The 12 Planets series from Twelfth Planet Press continues to deliver brilliant stories from amazing women writers. (Yes, I know I have a book in that collection. Please excuse the hubris. The company I share in this series makes me giddy with glee!) Kirstyn McDermott’s Caution: Contains Small Parts, the ninth in the series, is another publication of excellence.
McDermott has a real skill for sneaking up on you with her horror, and then for taking you in unexpected directions. Scenarios you think will be full of gore and terror end up strangely sad and sweet; those who seem like victims might just be perpetrators of a different kind; those who seem cruel may simply have a different perspective. Human motivation is complex, so the relationship of an individual and the strange world they inhabit may not be what you think.
I want to avoid spoilers, and sometimes the shift in perspective offered in these stories is subtle, so in this respect I’ll keep my comments short and possibly cryptic. So… the title story, Caution: Contains Small Parts is possibly my favourite for becoming not at all what I expected, and moving me deeply in the process. As a writer, Horn creeped me out the most as a cautionary tale of unintended consequences. The resolution of What Amanda Wants was horrific, and I feel like maybe I’m a terrible person for finding it so satisfying as well. The Home For Broken Dolls is sad and lonely, and the elements of what are superficially horror just feel like a personification of justifiable “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any longer” rage that ends in a wonderful sense of hope rather than destruction.
I’m not sure how useful that is to you, but honestly, the 12 Planets series is good value for money, individually or as a subscription, so I recommend you just go on over to the site and buy this one, then buy the rest, and wait for the tenth to be released.
- Get the paperback from Twelfth Planet Press
- Subscribe to the 12 Planets series as ebooks or paperbacks
- See Kirstyn’s blog and find out about her other books
- Listen to Kirstyn read from the eponymous short story Caution: Contains Small Parts at the 2012 Melbourne Writer’s Festival
Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, smartphone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.