Book review for Kaleidoscope, an anthology by Twelfth Planet Press

When you’re a young adult, feeling safe and accepted is often a rare sensation. Australia claims to valorise and celebrate diversity, but the reality is very different during puberty and for the decade afterwards. Being different makes you are target, often creating friction when you long to be accepted.

What is worse, you have few role models. Our books and televisions and movies seem to be awash with pretty, straight, non-ethnic people. Kaleidoscope fights this trend, and mostly succeeds. Speculative fiction is the perfect genre for exploring the concept of the tension between difference and conformity. None of the stories in the collection introduced completely new concepts, but most gave an old idea a new twist.

I was touched by tragedy of ‘End of Service’ by Gabriela Lee. Garth Nix’s ‘Happy Go Lucky’ was a little gem of science fiction horror. To be honest, I was excited to be introduced to the word ‘maritorious’ in Ken Liu story, ‘The Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon’; writers should introduce new words, new ideas and new concepts when exploring diversity.

I would recommend this book to any young person walking the lonely road of ‘being unique’. If you know a young person who feels isolated, this is the book for them. There is a story in this anthology to cover every type of diversity. Kudos to Twelfth Planet Press, and the anthology’s editors Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, for supplying a much needed fun factor to the arsenal of the outcast.

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