THE ZOOKEEPER'S TALES OF INTERSTELLAR ODDITIES
Praise is rolling in for my new anthology co-authored with Aiki Flinthart...
This was a fantastic science fiction book that pulled together a collection of short stories under the umbrella of a larger space opera narrative.
As a science fiction junkie, I loved the settings, technologies and aesthetics of this imagined future. The worldbuilding was very creative and interesting, blending classic ideas of the genre with new ones. I suspect these authors share my geeky love for the genre because many of these stories reminded me of other scifi media like Mass Effect, Babylon 5 and Becky Chamber's fiction. The stories in the collection were fairly different from each other in terms of plot and tone, ranging from tales of first contact to the activities of a crime syndicate. I appreciated that the authors imagined aliens that don't necessarily share our concept of gender and other traditional human norms.
The writing in this collection was fantastic. I have read Pamela Jeffs before so I wasn't surprised. The other author was new to me, but I was equally impressed by her writing. I thought the two authorial voices blended together very well. The individual stories were identified by author, but without that information, I would not have been able to identify who wrote which pieces. I would certainly love to see this female writing duo collaborate again.
— Rachel - The Shades of Orange (Goodreads Reviewer)
Travellers always have tales. Let’s gather into a galaxy-edge bar for some truly radical accounts.
This collection of related short fiction is tethered to a space station. Ori Bligh, daughter of a privileged family from the Inner Planets, shapes the frame of the book.
Somehow Ori has blotted her family’s escutcheon—now she travels to the outer reaches of known space. Her new post is the dead-end Asteri Station, a stopping point for space travellers of diverse race and background. Asteri is falling apart, and Ori realises that her new post is at the arse end of the universe.
Relaxing in the bar before assuming official duties, Ori shares liquor and stories with other misfits: a bounty hunter and two Asteri staff with pasts they’d rather hide. Over the course of the evening, we hear tales from the length and breadth of the universe, some racing back hundreds of years.
The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities is world creation on a splendid scale, embracing sentient species from an array of planets, each with substantial cultural histories.
The concept of gathering storytellers over a jug of alcohol is trusty – think The Canterbury Tales for one – and the extent of imaginative detail in this clutch of yarns is remarkable and thoroughly enjoyable. With Ori facing difficult choices and realising that her family’s way of life is flawed and limited, this collection also acts as a coming-of-age parable.
The Zookeeper’s Tales of Interstellar Oddities is a showcase for the fecund imagination of two of Australia’s ingenious writers of speculative fiction, Aiki Flinthart and Pamela Jeffs. If this book is your introduction to these two, there are huge treats in store for you.
— Clare Rhoden - Reviewer for Aurealis Magazine #131