Octavia Cade

About Me

Display Name

Octavia Cade

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What's New

My Progress

27 June:
Okay, so my Six Weeks, Six Papers goal is off to a late start. Nevertheless, start I have. The first paper I’ll be working on is about Star Trek. Which I love, so it’s a fun paper to begin with. And there’s a relevant call for papers which gave me the idea. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies is doing a special issue on hybridity and Star Trek. I was quite excited when I read that, and then I thought very quickly how easy it would be to get wrong. I was picturing them receiving half a dozen papers on Spock, for instance, and it would be hard to stand out if I were writing the seventh. Luckily for me, I had recently seen the first season of Discovery, which I liked very much apart from the terrible Groundhog Mudd episode (who decided fucking up the series pacing by shoehorning in that barrel-scraping disaster was a good idea?). And it gave me an idea… which means, first of all, rewatching the relevant episodes. Which is going to be fun! But what has this to do with hybridity, you ask?


I’ll give you a hint: tardigrades.

What I Write

What I Write

I’ve a PhD in science communication, so finding new and interesting ways to write about science is something that really interests me – especially science history, because it’s stuffed full of weird stories that people would be absolutely delighted by if they only knew about them!


My latest book is the climate fiction novel The Stone Wētā, from Paper Road Press, which is about smuggling climate data in the face of hostile governments.


If you’re a science geek you may also like The Ghost of Matter, my SJV award winning novella about Ernest Rutherford, the splitting of the atom, and the ghosts of his drowned brothers. Or there’s The Life in Papers of Sofie K., a novella of maths and monstrosity and magical realism centred on the life of the Russian mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya. Or, if you’re into poetry, there’s my Elgin-nominated collection Chemical Letters, in which a dead scientist spends her afterlife wandering an apartment block in the form of the periodic table.


I’ve had nearly 50 short stories published. Some of them that you might like, and which are available to read free online, are We Feed the Bears of Fire and Ice, The Signal Birds, Crown of Thorns, Crow, and Kelp.

My Write-a-thon Goals

Writing Goals


Last year I tried NaNoWriMo, and it was an abject failure. If I have to produce ridiculous amounts of words in a short time, I’d far prefer they were nonfiction. And preferably academic. So, my goal for this year is to produce six papers over the course of the write-a-thon, covering a wide range of speculative topics.


Paper one: there’s a call for papers currently out on hybridity and Star Trek. I have an idea and season one of Discovery, so it would be nice to get this done and submitted.


Paper two: I recently submitted a paper on vaccination and Dracula, and while I’m waiting to hear back about that, I’d like to start work on a similar idea I had while researching that one. It looks at Dracula and immunity and weather. Which seems an odd combination, but I have a plan!


Paper three: I’m in the academic stream in the upcoming CoNZealand, and have had an abstract accepted for a paper on using post-apocalyptic literature as a means of navigating environmental catastrophe. Which means I should probably write the thing before WorldCon arrives.


Paper four: I’ve had an abstract accepted for the upcoming Academia Lunare collection Lands and Environments: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction. I’m looking at the ecology and worldbuilding in Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home, so again… better get on with that.


Paper five: a couple of years back, I had a paper published in Horror Studies about archaeological imagery in The Exorcist. I love exorcism films, and I’ve been interested in doing another paper on the presentation of forensic medicine in them… the Horror Studies paper talked about how the medical imagery of the film was presented almost in archaeological terms, so it’s almost a follow-up paper, thematically.


Paper six: Finally, I’d like to do something exploring the healthy self-interest that makes up so much of Pullman’s The Dark Materials. I’m honestly not quite sure what yet, it’s a very nebulous idea at this point, but it’s been nebulous for far too long now and I should really make an effort to do something with it.


So, there we are. Horror, science fiction, and fantasy… it’d be nice to dive a bit deeper into them. Even if it means using the Chicago referencing system, shudder.