April 13th, 2005


Kaaron Warren, author of The Grinding House.

Kaaron Warren is the award winning author of the collection The Grinding House.

1) You emerged as a strong voice in Australia in 1994 with 'the Blue Stream', your second published story, I believe, and since then you've managed to keep a steady output of short fiction. Now, with your first collection, The Grinding House, weeks away from release, how have you made the selections you have? Is there anything to unite them together, outside yourself?

There is no real editorial thread through the stories. Donna Maree Hanson, my editor, went home with a box of my published stories and read them in a weekend. The list she came up with of her favourite stories matched mine perfectly, so that’s how we went. In usual writerly paranoia, I was sure she was going to call me and say, “I’m sorry, Kaaron, but this is such a box of crap I couldn’t possibly be associated with it.” I’d even fantasised what my response would be to her, “Yes, I understand. Of course you’re right.” Instead she called me in the greatest excitement, saying she couldn’t possibly pick ten stories, she had picked 20 and couldn’t exclude any of them. That was a great moment. There are threads of theme in the stories. Robyn Evans, who did the cover, says she feels a sense of confinement in most of my stories. And by natural selection we ended up with a mix of horror, SF and dark fantasy.

2) The Speculative Fiction genre is known for being a bit of a boys club. What's your experience of it been, from the point of a female writer who spends most of her time with the darker genre side?

Although I’ve been publishing stories for 12 years, I haven’t really been ‘in the scene’, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on it. Certainly I enjoy being a woman writing dark fiction. Personally, I’ve felt very welcome amongst the blokes anytime I’ve seen them.

3) How do you think the scene is going about bringing in a new audience? Have any ideas?

I think finding a new audience amongst adults is a tough call. Most non-scene adults I talk to say things like, “Oh, I used to read SF when I was a teenager.” They seem to think grown ups don’t read speculative fiction. Grown-ups read the fucking Da Vinci Code or something. It’s pretty annoying. I’ve got two friends who’ve decided I need to ‘broaden my audience, get away from that whole Speculative Fiction thing”. I say, but that’s what I write. That’s what I read. I like these people! They think it’s time I moved on. This is a basic problem finding new audiences. It’s the young we’ll be able to indoctrinate. The whole Young Adult novel thing mentioned by Iain Triffit in his interview. Anyone who is writing a young adult novel is doing the work for all of us, in my opinion. Get ‘em while they’re young, get ‘em with a brilliant fucking story that has human pathos and plot and isn’t a pile of crap, and maybe we’ll grow our audience. As Cat Sparks said, most of the readers are also writers. I think that makes sense, in a way. There are not many fans who are fans and nothing else because reading spec fic gives you ideas. It makes you think and trains your brain.

I do creative writing workshops at my son’s primary school, and these kids are incredible. So inspiring. They create new worlds and shout over each other to tell me stories of the place. This is the audience, and the writers of the future (Sorry. Is that a trademark?)

4) You're dead. It Colonel Mustard with the butcher's blade. They served you up all nice and well. Anyhow, off to Heaven you go, and you see God. You say?

I intend my last words to be “Hare Krishna”, just in case. Their heaven is so cool. I wanna be a cow girl and hang out with Krishna. So I’m going to say it just in case. If I see a God who isn’t blue, I’ll say, “Can you make it so that lollies are good for you?”

5) Favourite swear word?

I have to swear a lot on the inside, what with having impressionable kids around and all. My favourite swear word is, “Shit a fucking brick.”
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Lyn Battersby (Triffitt) is an editor at TiconderogaOnline and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine

Lyn Battersby (Triffitt) is part of the editorial committees on TiconderogaOnline and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. Ticonderoga released a new issue earlier the month, and you can go to that right now and read.

1) You're an editor involved with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and TiconderogaOnline, both different venues with different demands. About the only thing that links them is that there is a committee involved in the selection of fiction that appears in the work appearing in each. Some have claimed that committee style editing ensures that only bland fiction is seen in the world, but I figure there must be some shit flung and fought for in those places. Give us a rundown on the committee experience, both pro and con.

In my experience, working within a committee means working with a lot of different people with different sized egos. I'm a very non-confrontational person and prefer to keep the peace, so I tend to take the lemming approach and follow the crowd. I leave the politics to the Chiefs of the Tribe and make do with being a gatherer. Or so I thought until ASIM 11. Once it was became my turn to sign my name to an issue, my stance changed. I read a lot of stories for that issue. A couple of them came through the slush-pool, but on the whole the stories I chose were ones that I solicited through the various groups that Lee belonged to at the time. As I found stories I liked, I had to put them into the pool to see how the other members viewed them. Not all were warmly received. One story I accepted was rejected by the group. I had to write to the author and tell him that I couldn't print his story after all. He was lovely about it and offered another story in its place. I took it and then bought the story for TicOn instead. I received a lot of flak for that issue of ASIM from the other members, yet the public loved it. I had people telling me that it was the best issue the co-op has put out to date and it seems true, after winning Best Professional Production at this year's Swancon. TicOn is a little easier. There's only four of us reading the material and once a 'yes' is entered with either a 'maybe' or another 'yes' it's accepted. While Lee and I don't necessarily share the same tastes in reading, we both have a good eye for what works and what needs work. Lee and I work well together, have respect for each other's opinions and don't let our individual egos get in the way of the product. After all, we're only in this for the love of the genre.

On the whole, I've enjoyed my TicOn experience more than the ASIM one. I love working with Lee. Together with Russell and Liz, we've been able to put out a product that reflects our own personal taste. We like the gonzo stuff and disdain the mundanity of modern fantasy. No fluffy bunnies for us.

2) You're a relatively new name to the production side of the Australian small press scene, but do you have a vision of the kind of work that should be in publication that drives you to hunt and rescue, as an editor must, from the slush pile? And, is there a kind of work that is struggling to find a venue in this scene?

Generally, I look for two things in a story. Good craftsmanship and originality. And therein lies the rub. I know there are many good writers out there who know how to make one sentence follow another coherently until a readable story is formed. I believe I had an issue full of them. Originality, however, is another matter. Australia isn't
keen on pushing the envelope. ASIM could be so influential if it just dared to let the alternative voices speak, but it prefers stories that centres around cute aliens and talking cats. I'm beyond that. I like stories that make you think, that make you question the reality you exist within. (Having said that, Sally Beasley published my story "The
Memory of Breathing" within issue 17, a story that tries to do just that.) Sites like TicOn and Shadowed Realms are trying to put out new authors and new ideas, but there's room for a lot of improvement within the scene.

3) It's been said that the Australian Speculative Fiction is not drawing in enough new readers to see it expand. How would (assuming you agree with it) go about bringing new and younger readers to the work?

I don't agree with it. I am a member of a writing group that meets together once a month, plus I attend workshops and conventions and what I see convinces me that SF readership is expanding. We have two young writers (aged under 20) at our group, plus Swancon has quite a large young fan base that continues to grow. I have 5 children and all are either reading SF (John Marsden, Emily Rodda, Dave Luckett) or having it read to them.

4) You're dead. A cage containing a flying monkey fell on you. The Wizard of Oz has much to answer for. Still, you're dead, and you got to Heaven (assuming you believe, blah blah) and you see God. You say?

At last, an easy one! I spent 14 years of my life as a member of the Jehovah's Witnesses. This meant I believed, with all my heart and soul, that only a few people made it to Heaven (the 144,000) and that the rest of us would die, stay dead for a while and then be resurrected after Armaggeddon to live forever in the new Paradise that would be established upon the earth. If I did make it to Heaven and met God, I believe I would say; "Well, that's 14 years of my life I'm never getting back."

5) Favourite swear word?

Being a Witness has made it very hard for me to learn to swear. Lee has taught me to say the occasional F word, but I really have to psyche myself into it. I guess my favourite is 'bugger'. It suits so many different occasions, and, as an ex-Witness, I can make it sound really filthy.
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Kim Wilkins, author of Giants of the Frost

Kim Wilkins is the award winning author of eleven novels, including The Infernal, winner of both the Horror and Fantasy Aurealis Award. Her latest release is Giants of the Frost.

1) In 1997, your first novel THE INFERNAL won both the horror and fantasy Aurealis award, but many people have considered your adult work more on the dark/fantasy horror side. Most recently, you've had a successful young adult series with Gina Champion, a girl who can read psychic vibrations. There's a dark genre thread in your work, but how much does it concern you when it comes to genre? Or do you just shrug and let people go with what they want?

I think that genre has only a tangential relationship with author intention. So many other factors, like what a reader expects from your previous books, or how various industrial factors position your work, or even what reviewers say, end up categorising your work. So I just follow my aesthetic instincts. And, yes, I've always been interested in what is strange and beautiful and melancholy. I realise this makes me sound like a cliche, but you have to follow the feelings where they take you. I must say, I do wince at the word "horror". It seems such a coarse word.

2) In previous questions here, people have stated that they don't think Speculative Fiction needs more young adult fiction, while others have said it's the way to bring people in, and still others have shown that even if teenagers do read it, it doesn't necessarily mean that will translate into a reader of adult Spec Fic. Obviously, you're writing both, so the question is where you see the place of young adult fiction in such an argument?

I think that a big chunk of readership is interested in SF, and some of that readership is adult while some is young adult (and of course some is children). The young adults would, naturally, prefer to read about characters closer to their own age and experience. That doesn't mean that we should feel a sense of obligation as SF writers to convert young minds to the cause, but they are a viable market and if you like writing about young people (which I do), then go ahead.

One thing that I do want to add, though, is that children and young adults seem to be more comfortable reading SF. I think that there is probably a sizeable percentage of adults who deny themselves fantasy because it seems juvenile. I meet a lot of people like this, who loved Tolkien when they were teenagers, but now won't have anything to do with the genre. Sad, isn't it?

3) What motivates you when deciding to begin a new project?

A feeling, an idea, a relationship between people. Quite simply, I never have an empty head creatively. I'm always thinking about the next book (and sometimes the one after) and I'm always collecting impressions or dilemmas which might fit it. I find the work of developing, researching and planning a book very very pleasurable; the sweet delicious promise of it. It's like foreplay. And there's still nothing as challenging, exhilarating and satisfying as the process of writing for me. So I guess the short answer is that I'm motivated by pleasure.

4) You're dead. They said a glass of wine a day, you said a box of wine an hour. It was going to end badly. Still, God likes a drink, and you go to Heaven and you see him. You say?

Can I have a rest now?

5) Favourite swear word?

It's not so much a favourite swear word, but a favourite combination of adjective and swear word. Sneaky cunt.
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Russell B. Farr, editor at TiconderogaOnline.

Russell B. Farr is part of the editoral committee at TiconderogaOnline. He is also the owner of Ticonderoga Press, and boys and girls, it's coming back.

1) In the late 90s Ticonderoga existed as a publisher who did single author collections. Authors like Sean Williams, Simon Brown and Stephen Dedman had really simply designed but beautiful collections come out. Then, from what I understand, there was a financial set back and the press shut down. You sort of disappeared for a while after that, and now you've come back in the publishing scene with the ezine version of Ticonderoga. Can we, one day, see a return to hardcopy books? What would be required for that to happen--what's needed, these days, to make a viable small press in Australia?

Is that a question or an essay? It's longer than my bio. Molly Meldrum would be proud of a question like that one.

Simply designed? That's one way of looking at it. I used ms publisher 97 on a pentium 100 with 16 meg of RAM, which is pretty simple. But I'll agree that they were beautiful, even now I'm damn proud of each and every one.

There wasn't really a financial setback so much as a two fingers to little johnny and that lees woman over the introduction of GST. At the time no one really knew what was going to happen to the industry, how far down the toilet things would end up, and I took one look at the paperwork and headed for the hills. Ticonderoga was something I did in addition to my day job, so when it looked like the fun was over I shelved it. In 1999 I published 2 collections (Sean Williams and Stephen Dedman) in my own right, launched the Dedman at the WorldCon in Melbourne, and was part of the team that published Antique Futures: the best of Terry Dowling (not bad work for a 26 year old). I got to work with the people I looked up to: the late Peter MacNamara, Jonathan Strahan, Jeremy G. Byrne and Bill Congreve. There's a photo taken of the 5 of us at WorldCon and it's sat in a frame next to my computer since the day Peter Mac died. I figured at the time I'd done more than I'd set out to do and it was time for a new project, so I started up the webzine TiconderogaOnline. I guess a lot of people don't realise that TiconderogaOnline has been in sporadic operation since about April 1999, making it one of the longest running online semi-prozines in Australia.

I don't see it as having disappeared so much as having had to fight to stay relevant. I got into the whole sci-fi shebang because I wanted to write genre, found myself sidetracked into editing, and then tried to reinvent myself as a writer. I found myself back where I'd been in the early 90s, so the way I see it the publishing game has held back my writing career by about 8 years. So maybe in another 5 I'll be the writer I should have been 3 years ago. Or something. But I guess living outside of a major metropolitan area for the last 3 years hasn't helped me stay in the centre of the radar.

As to the last part of the question, I'll deal with that first. What is needed to make a viable small press is a fairy godmother, a magic lantern or a straight up act of god. There is not enough money available to make this work in Australia.

As to getting back to tree-based publishing? You've got me there. You'll see me back in the saddle in 2007. I got cornered at SwanCon this year and have been invited to be a professional guest at the 2007 convention, which would also mark 10 years since I published the Steven Utley collection Ghost Seas. To mark this auspicious occasion I'm putting together an anthology or original fiction of about 100,000 words in length, paying more that I ever paid before, and even looking at a full-colour cover. I'll be opening it up to submissions later in the year. It won't be your run of the mill anthology, as I'm starting work early so I can be actively involved in working with the submissions where necessary.

2) Ticonderoga has proclaimed that it will service the gonzo market of short fiction. Why that angle, and why not keep it general?

Why keep it general? For years I've been attracted to offbeat stories, the kind that only get called sf because people like Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow and Gordon van Gelder buy them. The kind of stories Texans like Neal Barrett Jr, Steven Utley and especially Howard Waldrop like. For the record, Ticonderoga is a Howard Waldrop in-joke suggested by Jonathan Strahan.

The first few years of TiconderogaOnline were pretty general, though I published some great stories. (I robbed Simon Brown of an Aurealis Award by publishing a story of his that didn't get noticed until it was reprinted.) When Lee Battersby and I got talking about resurrecting the 'zine, we looked for ways to ensure that we got good submissions, and as we both love gonzo so much we decided to give that a go.

Are we publishing gonzo? We must be, because we say we publish gonzo so therefore the stories we publish are gonzo. At the end of the day, though, we're just after damn good stories. I've seen a tendency for webzines to get sent stories from the bottom of the pile, and we don't want them. If we're going to shell out 25 bucks for a story it had better be a good one. So gonzo is out filter.

I don't think there's a lot of what I'd call true gonzo being written by Australians. I think a lot of them don't quite get it. But I'd love to see more.

3) What's your opinion of the quality of the local scene? What do you think it needs?

I think that there are some positives to be taken out of the strength of the local scene, but I'm not entirely sure that it is developing and growing to its full potential. If anything, I think that the quality-rich days of the 1990s are over, and that every year Australian SF gets closer to achieving Sturgeon's Law. We've got a good bunch of writers out there, but I think that there's a definite danger they won't get much better than they already are.

For several years I've been singing the tune that the local scene needs some good editors prepared to spend time working with authors. If you look at a lot of the best writers around who got their start in the 1990s, like Sean Williams, Martin Livings, Geoffrey Maloney, Chris Lawson (Simon Brown to a degree despite his apprenticeship in the 1980s) you can link them to Eidolon and the work that Jeremy G. Byrne did. Eidolon weren't afraid to work with authors to strengthen their stories, and as a result not only published a lot of the best stuff around they also helped make some good writers better. Since Eidolon there has been a bit of a hole. At best a writer is likely to get a 2 line rejection (and I know I'm guilty of this too) that won't really do much for their development. And pardon me if I don't get up on the Clarion bandwagon in my underwear but I don't think that workshop, for all the good that it does, is the complete solution.

What the local scene needs is good editors who know their craft, and who are prepared to devote time to offering constructive feedback to writers, and who are prepared to work on "almost there" stories to make them "really there" stories.

What the genre doesn't need are editors prepared to published second-rate stories. I see too many cases of Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V "editing", which is really just compiling at the end of the day.

The genre also needs some editors who have good design skills. I open too many publications nowadays and groan at the poor choice of font, and layout going from ordinary to ugly. It doesn't have to be that bad. For homework give me a sentence on each of the following: gutters; widows; orphans; margins; and kerning. Then flick through an issue of Eidolon. Next week we explain hyphens and dashes.

4) You're dead. Well, actually, you weren't dead when they buried you, but you were soon enough. Still, you go to Heaven (assuming you believe) and you see God. You say?

I see I was wrong about you. Maybe I was wrong about the strength of the local scene too. Got any whisky? Nice view you got here.

5) Favourite swear word?

Fuck. I'm an angry young man who wears black and says fuck a lot from way back.
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Paul Haines, author of Doorways for the Dispossessed.

Paul Haines' first collection Doorways For The Dispossessed is scheduled for release in early 2006. His story "Doof Doof Doof" is currently in Dark Animus #7 and "The Light In Autumn's Leaves" is in will be appearing in Borderlands #5. Over at NFG they love him and have published his work in 1, 2, 4, & 5. He also appeared twice in Agog! Smashing Stories, with one story by himself, and one story co-authored with Claire McKenna. He's just won an Aurealis Award. He's up for a Ditmar.

Paul Haines will eat your God.

1) You're a new writer on the scene, having emerged strongly in the last five years with an impressive string of publications, and have recently had your first collection purchased by prime, with a release for 2006. What, if anything, do you think ties your work together? What motivates you to sit down and write?

I haven't consciously tried to tie my writing together -- I like to write all aspects of SF and like to try different styles and sub-genres within SF. I just happen to be more successful with my nasty dark stuff. Geoff Maloney helped open my eyes to exactly what I was writing, when he helped me put my collection together earlier this year. Looking retrospectively, there is an undercurrent of the darker emotions and thoughts most people want to keep hidden from the world flowing quite happily throughout my work. (Thanks, Geoff!) I can't help it. I can't stop it. I try to write nice stories, but they just come out all tainted and Haines-like. You'll find a lot of bad language, explicit sex, drug use, violence and nasty people in my stories. Not really SF at all, come to think about it, sounds more like where I live.

Most times it's things that piss me off that make me sit down and write. My "Slice of Life" stories, about a gourmet cannibal who hangs out with an invisible alien scouting for an impending colonisation of Earth, have been a great way to vent some of this. Travel and having my brain smacked by other cultural experiences makes me want to write. And sometimes it's guilt that motivates me to sit down and write. I want to be a writer so why the fuck aren't I sitting down and writing!! Oh, and boredom in my real job as an IT consultant.

2) There's actually a nasty strand of humour running through a part of your work. Is that something you cultivated, or rather just a natural thing?

Cultivated or Natural? My mother says (proudly or dismissively, I'm not yet sure), "Paul has always had a weird sense of humour". I like British black humour. Most American humour leaves me cold. Hate sitcoms. Hate romantic comedies (most are formulaic contrived American shit, and then we have the Richard Curtis formulaic crap -- and I used to love that guy!). I look for humour in dark places. In sick places. In the wrong places. What I watch, what I read, what I prefer must in some way cultivate what I do, but then that's what I like, so that's natural, isn't it?

My stories are generally dark so I like to put humour into them to give it a little light. Humour is such a subjective thing though, that when I think I'm being funny I'm being offensive, and when I think I'm being extremely dark and nasty, I'm being funny. It's too hard to tell most of the time, so I just open myself up and let whatever surfaces hit the page.

3) Your honest opinion of the quality of the local scene, it's positives and negatives.

I think the short story scene is great. Internationally, the Agog series has Hartwell and Datlow as readers, and ASIM is always getting good visibility in Locus. And with Aurealis, Orb, Dark Animus, Borderlands still printing, and a host of on-line zines available, we as Aussie writers have a lot of choice within Australia to sell stories. The downside of selling in Australia though is we don't have a wide readership or distribution, and you want your stuff to be read by as many people as possible. And bookstores don't stock them. Which makes it pretty hard to convert people to what's out there if they never get to buy it.

Of course, if you sell your stories overseas, then you run the risk of not being noticed in Australia, a good example being the Ditmars, which being fan-based, is almost exclusively locally published work. And there's no money in local sales (although Aurealis pay okay).

On the novel side of things, I'm sad to see all the bookshelf space used for fantasy trilogies. But of course that's because no one wants to buy sci-fi or horror written by local authors. There's no market for it. It's not up to scratch. What a load of fucking bullshit. (Am I committing commercial suicide here?) The BIG publishing houses should be taking chances. Richard Harland's Aurealis win for a horror novel with an independant press should be in the chain bookstores. Why does Sean McMullen have to sell his SF to America? There are exceptions to this of course, but not many.

4) You're dead. There was that nasty business with John Paul II's body being found in your living room, and you know how the Vatican is with this kind of stuf... Anyhow, You go to Heaven (assuming there is, blah blah) and God is there, waiting. What do you say?

He was a bit tight for a pope, wasn't he? Hey, can I have a look at the size of your cock?

5) Favourite swear word?

'Cunt'. It still manages to offend some people. And editors look twice at publishing a story with that word in it. Also, in Aussie and NZ colloquialisms, a cunt can be a compliment. He's a real good cunt, for example. Dunno if this is the same in other Western cultures.

I also enjoy the way old fellas in their 70s and 80s can put so much vehemence into the word 'bastard'. That word suits the Aussie accent. I'm a Kiwi, so I know.
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Stephen Dedman, author of Never Seen by Waking Eyes and Other Stories.

Stephen Dedman's new collection of fiction is called Never Seen by Waking Eyes. That's the cover and this is an updated post. Did you notice? He has also written the novels Art of Arrow Cutting, Shadows Bite, and Foreign Bodies.

1) How do you go about assembling a collection of short fiction when your publication record begins in 1977, has been impressively prolific in the last fifteen years, and has also yeilded a previous collection, a book of non-fiction, and three novels. Are there stories you simply won't allow to be reprinted, themes you want to develope, and how much does where they appeared originally motivate your choice?

One thing that's made the job easier is that two publishers have expressed an interest in bringing out collections of my work - one just of horror, the other just of sf. NEVER SEEN BY WAKING EYES, AND OTHER STORIES is the horror collection; when I've finished work on that, I'll get to work on the sf collection. So I went through my bibliography, sorted the stories into categories, and picked those horror stories that I wanted to see reprinted for NEVER SEEN. I ended up about 20,000 words over the length that the publisher wanted, so I excluded four stories, and kept 22.

I included a few from THE LADY OF SITUATIONS (and will include a few others in the SF collection), because it's out of print and the stories aren't readily available elsewhere. AFAIK, the only story in the collection that is still in print is 'Never Seen by Waking Eyes' (in Year's Best Fantasy and Horror), but I think that's my best horror story and it had to go in.

There are some stories of mine that I'm not particularly interested in having reprinted, though I might allow it if someone was sufficiently interested. And there are others - mostly sf stories - that I'd rather weren't reprinted, either because they haven't aged well, or because I've incorporated that material into my sf novels. I'm not consciously trying to develop any particular themes, and I don't think I was enormously influenced by where the stories had first appeared, though I tried to include several stories that had previously only been published in Australia and are unfamiliar to US readers (the book is being simultaneously released in the US, UK and Australia).

2) Tracking your publication records, what interests me is the self published Dirty Little Unicorn in 1987. It appears to exist right before you emerge with an impressive display of publications. How important was that to your development and psyche at the time?

I'd sold two stories to aphelion before writing Dirty Little Unicorn, but aphelion folded in (IIRC) 1986, and no Australian short sf magazine came along to replace it until the end of '89. I'd become hooked on writing and being published, so we decided to self-publish Dirty Little Unicorn. This proved a rather expensive whim (it took many years to sell the entire print run), but it did score me my first Ditmar nomination, possibly because there was so little Australian sf being published at the time.

The book was enormously important to my psyche, I suspect, though maybe not to my development. I've never written anything else quite like it, though Keira (the illustrator) and I did discuss doing another book once upon a time. Instead, I finally started selling to the US small presses just as the Australian sf small presses revived.

3) Given your time around the Australian scene, you must have seen a lot of turn over in writers and publishers and artists and fans. What's kept you here as a writer who still publishes in Australia, but also takes an active role in the production of magazine, Borderlands?

Mainly the fact that my wife has joint custody of sons from an earlier marriage, and couldn't have come with me if I'd left. The youngest is nearly seventeen, so when he leaves home, we'll be able to move, and we might... or might not. I rather like Perth; I like the climate better than any other I've tried living in, I like the size of the city, I like the air and the food, I have a lot of friends here, and I can afford to live here on my income as a writer. And thanks largely to e-mail, I'm not out of the loop when it comes to publishing, the way we were last millennium.

I still sell as much fiction to the US pro-zines as I can, but I'd rather sell to the Australian semi-pros and small presses than to the US semi-pros (or to Interzone). For one thing, I get more feedback from the local sf community. For another, bank fees take a huge bite out of small foreign cheques. And I edit 'Borderlands' largely because I still remember those three years when there were no Australian sf markets, and I don't want that to ever happen again.

4) You're dead. That last hostel didn't clean as much as they promised, and you got the rare disease with all the bleeding. They called you the plague carrier, before the end. Still, dead is dead. You go to Heaven, you see God. You say?

Nothing, at first. If He's omniscient, as His press agent claims, then He already knows what I'm thinking anyway - which is that I hope they treat illegal immigrants a damn sight better here than they do in Australia. But there's there's probably been some sort of bureaucratic cock-up and I'm better off not drawing attention to it, or I'll be thrown out.

If God is sufficiently merciful that She does let a heretic like me stay in Heaven, then I'll eventually get around to asking the way to the library. And the SFWA meeting. There's going to be a lot of books I want to read, a lot of writers I didn't get a chance to meet...

5) Favourite swear word?

Fuck. Wonderfully versatile; it can be positive or negative, verb or noun and easily turned into an adjective, and forms a part of so many useful compound words.
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