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Coleman, Claire G

Entry updated 29 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

(?   -    ) Australian author whose first novel Terra Nullius (2017) comes close to allegory (but escapes) in its depiction of what seems to be a fantasticated rendering of the Aboriginal experience in Australia, but which turns out to be a relatively deadpan but strongly moving narrative set in the distant Near Future where the Aboriginals are in fact all that remain of the human race. Their savage oppressors are not whites at all (see Imperialism; Race in SF) but Aliens attempting to mop up Homo sapiens after a successful Invasion. The term "terra nullius" had been used since the time of Captain Cook to describe Australia as legally unowned, which is to say absent of sentient life, and seems not to have been abandoned until the end of the twentieth century; the phrase is applied with clear and telling Satirical intent by Coleman, who is of Nyungar descent. Clear similarities to the plot of H G Wells's The War of the Worlds (1898) haunt the tale. Coleman's second novel, The Old Lie (2019), by setting an Australian of Aboriginal descent in a Space Opera venue with a Military SF plot, similarly attempts to cast a sharp light on the ravages of Imperialism. [JC]

Claire G Coleman



  • Terra Nullius (Sydney, New South Wales: Hachette Australia, 2017) [pb/]
  • The Old Lie (Sydney, New South Wales: Hachette Australia, 2019) [pb/]


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