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The 2005 Snapshot

Australian Speculative Fiction
writers, editors, publishers.

The forty three interviews below were conducted over a one week period in April. There is just over forty thousand words all up.

There was no grand plan with these interviews. Indeed, there was no plan. It began as a bit of fun, the idea coming from a five question interview meme that went round livejournal much like those annoying forwards you get from friends (to explain it to those of you who don't have a blog). The meme was simple: a person asked you to interview him/her, and you provided five questions that needed to be answered. Initially, I was looking to kill a bit of time, and so I did a few. The answers I got were casual, laid back, and honest, and I found myself enjoying the experience of digging out some questions to toss at people and see what they returned with. In addition to this, I got to indulge in one of my favourite past times, which was telling people how they would die and then finding out what they would say to God. A twist on that Actor's Studio question that was, by any rate, thought up by a French guy. After I'd done about five or so writers and editors I knew, I thought, You know what would be cool? If you could drag the entire Australian Speculative Fiction scene out here and interview them.

That is, literally, how it began. I did the meme on Saturday afternoon, and by the night I had emailed a couple of writers and gotten to them to agree to take part, and then, on Sunday threw the doors of my blog open and told everyone that if they had something to pimp, that they should bring it down. I honestly didn't expect to have more than a dozen people agree to it, and I suspect that this would've been the case if Sean Williams, Cat Sparks, and Jonathan Strahan hadn't jumped on the idea from the start. Each one of them carries a level of credibility and respect that, when other people in the same scene hear they are taking place, realise that maybe the idea isn't ridiculous, and they should take part too. Without any of them, I don't think it would have worked. But with their presence, I had more than enough people to make my eyes bleed by Tuesday. Indeed, I ended up going over by a day.

In the interviews below, you will find a nice mix of people in the Australian Speculative Fiction scene. High profile editors, popular fantasy authors, new authors starting with short fiction, publishers of the small press, authors with short story collections, editors at ezines, small press novelists... whatever your taste, there's something for you in the mix. Of course, with that said, it is a list of people operating in 2005 and it is, by no means, comprehensive. If another one of these was done in 2006, it would have different writers, different editors, different magazines, and different tastes. (If I did it again next week, I would have different people all together, I suspect.)

That said, why should you read these interviews now? Well, to my mind, there are two reasons. The first is that it gives you a good idea of what is being produced in 2005, and if one of these books catches your fancy, you can go out and find it. The second, however, will be in the years to come, assuming, of course, that the Great Apocalypse doesn't come and destroy the internet for housing porn and illegal music. In a couple of years you (and if a couple of years has past, you can now) look at the people here and see what happened to them. Did Matthew Chrulew disappear in a haze of drugs and police enquiry like so many thought he would? Are the interviews of Ben Payne and Robert Hoge the early indication of the shootout they had in the wilds of Queensland just after one issue of Aurealis? Did K.J. Bishop get offered a shitload of money to write a clone of The Etched City, and now lives in a beautiful house in Venice, denying all knowledge of our existence?

The important questions can only be answered with time, I guess.

What you will find below are interviews that are, at various turns, honest, arrogant, dismissive, funny, and full of foul language. You'll like some, you'll dislike others, but not one of them is alike. There's even the sense that in each of them, the interview mask has slipped, and you're getting a glimpse of each author as a casual individual, telling you about their work, about the difficulties, the pleasures, and why they do it.

From my point of view, that's what made the experience of interviewing forty three people in a week worth while.

Ben Peek
The Urban Sprawl Project

Chris Barnes

Author of short fiction.

Stuart Barrow

Editor of the Gastronomicon.

Lee Battersby

Author of The Divergence Tree.

Lyn Battersby (Triffitt)

Editor at TiconderogaOnline and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

Deborah Biancotti

Author of short fiction.

K.J. Bishop

Author of The Etched City.

David Carroll

Author of short fiction.

Jay Caselberg

Author of Metal Sky.

Matthew Nikolai Chrulew

Author of short fiction.

Bill Congreve

Co-editor of The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Shane Jiraiya Cummings

Writer and co-editor of Shadowed Realms.

Stephen Dedman

Author of Never Seen by Waking Eyes and Other Stories.

Brendan Duffy

Author of short fiction.

Sarah Endacott

Editor and publisher of Orb Speculative Fiction.

Russell B. Farr

Editor at TiconderogaOnline.

Paul Haines

Author of Doorways for the Dispossessed.

Robert Hoge

Co-editor of Aurealis.

Robert Hood

Co-editor of Daikaiju!.

Trent Jamieson

Author of Reserved for Travelling Shows.

Martin Livings

Author of short fiction.

Margo Lanagan

Author of Black Juice.

Geoffrey Maloney

Author of Tales from the Crypto-System.

Robbie Matthews

Editor in Chief/Publisher of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

Maxine McArthur

Author of Less Than Human.

Fiona McIntosh

Author of Odalisque.

Chuck McKenzie

Author of short fiction.

Chris McMahon

Author of short fiction.

Karen Miller

Author of The Innocent Mage.

Ben Payne

Co-editor of Aurealis.

Robin Pen

Co-editor of Daikaiju!.

Nigel Read

Editor of Superluminal 1.

Colin Sharpe

Publisher of Xuan Xuan.

Cat Sparks

Publisher of Agog! Press.

Robert N. Stephenson

Publisher of Altair Books.

Jonathan Strahan

Co-editor of The Locus Awards.

Anna Tambour

Author of Spotted Lily.

Iain Triffitt

Author of short fiction.

Sean Wallace

Publisher of Prime Books.

Kyla Ward

Author of short fiction.

Kaaron Warren

Author of The Grinding House.

Grant Watson

Editorial committee member at Borderlands.

Kim Wilkins

Author of Giants of the Frost.

Sean Williams

Author of The Blood Debt, Resurrected Man, and Geodesica: Ascent with Shane Dix.