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Bad Power (2011)

by Deborah Biancotti(Favorite Author)
4.24 of 5 Votes: 4
Twelfth Planet Press
review 1: Bad Power contains five short stories set in a world where there are people with powers, though no superheroes. Instead, people slowly come to realise that they have abilities – some of them very subtle – and have to confront what it means for their everyday lives.Anyone who has read Biancotti’s Book of Endings will already be familiar with her ability to infuse the everyday - the mundanely human - with a sense of creeping horror. Her work is full of the textures of human frailty as well as strength.Biancotti has other qualities as a writer, too. I love how distinctive each of her characters is. Everyone has their own voice, the way they speak in their dialogue as well as how they think and act.The eponymous story, Bad Power, features the very distinctive voice of an... more unnamed woman. It’s not easy to write a dialectical patois without sounding awkward or somehow pantomime, but Biancotti is seamless. It’s full of surprises too, but as the revelations come they always feel natural, as though now the truth is out, you always suspected it was there.The story comes midway through the collection, and we’re led there through the gently interconnected stories. In Shades of Grey, the futilely suicidal Esser Grey meets Detective Palmer, who has troubles of her own. These are explored in more detail in Palming the Lady, and the consequences of her investigation of a stalker continue in Web of Lies, one of the creepiest and least expected stories of the collection.The young doctor, Matthew Webb, who hears things, surfaces in Bad Power, while characters from that tale meet up with others we’ve met before along with Ponti, a detective with a knack for finding lost children, in Cross that Bridge.You can see how the characters are echoed in the story titles as well as weaving around each other in the stories. Even in a world without powers, bad or otherwise, we all have an effect on each other. The ripples and whorls of individual choices are visible throughout this satisfying little book.Bad Power is satisfying – yet also leaves you craving more. I want to read more about this world that has super powers but no super heroes. Hell, I just want more Biancotti.
review 2: Question: Who wouldn’t love to have a superpower? Answer: The characters in the short stories of Bad Power, who discover that power isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The power to never die, to see the futures of those around you, to tell others what to do (and they do it!) – all of these seem like good things, until they rule your life and you can’t escape them. Unable to escape their “bad” powers, they become resigned or submit to their fates. Characters from one story will appear in others and they all interconnect, weaving in and out of each others’ lives. The rich language of the stories allows them to flow smoothly into one another and carries the reader along for a fascinating ride with small "aha" moments. My one complaint was that the collection was too short. I was just getting into the rhythm of the stories when they were over. While I enjoyed the buildup of the stories, I never felt there was a satisfying conclusion to the collection.I would recommend this book to those wanting interesting short stories with an unusual slant.I received this book in a giveaway from the Goodread’s First Reads program. less
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Really liked this one - crime infused with weird. Proper review to come.
8/10Fabulous stories by a fabulous Australian writer.
Well, OF COURSE I read it! I wrote the darn thing.
Yup, it was awesome. I'm depressed it's finished!
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