Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Lanagan, Margo

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

Icon made by Freepik from


(1960-    ) Australian author whose career – her earlier work for children and Young Adults, was published only in Australia – seems to be divided into two distinct parts. Under her own name, and writing as Melanie Carter, Mandy McBride, Gilly Lockwood and Belinda Hayes, Lanagan early published a wide range of fiction in the 1990s, including Wildgame (1991), a Science Fantasy tale in which a live animal manifests through a video screen; The Tankermen (1992), set partly Underground in Sydney, New South Wales; and Walking Through Albert (1998), which is a ghost fantasy.

After 2000 or so, though maintaining a primary interest in fantasy (she is a significant twenty-first-century contributor to the field), Lanagan very considerably increased the intensity and maturity of her work, publishing a large number of memorable stories, assembled as White Time (coll 2000), Black Juice (coll 2004; exp 2006), Red Spikes (coll 2006) and Cracklescape (coll 2012). The publication in the UK and USA of many of these stories immensely, and rather suddenly, broadened her reputation as an author of unremittingly focused tales whose protagonists – usually adolescents in extremis – do not necessarily flourish from their immersion in the very being of the world. In this sense, Lanagan is a hard writer, but one who amply rewards strict attention. An overall sense in internally undated stories that Disaster and/or Holocaust is imminent (or has already been inflicted) gives much of her work an sf tonality: one example is the implied Ruined Earth setting of "Singing My Sister Down" (in Black Juice, coll 2004), whose portrayal of public execution by tar-pit as a family occasion has something of the haunting quality of Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" (26 June 1948 The New Yorker); the tale later became the title story of Singing My Sister Down and Other Stories (coll 2017), which assembles early and later work.

Lanagan's most ambitious novel to date, Tender Morsels (2008), which shared a World Fantasy Award in 2009, is a dark Young Adult fantasy, as is Sea Hearts (in X6: A Novellanthology, anth 2009, ed Keith Stevenson, as "Sea-Hearts"; exp 2012; vt The Brides of Rollrock Island 2012), a complex nest of narratives circling around Scottish selkie legends.

For details of the Zeroes sequence beginning with Zeroes (2015) with Deborah Biancotti and Scott Westerfeld, see the Biancotti entry. [JC]

see also: Ditmar Award.

Margo Lanagan

born Newcastle, New South Wales: 5 June 1960




individual titles

  • Wildgame (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 1991) [pb/David Legge]
  • The Tankermen (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin/Little Ark, 1992) [pb/David Legge]
  • Touching Earth Lightly (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin/Little Ark, 1996) [pb/]
  • The Best Thing (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin/Little Ark, 1997) [pb/]
  • Walking Through Albert (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 1998) [pb/Beth McKinley]
  • Treasure Hunters of Quentaris (Melbourne, Victoria: Lothian Publishing Co, 2004) [for the Quentaris Chronicles see Paul Collins: pb/Mark McBride and Grant Gittus]
  • Tender Morsels (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2008) [hb/Jodi Hewgill]
  • Sea Hearts (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2012) [early version first appeared in X6: A Novellanthology (anth 2009) edited by Keith Stevenson, as "Sea-Hearts": pb/Zoë Sadokierski]

collections and stories

  • White Time (New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2000) [coll: pb/Laura Siotos]
  • Black Juice (New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2004) [coll: not determined if the edition for the adult market, identical except for a cover by Kate Mitchell, is simultaneous with or later than this issue: pb/Sandra Nobes]
    • Black Juice (London: Gollancz, 2006) [exp of the above: one story added: hb/Ghost]
  • Red Spikes (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2006) [coll: pb/Zoë Sadokierski]
  • Yellowcake (New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2011) [coll: pb/Zoë Sadokierski]
    • Yellowcake (New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2013) [coll: contents differ from the above: hb/Yolander de Kort]
  • Cracklescape (Yokine, Western Australia: Twelfth Planet, 2012) [coll: introduction by Jane Yolen: pb/Amanda Rainey]
  • We Three Kids (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing, 2013) [chap: hb/David Gentry]
  • Singing My Sister Down and Other Stories (Sydney, New South Wales: Allen and Unwin, 2017) [coll: pb/Rowena Cai]
  • Tintinnabula (Little Hare, 2017) [story: chap: illus/hb/Rovina Cai]
  • Phantom Limbs (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing/PS Australia, 2018) [coll: hb/David Gentry]
  • Stray Bats (Easthampton, Massachusetts: Small Beer Press, 2019) [coll: chap: illus/pb/Kathleen Jennings]


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies