This afternoon I took part in a live discussion on science fiction and fantasy writing in New Zealand. Chaired by Radio New Zealand’s Lynn Freeman, it featured writers Helen Lowe, Russell Kirkpatrick and myself, and publisher Larain Day – see below for further details.
The podcast of this 13-minute discussion is now available in MP3 format at http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/art/art-20090712-1430-Chapter_and_Verse-048.mp3
I enjoyed taking part – and thanks for inviting me, Lynn – but I felt we were just getting started on the discussion when we ran out of time. All the same, we covered some interesting territory, including whether New Zealand SF&F readers are willing to read SF&F written by New Zealand authors and published in New Zealand, and where these genres may go in future. Worth a listen, I think!
My fantasy novel Anarya’s Secret, set in the universe of the Earthdawn roleplaying game, was on the ballot for Best Adult Novel at the 2008 Sir Julius Vogel Awards, New Zealand’s local equivalent of the Hugo Awards. The award was won by Russell Kirkpatrick’s novel Path of Revenge, and I was impressed by the quality and range of the novels and other works up for awards, and the number of them that had found international publication.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand (SFFANZ) has provided a measure of this upsurge in New Zealand science fiction and fantasy by listing books in the field by New Zealand authors. The listing was based on one created by Jack Ross, subsequently updated by Alan Robson.
Although the listing (split into A-L and M-Z) is short on bibliographic detail in places, it does show that a lot more New Zealanders have successfully written science fiction and fantasy than is commonly assumed by those outside – or inside – the field.
There’s more to come, too – for instance Helen Lowe’s forthcoming YA fantasy novel Thornspell, about to be published in the US, and her subsequent fantasy tetralogy for adults, Wall of Night. Although it has flown mostly under the radar so far, New Zealand science fiction and fantasy is becoming hard to ignore.
UPDATE: There’s more about Helen and her new book on the HarperCollins (Eos) blog.