by Majella Cullinane
Jones describes his writing as a “mixture of science fiction and
“mainstream” literary fiction; sometimes within the same story.” Transported, a
collection of twenty-seven stories encompasses a mixture of genres
including satire, science fiction, fantasy, realism and humour.
Depending on your point of view, this eclectic blend of genres can be
seen as either the collection’s main strength or its main weakness.
Strength in the sense that stories are often fresh, surprising and
engaging; weakness in that they vary hugely in quality, effect and
that there is much to enjoy in Transported.
I felt that Jones’ writing was at its best when he allowed the full
range of his quirky imagination to run free. Humour underpins many of
the stories. When She
Came Walking focuses on a young man and his love for a
rather unusual girl; she manages to get arrested for public disorder as
her presence causes inanimate objects to come alive. This story
displays Jones’ keen sense of humour, and captures young love
dinner [with Kate] was undoubtedly
it might have been boiled cardboard for all the attention I paid
his satiric mode in the short and amusing story, A Short History of the
20th century, with Fries which sees Lenin set up a family
and ultimately choke to death on a fish burger in 1924. The New
Neighbours is a witty allegory about aliens moving to
small town New
Zealand; Jones employs wry humour and a light touch throughout.
centres around the Maori myth of Kapiti and Mana and is told in
evocative and lyrical prose.
Jones uses many
historical figures in his
collection; Borges, for example, appears in two stories, but for me
to Man, an alternative tale of how Coleridge finds
inspiration for his famous poem Kubla
Khan was the most enjoyable.
fast-paced fantasy tale After
the War which follows Takan, an orc
striving to survive after “the Master has failed” was really excellent.
is an engaging and stimulating story about second chances
and not giving up. Cold
Storage, where the central protagonist finds
himself in Antarctica, and a creature of the ice is resurrected, builds
up to an unexpected and entertaining close.
Some of the
like Filling the Isles,
Queen of the Snows and
Borges and I left me
unsatisfied, and I found Not
Wanted on Voyage rather bland.
Jones’ writing was at its best in humourous and fantastical mode, and
in the more realistic, longer stories which were strongly
character-driven, such as Going
Under and The
Wadestown Shore. I do wonder
if Jones would be best exploring these strengths, or alternatively
dividing his short story collections into separate genres in the
If you’d like to try a short story collection that blends genres then
Tim Jones’ Transported
will appeal to you.
Cullinane is from Ireland. She has lived in Africa, Europe and New
Zealand. Writing awards include a Sean Dunne Poetry prize, a Hennessy
for Emerging Poetry, an Irish Arts Council award, and in 2007 she was
long-listed for the Fish Short Histories Fiction Prize. More recently,
she’s worked as a Writer in Residence in Scotland.
Awards: Longlisted for the Frank O'Connor
International Short Story Award 2008
Jones has published two volumes of poetry, a novel and an earlier collection of short stories, Extreme Weather Events. He
is a writer, editor, web-content manager, husband, father, political
activist and lover of cricket, music and many other fine things. He
lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
with Tim Jones
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