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Who is Sam? Phillip Mann

Star Sailors
James McNaughton
Victoria University Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9781776561018

This book is not science fiction; it is science fact. Global warming, unless controlled, will create an uninhabitable world. The threat is real: it is here, it is now and it is not going away. Only we can stop it … and the clock is ticking. Though a day does not pass without our being made aware of global warming we, as the animal primarily responsible, do not seem able to take the necessary decisive action to avert it. Why is this?

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Hipster pulp, Dougal McNeill

New Hokkaido
James McNaughton
Victoria University Press, $30.00,
ISBN 978 086473 9766

James McNaughton’s New Hokkaido is not the “adventure that thrills and disquiets at every turn” promised in its blurb, but it does qualify as a page-turner: I read on, eager to finish and be done with this novel. Artistic failures work according to quite different rules to the failures the rest of us experience in life, however, and this immediate readerly frustration and boredom needs unpacking. Some bad works serve good ends, after all, operating as a kind of aesthetic compost: without M K Joseph’s novel A Soldier’s Tale, no Curnow poem “Dichtung und Wahrheit”. But what kind of a bad book is this?

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Moments of invention, Bill Sewell

The Stepmother Tree James McNaughton Darius Press, $14.95, ISBN 0473078244 I don’t think there is such a thing as a “stepmother tree”.  My Shorter Oxford hasn’t heard of it anyway. But if a stepmother tree has never existed, then perhaps

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Posted in Literature, Poetry and Review
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