'The terrorist has become a familiar figure and terrorism a common referent in recent Australian writing. I intend to explore a handful of Australian novels published, like [Janet Turner] Hospital's work , since 2001 : A.L. McCann's Subtopia (2005), Linda Jaivin's The Infernal Optimist (2006), Richard Flanagan's The Unknown Terrorist (2006), and Andrew McGahan's Underground (2006). All of these novels entered a world attuned to the destructive potential of the terrorist and wary of the terrorist desire to wreak and skill at wreaking havoc.'
Ungerer and Martin Jones create a fictitious student roaming the bookstores of Australia's universities. Their student gains impressions of the portrayal of government policy relating to terrorism via readings of fiction and non-fiction works.
The authors decide that the student might conclude 'that either the literary and academic world inhabited a paranoid delusion or that the fascist Australian state was incompetent. For despite the apparently totalitarian controls of the anti-terror laws, government, police, bureaucracy and media all seem to tolerate, and even encourage with generous funding grants, the academic and literary exposure of their authoritarian ambitions.'