A while back, I did a ‘Next Big Thing’ post about Flight 404. I’m going to cheat, now, and do another one. This time around, my tagger is fellow CSFGer and diligent polisher of novels Chris Andrews, who tagged me yonks ago (one and a half yonks, to be precise). I’m not sure if I’ll get around to tagging anyone in turn, but if anyone’s interested in being tagged, let me know.
OK, without further ado …
What is the title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve been a member of the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild since late 2006. One of the activities of the CSFG is to produce, every couple of years or so, an anthology of speculative fiction short stories. The anthologies are open to authors all over Australia, but the ‘heavy lifting’ of editing the book is always done by a CSFG member. Last year, when the Guild was looking to set the new anthology in motion, I put my hand up as a possible editor. So did Rob Porteous, and we agreed to take on the editing as a tag team.
The theme of the book, such as it has one, is indicated by its title, Next. The idea was to focus on stories that start off from some pivotal point, and proceed from there. I’m a big fan of loosely-themed anthologies, and of variety, and choosing a theme like ‘Next’ allowed us to collect, we hope, a dizzying variety of stories. Rob and I wanted to cover the gamut.
What genre does your book fall under?
Oh, that’s easy. Historical fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, alternate history, steampunk, whimsy, psychological horror, post-apocalypse, and zombie poetry with cats. And just about everything in between.
What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I’m fraught. On the one hand I have serious doubts that a movie could sensibly be made of the anthology, since it’s such a melange of countervailing styles. (Though it’s entirely possible that several of the story ideas could individually be developed into successful movies, and having floated the idea, I’d like to pre-emptively claim my ten percent commission against the eventuality that any of the stories do eventually make it to the silver screen.)
On the other hand I’m mindful of how the picture of Persis Khambatta I put up in my last ‘Next Big Thing’ post, for Flight 404, got way more hits than anything else I’ve ever had on my blog, and so, without any real hint as to which of the stories they’d be best suited for (but hey, look, trust me, they all fit in somewhere), I present to you: Diana Rigg
and James McAvoy.
What’s the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
To my mind, there’s no way that just one sentence could encapsulate the full spectrum of the anthology. So I can’t think of a better synopsis than listing the names of the authors: Kris Ashton, Daniel Baker, Alan Baxter, Adam Browne, David Coleman, Craig Cormick, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Ross C Hamilton, Robert Harland, Edwina Harvey, Richard L Lagarto, Chris Large, Martin Livings, Tracie McBride, Chris McGrane, Ian McHugh, Claire McKenna, Shauna O’Meara, Robert Phillips, Gillian Polack, Angela Rega, Nicky Rowlands, Leife Shallcross, Daniel Simpson, Steve Simpson, Helen Stubbs, David Versace, Janeen Webb, Catherine Whittle, and Suzanne J Willis. There’s no way that just one sentence could encapsulate the full spectrum of the anthology.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
You’d have to ask the authors. But it’s taken almost a year from putting out the call for submissions to, I sincerely hope, having the book in our hands to launch at Conflux next month.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, naturally, to the previous CSFG anthologies: Winds of Change, Masques, The Outsider, Encounters, Elsewhere, Machinations, and Nor of Human. It’s certainly one of a sequence–I hesitate to say ‘series’, because they can all justifiably be viewed as standalones, and of course you can read them in any order. There’s also a sense in which it’s a more diverse analogue of the other anthologies I’ve been involved in: namely ASIM issues 35, 40, 51 and 54, and the Light Touch Paper, Stand Clear anthology I co-edited with Edwina Harvey last year, for Peggy Bright Books. I’d like to think there’s also a connection to the classic unthemed anthologies like Terry Carr’s Universe series, or Jonathan Strahan’s recent Eclipse series.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Again, you’d have to ask the authors. But I enjoy editing, and I enjoy bringing other people’s stories to the attention of readers.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The stories in it are bloody brilliant, and you owe it to yourself to read them.