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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A To Z Blogging Challenge: Q Is For Quest Of The Sunfish And Quentaris

Today’s post is about series titles rather than author names.  Q is for Quest of the Sunfish   and Quentaris Chronicles. 

Quest Of The Sunfish is a trilogy by Mardi McConnochie. It begins with Escape To The Moon Islands. It is set in a post climate-change future where the planet has become a water world, after efforts to fix the problem artificially went horribly wrong. 



Twins Will and Annalie live with their inventor father Spinner in a grubby part of town, although Annalie has been attending a boarding school for a while, so isn’t there when their father disappears suddenly, leaving them only with a parrot, Graham, who has a chip allowing him to think as well as talk, and a highly advanced boat, the Sunfish. Annalie has been visited in her boarding school by an agent of the ruling Admiralty, trying to find out where her father is. The twins, a schoolfriend of Annalie’s and a boy they find stranded on a rock at sea set off on a quest to find Spinner, followed by the Admiralty agent, who was once a colleague of Spinner in a team of scientists, now scattered and hidden. What they invented could cause disaster to the world - already has, in fact - but some vital bits of information are missing, and the Admiralty wants them. Wants Spinner...



 I have read and reviewed two of the trilogy, but not yet had the chance to read the final volume. However, the two I have read are thoroughly entertaining and exciting. It’s an old-style adventure with modern technology. The covers are very Enid Blyton in style, but thankfully the stories are missing the odious Julian(Famous Five) and the girls don’t have to want to be boys to be accepted as equal. Annalie’s schoolfriend does do the cooking, but mainly because at the time this is all she can contribute, as the twins have the skills to run the boat. In the second book, she does find another skill she can use. Graham the parrot is the closest we get to the dogs in Enid Blyton’s adventures. 



The Quentaris Chronicles are a shared world fantasy series for children published by Lothian, before it was taken over by Hachette, edited by Paul Collins and Michael Pryor. Alas, the series was scrapped after the takeover, though three more books were published by Ford Street Publishing, although these had the fantastical city of Quentaris whisked off into space Space 1999-style. I hate to say this, but I didn’t enjoy those as much as the originals, though the authors were excellent - the idea of Quentaris in space just didn’t appeal to me. I was very annoyed when the series ended, by the way, because I had just been commissioned to write a Quentaris novel and I had such a great idea for it! And hard as I tried, I just couldn’t fit it into my own universe, so, until I do think of a way, that novel will not be seeing the light of day. 

However, the good news is that you can still buy them, in ebook, audiobook and, if you’re quick, paperback, from  all the usual sites - Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository... 

So, what is Quentaris? It’s a city a bit like Renaissance Florence, ruled over by a man sort of like Terry Pratchett’s Patrician. Actually, there is something very Ankh-Morpork about Quentaris. There are guilds, though not, as far as I recall, an Assassin’s Guild. There are feuding upper class families. There is a woman, Storm, running the City Watch. She rides a big black stallion and has fun and games keeping the peace. The heroes and heroines of these books are usually kids who are apprentices or, in one case, a street sweeper. And there is a thing called the Rift, which can take you to and from other worlds, requiring guides(one of our young heroes is an apprentice in that profession). Pretty much anything can come out of that Rift, including leprechauns(Anna Ciddor’s Prisoner of Quentaris). 



The series was fun and light-hearted and written by some of Australia’s top children’s writers. Some of them have been mentioned in this A to Z series of post. Others included Isobelle Carmody, author of the Obernewtyn series, Jenny Pausacker(now moved to England), Lucy Sussex(who created my favourite character, Storm the police chief), Sean McMullen(better known for his adult SF books, but a wonderful children’s writer as well)... 

It did well in my library, boys and girls alike enjoying it. If only it had lasted long enough for me to be a part of it...

Check out all of these on Amazon, Booktopia and Book Depository. Quest of the Sunfish is also available on the Allen and Unwin web site.


7 comments:

A Tarkabarka Hölgy said...

I do love a good post-climate-change fiction story :)

The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

Sue Bursztynski said...

And this is a very good one!

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

Quentaris sounds like a lot of fun - I hope you find a home for your Quentaris novel.
The climate-change Quest for the Sunfish also seems like a good adventure story.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - Movie Monsters

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - you're certainly giving us variety ... I didn't know these =- cheers Hilary

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Tasha, I can only hope! And yes, Quentaris is a lot of fun, and a great “taster” sample of Aussie children’s and SF/fantasy wtiters you may not have tried before.

Hilary, half the fun of A to Z is learning new things, just as I’m learning about Canada from your posts. 😊

AJ Blythe said...

Oh, how frustrating for you Sue, to have a great idea for a novel and have it pulled from under you. Maybe one day you'll get the chance to use it.

Sue Bursztynski said...

Thanks, Ma’am! I can only hope.