When I say “science fiction”, some people may think of socially awkward boys with pale skin, Hollywood blockbusters where characterisation is sacrificed for special effects, or pure escapism that ignores the grim realities of the world we live in.
Personally, I go for the intersection of philosophy, politics and popular culture. Like the dystopian critique of Thatcher’s England in Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta; or the fusion of Plato, Baudrillard and more besides in The Matrix; I also think of two of the most important science fiction writers: Mary Shelley and Ursula Le Guin.
I flew north to attend the 2014 Byron Writers’ Festival in early August with some trepidation. A week earlier I’d returned from a research trip to Japan with the burning desire to write. I didn’t want to stand around in queues to hear writers talk about writing in a veiled attempt to boost book sales – my lasting impression from the last Sydney Writers’ Festival I attended. And I also already have more unread books on my shelves than I will likely read in my lifetime.
The first piece of education I remember receiving was in Year One, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Primary School in Greystanes, Western Sydney. I would have been six. Mrs Szukalski – a tall, blonde woman in her early twenties, coincidentally (or not) my first crush that wasn’t fictional – told the class that for homework we had to write a one-page story about dinosaurs. My story was four pages long, and probably included dragons and space ships. I was an early reader, an inquisitive, imaginative child, and that creative task fused everything into a clarity of purpose. I became hooked on the power of words.
Last night I passed a milestone for a long-form writing project, locking in the semi-detailed outline, basically the overarching narrative, for the book I’ve been working on since the beginning of the year.
It’s Fiction. Spaceships. Wormholes. Bicentegenarian celebrities. Politics. Media. Post-Earth. Post-Heteronormative. Transgalactic Corporate Hegemony. You know, all the usual fun stuff. Continue reading So I’m writing a book
As a creative, I’m always on the look out for artists that inspire me. Maybe it’s a new idea or a technique or something done particularly effectively. Like in bookclub we recently read Oscar Wilde’s A Picture of Dorian Grey, which I’d never read before, and which I loved. It is meticulously crafted and has definitely gone straight back onto the shelf to be reread at some point. On a first reading it made me think more about the structure of what I write; how to use plot and character to move a reader around the ideas that I want to explore.
On the weekend I went and saw a photography exhibition at the Casula Powerhouse – Carol Jerrems – photographic artist. She’s not a photographer I was aware of previously, but her work is quite striking, especially her portraiture. Jerrems died young – she lived from 1950 to 1980 – and produced an impressive body of work. The most famous is called Vale Street.