Rich and Rare is a hefty tome, chocka-block with delightfully tasty reads from a plethora of Australian authors. There’s a little of everything in here: humour, magic, mystery, adventure, and more, certainly a tale to tantalise the taste-buds of any young reader. It is helpfully divided into sections, with similar themes grouped together, but I read it easily from cover-to-cover.
Now, I’m not usually a short story fan – prefering a novel that I can sink my teeth into and characters I can get to know and love (or, in some cases, loathe). There is a certain art to managing to engage the reader within as few words as possible. The majority of these authors managed this very well indeed – although some (especially those with cliff-hanger endings, grrrr) made me eager for more. With no story being longer than about a dozen pages, these were perfect for my three-minute commute to work.
Stand out favourites for me include:
For science fiction, “Music of the Pod People”, in which an aural virus threatens the world. In the soul-stirring ghost story, “Angelito”, a boy’s trip to Mexico and the Day of the Dead delivers him a spirited companion. The dark fantasy, “The Black Sorrows”, introduces us to an orphan girl, who is willing to face death to save an angel. There’s a few with fun twists too: “A Fate Worse than Death” and “The Bad Boy”.
An engaging collection, with a tale to fit any mood: whether it be the melancholic and heart-warming, the humorous or slightly crazy. A rich selection indeed!
Reviewed by Angela Oliver
Rich and Rare
Edited by Paul Collins
Published by Ford Street Publishing