The Australian Speculative Fiction Snapshot has taken place three times over the past eight 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 Continuum 8 in Melbourne, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2012 conducted by Alisa Krasnostein, Kathryn Linge, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Ian Mond, Jason Nahrung, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright. To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from June 1 to June 7, 2012.
As we celebrate the breadth and depth of the Australian spec fic scene, 2012 Snapshot is also a bittersweet time and we take the opportunity to remember two well-loved members of the community who sadly passed away in the past year: Paul Haines and Sara Douglass.
Let the stories begin…
In which we honour the memory of Paul Haines by giving ourselves nightmares, and catch up (mostly) on several months of feedback about how Galactic Suburbia is singlehandedly keeping the bookselling business alive. You can get us from iTunes or download us from Galactic Suburbia.
If anyone does a round up of memorial posts about Paul, please let us know & we’ll add the link. In the mean time, check out this post about his complete bibliography and how to get hold of his work.
Ladybusiness on coverage of women on SF/F blogs
New Galactic Chat: Claire Corbett
What Culture Have we Consumed?
Alisa: Wives, Paul Haines; The Warrior’s Apprentice, Lois Mcmaster Bujold; Power and Majesty, Tansy Rayner Roberts), Locus Round Table featuring Nalo Hopkinson and Karen Lord
Alex: Solaris Rising (ed Ian Whates); Reign of Beasts (Tansy Rayner Roberts); Pure (Julianna Bagott)
Tansy: Madigan Mine, Kirstyn McDermott, The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M Harris
Please send feedback to us at email@example.com, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!
What better anthology to read at a largely testosterone-fuelled event like a 24 hour bike race than one intending to discuss masculinity? And so it was that I read c0ck, edited by Keith Stevenson and Andrew Macrae.
ETA: I have been reminded that the best way to pronounce the title is with a Scottish accent – “cawwwk” – and then it doesn’t sound nearly so rude.
I got into the Australian sf scene just after this anthology came out in 2006, and despite hearing good things about it and seeing it for sale at numerous cos, I only got around to buying it at WorldCon this year. I feel that I am now a bona fide member of the scene. I read it in a day – it’s only 130-odd pages long, and I’d already read the longest piece in it earlier in the week. Lying in my sleeping bag, my brain started analysing my reactions, and I couldn’t go to sleep until I wrote this:
Taken individually, many of these stories are just sf/f/horrow; quite good, mostly, but not necessarily exceptional in the issues of ideologies they present. However, being collected in this anthology – with such a provocative title – means they create something of a gestalt: they become a sum greater than their parts, forcing the reader to acknowledge and consider the particular modes and methods of characterisation utilised (if, that is, you follow the type of reading suggested by the editors). As a collection, these stories interrogate ways of being male (and, conversely, female) that are possible, acceptable, or viable. The very idea of what it means to be a man is questioned and investigated. In 137 pages, these authors use sf in particular in ways that to me are exactly what the genre should be about: they tell engaging, sometimes creepy, stories, all with quite different characters, and they suggest ways of thinking about ourselves and society that might, hopefully, lead to change in those ways of thinking.
Yes, I get a bit pompous late at night. Anyway, I primarily bought the anthology because of Paul Haines’ Ditmar-winning “The Devil in Mr Pussy (or How I Found God inside my Wife),” which was exactly as creepy and shudder-inducing and brilliantly written as I have come to expect from the man. One of the things I really like about Haines is he in some ways so domestic a writer – most of the stuff I’ve read is set in suburbia, with normal people as the characters – that it is intensely believable and, therefore, intensely horrific. In this case, a couple move into a new house and are trying to have a baby. He’s also trying to write, and ends up taking the cat’s antidepressants. Weird, weird things happen. This was a well-deserved Ditmar win.
I liked most of the other stories in the anthology. Cat Sparks’ “The Jarrah Run” was another favourite, set on an alien world, and kinda interrogating the idea of the knight errant, and “Honeymoon” by Adam Browne and John Dixon was also excellent, with a clever take on suitors fighting for the hand of the maiden. All up, I think the collection basically succeeds in its aims. If nothing else, I was forced to ask of each story what it was saying about masculinity, whether that was realistic or stereotypical, whether I subscribed to that idea or not, and the implications of all of those. There’s violence, and control issues, and sex (lots of sex), helplessness, frustration, and a variety of relationships with women and other men. I’m pleased to have finally read it; I think it’s a really interesting part of the Aussie spec fic scene of the last few years.