So, anyway, onto paper three: another sad draft that has been sitting idle for, honestly, the better part of a decade. I’m afraid to look at it at this point. I can hardly picture how horrible it will be. Anyway, it’s on labyrinths in fantasy lit. Which gives me an excuse to talk about The Tombs of Atuan, and Tolkien’s Dead Marshes, and any number of other favourite mazes…
Onto Week 2, and this week I’m looking to finish and submit a paper on the science fiction novel The Dazzle of Day by Molly Gloss. It’s a story about a colony ship of Quakers who leave an ecologically devastated Earth to try and find a planet where they can live in a more environmentally friendly way. I first came across the book when I was asked to take part in a round table on it for Strange Horizons several years ago, and was quickly fascinated. I love it, and for this challenge in particular it’s carrying on the focus on environmental SFF.
I actually have a fairly strong draft, or so I think, but it needs a whole lot of work to better explain the intersection between environmentalism and Quaker beliefs. I’m not religious myself (never have been) but my Dad’s maternal family were Quakers for generations back, or so I understand it, so it’s going to be really interesting to look at further I think. Wish me luck, anyway!
Thank you so much to the people who have donated already, and please consider donating to Clarion West either through me or through one of the other writers taking part in Write-a-thon. Their scholarship fund can really use the boost!
That sounds an odd combination, I know. But last December I went to the Superheroes Beyond conference in Melbourne (which was really good!). Anyway, I presented a paper there: “Eco-Horror, Mutation, and the World Without Us”, which basically argued for the existence of the ecological superhero, and how maybe the most useful thing that they can do, from a conservation point of view, is start stomping out great swathes of the human race.
Believe it or not, people actually seemed to enjoy it. And I was asked to submit a paper towards a collection of topics presented at the conference. Yay! So, given the deadline’s coming up soon, this is my Week One task for Write-a-thon… to construct, from the jumble of my notes and drafts, a cohesive argument for eco-horror and superheroes. Should be fun!
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 favourite thing I’ve written – and as far as I’m concerned the best! – is the short sci-fi novel The August Birds, which is available free at the link: time-travelling ravens from Norse myth transport a boy into pivotal moments in science history for every day of the last month of his life.
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.
My Write-a-thon Goals
SIX WEEKS, SIX PAPERS
This is my third Write-a-thon, and I’ve been wracking my brains for a project. There’s so many I want to do! In the end I’ve plumped for non-fiction, because I’m increasingly enjoying not just writing genre fiction, but also writing about genre fiction. And because my laptop is littered with drafts of academic papers, I’m setting myself the challenge to complete (and submit!) one per week of the Write-a-thon.
Week one: “Eco-Horror, Mutation, and the World Without Us”, developed from a paper presented at the Superheroes Beyond conference in Melbourne, December 2018.
I’d like to add, too, that I attended Clarion West 2016, and was only able to do so because I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship. Please sponsor me so that other people can benefit in the same way!