Julie Travis' Tomorrow, When I Was Young was published by Eibonvale Press in October 2019.
About Julie Travis:
Julie Travis’ ‘transgenre’ fiction has been published in the independent press in the UK and North America for the last twenty-five years. After playing bass guitar in several punk bands, she co-founded the Queeruption international festival, has been an occasional album photographer for avantgarde band UNIT and recently co-founded Dead Unicorn Ventures, an LGBT+ events company in West Cornwall that has just published issue 1 of its zine, Dykes Ink, and held its debut event.
Click here to visit her official website.
About Tomorrow, When I Was Young:
Crippled by injury and loss, Zanders awakens to find herself 150 years in the past aboard The Giantess, an extraordinary ship crewed only, it seems, by the mysterious Golden Sea Captain. Together, a journey begins to find one of Zanders’ ancestors, a journey drifting from reality to reality and with help from the living and the dead alike. Tomorrow, When I Was Young is an unusual and elegiac fantasy novelette that ranges from the wilds of Peru to the city of the dead, and on to more dreamlike places.
REVIEW: TOMORROW, WHEN I WAS YOUNG BY JULIE TRAVIS
Julie Travis' Tomorrow, When I Was Young is the 15th chapbook in the Eibonvale Press Chapbook Line.
Tomorrow, When I Was Young is one of the most imaginative and inventive fantasy novelettes I've read in ages. I was pleasantly surprised by it, because it's a celebration of imagination and features gripping storytelling.
When I began to read this novelette, I was immediately taken by its originality and found it captivating, because the story is surreal in the best possible way. I enjoyed everything about the story, because it has elements of sadness, hope, death, happiness and longing in it and the author writes excellently about issues related to gender and identity. There's something profoundly sad, but uplifting about this novelette that resonates with me.
This novelette tells of Zanders who awakens to find herself 150 years in the past. She is aboard an extraordinary ship called The Giantess which seems to be crewed only by the mysterious The Golden Sea Captain. Together, Zanders and The Golden Sea Captain begin a journey to find one of Zanders' ancestors who moved from Peru to Salcombe, on the South Coast of England. Along the journey, they visit many places and receive help from the living and the dead alike...
The characters in this novelette are well-created and I enjoyed reading about them. Zanders is a modern woman who has mysteriously arrived in the past. She has experienced tragedies and has suffered a painful injury. She is lonely and desperately wants to find out more about a mysterious Peruvian woman who is one of her ancestors. The Golden Sea Captain is an intriguing and mysterious character who could be a man or a woman. The captain is in command of The Giantess which is an extraordinary ship with a living figurehead.
Reading about the places the characters visited was fascinating for me, because the author writes well about them. Kensal, the necropolis, is quite a sight to behold. The author's depictions of this vast city of the dead and its inhabitants are atmospheric and have a kind of a sad feel to them. You can't help but be touched and impressed by what she writes about this place.
One of the most intriguing things about this novelette is that the author explores gender and identity issues in a fascinating way. I was impressed by the author's approach to these issues and was pleased with how fluently she wrote about them.
I'm not sure if The Iliad or The Odyssey have been a source of inspiration to the author, but I wouldn't be surprised if that would be the case. Although greatly different from these classic works of fiction, the story has a few tiny elements that can almost be seen as Iliad-esque and Odyssey-esque. There's also something about The Giantess that reminds me of the living ships in Robin Hobb's The Liveship Traders fantasy series.
I strongly recommend Julie Travis' Tomorrow, When I Was Young to everybody who loves literary speculative fiction and wants to read a compelling story. This chapbook is fantasy fiction at its most captivating and should not be missed by speculative fiction readers and lovers of original fantasy fiction.