Review: The Workers’ Paradise by Russell B. Farr and Nick Evans (ed)
Australia is still a relatively new nation and principles that existed in the beginning, such as workers’ rights and conditions, are still very important. However they have changed and will continue to, particularly considering the current world economic environment. Such an important concept of the worker in Australia’s future is an important one and is not only intriguing but also appropriate to consider.
Firstly, however, it is a good time to reassure the prospective reader that an anthology on workers is not simple a treatise on the rights of those who toil for a living in society. It is easy perhaps to think that the contents of such a volume would be a barrage of political rhetoric. The Workers’ Paradise is not simply that. The stories in the anthology do deal with the rights and situations of workers in the future, after all that’s the focus of the anthology in the first place. However the stories are so much more than that. There are love stories, alien attacks on Western Australia, talking cows, ghosts, and families.
However, the point of the stories is to get the reader to consider the future of the worker in Australia and in order to do so many stories require processing time. The Workers’ Paradise should be savoured rather than rushed through. It is often tempting to read through many stories in one sitting however the most can be gained out of this anthology by pausing after each story to consider the tale. To think. To consider what may happen and whether the individual can play a part in the future.
My personal favourites, Matthew Chrulew & Roland Boer’s Rapturama and Pseudomelia of the Masses from Robert Hood, will remain marked in my copy of the text, however many of the stories are worthy of re-reading. In terms of the structure of the volume itself, I particularly liked the afterwords that many of the stories had after them as this allowed a further understanding of the ideas behind the story and the reasons for the authors wanting to write in the first place.
The editors have done well to look at this issue in the first place but have also chosen well eighteen stories to trigger consideration and in some cases amusement. Unfortunately for the editors, I’m not sure that the hope expressed in their introductory thoughts has been borne out.