DEPTH CHARGING ICE PLANET GOTH by Andrez Bergen, Perfect Edge Books, p/b, www.perfectedgebooks.com
Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
Our keen interest in the 80s is clear, it’s a time when Ronnie Reagan was president, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet were the in-thing and rave and dance music, or indie music hadn’t taken over. The 80s are just as iconic today as the previous decades were. We always go back to them for their fashion inspired looks, amazing celebrities, and in this novel, Berger has one girl who wants to change the world.
Mina lives in 80s Australia when the goth movement in music had taken hold. Remember Siouxie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, The Mission and The Damned, she is surrounded by the types who listen to this music, even before emos were even thought of. Also by Berger, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, One Hundred Years of Vicissitude, The Condimental Op and Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? are some of the strangest titles you will find, and Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is the story of a strange girl who might resemble the girl on the cover in dark Gothic Lolita style, tied to a landscape by strings, ones I think she wants to break.
Mina starts out by telling her story of events that have happened in her life, narrating them as they have already happened, but is this real? Readers may get the feeling that a great deal of it is fictional, made up from off the top of her head as she is quite the dreamer, and you get the impression she is either lying, or it didn’t happen at all. There is more than an element of Alice in Wonderland to this story and I found it one that I couldn’t help but keep picking up to find out what would happen next. Mina has to make sense of a life
where her relationships and friendships have all been strange, almost fictional, you could say. Bergen keeps the reader hanging onto the reality of it all, even if at times it is impossible, but to be honest, and to give the writer his dues, he manages to take me back to the 80s where the music was better and the fashions of the day were fun, but the feelings of Mina and her other characters are not to be missed either.
For anyone reading this who is younger than forty, there is a nice Antedeluvia Almanac where Bergen explains most of the words associated with 80s pop culture, the bands, singers and movies out at the time, plus Aussie slang some may not have heard of. It is obvious from the cover illustrated by Kyme Chan, the back cover image by Suka Pon-ta and the pop culture references that lean toward Japanese culture that our author is a Japanophile. His interest has also crept into his other novels and holds a personal interest for me.