mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years.
Read more... )
Liz Barr is a contributor to the Hugo nominated Chicks Dig Time Lords, a blogger and a committee member for the Continuum convention.

1. You had an essay in the Hugo nominated Chicks Unravel Time in 2012. How important do you think that books like this and it’s sister ‘Geek Girl Chronicles’ and brother Queers Dig Time Lords are to fandom?

Obviously I'm biased, but I think they're wonderful.  The Geek Girl Chronicles are such a friendly, low-impact way to introduce people to feminist interpretations of pop culture -- and different kinds of feminisms, too, because it's a very individualistic concept.  I wish they'd been around when I was a teen -- I remember reading feminist essays on Star Trek, my fandom growing up, and being really put off by the lack of joy in these works.  (There were also concepts which I just straight up disagreed with -- and since that was my only exposure to feminist thinking, growing up in a conservative household, for a long time I thought I just didn't agree with feminism.)
And feminist theories aside, I think it's great to give women a voice -- a louder voice -- in fandom.  We've always been part of the fannish community, but it seems like every few years we have to muscle up to the front and remind people of that.  The age of all-or-mostly-male anthologies is in the past, and thank heavens for that.

2. You’re involved with organizing and running the Continuum convention in Melbourne (I thoroughly enjoyed my first one this year) – what do you think makes the Australian con scene so good (I’ve only attended a couple, but found them both wonderful experiences)?

I'm glad you enjoyed it!  I think Australian fandom is very welcoming.  A few years ago I went to Aussiecon 4 and knew almost nobody, but I was introduced to a few people, and they introduced me to more, and suddenly I was on the Continuum committee.
Also, I think we're very lucky in that, although there are certainly disagreements within the community, Australian fandom isn't politicised the way it is in the United States.  For the last few years, Continuum has been pursuing an overtly feminist, inclusive, diversity-friendly agenda, and we've had no pushback whatsoever.  People are very respectful, and I like that.

3. Do you have any fandom projects coming up? What are you looking forward to?

I have to confess that I put off replying to this in the hopes that I'd get the go-ahead to talk about a particular project ... but alas, the timing isn't right.  Suffice to say, your first question about the Geek Girl Chronicles was apt.
Otherwise, unless flailing on Tumblr about Legend of Korra and the sheer animated perfection of Lin Beifong counts as a fandom project, my main interest at the moment is prep for Continuum 11.  I've been scouting out possible venues, bribing people to join the committee (I pay in cat pictures), and I have a notebook full of ideas.
And it's not specifically my project, but I have to give a shout-out to Fablecroft's upcoming Cranky Ladies anthology -- historical fiction based on the lives of history's difficult women.  It was inspired by a blog post of mine, and if you had told me a year ago that my insomniac Wikipedia-hopping would cause an actual book to come into existence, I don't think I'd have believed you.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I loved Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier -- it combined three of my favourite things: Jazz Age crime, the razor gangs of Sydney in the '30s, and ghosts.
I also really enjoyed Glenda Larke's The Aware, and I have the next two books in her Isles of Glory trilogy sitting on my ereader, taunting me ... but I keep putting them off, because I don't want the trilogy to be over.
In terms of graphics novels, I adored Tom Taylor's The Deep, and I am beyond excited for the animated TV series.  It's fun, clever, and family friendly without being patronising.  As soon as my nephews can read, I'm buying the books for them.  (But it's my brother who'll really love them.)

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

I read a lot more from small presses now, and if I ever finish anything, that's where I see myself publishing, too.  Australia has such a wonderful small press industry, and the rise of the ebook means that being published with a small press no longer confines you to a small audience.  Of course, then you're competing with everyone else, but books always find their way to a reader.
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years.
Check out the rest )Faith Mudge is a new voice in Australian Speculative fiction, with a growing catalogue of short fiction. She was nominated in the Best New Talent category in the 2014 Ditmar Awards.

1. You were part of the collection To Spin a Darker Stair with Catherynne M Valente two years ago, with a retelling of Rapunzel - why do you think fairytales still have such a strong impact on popular culture, particularly speculative fiction?
Fairy tales are an integral part of fantasy's literary bedrock. They are classic but also chameleonic, capable of being adapted to almost any time and setting without losing their essential core. Their symbols are so infused with meaning from centuries of retellings that they have become a potent cultural shorthand. Who would trust a spinning wheel? Of course, that familiarity comes with an element of frustration, a feeling of stories not told and archetype characters who deserve the chance to speak for themselves. There's a certain satisfaction in giving a trapped princess a sword.

2. You were nominated in the Best New Talent category in the 2014 Ditmar Awards, how important to you think a category like this is to the Australian scene in particular and why?
When your body of work is limited and not widely known, this kind of recognition is a tremendous boost. It is not only immensely encouraging, it's also a recommendation that increases awareness of that work and gives the kind of promotion new writers really need.

3. You've done some excellent work with short stories recently, are you looking to write more of these, or is some longer fiction also on the cards? Are there any upcoming projects that you can talk about?
My latest story, 'Descension', is in Ticonderoga's steampunk anthology Kisses by Clockwork. Over the next couple of months my work will also be appearing in Kaleidoscope (Twelfth Planet Press) and Phantazein (FableCroft). I love the shape and style of short fiction, particularly fairy tale retellings, and I'll certainly continue writing them, but I'm also working on a couple of novel-length speculative fiction projects.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
This is my second year doing the Australian Women Writers Challenge, which is how I heard about what turned out to be one of my favourite books so far this year, Allyse Near's Fairytales for Wilde Girls. It's Gothically fantastical and rich with fairy tale imagery. I also love Tansy Rayner Roberts' work - her Creature Court trilogy was fabulous, so I'm looking forward to reading her mystery novel A Trifle Dead, written as Livia Day. Of course, one of the best things about being part of an anthology is getting to read the other stories, so I've read a lot of short fiction too! There's so much talent out there right now. Kathleen Jennings, probably better known for her art, is one of my favourites with 'Kindling' (Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear, reprinted in The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2012) and 'Ella and the Flame' (One Small Step).

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?
Being very new to the industry, my experience has mostly been with Australian small press. It's an incredibly open and vibrant environment that deserves much more recognition than it gets, as do all the amazing editors I've been fortunate enough to work with. It's extremely unlikely I'd have received the same opportunities in mainstream publishing, and I'm sure many other writers would say the same. Five years from now I plan to still be writing short stories, but I'd love to have some longer fiction published too! And I intend to be reading (and blogging about) as many books as I possibly can.
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years.
Check out the rest here )

Lucy Sussex is a New Zealand born fantasy and science fiction author, editor and academic, who also write horror, crime and detective fiction. She has published multiple novels and short story collections, the most recent of which are Thief of Lives (Twelfth Plant Press) and Matilda Told Such Dreadful Lies (Ticonderoga Publications). Lucy has kindly agreed to answer my questions for Snapshot 2014.

1. What are you working on at present? If you can talk about it, that is.

I’m slowly getting through my to-do list.  That means, so far this year: writing a Cthulhu story in the persona of a early twentieth-century sea captain; then another, about dolls, in Jane Austen style; a novelette and short story on the theme of heroines; revising a new edition of The Scarlet Rider for Ticonderoga; and a new edition of Ellen Davitt’s Force and Fraud (1865), the first murder mystery novel in Australia. Next is looking at a proposal for a non-fiction collection, a co-authored article, and the second half of a novel that needs writing. Not to mention the review of Viv Albertine’s memoir due tomorrow!  I’m also expecting edits of my non-fiction Victorian Blockbuster, about Fergus Hume and the Mystery of a Hansom Cab soon.

2. Previously you have written both short and long fiction – what is it you like about working in the different formats?

Short fiction is sprinting. If you get on a roll, you can finish in several days. A long fiction is protracted and time-consuming, though rather more lucrative.  Both have their different pleasures.

3. What do you have planned for your writing in the next 12 to 18 months? Do you plan a long way ahead or does your work develop more intuitively?

I want to finish the novel in the next year—but beyond that, no great plans. Something always comes along... I’m not so much a planner as someone to whom things happen serendipitously.  Which makes it all the more fun.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

Tim Low’s Where Song Began is a terrific piece of science-writing, about the origins of Australian birds, and their influebce.  Julie Szego’s The Tainted Trial of Farah Jama is true crime written with utter integrity and research brilliance, about contaminated DNA.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

Not particularly. The issue is, can people get their work out there, and can they expect renumeration for their efforts?  With the first, it is much harder for newer writers. I don’t usually have problems, as I have enough experience of the market to know where the niche is. It would be lovely to be paid more, but we are all lucky we are not musicians, continually touring to pay the bills.  What will I be doing 5 years from now? Well, I might very well be dead! 
mayakittenreads: (GirlReading)
Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 years. In 2005, Ben Peek spent a frantic week interviewing 43 people in the Australian spec fic scene, and since then, it's grown every time, now taking a team of interviewers working together to accomplish!
In the lead up to Worldcon in London, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2014, conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright. Last time we covered nearly 160 members of the Australian speculative fiction community with the Snapshot – can we top that this year?
To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from July 28 to August 10, 2014, or look for the round up on SF Signal when it's all done:

Anna Tambour is a writer of weird and strange fiction, that doesn't fit into categories. Her novel, Crandolin, was nominated for the World Fantasy Award in 2013. She has written a large list of short fiction, and her most recent work, published in 2014, is The Walking-Stick Forest. She was kind enough to answer my questions for Snapshot 2014.

1. Tansy Rayner Roberts said on Galactica Suburbia, “There’s weird fiction, and then there’s new weird, and then there’s Anna Tambour.” Do you try for your stories to puzzle people as to fit?

In my second year at school, I got an almost-fail at “Listening and Following Directions” and have probably gone downhill from there. But the thing is, reality doesn’t fit. Neither, I am delighted to say, does the unifying theory of the universe fall into line as anything other than an attractive theory.

2. Your current short story, The Walking-Stick Forest, was published on Is it a different experience, publishing online, compared to publishing in a traditional book or magazine? Do you think there is a growing audience for online short fiction?

“It is that takes the crown as reigning champion of science-fiction magazines. With a team that includes the respected editors Ellen Datlow and Ann VanderMeer, its stories' subjects range from anthropological zombies to teenage hackers.”
Damien Walter, “A digital renaissance for the science fiction short story”, The Guardian, 13 June 2014 not only publishes some of the best writers but has enviable viewer stats—and the additional pull of commissioning some of the best artists in the world, under the superb art direction of Irene Gallo. Karla Ortiz’s gorgeous painting for “The Walking-Stick Forest” has already gained more praise and views than anything I’ve ever written, so there will be a percentage of admirers of this picture who will actually read my story. The fact that the content of is free to read though we as creators are paid well, makes me grateful to the likes of Ben Peek whose Children trilogy is being published by Tor;  the sales of ‘traditional’ books such as these subsidise the free online content. Tor and a growing number of sophisticated online magazines are showing a confidence unseen since the days of Elsevier’s HMS Beagle: The BioMednet Magazine and the Ellen Datlow-edited Sci Fiction.

But audience size doesn’t interest me as much as a degree of international and socioeconomic accessibility. I’ve always asked for my short fiction to be put online as a free read if at all possible. A sampler (full-story, not some annoying teaser) always helps to sell a publication is how I lobby—but selfishly, I have always written for an international readership and this is the most likely way for my stories and readers to meet. To that end, I have also put online the first chapters of my novels.

3. Twelfth Planet Press will be publishing your next collection. How do you feel about this project? Are there any other projects coming soon?

I am an admirer of this press, which is both ambitious and adventurous. Every small collection in the Twelve Planets project is superb, larger single-author collections such Deborah Biancotti’s A Book of Endings are the equal of any lauded literary press, and I especially like both the thought behind and the execution of the Doubles series, such as Robert Shearman’s Roadkill with its back against Tansy Rayner Roberts Siren Beat.

That my particular collection is a natural fit was proved to me by the fact that Alisa Krasnostein not only didn’t balk at but has embraced the collection’s title: The Finest Ass in the Universe. She’s also great fun to work with.

Of other projects that aren’t still under wraps, coming soonest is “The Old Testacles” in the September issue of  The Cascadia Subduction Zone, the quarterly published by Aqueduct Press. Two more upcomings are a short story in a Postscripts anthology (PS Publishing); and a novelette in Asimov’s.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?
I’ve just read Fearful Symmetries edited by Ellen Datlow, and three Australian works are standouts. I hope to meet the characters in Kaaron Warren’s “Bridge of Sighs” again in a novel or two. I’ve already raved about Garth Nix’s story, the last in the anthology, “Shay Corsham Worsted”, a classic that should be widely anthologised; and Terry Dowling’s “The Four Darks” is every bit as strong and nightmare-inducing as his novel Clowns at Midnight that I also love.

All the stories in Lucy Sussex’s Thief of Lives (Twelfth Planet Press); Thoraiya Dyer’s “Human Strandings and the Role of the Xenobiologist” (Clarkesworld).

“Sweet Subtleties” by Lisa L. Hannet (Clarkesworld Magazine).

I hate the title but love the book: Adam Brown’s Other Stories and Other Stories (Satalyte Press). He is, in addition to being a most versatile storyteller, quite a wonderful visual artist.

An image of mine perches on the cover of Andrew McKiernan’s collection Last Year, When We Were Young (Satalyte Press). I feel that this is a privilege to be associated with this highly sensitive, low-key collection.

Rupetta by Nike Sulway (Tartarus Press) fully deserves all its accolades.

I loved even the galleys of Janeen Webb’s collection, Death at the Blue Elephant. Nick Stathopoulos’ gorgeously fun cover is a typical one for him—a joy to delve into. But that isn’t the only work from Ticonderoga Press that I’m enamored of. TP should be up for a world award. I’m particularly looking forward to their limited-edition Black-Winged Angels by Angela Slatter, with stunning paper-cut artwork by Kathleen Jennings, who is, imo, one of the world’s finest living illustrators.

Two novels that I read recently that I think excellent but that you might not have come across, are: Luck in the Greater West by Damian McDonald (ABC Books), a compelling and gut-true story set in Sydney’s West; and A Tiger in Eden by Chris Flynn (Text Publishing), a novel that is hard to put down, but the telling, in the first-person voice, is the best I’ve read in years. Flynn really lost himself in this character, to our advantage.

For versatility, I just love Simon Brown’s contribution to Coastal Chef: Culinary Art of Seaweed & Algae in the 21st Century, edited by Claudine Tinellis (Harbour Publishing House). The acknowledgments thank him for “your judicious contributions to and edits of the largely lawyerly-like ramblings of our editor. . . You made our words sparkle.” The books reads and looks like a feast.

Of special note: I have greatly enjoyed both the collaboration and independent voices of Lisa L. Hannet and Angela Slatter. Collaborators often don’t get the praise they deserve.

My favourite line by any writer, not only an Australian, is this one just emitted by Ben Peek in his interview by David Barnett on (in answer to Are you a plotter and planner, or more freestyle?) “I’m a rewriter.”

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

The publishing industry is like weather. We both exist in harmony with nature. As for five years from now, I could speculate, but then that would be fiction and I’d rather write spec fic about others.


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