Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean Review

     "The dark stretches long; the dawn is still far away."
Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean (2015) is a beautiful anthology of speculative fiction and fantasy writings and illustrations. A collaborative writing project featuring twenty Australian and Indian writers and artists-including Australian favourites Margo Lanagan, Isobelle Carmody and Kirsty Murray-this project was in response to brutal attacks on women in both regions. Artists were challenged to articulate and inspire in the aftermath-'reimagine the world' as stated in the introduction.

The stories are a lyrical exploration, recreation, and invention of mythologies and fairytales specifically designed to confront and inspire their protagonists as they navigate sexual politics, environmental issues, and questions of identity.

The anthology is rich in metaphor and imagery, a nuanced layering of imagination and intent. Every piece is infused with purpose: they are a message to the marginalised that their voices are heard. There are challenges and warnings, but ultimately it is filled with stories of strength, insight and resilience.

Like 'Swallow the Moon', a graphic novel that weaves an intricate coming of age story. Words by Kate Constable and artwork by Priya Kuriyan, it's a sweet and moving tale about identity, unity, and tradition, that could easily become folklore for future generations. And short story 'Memory Lace' by Payal Dhar that inverts expectation in a story of destiny and agency, through the journey of a domestic servant sold as a breeding mate.

Ranging from light to dark, humourous to grotesque, the variety and artistry of the collection will captivate readers. The assortment of graphic elements, stageplay structures and prose, and the heady mix of magic realism and speculative fiction, delivers an engaging series of morality tales.

In the face of overwhelming tragedy, society will turn to their stories for guidance, reassurance, and comfort, and in crafting these narratives the contributors have created a series of tales to inspire girls and women to overcome adversity and ultimately offering hope in the dark.

First published in Aurealis Magazine #79 - April 2015


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