Presents. We all need to come up with them from time to time: for Christmas, for birthdays, for other holidays. But what to buy? For many situations, the answer is short story collection Transported, by Tim Jones (which you can buy online from Fishpond, New Zealand Books Abroad (for both overseas and New Zealand residents), or Whitcoulls). Here’s ten reasons why.
Teenagers: Although – or perhaps because? – Transported wasn’t written with a Young Adult audience in mind, I’ve heard that it’s doing well in high schools, among both boys and girls. So if you’re looking to buy a present for that young man whom you wish would read more, or that young woman who has recently started writing short stories, Transported is the book to give them.
Adults: But just because Transported is a good gift for teenagers doesn’t make it an unsuitable gift for adults. Transported is packed with adult themes and content. There’s sex (discreet), violence (not too much), and language. In fact, it’s nothing but language from the first page to the last.
Fun: Transported is fun. Don’t take my word for it: listen to reviewer Mike Crowl, who says: “Tim Jones’ Transported is a pleasant surprise. None of the tales have that kind of super-seriousness about them that’s typical of NZ short stories. Instead, they’re an intriguing mix of tongue-in-cheek, subtle humour, history turned inside out, and sci-fi”.
Funny: It’s not only fun – it’s funny. There are jokes, quips, and jests. There is surrealism, absurdism, and plain old silliness. Reviewer Rosemarie Smith says: “The mix is clever and compelling, and though there may not be much riotous laughing out loud, there’s many a quiet chuckle.” So Transported is the perfect book for buses, trains and planes, where riotous laughing out loud won’t go down well.
Proudly local: Transported is as New Zealand as the All Blacks, Lemon and Paeroa, and our banking system – oh, hang on a minute …
But anyway, the contents include stories set in Southland, Fiordland, Dunedin, and Wellington. Palmerston North gets a look-in too. It’s as New Zealand as a Tourism New Zealand billboard!
Confidently international: Tired of stories set in provincial backwaters? Ready to go exploring? Then take a trip to the Caribbean, Russia, the USA or even Dubbo. Investigate the inner workings of the Soviet Politburo, the Australian Tax Office, and the College de France. Meet famous historical figures such as Michel Foucault, V.I. Lenin and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Live a little!
Boldly outerspatial: Hard to find presents for the alien in your life? Cow tipping and rectal probing not really doing it for them any more? Then invite them to kick back and relax with tales that encompass election campaigns contested by talking kangaroos, eyes that work like telescopes, and how alien immigrants are received by the inhabitants of a typical New Zealand street.
Epiphanacious (not sure this is actually a word, but what am I, an author?): Everybody knows that proper short stories must include an epiphany, a still, small moment in which the protagonist experiences a moment of revelation about his or her life. New research reveals that 11 out of the 27 stories in Transported contain an epiphany. That’s over 40% proper short fiction in one compact volume!
Value for money: Transported contains 27 stories, and its recommended retail price is NZ$27.99. That’s only a dollar a story (apart from a few inconvenient cents which we can account for as “rounding error”). A buck a story? That’s real value!
Readily available: Sure, you can buy Transported online, but it’s also available in lots of New Zealand bookshops. A full list is here, and it includes Whitcoulls, Dymocks and Borders branches, Unity Books, and many independent booksellers, such as McLeods (Rotorua), Page and Blackmore (Nelson), and Wadsworths (New Plymouth).
So there you have it. Transported. You will be.