science fiction saves the future

Stephanie was invited to speak at the Speculative Fiction Festival at the New South Wales’ Writers’ Centre last week. It was curated by Cat Sparks, and it was excellent!

The blurb for Steph’s panel:

Can Science Fiction Save the Future? (11am-12am)

This panel examines science fiction as an agent of scientific and social change, serving as a cultural primer, preparing us for new inventions, moral arguments or major events, such as catastrophic destruction or the possibility of transhuman consciousness. Should SF shake us out of complacency regarding genuine threats to society, as well as inspiring compelling new possibilities?

Steph was on this panel with Joanne Anderton, Marianne de Pierres, Bruce McCabe, and Keith Stephenson.

Stephanie has so many feelings climate change and speculative fiction, news at eleven.

There was a feeling that spec fic isn’t for evangelising because the reader doesn’t want to be lectured at. But I disagree – science fiction is for evangelising. I write climate change fiction because I’m inspired in my day job, and I want everyone to know it and be converted.

Scientific accuracy is as important as being able to write well and to convey your meaning. If we’re to inspire, what’s the point in inspiring things that can’t scientifically happen because they defy physics? There’s an argument to be made for inspiring people to move beyond the known science but there’s only so far one can go with that. Don’t be suggesting our climate change future in Australia is going to be full of, like, coral and white people unless you can prove it.

Scientific accuracy is important in my own work, and preferably in the work of others. There’s no shame in throwing the book against the wall when the science is wrong. And half the fun is creating a fantastical world within scientific bounds.

But also: what’s the point in inspiring when you’re doing it on false pretenses?

But can’t you trust the reader to tell the difference between possible and impossible? Can’t you trust the reader?

Continue reading “science fiction saves the future”

Australian Spec Fic Week

It’s not official, it’s just here at No Award! This week No Award is going to talk EVERY DAMN DAY about spec fic.

Liz and Steph love spec fic, and we have a special place in our hearts and in our lives for Australian spec fic. And we could say there’s not enough of it (there isn’t), but what there is just isn’t talked about enough. So we have taken it upon ourselves, sacrificed whole hours of our time, to engage with and review a number of Aussie spec fic texts.

australian space stamps
look how old they are!

Some upcoming highlights:

  • Shiver! As Liz watches a movie with many shots of sinister wind farms!
  • Tremble! As Steph reads horror books on the plane to Perth!
  • Gasp with delight! At the Indian-Australian YA spec fic anthology with pictures, what the hell, give us more.
  • Wibble With Discomfort! As Liz digs up some hardcore claustrophobic body horror for readers aged 9-14.
  • Whine with jealousy! As Steph steals books from Australian small presses to read!
  • Look on with envy! As Liz steals them from Steph and reads them herself!
  • And, be not surprised! As Steph starts the week with sitting on a panel and threatening to throw books against the wall.

We’ll update this post at the end of the week to be a master list, but we would love for you to come on this journey with us. Tell us you disagree with us, or agree, or just aren’t sure.

Table of Contents:

Ancillary Conversation


Ann Leckie’s 2013 debut novel Ancillary Justice exploded on the SF scene and, in 2014, won a whole lot of awards and considerable praise for its portrayal of imperialism and depiction of gender. The blurb:

On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.

Space opera. Corpse soldiers. Artificial intelligence. Space politics. These are things that No Award is here for. And to the surprise of absolutely no one ever, we have some opinions about Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword. So many opinions, in fact, that mere Twitter conversations couldn’t do them justice. Accordingly, we are joined here today by Dr Sophie and Dr Jonathan.

Continue reading “Ancillary Conversation”