periphery as we are introduced to different women in the village. I found it difficult to be connected to new characters, and some confusion began to slip in. I wanted each new character to have more of a connection to the disappearance as well. Read on >

  • Like the bending of light when it passes through glass, The Happiness Glass acknowledges the distortion and elusiveness of memory and, in doing so, captures a harrowing and heartfelt emotional truth so recognisable, it stings. I wish it had been longer. Read on >

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