Snapshot 2016: Charlotte Nash

Portrait of Author Charlotte Nash

Portrait of Author Charlotte Nash

Charlotte Nash is an Australian writer with degrees in engineering and medicine. Her short stories have been nominated for the Aurealis and Ditmar awards, and have been published in Every Day Fiction, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Dimension6, Dreaming of Djinn, Use Only as Directed, and Phantazein. In addition, she is a best-selling author of rural medical romance novels, most recently The Horseman. She confesses a special love for motorbikes, heavy machinery and mock cream donuts, and isn’t sure which is more dangerous.

The Horseman is the latest of your contemporary rural romance novels, and you just had a big release month! Tell us about your book, and why it’s striking such a chord with readers around Australia.

Peta Woodward, a Melbourne emergency doctor is injured on a cathartic solo trek through the High Country, and is most reluctantly rescued by a local horseman, Craig Munroe. While Peta heals, she becomes involved in his small hometown, which is in the grip of a crime spree, and the dramas surrounding the return of Craig’s nemesis who wants to be the next parliamentary member for the area. The story follows Peta and Craig’s romance, unlikely friendships, the catching of the theives and a new era for the town.

Without speaking directly for readers, the feedback I have had is that readers connect with the High Country setting, the themes of natural horsemanship and the life-and-death drama through the story. For me, the story comes from a place deeply connected to my horse-filled childhood, where the horses meant more to me than people. Perhaps that shows somehow! I also think that the High Country itself resonates with many readers because narratives like The Man From Snowy River and The Silver Brumby are so in the public conscience.

Meanwhile, your SF interests are currently directed into a creative writing PhD. Given your interest in a variety of genres, what was it about SF that made you choose it for this project, and what’s exciting you right now about your PhD-in-progress?

SF is my native genre. I had a particular project in mind for the PhD (a time-travel story with alternate history, Edison vs Tesla, and a die-hard style building lock-down). I also wanted to study craft techniques in some of my favourite sci-fi thrillers for the exegetical component, so the choice was easy. SF gives you the ultimate flexibility to play with the real world, to blend it and reshape it, and make metaphors and references and be unapologetic. Right now I’m most excited by being able to write action taking place in an altered Victorian setting, and pulling apart works by Michael Crichton, Neal Stephenson and Andy Weir as to how they handle their technical world-building. It’s really challenging, but I’m determined to come out the other side a better writer and with a good story.

Continue reading →

Snapshot 2016: Ben Peek

authorphotoBen Peek is the Sydney based author of Leviathan’s Blood, The Godless, Black Sheep, Above/Below, Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, and the collection, Dead Americans and Other Stories. You can find him on twitter at and at

Since the last Snapshot, you have had two novels of a fantasy trilogy released from Tor – The Godless and Leviathan’s Blood. How has the experience been of working with a major UK publisher as an Australian author, as compared to with your previous novels?

All my books but Above/Below have been done in a different time zone – the UK, US, and Canada – so I’ve kept that strange sense of everything happening while I am asleep, and the first hours of the morning being for responding to email. But after that, everything has been a bit different.

Primarily, it’s the size of it. Pan Macmillan have all these people who do promotion, edits, line edits, covers, marketing, and so on and so forth, and there’s a very real sense of a book being taken away from you to be worked on by those people. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I should add. Saying that a book is being ‘taken’ away sounds bad, but honestly, line editing, marketing, and all of that can be taken by whoever wants that particular pain. But my other books were independent presses, and you’re often working with the same person through all of those parts, and there’s a sense of it always being with you, from beginning to end. In some ways, you feel as if you have a little more control, but it’s mostly an illusion created by being targeted at a smaller audience, I think. Yet, at the same time, there is a very real sense of a book being out of your control with a larger publisher, that you have little say over who sees it, hears about it, reviews it, and so forth. In some ways, it’s good, in some bad.

Being Australian hasn’t really meant anything, I am afraid. It’s biggest detraction, as always, is simply distance.

Continue reading →

Snapshot 2016: Rivqa Rafael

2016-07-19 21.35.24-14Rivqa Rafael is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She started writing speculative fiction well before earning degrees in science and writing, although they have probably helped. Her previous gig as subeditor and reviews editor for Cosmos magazine likewise fueled her imagination. Her short stories have appeared in Hear Me Roar (Ticonderoga Publications), The Never Never Land (CSFG Publishing), and Defying Doomsday (Twelfth Planet Press). When she’s not working, she’s most likely child-wrangling, playing video games, or practising her Brazilian Jiujitsu moves. She can be found at and on Twitter as @enoughsnark.

This has been a great year for you professionally, with your first pro short story sale. Tell me about your story for Defying Doomsday – “Two Somebodies Go Hunting”.

I was honoured and humbled to be included in Defying Doomsday, which is themed around one of the most important trope inversions I can think of. The “Two Somebodies” are Lex, whose chronic pain is due to a childhood injury, and Jeff, who’s autistic; they head out into the desert in a post-pandemic world to find meat for their family.

Thematically, I wanted to examine the differing needs of people with chronic illness and pain in the broader context of disability activism. Although this was something I’d had in the back of my mind, it was well articulated on Tumblr with a commentary on X-Men, which unpacked Rogue and Storm’s conflicting perspectives on curing superpowers, and the idea for the story grew from there.

From a craft perspective, I wanted to write a relatively small story – in the sense that there are really only the two characters on stage and the plot is a classic archetype. Nothing flashy, no cheap tricks, just two siblings who need to work together, and work to understand each other. It was very gratifying to have editors Holly and Tsana, as they really got what I was trying to do… so hopefully it succeeded!

Continue reading →

Snapshot 2016: Grant Watson

Grant Watson is an Australian award winning playwright and critic. In 2010, he received the Perth Theatre Trust Guild Equity Award for Best New Play for his political drama Cry Havoc. He is a two-time recipient of the William Atheling Jr Award for science fiction criticism and review, including one for his ongoing column “The Bad Film Diaries” in Australian science fiction journal Borderlands. He blogs about media and science fiction films at The Angriest & FictionMachine.


1. You have a book coming out soon from Twelfth Planet Press! What do we have to look forward to with Something New Can Come Into This World?, and what does the title actually mean?

Something New Can Come Into This World collects the first year’s worth of essays from Fictionmachine, which is a website where I post essays about movies. Since the age of about seven I have been fascinated by how movies are made, and some years ago I realised that knowing *how* one was produced often answered the question of *why* certain elements of them were good and bad. The essays combine “making-of” information with criticism in a hopefully entertaining fashion. The essays are all still online for free as well – the book is for people who don’t feel comfortable reading 80,000 words of criticism and filmmaking stories off a computer monitor or smartphone.


The title comes from one of the essays – each essay uses a line of dialogue from the film as its title. The longest essay in the book is based around Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, and it was one with which I was particularly happy. It’s a new book, so “Something New…” seemed to have an appropriate ring to it.

Continue reading →

Sheep Might Fly: Unmagical Boy Story Part 4

Flying Sheep Show NotesNew episode update!

“Unmagical Boy Story” is a 13-part sequel to “Fake Geek Girl,” and is original to this podcast.

One magical university, divided between the Colleges of the Real and Unreal. One pub. One indie band. A lot of drunk witches on a Friday night. One shattered friendship, due to be repaired. One Practical Mythology paper which really has to be finished by Monday… Oh, and trolls. Let’s see who survives Friday night drinks!

Part 4 – 10PM The Band Takes a Break
Viola auditions Sage for the position of nemesis, and there are trolls in the air. The trolls are not metaphorical.

unmagical boy 4

Catch up on previous episodes here!
Part 1 – 7PM, Little Black Dress Alert
Part 2 – 8PM, Friday Night Cover Charge: Two Drinks
Part 3 – 9PM I Hate That Song So Much Right Now

Sheep Might Fly has its own Twitter account: @sheepmightfly
and its own Tumblr account: Sheep Might Fly
Follow along for updates, previews and other Sheep Might Fly specific chatter!

Master list of Sheep Might Fly serials.

Support Tansy & Sheep Might Fly at Patreon.

Snapshot 2016

snaphotlogo2016The Aussie Spec Fic Snapshot has taken place five times in the past 11 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.

From August 1 to August 14 2016, this year’s team of interviewers have their turn. Greg Chapman, Tsana Dolichva, Marisol Dunham, Nick Evans, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stephanie Gunn, Ju Landéesse, David McDonald, Belle McQuattie, Matthew Morrison, Alex Pierce, Rivqa Rafael, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Matthew Summers and Tehani Wessely scoured the country (and a bit beyond) to bring you this year’s Snapshot.

You can follow all the action at the Snapshot site, via Twitter @AustSFSnapshot or on Facebook, and follow our interviewing team to keep up with all the happenings!

You can find the past five Snapshots at the following links: 2005,2007, 2010, 2012, 2014.

I’ll be cross-posting the interviews I did for the Snapshot here on the blog over the next fortnight, and while you’re waiting for those, check out the interview of me by Tsana at the Snapshot website!

Galactic Suburbia Ghostbusters (2006) Spoilerific!

New episode of Galactic Suburbia available to listen to now!


Was it better than the original? Did we love it or hate it? Was it appropriate for a 6 year old? If you want the new Ghostbusters movie thoroughly Spoiled, who are you gonna call?

Some links to other think pieces/reviews:

Ghostbusters is Still Haunted by Negative Racial Tropes (Polygon)

The Clothes of Ghostbusters (Women Write About Comics)

Ghostbusters 1984 vs Ghostbusters 2006 (Book Smugglers)

Not discussed but interesting: the clothes of Ghostbusters:

Please send feedback to us at, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!

Sheep Might Fly: Unmagical Boy Story Part 3

Flying Sheep Show NotesNew episode update!

“Unmagical Boy Story” is a 13-part sequel to “Fake Geek Girl,” and is original to this podcast.

One magical university, divided between the Colleges of the Real and Unreal. One pub. One indie band. A lot of drunk witches on a Friday night. One shattered friendship, due to be repaired. One Practical Mythology paper which really has to be finished by Monday… Oh, and trolls. Lots and lots of trolls. The trolls are not a metaphor, but everything else might be… let’s see who survives Friday night drinks!

Part 3 – 9PM I Hate That Song So Much Right Now
On student bands and disastrous back story.

unmagical boy 3

Continue reading →

Magical Universities 101

Worst_WitchFor a long time, the subject of magical schools in fantasy fiction was dominated by Harry Potter, and Hogwarts. While the popularity of Harry Potter was at its height, any author who dared to tap into that particular trope was likely to be accused of anything from trend-hopping to plagiarism.

At the same time, there was an ongoing (and very loud) conversational track about how unoriginal Rowling’s books were, with fans of her predecessors waving their own favourite magical school books around, either defensively (look, it was written 20 years earlier, it’s not derivative of Harry Potter!) or happily (look, all these great magical school books to check out once you’ve reread Half-Blood Prince for the third time!).

Seriously, you haven’t lived until you have reread The Worst Witch books by Jill Murphy post-Potter, and realised quite how closely Ethel Hallow, Miss Cackle and Miss Hardbroom map on to Draco Malfoy, Dumbledore and Snape… but I digress.

Works by authors like Diana Wynne Jones actually gained a new lease of life because of Pottermania – it was never this easy to access Chrestomanci books in the 90’s, I know I had to hunt for them in second hand book shops until the big first reissue of her novels in colourful, Potterish covers.

The most interesting thing about Hogwarts as a magical school (apart from the fact that it’s the biggest, baddest, most popular, most bestselling example of the trope) was the gaps in the educational system – the honking great question marks, which fanfic writers leaped on with great enthusiasm. What did wizards and witches offer as primary education? Where did they learn about subjects other than magic – surely they needed some form of mathematics, or basic english courses?

Most importantly, what were the options for further study after they graduated? We all know that Hermione wasn’t going to be content with going straight into the work force at the age of seventeen. What came next?

Continue reading →

Galactic Suburbia Ep 147 Show Notes

Galactic Suburbia CakeIn which Letters To Tiptree is still turning heads, and it’s winter in Australia. Much winter. So coldness.

Get the new episode HERE!


World Fantasy Award finalists

Locus Awards winners


Alisa: Undisclosed – Vacated; 4 hideous romcoms (Remember Sunday, Thanks for Sharing, Life Happens and Something Borrowed)

Alex: Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones; Beggars in Spain, Nancy Kress; Fifth Season, NK Jemisin; The Hollow Crown

Tansy: Person of Interest Season 5, Book Smugglers Quarterly Almanac (especially John Chu’s “How to Piss off a Failed Super-Soldier”), Batman v Superman; Hamilton, Rocket Talk podcast – Amal El-Mohtar on Does Hamilton Count as Genre.

Please send feedback to us at, follow us on Twitter at @galacticsuburbs, check out Galactic Suburbia Podcast on Facebook, support us at Patreon and don’t forget to leave a review on iTunes if you love us!