fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMargo Lanagan White TimeWhite Time by Margo Lanagan

In the collection White Time, Margo Lanagan writes with a clear, distinctive style that doesn’t spoon-feed, but rather challenges the reader in a good way. Her text is multi-layered and works on multiple levels to create interesting speculative fiction stories, some using the tropes of science fiction and some those of fantasy.

White Time features ten stories, and each is unique and different. The eponymous story, “White Time,” is the opener for this publication. Lanagan combines a strong sci-fi concept with grounded, complex characters. This piece sets the mood for the rest, as it shows that one of Lanagan’s strengths is writing compelling characters and human drama. Another favorite is “The Boy Who Didn’t Yearn,” which takes place in an urban setting. The protagonist has a particular trait that sets her apart from other people. Again, character is Lanagan’s biggest asset in this story as she establishes the personal conflict of the protagonist. The ambiguity of the ending is warranted and justified, giving it an atmosphere of surrealism. The last story I want to draw attention to is “Wealth,” which is the most “conventional” story in the collection yet tugs the reader at all the right places despite the alien setting.

What impressed me about White Time is that it’s a short story collection that dares to be different and unique yet at the same time is grounded by relatable characters. Lanagan combines style and technique to deliver an interesting read that’s both exciting and literary.

FanLit thanks Charles Tan from Bibliophile Stalker for contributing this guest review.

White Time — (2001) Young adult. Publisher: A collection of tales of imaginary worlds and not-quite-ordinary people. From the young girl who finds work experience at the Commonwealth Time Laboratories isn’t quite what she expected; to a teenage boy suppressing his feelings for his best friends with surprising results.