White Time

White Time

by Margo Lanagan

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060743932
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/01/2006
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Margo Lanagan has worked as a kitchen hand and encyclopedia seller, and spent ten years as a freelance book editor. She is now a technical writer as well as a creative one. Ms. Lanagan's critically acclaimed North American debut, Black Juice, is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book and won two World Fantasy Awards. Black Juice also received the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Young Adult Fiction, a Golden Aurealis Award for Best Young Adult Short Story, and a Bram Stoker Award nomination from the Horror Writers of America. The author lives in Sydney, Australia, with her partner and their two sons.

Read an Excerpt

White Time


By Margo Lanagan

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Margo Lanagan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006074393X

Chapter One

Occupation-Tasting Report

Student: Sheneel Carpenter
Occupation: General process walk-through
Workplace: Commonweal White Time Laboratories
Date: Spring semester break

"Buggaration." Sheneel crumpled the hard copy, tossed it bin-wards and banged her head a few times on the desk.

"What's up?" said Dalma, taking a break from her victory dance with Keanu.

"It's not fair! You two always get what you want. You both get to go on release-party tasting, and I end up at the bloody White Time Labs!"

"White time? What'd you put that down for, dope?"

"You had to put down a second choice."

"You just shouldn't've! Keanu's brother said, don't you remember? You don't give 'em any choice but what you want!" She danced off again.

"White time'll be interesting . . . won't it?" said Liv Morrow. She hadn't even opened her letter. She already knew she'd be tasting her dad's fashionorium, making antique musical instruments, which she did in her spare time anyway, but being paid for it and doing it to fixed hours.

"It'll be boring as hell," moaned Sheneel. "They get to choose dance music and do celebrity bites and put out gazines. We were all going to do it together--that was the wholeidea."

"Yeah," said Liv, "but tasting's supposed to be about the sort of job you want to have after school. I mean, you want to end up some terrible ageing groover?"

"Come on, Liv--I'm only in Year 10!"

"And release parties are pretty seasonal--like, six weeks at the end of every school year. And you have to be right there, like, in front of the cutting edge to make any kind of a living."

"They're pretty fun, that's all I know." Sheneel pretended to weep.

Liv smiled and patted her on the shoulder. "Never mind. White time could be fun, too."

"Yeah, right. Fun like menstru-ation is fun. Fun like tidying your room is fun."

Liv laughed. Leaning confidentially against her, she said in a soft, super-reasonable Sir-voice, "Well, both of those things can 'be their own reward'--"

"No," said Sheneel severely. "Don't start."

Sir was doing a tour of the classroom. "And you, Keanu?"

"Release party, too, Sir."

"Another release party? They're taking a lot this year, aren't they?"

"Not enough," said Sheneel.

Joey Fitzardo sniggered. "Yeah, poor old Sheneel copped the Commonweal Labs. Hoot!"

"Really?" Sir brightened. "Thinking about a career in time theory, Sheneel?"

"No, Sir!"

"Pushing the envelope in ethical hazards, maybe?"

"Oh, don't be cruel, Sir."

"Never mind, Sheneel. I'm sure you'll find something there to interest you."

"I think it's going to majorly suck, Sir," said Sheneel, and was gratified at the general laugh she got.

Sir's eyes went bland again. "Well, I look forward to reading your report."

Taster's general remarks:

This was a very interesting assignment. I got to see all the interesting things White Time do in the white time reservoirs, met lots of interesting people and learned a lot.

"A what?" said the guy at the terminal.

"An occupation-taster," said the reception-guy patiently.

"Like I said, a what?" He hadn't stopped keyboarding since the reception-guy had brought Sheneel in.

"All you have to do is take her with you, Lon, and show her what you do, what it entails. Your job."

"Ah. What we used to call work experience," the guy brayed, "back in the old days before the work/leisure dichotomy became politically incorrect." What was he talking about?

"And try not to turn her into an old cynic like you." The reception-guy winked at Sheneel and abandoned her there.

The place was a mess. Everything was grey--not dirty, but made of grey plastic. Cables and plugs and dead computers and bits of nameless equipment. Stuff, piled on the grey tables and in all the grey corners. Nowhere for anyone to sit, except him. Mr. Keyboarding. Mr. Whistling-to-Himself. Lon.

"'ka-ay," he said finally, eyes still on the screen. "Looks like we've got one or two for you this morning. For your viewing enner-tainment."

A few random white spots showed on the screen, on a grey ground between two elaborate toolbars. Lon blanked the screen without explaining anything. "C'mon, then."

The elevator took them way down. There was nothing to show how far, just an intercom in the metal wall.

"I better give you the tourist spiel, I guess," said Lon. Not once had he met eyes with her.

"I didn't know tourists were allowed in here."

"They're not. Curious bureaucrats, I mean; historians; people who've got business here, or think they might have." He inspected the top four corners of the elevator ceiling. "Okay. What I am, is a field officer. Meaningless name. I used to be called a redirection agent, but someone decided that was too straightforward."

This guy is a sour old bucket, thought Sheneel. This is going to be fun, I don't think.

"You know what white time is?" He sounded dead bored.

"Sort of . . . We did it in school, a bit . . ."

"Time out of time, people call it, but they're wrong. It's all time, like white light is all colours, or white noise is all pitches of noise coming at you together. White time's all over the place, blobs and puddles of it, some just hanging in space, some buried in planets, like ours here. This one's quite a big reservoir. Took a bit of clearing--I wasn't here, back when they first happened on it. It keeps one field officer--moi--occupied full-time; plenty of eggheads clack-ulating behind the scenes, too. All very interesting, if you like number and time theories. Do you?" He shot Sheneel a look so sharp she flinched.

"Um . . . number's okay, I suppose."

"Huh. Gal after my own heart. I can't stand time-theorists. Bane of my existence, them and their 'spiritual dimension.' Bloody god-botherers. Anyway! What I do. I redirect . . . entities, we call 'em. They're actually bodies. Physical beings." He frowned and fell quiet.

Continues...


Excerpted from White Time by Margo Lanagan Copyright © 2006 by Margo Lanagan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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White Time 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
MeriJenBen on LibraryThing 6 days ago
Australian author Lanagan explores relationships and reality in these fantastic and thought provoking short stories. In these ten short stories that take place in the past, in the future, and in altered versions of the present, Lanagan creates thought provoking alternate realities, always featuring characters in crisis. In the title story, a young woman learns of the spaces that are out of time and at all times, and the beings who get trapped in them. In "Tell and Kiss" psychic weight leads to physical weight in a society that places sharing above all else. The two stories that have stayed with me the longest are "The Queen's Notice" and "Wealth". A warrior in an ant-like colony must adjust to a new role when he receives attention from his queen in "The Queen's Notice". In "Wealth" hair = wealth, and a hairdresser from an oppressed race is called upon to bend both her principles and the law. This collection was actually published prior to Lanagan's other YA collection, Black Juice, which is probably why these stories feel less polished than those in Black Juice. To her credit, Lanagan never talks down to her audience. She expects those who read her stories to jump right in and wrestle with the concepts she puts forward. As such, these stories are not easy reads. But for those readers willing to take the time to give Lanagan's work the concentration it demands, this is speculative fiction in the truest sense.
edspicer on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The Australian predecessor to Black Juice, White Time shows us the evolution of Lanagan as, perhaps, the most creative short story writer working today. The ten stories in White Time are individually very distinctive and unmistakably the works of Ms. Lanagan. Once again, as with Black Juice, readers are immersed in a world that seems vaguely familiar and extremely disturbing. Lanagan drops readers into a world were the problem and story resolution often depend on the readers ability to dream and think, based on their knowledge of stunning, unique characters and the pitch perfect unsettling settings. ¿White Time¿ takes us into space with a career taster. In ¿The Queen¿s Notice¿, we smell the force that keeps the colony vibrant. ¿Big Rage¿ puts us in the middle of a fight circle and asks us to keep our eyes open for beauty. ¿Wealth¿ is, perhaps, the perfect story to read along with O¿Henry¿s ¿The Gift of the Magi¿ and the best story about hair in a very long time! All of the stories expect a lot from readers and provide corresponding rewards. Recommended for sophisticated and serious high school readers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
and accept the wonder that Lanagan is offering to fully enjoy this short story cycle. Her prose is dynamic, her ideas are brilliant and the landscapes she scetches are haunting and tempting simultaneaously. If you enjoyed Black Juice, then White Time will undoubtedly delight you as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As you read this book, the ten stories will transport you to fascinating environments. Some of the stories seem as if they take place on Earth but certain elements of them hint at a different dimension, a different time, an otherworldly place. It was difficult for me to grasp the deeper meaning hidden in some of these stories. Some readers may quickly devour this book and eagerly want more, but I would prefer a book that I can relate to and understand easily.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With 'White Time,' the author introduces the reader to an assortment of fantasy short stories. While, this might sound appealing to some, it is actually far from it. Like the length of the stories, the author falls ¿short¿ in producing an entertaining book. The main problem lies in how little she explains the many oddities in her stories. She makes the reader struggle to comprehend what is happening, which quickly leads to bewilderment. While, some of the concepts in her stories are interesting, they are ultimately perplexing and unsatisfactory in their presentation, due to the grossly immature writing style. I give this book 1.5 stars out of 5.