On behalf of our cohort, welcome to ‘Endangered and Dangerous’, the ninth issue of Macquarie University’s undergraduate creative writing journal, The Quarry!
Our theme, ‘Endangered and Dangerous’, galvanised the dark and the tragic. Rich and genuine, each piece is boldly crafted with imagination, wit and fiery intelligence. The result is a curation of immersive works across fiction, non-fiction, poetry and script; a diverse mix of fantasy, drama, science-fiction and dystopia, the mythological and the environmental.
Romance attracted the interest of four of our fiction writers, but there are more thorns than roses here. Suspenseful, tentative and heart-felt, these pieces examine the darker side of queer and straight love. Sophisticated and chilling, the ideals of love are unhinged in Mischa Parkee’s ‘The Course of Empire’ which expertly weaves fiction with the art history of Thomas Cole’s oil on canvas series of the same name. Love was also found inhabiting the science-fiction in Sheriden Goldie’s ‘> Delete File: Y/N?’, where a world of engineered body parts is as treacherous as loss, grief and memory.
Daniel Bingham’s ‘Portrait of a Life in Watercolour’ is broody, bleak and parabolic as his protagonist is suffocated by the expectations of material culture. With perfectly subtle tension, Bingham’s piece is sure to warn; are you sure you really need that latest gadget or style? Unlikely heroes are found in both the fantastical, a humble bard duels his Icarus-like queen, pitching humility against vanity atop prophetic ruins; and in the twenty-first century, at the local grog-shop. Futuristic revolutions with undisclosed side-effects, phobias and fire, predatory night clubs – the threatened and the threatening is a constant, hair-raising undercurrent across all our works of fiction.
Our non-fiction writers delved into current affairs. Angus Dalton explores drug addiction in ‘Giving up Glamour: The Magic and Mayhem of Ice Addiction’, prompting us to understand that the drugs themselves only one ingredient in a tumultuous concoction of self-esteem, proximity, allure, stereotyping and a struggling health care system. With a critical eye and a humorous edge, Olivia James’ ‘Adjust Your Sets’ examines whitewashing and the underrepresentation of women and minorities in the film industry, where poor casting and financing affect more than just profit margins. Orang-utans in the Sumatran rainforest, women in the gaming industry, Sydney’s lockout laws and more, our non-fiction pieces are sure to make you think below the surface level (beware; here there be sharks).
James Renshaw’s collection of poems ‘Vaguebooking’ is as absorbing in content as it is in style. Manipulating colour and cyber language, he uncovers the darkness of the pixilated, the anger and anxiety promoted by digital cultures and identities. Emerson Cassidy’s science-fiction script ‘Self-Extinction’ examines immortality and human connection in a post-apocalyptic world – but don’t expect any zombies here, the survivors of global desolation have been re-cast.
All that’s left if for you to do, our eager readers, is to find a place safe from interruptions! We hope that that you enjoy reading the ninth issue of The Quarry.
Editorial by Nicole Crichton.