A Book of Endings
by Deborah Biancotti
Twelfth Planet Press
Awards: Finalist, 2009 Aurealis Award for Best COllection
Deborah Biancotti lives in Sydney, Australia. Winner
of the Aurealis and Ditmar awards for her short story writing, she
launched her first book, A
Book of Endings, with Twelfth Planet Press this year. She
is now working on her first novel, a near-future psychological
thriller, and has a novella lined up for 2010 publication with
with Deborah Biancotti
"'Susan.' It was a whisper now.
My hands no longer shook as I picked up the last brick. I pushed it
into its slot … blocking out all light from the room where Jacob lay.
Then I switched off the lamp. Susan. That’s not my name."
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Deborah Biancotti’s debut collection left me both hopeful and
frustrated. Here we have a writer with a great potential, able to
produce some outstanding stories, who, unfortunately, often wastes her
talent writing tasteless pieces with implausible plots and nondescript
characters. When inspired, Biancotti is a top notch author. When uninspired, the
author of mediocre tales can irritate, in view of what she
can do when at the top of her game.
In the twenty-one stories assembled in A Book of Endings, she shifts
effortlessly from the supernatural tale to SF fiction, from fantasy to
crime. This eclectic nature is another source of ambiguity. Is she a
multi-talented author or simply a writer still trying to find her own
Only the future will tell.
For the time being I’ll simply focus on five sparkling gems that grace
Biancotti’s collection and I’ll ignore the few misfires or the various
tales which are too ordinary to be mentioned.
Number 3 Raw Place is an enigmatic, delightful piece where a couple
living in a lonely house drifts apart in a rather mysterious way.
Much as I dislike SF I couldn’t help being totally fascinated by Hush,
an offbeat story where human brains are preserved by being meshed into
animal bodies. A little masterpiece, witty and disquieting at the same
Another superb piece of fiction is Stone by Stone, a perfect, mocking
tale about a peculiar murder, endowed with an unexpected ending.
I confess I’m not completely sure of what is actually going on in
Coming Up For Air, a sort of technological thriller so engrossing and
told in such a steady narrative style that I was unable to stop reading
even when the events described remained rather quizzical.
Finally, I want to praise once again The Tailor of Time, a beautiful
fantasy tale that I already enjoyed in the extreme when it appeared in
the anthology Clockwork Phoenix. A man seeks additional time for his
dying daughter by pleading with the mysterious Tailor who stitches the
days and nights of human existence working on his sewing machine.
This outstanding story alone would be enough to mark Biancotti as a
truly fine writer.
Please keep an eye on her because I have no doubts that as she will
ripen as a fiction writer she will present us with other excellent
material apt to gain her the recognition that she deserves.