Category Archives: Snapshot

Snapshot 2012 – it’s done!

Well, there might be one or two late interviews to come, but it seems that the 2012 Snapshot is over! It’s been amazing – we completely smashed our previous number of interviews, hitting almost 160 interviews in seven days (but with a MUCH bigger team this time!). The interviewers all did a marvellous job and it was great working with them – David, Jason, Sean, Mondy, Kathryn, Helen, Alex, Tansy and Alisa, woohoo, we did it!🙂

If you missed any of the interviews over the past week, don’t worry! We’ve rounded them all up in one handy dandy spot over at ASiF! – check them out when you’ve got some reading time.

Thank you to all the fantastic interviewees as well – your thoughtful responses make the Snapshot happen!

And I’m not sure if we’ve said it before but we should – a huge thank you to Kathryn Linge for the awesome Snapshot logo!

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Snapshot 2012: Lezli Robyn

(posted on behalf of Alisa Krasnostein, who is in transit!)

Lezli is an Aussie Lass who loves writing sf, fantasy, horror, humour and even dabbles in steampunk every now and then. She has made over 25 story sales to professional markets around the world, including Asimov’s and Analog, and her first short story collection will be published by TICONDEROGA PRESS in late 2012. Lezli was a finalist for the 2009 AUREALIS AWARD (Aussie) for Best SF Story, the 2010 IGNOTUS AWARD (Spanish) for Best Foreign Short Story, and a 2010 CAMPBELL AWARD NOMINEE for best new writer. In 2011 she won the Best Foreign Translation ICTINEU AWARD (Catalan) for “Soulmates”, a novelette written with Mike Resnick, which was first published in Asimov’s.

1) Your debut short story collection, Bittersuite, is due to be released from Ticonderoga Publications in 2012 – can you tell us a bit about the process of pulling together this book and what we can expect?

This collection is going to be a great representation of what I’m best known for writing: bittersweet stories. Whether writing sf, fantasy, steampunk, horror, or mainstream, I chose the genre to help me tell the best character development story. The setting, content and “voice” often differ vastly from story to story – I have written first person, third person, and in present or past tense – but in all my stories I tend to focus on the emotional resonance between characters, and their personal evolution.

Half of this collection will be made up with previously published stories, including a couple written with Mike Resnick, because I do not see this collection as being a true depiction of my journey thus far as a writer without including some stories that we’ve written together. (I started my writing career after meeting Mike and we wrote our first collaboration.) The collection will also include at least five new stories, all with a bittersweet element or ending. My idea is that by the time Russ and I finish putting together the collection, it will be a kaleidoscope of stories that together both contrast and compliment each other at the same time, showing as many different facets of what I can do as a writer as possible.

2) You’ve made most of your sales to international markets. How do you find Australian markets differ from those offshore? Do markets such as China, Russia or Italy place different emphases or have different interests compared to Australian ones?

I have made most of my sales specifically to the United States, where I started writing and selling with my frequent collaborator, Mike Resnick, and then have sent my stories onward around the world to see which market they resonate the most. All my sales have been short fiction or novelettes, and so most of my analysis of the industry has been in that sphere.

Anthologies are always themed in some way everywhere around the world, but magazines vary dramatically around the world. I have noticed that Australian markets in general prefer darker fantasy stories, or very out-of-the-square sf and horror stories, and I believe our industry is on the cutting edge of unique ideas. In comparison, the US has a lot more markets, but they usually are more specific about the types of stories they will consider each publication. Aussie magazine’s are more likely to mix the genres within one publication, whereas a lot of the US magazines will often only accept one genre.

Clarkesworld is an example of a US market that reminds me the most of Australian small press publications, where the genre or content of their stories can be quite diverse, and they often publish brilliant, somewhat dark, out-of-the-square stories. In contrast Asimov’s typically love sf stories with an emotional resolution, whereas Analog usually prefer sf stories with practical solutions – although that is a broad generalisation, and not always the rule.

I have also noticed that non-english foreign markets (such as Russia, China, Italy, Greece, poland, Spain, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic) often buy stories that focus on the emotional journey of a lead character, rather than a richly-detailed plot or setting which often can’t translate as well, especially when describe with western-inspired details. I think that since English is the second language of most of the first readers for the magazines, they are more easily able to identify with stories focusing on the character’s emotional journey because no matter where you live in the world, and what nationality we are, like the characters in the stories we all fall in love, suffer loss, evolve relationships, and overcome obstacles that turn into life-changing events. Those type of stories translate well into any language.

3) In your 2010 snapshot, you talked about a novel you were writing. How is that going? Is the process as you expected it would be?

I have two novels in the works at the moment. One of them is the one I was previously discussing in my 2010 snapshot, however since that snapshot was done my life has gone through huge upheavals. Following Aussiecon 4 I was admitted into hospital for multiple lung clots, I moved house, then my beloved Grandma passed away, I flew to America for three months to help my partner through stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma and it’s brutal chemo treatment, we got engaged, and then I returned to Australia to start the exhausting process of applying for a VISA to move to Ohio while ending up in hospital twice since my return, and working six days a week for a six month period. (Phew!) To say the least, I didn’t have much time to write – if any at all – but I have had an amazing year, with so many highs and lows, and although it as kept me from writing as much as I would have liked to, I am confident my experiences will enrich my writing in the year to come – especially since the lead character of the novel in question is a writer. I have so many new writing quirks and personality nuances to add to my character when she will be writing under pressure, as they say personal experience can add depth to a novel when you put elements of yourself into your stories. The character might not be me, but we will have writing in common.

I realise that what I wrote is not so much an answer to your question, but ask me again next year, and I will be able to give you a much better answer. I’m looking forward to discovering my novel-writing processes.

4) What is next for you?

Along with the 2012 publication of Bittersuite, and the novel that is still waiting on the sidelines, I have a Stellar Guild book with Mike Resnick scheduled to be written at the start of 2013. Our book will be a part of a series of books where a well-known author and their protégée both write a separate piece of fiction set in the very same universe the well-known author has made famous. Four books in the series are almost done, and in various stages of publication, and ours will also be published by Arc Manor Publications in 2013.

I also plan on writing a story with the intention of submitting it to Asimov’s by the end of the year, and I would love to sell a story to another Aussie market after I move to the US and have much more time to write.

Unfortunately, the other projects I have in the works I can’t mention in detail, except to say that I am very excited about them, as I will be creating my own Aussie weird western series of stories, as well as writing more steampunk-set fiction, which I think is an evocative genre that helps to beautifully frame emotive storylines. I have pre-sold two stories to US anthologies, and I have a VERY promising novel proposal that a specific publisher is very interested in too, which would be written in 2013 if we get to contract stage. I have a rule where I don’t mention details about my future projects unless a contract has been signed, or I know the deal is otherwise set in stone, so I can’t tell you more even tho I wish it.

5) Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?

The industry is changing so much. It appears that the smaller presses here are getting more and more notice with reviewers and editors in Great Britain and the United States, and Aussie authors are getting mentioned more frequently in Year’s Best anthologies around the world, most notably in the US. However, the mass market publishers appear to be affected by the increase in e-publications, and I’m sure there will be big adjustments regarding the future of mass market paperback sales with the increasing closures of bookstores. I know there are major Aussie authors who are still having frequent mass market publications, and I have heard others discussing the decreasing opportunity to sell novels despite their well-recognised names. I think that could be just due to the current transition period between paperback and e-books, with publishers naturally more reticent while the industry is changing so much.

Overall, I think that the short story sales are definitely on the increase for Aussie’s, with more markets are opening up in the US and UK every year for Aussie’s to expand their sales outside of our part of the world. Aussie publishers like Ticonderoga and Twelfth Planet Press are also doing their part by purchasing even short story collections from Aussie authors than they were in previous years, as well as publishing even more anthologies, although I have noticed there aren’t that many true sf anthologies in production here compared to the US or UK.

It will be very interesting to see the changes to the publishing world by the next Aussiecon. We’re quickly becoming a world where ebooks, and e-readers are quickly replacing printed books. Holographic books, perhaps? Who knows! In the speculative fiction industry anything is possible.

This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 7 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:

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Snapshot 2012: Nyssa Pascoe

1. Zombies are a passion of yours <> – where does this interest stem from and where do you hope it will lead?

I think it started when my mother died when I was 8. I went through quite a few years reading horror magazines and R L Stine. Then I got into fantasy and really didn’t do any horror for quite some time, but in recent years I’ve been thinking more about why I’m interested in what I am and what roles spec fic plays in society – and it’s very much greater than just cheap escapism that a lot of people claim! I’m sure I won’t find any disagreement here that it is more than that!

Researching the evolution of zombies is so much fun, particularly looking at zombie romance which freaks most people out. I’m working on getting into a Masters of Research next year and turning my zombies into a 20k word thesis. I keep teetering between “Yay 20,000 words!” and “Oh crap, ONLY 20,000 words!”

2. Since the last Snapshot you’ve moved on from fandom in many ways, taking a job with Pan Macmillan for a time (exciting!) and also focussing on study. What difference do you find this makes to your online presence these days?

I tried to keep the fandom online presence (apart from my personal Facebook) more neutral, and when working in publishing, it was even more important to be neutral and try not to get too political (in industry terms). Now I revel in just tweeting random things from comment on politics to talking about favourite recipes. Opinions on ebooks, DRM and parallel important restrictions I still rage on about, particularly as there’s movement in the industry about it, but I can feel free to get more into it.

3. What’s next for Nyssa? Anything you can tell us about?

Although I was more into writing fiction (really quite terrible!) as a teen, and I know for sure that I’m interested in books, I’ve been navigating for years where it is I fit in terms of skills and interests. Pretty much what everyone goes through at some stage!  Right now, I’m very happy where I am. I work for Campus Wellbeing at Macquarie University, and am currently waiting for applications to open for the new Masters of Research that starts next year.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

Most recent reads have been older books or academic essays, but I have to buy Jason Fischer’s next Gravesend novella, and both Juliet Marillier and Kate Forsyth’s latest books. I also really loved the Business of Death by Trent Jamieson. New takes on Death interest me, and Death as a corporation is just awesome.

5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?

I think the scenery is changing quite a bit. The resigning of Stephanie Smith from Voyager/HC was a particular shock. She has helped the Aust spec fic scene for so long and given us such wonderful authors. I do wonder if we’ll be able to recognise a difference in the tastes of the new head, Deonie Ford.

The adaption of ebooks is still in flux in Australia, but the changes have been dramatic. I was just wondering the other day about how my own perceptions have changed and how essential ebooks are now (reading an article on Stephen King’s next book and how he’s not planning an ebook to go with it had me spluttering). They’re still not perfect, and we all have different opinions on how they can be.

This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 7 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:


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Snapshot 2012: Simon Petrie

Simon Petrie hails from the South Island of New Zealand, and now lives on the North Island of Australia, where he gets paid to think about molecules. He has won a Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent (2009). His short story ‘Dark Rendezvous’ appeared in the 2010 Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror (Ticonderoga; eds Grzyb & Helene) and was given an Honourable Mention in Gardner Dozois’ Best Of the same year. He’s also received a coveted Dishonourable Mention in the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton awards. He’s had upwards of 70 spec-fic short stories published since 2006, many of which have been collected in Rare Unsigned Copy: tales of Rocketry, Ineptitude, and Giant Mutant Vegetables (Peggy Bright Books, 2010). He’s a member of the Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Co-operative, the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild, and the SpecFicNZ core collective.

1. This year sees you and Edwina Harvey editing an anthology titled Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear, from Peggy Bright Books – where did the idea for the book come from, and what has the experience of editing an anthology been like?

I’ve worked with Edwina previously – she acted as subeditor on the first couple of issues of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine which I edited, plus she edited my short-story collection. So we figured out, quite a while back, that we worked well together. The anthology was essentially a natural extension of that … and we decided to shy away from too narrow or specific a theme, out of concern that it might limit the range of stories we’d receive. I’m a firm believer in variety of tone and genre. It was actually quite difficult to agree on something that seemed sufficiently broad, and yet didn’t sound bland. Anna Tambour gave us a terrific title / theme for the antho, and then rescinded it because she decided she’d rather keep it for her next collection (and I can’t say I blame her…) Eventually it was Edwina who suggested Light Touch Paper and Stand Back, which I tweaked so as to attempt some degree of creative control. Once we had the title, it became an anthology about that moment of ‘the spark’. And then we invited submissions.

It’s been fun to assemble the antho, and we’ve received some absolutely astonishing pieces for it. I reckon it’s a good mix. I don’t want to play favourites among the stories we picked … but it’s been thrilling to see some of the responses which the authors concocted. There’s also been, I must admit, a small amount of stress incurred, with needing to ensure that each story is letter-perfect, with organising the cover, the printing, and trying to have the whole shebang ready for release at the start of June. We would appear, I believe, to have managed this, which is a big relief. Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see whether the reading public likes the stories as much as we do.

Would I repeat the exercise? Yes (and see below). But I’d try to ensure I didn’t have any other competing editorial assignments (e.g. ASIM 54) on the go at the same time.

2. When we last spokeRare Unsigned Copy was yet to hit the bookshelves. What has your journey since the collection was published been like?

The collection has been well received, which is gratifying. Of course, there’s ‘well-received’ and there’s ‘million-selling’, and a bloody great big gulf between them, but ‘well-received’ is good…

In the wider context, things have been a bit topsy-turvy. There have been upheavals in my personal life (principally the divorce), and that knocked me, badly, for a bit – but I’ve come out the other side intact, and in reasonable emotional shape. Enough said, I think.

For about the first half of last year, I didn’t get anything written (despite a desire to be getting my thoughts down on paper, or on what passes for paper nowadays). I’m feeling like things are more back on track now, writing-wise, albeit without a whole lot to show for it in terms of recent publications (although I did earlier this year mark my first pro sale, to Redstone SF, which is a good feeling). And my efforts to crack the novel format remain unsuccessful (although I have two promising starts, which are currently stalled at about 10,000 words each); I have a couple of novellas (one deadly serious, a space opera murder mystery; and a Gordon Mamon pun-fest) more-or-less ready to unleash onto the world, provided I can find an outlet for them…

Mostly, my activities of the last couple of years have centred on editing, and on layout. I’m currently doing the layout for a twelfth ASIM issue – I think it’s the twelfth I’ve done – and I’ve tackled a few book layout assignments too, for CSFG and for Peggy Bright Books. I’m more of an enthusiastic amateur than a consummate professional when it comes to layout, but hopefully I’m picking up skills without making too many mistakes along the way. Same with editing – I’ve assembled ASIM 51 and 54 (which is hot off the press, or since this is a Canberra winter, slightly cold off the press, as I type) as well as co-chaired on Light Touch Paper. These are things I enjoy doing, and hopefully people enjoy seeing the end result – there’s a different kind of satisfaction from bringing someone else’s creative endeavours into the light, and with layout in particular there’s a very disciplined feel to it which I find fulfilling. Hopefully e-books won’t render the layout task completely redundant in the near future…

3. You’re still working with Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and we’ve already spoken about the forthcoming Peggy Bright anthology – what else is on the cards for Simon Petrie in the year ahead?

I seem to be arranging things very carefully to ensure I don’t have too much spare time for writing😉

I’ve put my hand up to be co-editor (with Rob Porteous) of the next CSFG anthology, to be called next. We’ve just started receiving stories for it – it’ll get to the pointy end come mid-October, when we need to start finalising the selection. It’s scheduled for launch at next year’s Natcon (Conflux 9), to be held in Canberra as a celebration of the capital’s centennial. I’m hoping we’ll have a really difficult job choosing the stories, because I’d like to see lots of brilliant submissions for the antho.

As I type this, I’m deep in the throes of last-minute preparations for con season – NZ Natcon (unCONventional) first weekend in June, Australian Natcon (Continuum 8) second weekend, Sydney Supanova third weekend. I’m looking forward to it, as an opportunity to spruik ASIM and Peggy Bright Books, and to meet like-minded individuals. I’d like to think there’ll be some time to get some serious (or not-so-serious) writing done once the cons are over, but I’ll have to see how that goes. I have plenty of things to write, but I need to be more disciplined in making time for it, these days…

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I have had shamefully little time for reading of late (well, ‘free-range’ reading, at any rate. These days, I’m feeling more and more like a ‘battery’ reader). I could trip off a quick list of my recent ASIM favourites without any significant difficulty, but that would seem very partisan. I loved Maxine McArthur’s and Robin Shortt’s stories, in particular, from the CSFG anthology Winds of Change; I can heartily endorse Patty Jansen’s The Far Horizon and Simon Haynes’ Hal Jr – there’s nowhere near enough book-length SF pitched at children, in my opinion; I’ve yet to read anything less-than-brilliant by Ian McHugh, Kathleen Jennings, Thoraiya Dyer … and I am tremendously impressed by several of the newer writers coming through the CSFG – Robin Shortt, Rob Porteous, Leife Shallcross, Natalie Maddalena. None of these lists is exhaustive, by any means. I think Keith Stevenson’s Anywhere But Earth antho deserves more recognition than it’s received – it has some terrific stuff.

I’ve read next to no local novels over the past couple of years, though I have several on my ‘to-read’ pile.

5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?

Well, the zombie apocalypse seems to have fizzled out … and I also have the sense that the horror scene has been a bit quieter of late. In fact it sometimes seems as though the local spec-fic scene in general is in a bit of a lull. I mean, there’s still plenty happening, a good number of exciting new writers appearing on the scene. But there’s a sense in which Aussiecon 4 was a crescendo towards which the scene was building, and things have been that bit quieter since then. I haven’t been around fandom long enough to know whether that’s always the way it goes, but maybe it is.

On the flipside, I will miss Paul Haines, lost to us at the peak of his powers; and Jimmy Goodrum, who was just starting out as a writer. We should’ve had novels from both of these guys.

In terms of broader changes to the scene – the biggies would seem to be e-books, and the (related) proliferation and rehabilitation of self-publishing as a valid way of ‘getting the stuff out there’. I’d like to hope that these things will be a force for diversification. We need variety, we need people willing to take the genre into new and unexpected directions, and I hope that happens. Time will tell.

This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 7 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:


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Snapshot 2012: Liz Grzyb

Liz Grzyb was born in the middle of a thunderstorm in Perth, Western Australia. She is the editor of acclaimed paranormal romance anthologies Scary Kisses and More Scary Kisses, the website and co-editor of the paranormal noir anthology Damnation & Dames. Liz is also the Fantasy editor for the Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror anthologies from Ticonderoga Publications. Upcoming projects include Dreaming of Djinn, an Arabian Nights-inspired speculative fiction anthology.

1. This year sees you and Talie Helene producing your second Best Australian Fantasy and Horror anthology for Ticonderoga Publications (congratulations on the Aurealis Awards shortlisting for Volume 1!). Could you tell us a little about the impetus behind the project and what it’s like working on this sort of collection?

At Worldcon Russell and I were talking about the idea, and how fun it would be as a tribute to the Datlow and Windling Years’ Bests. I don’t read a lot of horror, so we needed to find a joint editor. Talie was a great choice, as she’s got a thorough background in the horror genre in Australia and we work well together.

I’ve found the Year’s Best a really interesting process to read for: quite different to the way I read for original anthologies. To start with, only reprinting stories means the choice becomes immediately more difficult – most stories are of a pretty good standard because they’ve already gone through the slushing and editing process! In the end, the pieces Talie and I choose have to jump through a lot of other hoops as well as being a great tale – we try to not include too many stories from any one anthology, from any one author, and we like to have a range which reflects the breadth of each genre. Then we argue about whether a particular story “belongs” in Horror or Fantasy … and there is a lot of Australian writing in the past couple of years which really straddles both genres. Lots of fun!

2. It’s only in the past couple of years you started working on print projects at Ticonderoga – what made you decide to pull on the editorial boots and work on your own books?

The biggest impetus really, was that I’ve been a reader for a very long time … and watching Russell putting books together seemed such an interesting process. I’ve been an editor of sorts for longer than I’d like to admit, as I put together a couple of fanzines when I was a navel-gazing (novel-gazing?) teenager. I’ve also been involved in and the Ticonderoga Publications releases for quite a few years. The actual moment though, was when I was having dinner with Russell, Shane Jiraiya Cummings and Angela Challis and we were throwing around ideas for a paranormal romance anthology. I put out the call for stories for Scary Kisses the next day.

3. I’m hoping the Best Australian Fantasy and Horror series is going to continue, but can you tell us about any other projects you’re thinking about for the future?

We certainly hope so! We’ve been working hard on the YBAF&H recently, but I’ve also got a call out for Orientalist stories for an Arabian Nights-inspired anthology, scheduled for release next year. After that I’m not sure. I might go in a completely opposite direction and do something hard SF.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

As you can guess, I’ve been reading a lot of anthologies and short stories in the past couple of years. The Brains of Angela Slatter and Lisa L Hannett are coming up with some amazing stuff which really flicks my switch. I can’t wait to read Midnight & Moonshine to see what’s next for them. Cat Sparks and Deborah Biancotti are also writing fantastic stories which never miss a beat, as are many others.

My preferred reading for relaxation though, is still the novel. In the past couple of years I really enjoyed Trent Jamieson’s Death Works trilogy, and I adore all of Juliet Marillier’s writing. I devoured Nicole Murphy’s Dream of Asarlai series voraciously. Tara Moss’ young adult series is also a lot of fun, and Marianne de Pierres/Delacourt can do no wrong in any genre!

5. Two years on from Aussiecon 4, what do you think are some of the biggest changes to the Australian Spec Fic scene?

Worldcon seemed to simultaneously energise and drain people. I think a lot of people were inspired to get new projects off the ground, but in essence, I’m not sure a lot has changed apart from giving us a bit more of a feeling that Australia isn’t quite as isolated as we feel like we are sometimes.

This interview was conducted as part of the 2012 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 June to 7 June and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:


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