Posted by: Lisa Hill | October 19, 2017

2017 MUBA (Most Underrated Book Award) shortlist

Living up to its name this year, the MUBA (Most Underrated Book Award) has nominated four books for its shortlist and *blush* I haven’t heard a word about any of them.  The only publisher I recognise is Spineless Wonders (who publish eBooks only, so, you know, not really on my radar. Wrong! See Carmel’s comment below):

  • The Island Will Sink (Briohny Doyle, Brow Books)
  • The Invisible War (Ailsa Wild, Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti, Ben Huchings, Jeremy Barr, Scale Free Network)
  •  Loopholes (Susan McCreery, Spineless Wonders)
  • Horse Island (Christina Kennedy, Zabriskie Books).

So it’s a bit of a hunt around to find out more about them…

This is the blurb for The Island Will Sink:

In a not-too-distant future perpetually on the brink of collapse, catastrophe is our most popular entertainment.

The energy crisis has come and gone. EcoLaw is enforced by insidious cartoon panda bears and their armies of viral-marketing children. The world watches as Pitcairn Island sinks into the Pacific, wondering if this, finally, will be the end of everything. Amongst it all, Max Galleon, anxious family man and blockbuster auteur, lives a life that he cannot remember.
What happens when you can outsource your memories – and even edit them?
When death can be reversed through digitisation, what is the point of living?
If the lines between real and unreal are fully blurred, can you really trust anyone, even yourself?

It doesn’t have a lot of reviews at Goodreads, but the ones it has are mostly four and five stars.

The Invisible War is a graphic novel.  This is the blurb:

One Nurse.
Trillions of microbes.
A deadly WWI battle…
France, 1916. While treating a patient with dysentery, Sister Annie Barnaby encounters a strain of lethal bacteria. As the invaders journey deep into her gut, the resident microbes must fight to survive. Annie’s life hangs in the balance.
Enter the phage, deadly predators, ready to wage war to protect their host.
Created by a team of scientists, artists, educators, writers & historians, The Invisible War is a graphic novel like no other.

Loopholes is a collection of microfictions:

These perfectly formed microfictions provide glimpses into the everyday challenges of family life, relationships, ageing and loss. McCreery’s characters are typical humans – flawed, vulnerable, frustrating and frustrated. Told with empathy and wit and honed with a wordsmith’s skill, Loopholes makes us see ourselves and each other differently.
With illustrations by Bettina Kaiser.


Finally, Horse Island is a non-fiction book: Horse Island, the private retreat of Christina and Trevor Kennedy, sits tucked away in an estuary of Tuross Lake on the South Coast of NSW. To the west, softened by distance, are the mountains of the Great Dividing Range. To the east is the sea. But what is most surprising in this place of great natural beauty is the remarkable garden created by Christina, featuring only Australian indigenous plants.

This great garden reveals itself gradually – as did Christina’s own passion in its creation. Gardens and gardening had always been around Christina, but were not in the foreground until she was faced with the mess and devastation of the landscape when she began her first building project on the island. A timely suggestion from a friend directed her towards native plants. Christina’s own desire to complement and enhance the existing natural beauty then took shape, forming the basis of her thinking and of all her designs.
To visit the Island is to engage with Christina’s passion, her knowledge and enthusiasm for Australian plants, and to hear her stories about all she has discovered including her mistakes and learning curves, during the long process of creating the garden.
Horse Island, the book, reflects Christina’s own desire to share the true magic of an extraordinary place. We walk beside her as she guides us around the island encouraging us to think differently about native plants and how they are used in a domestic situation.
It is the author’s own gardening story, her total zeal for and commitment to indigenous plants combined with gorgeous photography that creates this truly beautiful book.



  1. One small point. Loopholes isn’t primarily an ebook. Spineless Wonders principally publishes paperbacks. I have the paperback of Loopholes.
    It might also be an ebook, but then so are most books aren’t they?


    • Thanks, Carmel, I wonder how I got that impression. Anyway, I’ll fix it now.


  2. I love the idea of this. There was a prize in the UK for a while called the Jerwood Uncovered prize which was designed to highlight books that should have had more attention. I picked up some gems that way – sadly it is no more


    • I think I love all prizes that bring us undiscovered talent (undiscovered by us, I mean).


  3. Isn’t there an indie press prize? I guess these books/publishers are too independent even for the indies.


    • Well, there’s the Indies, but I think that means independent booksellers not publishers. I’d be surprised if indie publishers had the cash to support a prize of their own, but I’d be delighted if someone told me I was wrong.


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