Just a quick service notice. Some of you may recall that I mentioned working on this site (and my general web presence) in the New Year. Well, that’s slowly happening. The first step, registering my own domain name, is done. You can now find a version of this blog at www.jonathanstrahan.com.au I’m going to try to keep two copies of it going for a few weeks, until I decide how to change/rebuild the whole thing.
I know I mentioned this earlier, but Russell Farr’s ticonderoga publications is ramping up its publishing programme after a lengthy hiatus. Back in the mid-90s Russell published some fine books by Sean Williams, Simon Brown, Stephen Dedman, Steven Utley and others, but ceased publication following the 1999 WorldCon in Melbourne.
Just over the past couple months, Russell has announced plans to publish two anthologies, The Worker’s Paradise and Fantastic Wonder Stories, and a short story collection. The collection, Simon Brown’s Troy, is one of the projects that somehow got lost towards the ends of the ’90s. Several publishers, including ticonderoga, discussed publishing the book*, but it never happened. Now, happily, Russell has announced that it will come out in April (I assume to be launched at Conjure).
Troy will collect twelve stories, several original to the collection, all of which retell stories from the Iliad. I read a number of the stories when they were first publised, and have long thought they were amongst Simon’s best work. Given that he’s improved as a writer since then, I’m particularly looking forward to the new stories in the book. It’s a book to keep your eye out for, come April. And, hopefully, Russell will offer up some pre-order information soon so you can get your names down for a copy.
* This post has been amended to correct an error. Three different small presses discussed publishing Troy, but only one made a commitment to do so. Ticonderoga was not that press.
Kate and the gang at Conjure have just posted the draft list of panel topics for the convention. As Kate says they’re looking for feedback, and “For anyone else interested in putting their hands up to be on panels, now is the time to tell us and, you know, join the convention.” All of which I can only second.
Running my eye down their list, it seems that CHARLES and I will be doing the dreaded ‘best of the year’ panel, cunningly disguised as What’s hot in speculative fiction? (did they think I wouldn’t notice?). I hate list panels, where panelists just sit there and run down a long list of things you need to know/read/buy. I guess we’ll have to do some preparation for this one, so we actually have something intelligent to say. You up for it, CHARLES? :)
One topic I’m interested in discussing — assuming the organisers like it, I can find the right panellists and can work out what I think on the subject — is how we oversimplify the history of science fiction and fantasy in Australia. The published histories of Australian SF that I have seen seem to assume a causal chain from World War II shortages all the way to HarperCollins launching Voyager, and from Bert Chandler all the way to Sara Douglass. The problem is, it can’t have worked that way. Very few of the people who write science fiction or fantasy in Australia seem to have read any science fiction or fantasy written by other Australians prior to starting to write, and so are unlikley to have been influenced by Australian science fiction and fantasy. And it’s also difficult to see a causal relationship between, say Lee Harding and Damien Broderick, and Sara Douglass and Trudi Canavan. And surely, the attempt by Pan to launch a fantasy line and the success of Voyager in launching an SF/F line, had nothing to do with anything being done in Australia. It was a reflection of the success of the sale of imported fiction in this country. On the other hand, while Miracle Ingredient A is a load of rubbish, surely living in Australia must have some impact on writers and what they write. See? All of this stuff could make an interesting panel.
The only reprint in The Starry Rift, the young adult SF anthology that I’ve been working on forever but is nearly done, is Cory Doctorow’s terrific “Anda’s Game”. I love the story, and it fits the book perfectly. Over at his website, Cory is offering a wonderful podcast of the story as a free download. I’ve only really started checking out podcasts, and this is a really good one.
NB: This post has been edited to clarify that “Anda’s Game” is the only story in The Starry Rift that was previously published.