''It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morning in Melbourne; it was exactly 22.00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of hundreds of Australian prisons and released the locks in many places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed. Because Australian prison security was, in the year 2010, mostly designed and sold by American corporations the worm immediately infected 117 US federal correctional facilities, 1,700 prisons, and over 3,000 county jails. Wherever it went, it traveled underground, in darkness, like a bushfire burning in the roots of trees. Reaching its destinations it announced itself: THE CORPORATION IS UNDER OUR CONTROL. THE ANGEL DECLARES YOU FREE.'
'Has a young Australian woman declared cyber war on the United States? Or was her Angel Worm intended only to open the prison doors of those unfortunates detained by Australia's harsh immigration policies? Did America suffer collateral damage? Is she innocent? Can she be saved? ' (Publication abstract)
'When addressing the rise of mass media, literary authors of the late twentieth century often expressed an ‘anxiety of obsolescence’ (Fitzpatrick 2006) in their work: an acute awareness of being potentially displaced. This often led them to adopt an attitude of defiance in the face of technological change.
'Many contemporary literary authors adopt a similar oppositional attitude towards the rise and encroachment of networked technology, but retreating to the increasingly peripheral territory of ‘pure’ print-based literature is no longer easy. Digital technology presents not only the possibility of displacement but also that of transformation, with its spread threatening to fundamentally alter the practice of reading and writing.
'Possibly in response to the radical upheavals faced by Australian literary culture due to the rise of electronic publishing since 2012, recent works by three established Australian authors – Amnesia by Peter Carey (2014), the Wisdom Tree novella sequence by Nick Earls (2016), and The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (2017) – examine the ways in which networked technologies challenge or complicate the role, identity and practice of the contemporary print-oriented writer. The telling connection is that they present the relationship between print-based writers and networked technology as being transformative rather than simply oppositional, demonstrating the emergence of complex and nuanced responses to the rise of networked technology in Australian literature.' (Publication abstract)
'Australian writers from Marcus Clarke to the present day have used convictism to explore the way in which settler Australians have viewed their past and its influence on contemporary society. Convict fictions have been central to creating and reinforcing these Australians’ sense of their identity and history, and the form of the convict novel has been resistant to attempts to rewrite the traditional narrative of the past. This article argues that the underlying tropes and patterns of the convict novel have also shaped the ways in which other historical fictions have represented the past. It looks in detail at two recent fictions which use the conventions of the convict novel to examine more recent periods of Australian history and suggests that, like the traditional convict novel, their attempts to rewrite the settler narrative have been undermined by a nostalgia for the past which that narrative depicts.' (Abstract)
Peter Carey is the master of dramatic, intriguing and far-fetched opening sentences, starting with his first novel Bliss ("Harry Joy was to die three times, but it was his first death which was to have the greatest effect on him"), through to his first short-listed Booker Prize novel Illywhacker ("My name is Herbert Badgery. I am a hundred and thirty-nine years old and something of a celebrity."), and to the second Booker Prize winning True History of the Kelly Gang ("I lost my own father at 12 yr. of age and know what it is to be raised on lies and silences my dear daughter you are presently too young to understand a word I write but this history is for you and will contain no single lie may I burn in Hell if I speak false."), to name but a few. In his thirteenth novel, Carey treats his readers to another arresting beginning in the style of Jarmusch's 1991 Night on Earth: "It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morning in Melbourne; it was exactly 22.00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of countless Australian prisons and released the locks in many other places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed" (3). [From the journal's webpage]