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Red Spikes

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3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  516 ratings  ·  111 reviews
“Lanagan solidifies her reputation as mistress of the strange.”—The Bulletin

Margo Lanagan's electrifying stories take place in worlds not quite our own, and yet each one illuminates what it is to be human. They are stories of yearning for more, and learning to live with what you have. Stories that show the imprint love leaves on us all.

If you think you don't like short fi
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 11th 2009 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published October 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,531)
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Nancy
After being blown away by Black Juice, I was eager to read more of Margo Lanagan’s short story collections. So off I went to the library and found a lovely hardcover edition of Red Spikes, received by the library on October 16, 2008. It appeared to be untouched and I confirmed this by looking at the shiny cover free of finger smudges and listening to the crackling noises of its spine as I gently opened it, fanning its pages under my nose and sniffing so deeply it was almost a snort. Then I had a ...more
Tatiana
Jun 03, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: existing fans of Margo Lanagan, people not averse to weird
Recommended to Tatiana by: ala
Writing short stories is not easy. As much as I like, let's say, Kelley Armstrong, her anthologies Men of the Otherworld and Tales of the Otherworld are not really collections of short stories. They are collections of scenes in the lives of her characters and nothing more.

Lanagan, on the other hand, is a great short story writer. Her stories remind me a lot of the works of one of my favorite writers (and IMO the greatest writer of short stories) - Guy de Maupassant, not thematically, but in the
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Rhea
Margo Lanagan is a master of darkness. Her vision is one of the most original and powerful in the Young Adult genre; it uses the whimsical, dark, and bizarre to explore real, human themes.

Lanagan paints her vision with artful language. Her scenes and images intrigue, unsettle, and even baffle the reader - each word is chosen carefully, so, as Kirkus Reviews said in their review, each sentence has the effect of a stone in a still pond.

These ten short stories are about love, life, belonging, pain
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Nesa Sivagnanam
In "Baby Jane," a young boy whose mother is a midwife of the New Age hippyish persuasion, finds himself having to deliver a baby for a heroic fantasy warrior queen. The heavily pregnant queen has arrived in our world with her chief counsellor and a bear. They arrive in the boy's home via tiny figurines, but they become full-sized and very real in the night. The queen is believably dirty and ignorant of modern -- or New Age -- childbirth procedures. The bear has to be distracted with honey. Then ...more
Crystal
Interesting fluidity. For most of the book I was left with this weird sensation, and it wasn't until the fourth or fifth story that I could pinpoint what it was: most of the stories felt like they had been lifted away from longer novels. But instead of it being an unpleasant realization, it rather enhanced the stories for me, as though they were shimmering up from a lakebed, only to fall away again as the current took them. I would be interesting to see some of these stories expanded, but as the ...more
Tessa
It was very hard to rate this book because there were a few stories I liked from it and others that just left me blink in confusion. There is a certain magic this author can create in her story, but the dark site of them just turns out to be creepy and confusing. Except for Hero Vale, that one had a very interesting view on the creepy factor.

Here are a few toughs for each story:

1.Baby Jane - just plain weird. After reading this I was very close to giving up on this book. It felt like I was seei
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Jill
I don't normally read short fiction, but my love for Margo Lanagan's The Brides of Rollrock Island and my desire for something different encouraged me to pick up Red Spikes, a collection of ten short stories. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but feel cheated as I read the stories because as soon as I'd connect with the character, develop a guess as to where the plot was going, or lose myself in Lanagan's lurid and ambient settings, the story would end.

Lanagan's writing is beautiful and her ideas
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Shradha
"Red Spikes" is an anthology which contains ten short stories. Each examines a facet of humankind and fantasy alike, using different settings, situations, and characters.

This book was the first piece of Margo Lanagan's work I have seen. And I must admit I was blown away. Her style of writing is amazing, with dark and somber undertones present in each story that pulls the reader in and doesn't let them go until the end. The tales are all original and fresh ideas, yet all are complex and hold endl
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Millenia

It's almost impossible to describe what these stories did to me. I've tried writing this review four or five times, and... wow. Here goes nothing (and apologies for any incoherences):

1. When you begin reading, it's like walking down a dark hallway. You stumble around a bit, but you see this light at the end of the hallway, and you squint and keep on going, trying to reach it.

2. As you come closer, you begin to see something more - something dancing in the light. Intrigued, you keep on walking.

3.
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Anne Hamilton
The best collection so far in my opinion. Black Juice had some dazzlingly good stories, marred by some racist overtones in the most compelling story inside its covers. White Time was almost brilliant but Red Spikes doesn't seem to put a foot wrong.

Unusual, strange, otherworldly.

It's hard to choose favourites but the opening story Baby Jane as well as Hero Vale and Daughter of the Clay probably get the nod.

Apart from saying the stories are uniformly excellent, it is too hard to say anything much
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Rayne
This is definitely not for everyone. The pacing is slow, the stories convoluted and strange and the writing obscure at times but it is just so, so beautiful. Dammit, Lanagan can write. Anyone that can write from the perspective of a freaking monkey or a pet bird and still make it gorgeous and intriguing is definitely a truly fantastic author. Most readers will have the problem of feeling bored with the stories, but they are all gorgeously-written and wonderfully-crafted and have such significanc ...more
Emily
"Oh, you caint see straight in this place," said Razor. "And when you do see summink, afterwards you caint quite remember. You caint quite believe, you know? It will not stay proper in your head."

Okay, I have only read six of the ten stories in this book so far, but I can tell I am going to have to give it five stars already. Gorgeous amazing disturbing lovely tales; every one of them fills my head with exclamation points.

Also the best bird story in the world EVER EVER with the following descrip
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Jess
this book was for uni - i don't think i would have picked it up otherwise. i love short stories, i love them so much but i never seem to read them. i don't know why. i hated these when i started. the first one kind of shocked and terrified me, in a confusing way - i didn't understand the writing, it was all too wishy-washy-blantant-agressive and i didn't know how to take that. i didn't like the second one at all, and the third one was okay but whatever. 'winkie' ugh. it terrified me. it shivers ...more
Sue
I have never been a fan of Margo Lanagan's work, but I had to read this for my Uni course, is figures I should review it too. Lanagan's writing is choc full of imagery that challenges at every turn and is sometimes hard to fathom. This collection of short stories at least allows the reader to grasp her use of language inn a less daunting fashion. These short stories are earthy, and vibrant. Lanagan's protagonists are always looking beyond themselves for something else, something more. In "Baby J ...more
bjneary
If you like fantastic, unreal, horrifying stories, you will certainly enjoy the ten short stories by Lanagan that do not disappoint. Themes of birth, death, and love are interspersed throughout with images of violence, gentleness and intensity. Wade in carefully and read each story separately, you will be rewarded with mystery and truth in
life and otherworlds. Supernatural Fiction
Thoraiya
Getting a bit slack with writing proper reviews because I'm writing...stories! But I will pause to note that my favourites from this collection are Monkey's Paternoster, Winkie, Hero Vale, Mouse Maker and Forever Upward.

Yes, that is half the book :)
Elizabeth
BBYA
Margo Lanagan has the most amazing use of language, whether her story is a horrifying tale of Wee Willie Winkie, an unforgettable an angelic budgie, or following along with souls in limbo. These are tales to be enjoyed slowly.
Jenifer
Oh my gosh. These 10 short pieces of fiction are so greatly, awesomely imaginative. Perfect. More. More.
Natalie
First book of the new year! I love her short stories- creepy and thought-provoking.
Alex Fairhill
Jan 04, 2015 Alex Fairhill rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans, writing students
Lanagan's strength is her world-building. In each of the short stories in Red Spikes she creates a world that's based on reality but slightly removed, and it's this distance that means topics such as death, birth, loss and violence are made palatable for a young audience.
There are clear themes in each of the stories, and the collection is aimed at teenagers, and while some of the subject matter may be confronting it's presented in a way that will most likely allow the target audience to understa
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Rosa
I really really wanted to like these short stories but I just couldn't get into it. I love Margo Lanagan's writing, I think it's absolutely beautiful, and the language in these stories is absolutely gorgeous. One of my favorite things about Margo Lanagan's writing has always been her ability to really set a mood in a story, and these stories evoke many different moods from the down right disturbing to a sense of satisfaction. Unfortunately all of the stories felt unfinished to me. They felt more ...more
Krista the Bald Avenger
Jan 28, 2015 Krista the Bald Avenger rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy, paranormal, Australian readers
Recommended to Krista the Bald Avenger by: attracted by cover art
I received a bookmark that had the cover of this book on it. I was quite intriqued by the beauty and gothic look (inspired by the 10th story in this collection). This is proof that you can't judge a book by its cover.

"Red Spikes" is 10 short stories intended for young adults. Written by Australian author Margo Lanagan, I imagined it would be "Stephen King Lite". Instead there was quite a bit of the Aussie influence that kept me too off-kilter to really get into the stories.

The writing is beautif
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Arminzerella
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca Ann
Margo Lanagan's style just really does not work for me, particularly in short story format. When I read her Tender Morsels novel, I thought it was well written, if a bit indulgent in the pace, oddly dream-like and far too obscene for my tastes (bestiality and lots of rape). Her short stories are no different, although the fewer pages make the dreamlike quality even stronger, like a nightmare that is very difficult to understand. I spent most of every story just trying to figure out what was happ ...more
Kritika
Red spikes is my third Margo Lanagan anthology. Black Juice still remains my favorite, but this one was very thought-provoking and bizarre and beautiful in a twisted sort of way - the usual Margo Lanagan fare.

Baby Jane - ***
a boy finds tiny figurines of a pregnant queen in "maternity armor", a bear, and her retinue on a camping trip; the figurines come to life at night and he helps the queen give birth.
I didn't really understand the point of this one.

Monkey's Patternoster - **
A very bizarre stor
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Rochelle
I like a good short story collection, especially with it is paranormal or sci-fi or fantasy. I think this is the first one i have read by a single author. I am going to break this down story by story, because some i liked a lot more than others.

Baby Jane: This was my favourite. My type of fantasy story. It was mysterious and magical.

Monkey's Paternoster: I did not like this one. I found it too disturbing.

A Good Heart: This one was sad, with a good twist. I felt like i only got part of the story
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Sonatajessica
This was weird, and not the good weird. Or wait, I rather phrase that as not the right kind of weird for me. Because I do enjoy weird and offbeat but here I hardly connected to the stories at all and the weirdness was alienating if anything. I wanted something more Kelly Link-ish, lesson learned, if I crave the original I shouldn't go for a substitute that has a quite different agenda.
Lanagan's writing is gorgeous and very unique which leaves me under the impression that if this is the right kin
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Charles Dee Mitchell
Ten more deeply weird stories by the Australian writer who seems to be the current master of this sort of material. These books are published under young adult imprints. Admittedly it would have been some time ago, but I wonder what I would have made of them had I encountered them about the time I was marveling at Ray Bradbury.

I have read her collection Black Juice where all the stories take place in unique worlds that nevertheless seem placed in a medieval fantastic realm. These stores range ov
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Katie
Red Spikes feels like it had a graduate advisor poking behind it (okay, technically a fellowship, but whatever).

A bunch of gorgeous vignettes Lanagan couldn't bear to get rid of but didn't know how to turn into stories. You get to the end and it's like, "well that happened." Everything takes place in this weird, quasi-Austrailian outback universe of three teeth, but sometimes with color television and prep school? You're lucky if you can tell where or what you are in half the time.

Baby Jane =
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Maddy custard
I was in a literary program at my school in year 9. Six books we had to read. Not everyone read all of them. In fact, no one did. I read the most, being 5. I tried to force myself to read this, just so we could know what to say. But I couldn't. It was awful.

First off, I hate short stories.
We all chose My Big Birkett to win, but I had a feeling that the people who give the actual award thing would choose this. I don't see why they give it to a book that kids would actually enjoy. Isn't that the
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Margo Lanagan, born in Waratah, New South Wales, is an Australian writer of short stories and young adult fiction.

Many of her books, including YA fiction, were only published in Australia. Recently, several of her books have attracted worldwide attention. Her short story collection Black Juice won two World Fantasy Awards. It was published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and the United Kingdom b
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More about Margo Lanagan...
Tender Morsels The Brides of Rollrock Island Black Juice Yellowcake White Time

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