Two new novels release at the end of this month, The Untold by Courtney Collins and Bald New World by Peter Tieryas Liu. Take a look at what our reviewers have to say about a modern take on an Australian outback western and a dystopian world where everyone has gone bald.
Though The Untold is a work of fiction, it is inspired by the life of Jessie Hickman, a circus rider, horse thief, convict, fugitive, and all-around wild woman who hid out in the Australian Outback in the 1920s. This is Australian author Courtney Collins’s debut novel, published as The Burial in Australia in 2012 and also released in Europe. The book has already garnered critical acclaim and been shortlisted for several awards.
The novel opens with an almost unspeakable scene. Jessie’s premature baby describes the morning of its birth and its death, when its mother slits its throat, and buries it. Of course, with an act so horrific, Collins must undo it immediately…
There are a few things to address right off the bat in regard to Bald New World. Yes, the title is a direct Aldous Huxley reference. Yes, it is a science fiction dystopia. And yes, everyone in the book is bald.
It is, strictly speaking, a book exploring the premise of “What if the whole world suddenly became bald?” and because of that, there’s a certain absurdist vibe that pervades the entire novel. The most influential people are the owners of wig companies and the man who plays Jesus the General on TV. Travel from L.A. to China takes two hours, but getting through customs takes three. Plastic surgery has progressed so far that, for a hundred-million-dollar fee, anyone can look like Marilyn Monroe.