Journeys was my first dance with anything specifically dealing with Australian based speculative fiction. Although the stories themselves were engaging and interesting, nothing about them really screamed Australia to me. Perhaps it’s because I was born and raised in America, and have been inundated with pop cultural references that were meant to portray Australia. Either way, aside from a few stories directly stating their locations, there were no obvious markers that many of these stories were taking place in or around Australia. This, I guess, is both good and bad.
It’s good in the way that the characters and settings remain relatable. Aside from the mention of an ‘English Breakfast ‘ and ‘barbie’ a few times, there is no use of terms that would not be readily understandable to the non-Aussie eye/ear. Whether the short story was based in the distant future, troubled past, or newly imagined alternate universe, all settings and characters remained easily transferable to the reader. Without issue or effort, I was able to interject myself into each story.
The bad. Although I was transported to different worlds, times, and situations, I never went to the featured destination. Australia. Even though certain towns/cities known to be in Australia were at times mentioned, I never FELT like I was taken there. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but the title says Australia right in it. Through my reading, I wanted to go there, but was never transported.
Overall, it was a good anthology and you will enjoy it too if you’re not expressly looking for themes of Australia in your reading.