A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Unmade Lists 270Yesterday I posted about wacky Chinese buildings, today it’s a wacky Melbourne book. Jane Rawson’s novel A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists combines a dystopian Melbourne in 2030, crippled by climate change, industrial meltdown and societal collapse, with a little time travel and teleportation, courtesy of some weirdly folded maps. Plus there’s more conventional travel involved, checking out the whole of the USA one 25 foot square at a time.

Or is it all a dream, imaginary events and an imaginary future? Whatever, this Melbourne of the future is certainly not the ‘World’s Most Liveable City.’ Or perhaps it is, everywhere else could be just as bad if not worse?


Amongst the wry little comments scattered through the book I particularly liked the reference to ‘President Hird – plain James back then,’ a football player caught up in a drugs scandal and, presumably, elevated to some higher status in the future. Perhaps Australia really did get around to ditching the royal family and becoming a republic?

Jane Rawson used to work for Lonely Planet and much of the Melbourne activity is set around the Footscray/Yarraville area where Lonely Planet’s Australian office is situated. The San Francisco activity centres on the Castro and the Mission and never quite gets to Walnut Creek. When Jane left Lonely Planet – back when I was still there – she sent me an impassioned email about her climate change fears and her concerns about LP’s role in that story. She’s certainly brought her worries to life in this tale.