Tag Archives: 2014snapshot

Snapshot: Ben McKenzie and John Richards

Ben McKenzie is a Melbourne-based actor, comedian, writer, feminist, improviser, voiceover artist, presenter, game mechanic, scientician, rogue nerd and ginger. He’s also one of the organisers behind the recently crowdfunded Girls On Film Festival 2014. John Richards is writer of the acclaimed ABC1 comedy Outland, and former host of the iconic Melbourne-based TV podcast Boxcutters as well as a filmmaker, media journalist, and presenter. Check out John’s upcoming workshop on podcasting.

Together, they FIGHT CRIME. But more importantly, they make magic. In 2013, The Year of Doctor Who, Ben and John created Splendid Chaps, a Doctor Who live show podcasting event spread over 12 months. In 2014, they spun off from this project to run a successful Kickstarter campaign for Night Terrace, their very own comedy science fiction audio series, starring Susan from Neighbours and a house that travels in time and space.

It seemed appropriate to interview them together…

splendid chaps comedy festival

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Snapshot: Foz Meadows

P1000733Foz Meadows is a bipedal mammal with delusions of immortality; she also writes fantasy novels, makes with the geeky criticism, and loiters with intent in the presence of cheese. An Australian expat, she now lives in Scotland with a philosopher and a Smallrus. Surprisingly, this is a good thing.

1. Congratulations on your Hugo nomination for Best Fan Writer! Your blog has formed a core part of your writer identity for so long – which piece of your “fan” critical writing are you most proud of?

Thank you! It’s still a bit weird to me that I have regular readers: in one form or another, I’ve been writing online since my early teens, but it’s only in the past year or two that I’ve actually started to develop an audience. Which inevitably colours how I now perceive my own work, because I can never tell how a given piece is going to be received, and that makes me a bit biased in favour of the stuff that gets less widely circulated. I still don’t have any one thing that I’m most proud of, but generally, if I come away from a post feeling like I managed to articulate something important in amidst all the ranting, then it goes in the win column.

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Snapshot: Amanda Rainey

headshot-arAmanda Rainey is a graphic designer from Perth who designs books for Twelfth Planet Press and FableCroft. When she’s not designing books she is either: working on a PhD looking at election campaigns, working as a freelance graphic designer for clients who have slightly more money than Australian small presses, or – most likely – talking nonsense on Twitter.

1. You designed the striking cover for Kaleidoscope, the brand new YA anthology about diverse characters that will shortly be released by Twelfth Planet Press after a crowdfunding campaign last year – what was your brief for the project, and how did you get to the final design?

Kaleidoscope was such an exciting/terrifying brief! It’s such an exciting book, and important too – a lot of people were (literally) invested in it so I really wanted to get it right. The brief was that they wanted something that would fit a truly diverse book, both in the sense of the characters, but also the themes and styles of each of the stories. So, quite a bit of (terrible) freedom…

KaleidoscopeCover-679x1024It needed to appeal to YA readers, and stand out on a bookshelf next to other anthologies, so there’s always that question of how similar and how different you should be from all the other books!

The first thing I did was rule out using faces or people. It was kind of a gut instinct, but using faces just creates so many problems when you’re making a book about diverse characters. There’s a danger that you just end up treating faces as “paint chips”, which would have absolutely not been giving proper respect to the book’s purpose.

Finally I just channelled my 16 year old self, and tried to make something she would like. I started playing with the idea of “sugar and spice”, and how just in that concept, which seems to imply that all girls are the same, when really – spices! – there’s so much variety there, right in the phrase.

I messed with the colours to give it more of an alien feel in keeping with the SF/Fantasy themes. Plus, hello, it’s Twelfth Planet Press. It always had to be pink! Then I just spent 1298 hours aimlessly changing the proportions and the patterns until I was happy/the print deadline arrived.

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Snapshot: Alexandra Pierce

AlexAlexandra Pierce is a reviewer (www.randomalex.net), one third of of Galactic Suburbia, and an interviewer with Galactic Chat. She also teaches History and English.

1. Congratulations on your Ditmars! Tell us about your recent work on Galactic Chat, and how the project has developed over the last year.

Thanks! Galactic Chat started as the sister podcast of Galactic Suburbia – the idea was to interview Australian authors, and especially Australian women. I never got involved, really, when it was officially run by GS… but when Alisa and you, Tansy, were sensible and offloaded it to Sean Wright, it seemed to coincide with me having more time and I jumped on board to do some interviews. The goal is still the same – to lean towards Australian women – and as far as I can tell, we’re succeeding. I’ve had a great deal of fun in the interviews that I’ve conducted thus far. Probably my two favourites so far have been Rosaleen Love and Nike Sulway, mainly because I was in total fangirl mode. Many of the other interviews were with people I had already spoken to at cons and the like, but not these two! The other contributors, and there are a few of us, have also done some very fine work – and Sean puts in an enormous amount of time to make us all sound good, and deal with issues like Skype dropping out in the middle of an interview…

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Snapshot: Ben Peek

godlessBen Peek is the author of Black Sheep, Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, Above/Below, Dead Americans and Other Stories, and The Godless. He can be found at www.theurbansprawlproject.com and @nosubstance on twitter.

1. Your epic fantasy novel The Godless will shortly be released from Tor. Given that I completely stuffed up the details last time I tried to describe it publicly, can you tell us about your book and what you are trying to achieve with this series?


Nah, you didn’t do too bad a job, but either way, here it is: The Godless is the first novel in the Children Trilogy, my ensemble cast fantasy set in a world where the bodies of gods lie across the ground, in the ocean, and orbiting around the planet. They are both dead and dying, and their divine essence is bleeding into the world, infecting men and women. In some parts of the world, this is known as a curse. In the part of the world Ayae lives in, it is known as a curse, and unfortunately for her, she is going to find out exactly what that means as an army marches up the mountain she lives on. For Bueralan, a saboteur, he has taken on a job to find out what the army marching on Mireea want, and how to stop them. Unfortunately for him and his band of mercenaries known as Dark, they are worn out, emotionally exhausted from their last job, and they should have stayed home.

And then there is Zaifyr, for who the less is said about, the better, really.

The series is a kind of love letter to my teenage years, where I lived on a steady diet of fantasy novels, but written by my adult self, who perhaps would have very little to do with the person I was, then (which, really, is what most of us think, I assume). The adult me took a much more measured view to the world building, and began it from an ideological point of view. When I say that, I don’t mean the bit about the gods being dead, but I mean the world beyond that, the interactions of men and women, and race. A lot of fantasy is, either through design or not, conservative. Monarchist, patriarchial societies filtered through psuedo christian values. Not all of it, mind you, and sometimes that’s the exact point – but in a genre where dragons can appear, personal hygiene is of a higher standard than usual, and people kill without any real pause, I don’t really see much of a point to adhering to that conservative side. Which is a long way round of saying I approached my world building from a point of equality in terms of race and sex and sexuality, and I have used that as the base from which I have grown everything in the book, both in terms of basic prose, and in terms of plot, themes, etc.

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Snapshot: Kim Wilkins

KIM WILKINS AUTHOR PHOTOKim Wilkins was born in London and grew up the seaside north of Brisbane. She has degrees in literature and creative writing including a Ph.D. from the University of Queensland where she also serves on faculty as a senior lecturer. 2014 will see the release of her 25th and 26th full-length work of fiction. She is published in 17 countries and under her pseudonym Kimberley Freeman has been a bestseller in Germany and the United States.

1. Daughters of the Storm is due out from Harlequin in November – a big historical fantasy novel under the Kim Wilkins byline. What excites you most about this release?

What excites me the most is that this is going to be my first major publisher release under my own name since 2005 (almost 10 years). I have loved being Kimberley Freeman and writing under that name has given me opportunities and successes that I couldn’t have imagined. But fantasy has always been closest to my heart. I’ve been very lucky to do a wonderful collection with a small press, and write a few short pieces, but the big fat fantasy novel that reaches a wider audience has been my unfulfilled dream for many years. Also I fucking love it. It’s easily the best thing that I’ve ever written. Truth.

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Announcing the Australian Spec Fic Snapshot 2014

Snapshot has taken place four times in the past 10 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!

SnaphotLogo2014-300x287In the lead up to Worldcon in London, we will be blogging interviews for Snapshot 2014, conducted by Tsana Dolichva, Nick Evans, Stephanie Gunn, Kathryn Linge, Elanor Matton-Johnson, David McDonald, Helen Merrick, Jason Nahrung, Ben Payne, Alex Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Helen Stubbs, Katharine Stubbs, Tehani Wessely and Sean Wright.

Last time we covered nearly 160 members of the Australian speculative fiction community with the Snapshot – can we top that this year?

To read the interviews hot off the press, check these blogs daily from July 28 to August 10, 2014, or look for the round up on SF Signal when it’s all done:

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