Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
N.E. Doran, Stuart Newman, and Craig Wellington
Desdichado Publishing, 236 pages

N.E. Doran
N.E. Doran is a zoologist completing a doctorate on the manipulation of biota in polluted water bodies in Victoria, with an unhealthy interest in pyrotechnics, SF and poisonous animals -- but writing keeps Niall off the streets.

ISFDB Bibliography

Stuart Newman
Stuart Newman is also doing a PhD in zoology, looking at krill biology and ozone depletion. An ex-pom, his other interests include guitar, stage lighting, and more recently, web page design.

ISFDB Bibliography

Craig Wellington
Craig Wellington's writing credits include scripts for stage, radio and television. His first children's book Willis and the Echo was nominated for the 1997 Children's Book of the Year Awards.

ISFDB Bibliography

Thylaxene Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Recognize the word? Thylaxene. No, you wouldn't. Unless you were familiar with the history of Australia -- its flora and fauna. Or, if you happen to know Craig Wellington. Or (and this is almost as unlikely as the others), you managed to nab a copy of this entertaining short story collection. And knowing American booksellers, you probably will have to make a concerted effort to find it.

But, you've already heard me bemoan the wealth of foreign authors who are never seen on our shores. Just replay that tape in your mind. And then get back to this handy little volume: good for scaring the pants off you, making you worry about the future, and for tweaking a smile out of you.

I see by a show of hands that most of you want to hear about the scary parts. Well, do you remember as a child seeing something in a movie or on television or even in your dreams that frightened you so much that, to this day, you can't dismiss the fear? We all have. For me it was the rabid dog scene in To Kill A Mockingbird. It is still chilling to think about that. Now, though, I have a new mental image to push that one aside -- the "Thylaxene."

The title story of this collection follows the attempt to resurrect an extinct species, the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger -- and the horrifying results carry genuine fear. It leaves you with an interesting question: Are animals more frightening when their thoughts are a mystery to us? Or is it the possibility that they have started to think like us? It's a skin-crawler.

The scares don't stop there. "Adrift" is an unnerving little bit of paranoia that sneaks up and bites you on the hinder. Read "The Valued Citizen" and you'll not only think twice about walking to the convenience store after dark, but you'll feel the need for a shower when you finish the story. And "Femora Artifice" gets increasingly more creepy as... No, that would give too much away.

That's quite enough dwelling on shocks and shivers; let's turn to a beautifully crafted cautionary tale. "The Noog" reads like the best of Douglas Adams and the Grant Naylor franchise. Three layabout space bums stumble (what they do best) into learning more about a planet and its inhabitants than they ever wanted to. Whether they are the better for it remains to be seen. That's a hint. I'd love to see a novel-length work featuring the Noog and the practically useless trio.

Actually, there are a number of shorts in Thylaxene that are tough to turn away from; "Four a.m. Immortal" and "To Be A Freeman," to name a couple more. They work, just as the entire collection works in a big way.

Why does Thylaxene succeed where others have failed? Maybe because there hasn't been a partnership this smooth in recent memory. Doran, Newman, and Wellington could be the best parts of one mind. Meet the author who uses three-tenths of his brain. And keep asking for more.

Copyright © 1999 Lisa DuMond

Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. She co-authored the 45th anniversary issue cover of MAD Magazine. Previews of her latest, as yet unpublished, novel are available at Hades Online.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide