Series: Cookie Cutter Superhero-Verse
Published by: Book Smugglers Publishing
Published: December 2017
Format reviewed: eVersion
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five
Lists: Favourites and Recommended
Related Reviews: Kaleidoscope | Kid Dark Against the Machine
Disclaimer that Tansy is one of my favourite authors and we get plates of gyoza and drinks when conventions arise together, so this review won’t be totally impartial… because it doesn’t have to be. Look to the awards she’s won, everyone loves Tansy!
Putting all that aside, we’re back in the Cookie Cutter Superhero-verse we were first introduced to in the Twelfth Planet Press anthology Kaleidoscope, saw again in the novelette Kid Dark Against the Machine published by Book Smugglers in 2016, and are here now in the novella-length Girl Reporter.
Griff, who we got to know and love in Kid Dark is back but emos off mostly to the side as we follow his pseudo-sister Friday Valentine, daughter of the star reporter who was right there at the right time when Australia first got superheroes. Now we have the internet and Friday is a vlogger, as obsessed with superheroes as her mother was and still apparently is… as it seems that her mother may have travelled to literally the ends of the world (and beyond) to snag an interview that should be impossible.
It’s just super lucky that in addition to being Australia’s sweetheart, Friday’s mother (and Friday) have a crew of superheroes ready and happy to help them out. Or at least want in on punching out Australia’s worst super-villain and her dreadful taste in 80s fashion…
Like all of Tansy’s writing this is a fun and lovely romp that deals with topics that shouldn’t even be something we have to mention, such as feminism, disability-awareness, bisexuality and sex-positivity. This is such a safe and positive realm that we can only hope we’ll eventually achieve someday. The characters are supportive yet realistic, troubled and sometimes a bit annoyed, but reflective and willing to fight evil when it shows up in shoulder-pads.
What is probably the most important part of the novel is the inclusion of Indigenous Australians, and their part in this novella is handled well, and with fire. The consideration for community, the recognition of white privilege, and the recognition that it’s not a simple topic to consider.
If you want something that’s witty, with punchy dialogue and a clever commentary on the superhero genre then you’ve come to the right place. There are in-jokes and little nods to things, but even if you’re new to loving superhero things in general, this would still be highly enjoyable without being able to notice them.
Oh, I should also mention that Tansy never fails to write something that sparks my need for another novel, inspired by some off-hand comment or reference. In this case it’s Dimes. Tansy! I need a novel on dimension pirates, please and thank you. (Or fine, a set of novellas would also work, as that’s your current favourite. I may be a rabid fangirl but I’m a benevolent rabid fangirl!) And dimesaurs! THEY COULD HAVE A PET DIMESAUR.