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A Bit of Retro

A few years back, I did a series of interviews that ended up being called The 2005 Snapshot: Australian Speculative Fiction. Some of you might remember it, some of you not. It was the week I interviewed forty three people.

It was a little hectic, that week.

Last night, I was talking to a friend about all things local, and I made reference to the interviews, since in them, a lot of the authors and editors are critical of the local scene (or they admit to not reading it), and it always makes me laugh the same people turn round and tell me what an asshole I am for saying that I didn't like something. Oh, opinions change, and all of that, but it's fun to remember the tone that some people took two years ago. A few people are even positive, and a couple even dodge the question entirely so as to carefully say nothing at all. It's the usual kind of thing for interviews. Anyhow, this morning, I decided to have a flip through them, and what is of interest now, mostly, is to go back and look through the list of people that I interviewed.

When I did the interviews, Ben Payne and Robert Hoge were just set to begin editing Aurealis, of which they'd get one issue out. Nigel Read never released Superliminal. I'm not sure what Chuck McKenzie or Brendan Duffy are doing now, but they're not nearly as prolific as they once were. I heard Duffy had a novel on the go, since he'd gotten a grant. Based on her blog, it looks like KJ Bishop has had a few fits and starts at new novels, but nothing has made it to the end. There's more authors there that have either dropped in profile or just disappeared. Jonathan Strahan has pushed his editing into a more solo show with original anthologies from Nightshade. Robert Hood and Robin Pen are doing a second (and third) Daikaiju! The Prime collections by Trent Jamieson, Lee Battersby, and Paul Haines came and went without much notice. Kaaron Warren's Grinding House, however, seemed to do well. Shadowed Realms closed down. Margo Lanagan won two World Fantasy Awards and released Red Spikes and everyone in the world loves her (and her part of the Shimmaron series is set to be released soon). Sarah Endacott has done another issue of Orb, and it seemed to be drawn from Endacott's friends, making it a niche project within a niche community (or not, see comments). And Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt are up to their third volume of the Year's Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy.

It's an interesting retro moment, at any rate.

If you did one of these now, you could pull a whole different view of the Australian scene, though a few people would repeat, of course; but in two years there has been the rise of ASif, the move of Brimestone Press into books, a bit of a rise in local horror, the start--or the bit before the start--of Grant Watson's press, an indie horror group in Tasmania, award fights, Coeur de Lion, and the rise of new writers such as Rjurik Davidson and Steph Campisi and Kim Westwood and others. Anyhow: part of me was tempted to do another snapshot this morning, just for the laugh, but the truth is, I've gone beyond a point where I could pull off something like this off with the local scene, and if I was to put in the effort, I'd be more interested in just grabbing authors and editors and publishers from around the world, and seeing what they said. That, however, kind of defeats the purpose of the whole thing, which was to just give a burst of content to the local scene about what they were producing, and a quick, rough and almost real snapshot of what was happening here, ego, books, and all of that.

Update: girliejones and ASif are going to new a snapshot. If you want to sign up for it this year, follow the link.

Comments

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catsparx
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
Hey, whattabout me? I did another Agog too! me me me... pay attention to me!!!
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
oh. yes. that's right. you were gone :P
bluetyson
Aug. 10th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
Pommie loving hairy people eater production.

:)


Do guys like that count?
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
oh, one collection. like that's something to be proud of ;)
catsparx
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
man, you are so hard to impress... I'm gonna have to try more stunts. These days books is all about the stunts...
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:06 am (UTC)
tell me about it.
angriest
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:49 am (UTC)
I'd love to see a fresh set of interviews, actually.
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:00 am (UTC)
nothing stopping you from doing it, or anyone else.
angriest
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
True.
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:15 am (UTC)
or you could join alisa and kathryn, who appear to be aiming to do it now...
girliejones
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC)
I'm happy to do it - I'm sure some ASif-ers would help do it.
speshal_k
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
I was thinking that a new set of interviews would be good too. I'd help out on an Asif! venture.
girliejones
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
Yeah .. with a few of us we could do the snapshot over a week without too much extra hassle.
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
get watson to do it with you. he's up there, wanting to do it. you can see it. he's thinking, 'let me interview forty three people. let me.'
speshal_k
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
I'd even coordinate if you wanted
girliejones
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
email me!
ashamel
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)
I'm not sure about his writing, but Chuck McKenzie is doing a great job selling books at the moment (at an A&R shop, strangely enough). He has also just judged the AHWA story competition, for the record.

Aren't you glad you kept all this of posterity?
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC)
why yes, thank you.

also, i should mention that you have done a fine job hosting the 2005 snapshot.
ashamel
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
I can't say it's been a great burden. I'd like to host the new one too, but I suspect girliejones will get dibs.
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
yeah, i suspect so. i tried to convince her to host at you, though, so who knows?
catsparx
Aug. 10th, 2007 04:54 am (UTC)
Also, I think your dig at Orb's editor Sarah Endacott for publishing her friends is unfair. Most of the folks in my last Agog are my friends -- and that sure ain't how they came to be included in the book. Its pretty hard not to end up publishing your friends in a pond this size.
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 04:58 am (UTC)
yeah, that's true. however, from what i understand, you had an open peroid of submission, all that. whereas, from what it looks like, endacott decided to do another orb, asked her mates for fiction, and put one out. it's not a bad thing, but it does make it an even more niche project within a niche project set--which was my original point. i wasn't actually taking a dig. from all that is said, the issue is quite nice and good.
catsparx
Aug. 10th, 2007 05:05 am (UTC)
Nah, she'd been sitting on some of those stories for a long time. The issue was delayed because she busted up her foot & was out of action for awhile.
benpeek
Aug. 10th, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
well, fair enough then.
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