From the Wreck Aurealis Award 2018 Best SF Novel
- Author: J. Rawson
- Title: From the Wreck
- Published: 2017
- Trivia: Winner Aurealis Award 2018 Best SF-novel
- Trivia: Aurealis Award recognises the achievements of
- Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror writers.
Why is From the Wreck considered science fiction?
- SF is not always about space ships, aliens, monsters,
- ..robots or giant man-eating insects.
- The first requirement for SF is that it should be possible!
- Realistic fiction is what could have happened,
- …fantasy is about events that could not have happened
- …SF is about events that have not happened, or have not happened yet!
- This book is based upon the shipwreck of the SS Admella in 1859.
- But what has Jane Rawson done in her story to
- …bring this narrative into the science fiction category
- …and not historical fiction?
- I’m determined to find out.
- Third-person, non-participant narrator
- There are six chapters narrated by the ‘being from another dimension”
- The Wreck – 2 chapters
- Life on Land – 4 chapters
- Henry – 9 chapters
- Cured – 4 chapters
- Some Journeys – 12 chapters
- Rosewater (small town above Adelaide)
- Portland (George works in Seaman’s Home in this town)
- Adelaide (George travels to this city to meet some characters)
- From the Wreck tells the remarkable story of George Hills.
- He survived the sinking of the SS Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859.
- George “..rolled into the waves…but they would not have him…”
- the waves …”instruments of the Lord“
- People trying to help save George….he calls them
- “monstrous humans declaring death is near”
- “What do they know?
- George thinks
- “Death was not for him.
- He lived now in another world.”
- “Why had the waves not taken him? Why was he here?“
- He is haunted by his memories and the
- …disappearance of a fellow survivor.
- She is a woman from another dimension
- ...and George must find her.
- She can…
- lure him
- destroy him
- return scraps of his health and sanity
- tell him what he had done was only a dream.
What was the hook that drew me into the book?
- Rawson begins her book with the description of the
- ship wreck by three different points of view.
- Rawson writes an amazing ‘cryptic’ second chapter
- …and I was hooked.
- In chapter two Rawson switches constantly among
- four personal pronouns: WE — I — THEY — IT.
- If you read this chapter too quickly your eyes will glaze over.
- I read line-for- line making a note as to what/who the
- …pronoun was referring. It changes!
- This was the only chapter I had to read in this way
- …the rest was easy going.
- But it is important to understand who is talking in ch 2!
- Believe me..after you finish the book
- …you should re-read chapter 2.
- The pieces of the puzzle will now fall into place!
Theme: abandonment, loneliness, and guilt.
- The George suffers from all these feelings
- …which Rawson has translated into a story.
- Part 1:
- whitened swollen ghosts had dragged themselves across the deck
- ghosts who wanted nothing more now but to be left alone
- looked at the ghosts about him…they were gone —
- He is a creature of the devil.
- Ocean-fed devils
- Part 3:
- “You’ve seen these ghosts“
- …headless monsters walking the streets after dark wringing out
- …the bodies of cats and rats to drink their blood..”
- It is a sprawling birthmark.
- …was throbbing, rippling, pulsing. “Another brain in my brain…”
- …seethes and stretches, the edges crawling across his back..”
- Part 4:
- “What do you know about haunting? he asked.
- Or spells. Potions. Do you know anything about
- …spells to stop a haunting?’
Strong point: inner dialogue
- Internal narrative is the life’s blood of any story.
- Readers don’t just want to see what’s happening to your character.
- they want to know what he thinks.
- For example: George has thoughts that he
- …would LIKE to tell his brother-in-law
- ....but cannot.
Strong point: tension
- Suspense drives the narrative.
- Good example is in ch1 part 2.
- Tension is building.
- Rawson is withholding information.
- She keeps the reader
- …waiting and waiting for a shocking revelation.
- The character is keeping his secret from his family.
- The reader will soon know the secret as well.
- Why does Henry…George’s son of 5 yr
- …use words like niche and reprobate?
- Uncle William is amazed by small Henry.
- Does it mean he is ‘different’? (big words for little kid!!)
Strong point: pace
- I never really took notice of ‘pace’
- …until I started reading books more carefully.
- A writer uses her craft to equally balance action, drama, and plot elements
- …and I just miss it completely!
- Rawson mixes slow and quick pace chapters part 3 “Henry” .
- Quick: Dialogue: question – answer b/t characters (George – Alice Jarvis)
- Slow – reflections – inner dialogue, dream sequence – Henry dreams of ocean.
- Quick: wife about to give birth…George is rushing around get the doctor!
- Slow: introduction of new characters with long descriptions, back round
- Quick: …heart throbbing revelation for Henry!
- Alien being has its own philosophy… but what is it?
- Why is alien being implanting itself into humans?
- Why does it insist on adapting to new shapes and forms?
- What has happened to push George or the edge?
- He is so committed to finding the truth
- …that he’s willing to physically die for it.
- These questions and more, you will have to answer
- yourself after reading this
- Aurealis Award 2018 …winning SF novel!
- As a reader who is not drawn to the science fiction genre
- …this book delighted, surprised and inspired me
- …to read more of Jane Rawson.
- I must give science fiction a chance!
- This book is original, so well-written
- ….clean, sharp and spooky.
- I’ll never look at my cat in the same way….!
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