Series Rewatch: Farscape – Season One, Episode Eleven

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Times Aeryn saves the day: 3

Times John saves the day: 5

Times Zhaan saves the day: 1

References Star Wars: 1

Times John compares someplace to Earth: 1

Season One, Episode Eleven: Til the Blood Runs Clear

John and Aeryn go for a little haunt ‘round the block to collect data towards getting John home. Things go far better than expected, which goes to show how rude John can be, and brings the science back to this show for an episode.


A: Just the title of this episode bodes poorly for D’Argo. I love Aeryn’s snarkiness in this opening; she’s so funny.


K: I didn’t even realise that. Ah well, maybe it’ll give him a chance to redeem himself for past episodes.


A: aaaand Zhaan is having A Moment in the sunlight, which is quite spoiled when Pilot points out the radiation could harm the baby. Guess that’s going to be a thing for the rest of the show.


K: Zhaan is a plant :D


A: I don’t think we know that at this point!  :D

John, you didn’t TELL Aeryn that you were hoping for a wormhole, when you went for this flight? Seriously? You were just… what, hoping to go home and Aeryn would come with you and you’d leave Moya et al behind?! That is beyond selfish.  


K: John is pretty damn selfish. Does he like her at this stage, or just thinks Aeryn doesn’t belong out there anywhere and can do whatever on earth? It’s pretty insulting either way to think she has nothing better to do.


A: and then you have a wormhole, and it’s unstable. Aw sad.


K: Why does John go all dreamy anyway? Allergic reaction to worholes? That must suck, looks like he may as well stay on Moya. Earth ain’t that great anyhow, John.


A: And the sunshine is having QUITE an effect on Zhaan. Rawr. Photogasm!!


K: Slightly amusing.


A: Open up a wormhole and then the module is damaged… dang. Why is D’Argo assuming control at this point?


K: Male privilege?


A: Yay Aeryn confronting John about his arrogant expectations! That’s right, John, it’s only YOU that cares about this module.


K: Aeryn is excellent. At least John can admit he needs her help.

A: Nice Star Wars-ish graphics for the planet. Also, MAGDA! This is probably my favourite ever cameo. Also also, I love her garage a lot.


K: Oh my goodness, I don’t think I knew of her when I first watched this. Ahaha excellent! Love the cigar. I don’t get why he thinks this module is the only option to be able to get home – surely there would be other transport that would be far more stable. Unless he’s smart enough to think about having to cover his tracks so Earth doesn’t have immediate confirmation of life elsewhere and go invade. Somehow I don’t think that’s what he’s thinking of though…


A: CRAIS! Well, a recording of him anyway.


K: Be still, your fluttering heart. Why is the quote ‘beating’, why would someone want their beating to stop?


A: Details, details.

The bounty-hunter intro-music is magnificently intimidating. John’s assumption of butch (heh) arrogance is… kinda scary. If appropriate in context, I suppose.


K: I would have liked the plot line more if Aeryn has assumed control and said Crichton was her property instead, but eh. Eugh, John and his names.


A: Ahaha, love Butch and Sundance. Although knowing what happened to them in the end, NOT the greatest of choices!



K: Quite empowering for Zhaan to be casually able to enjoy that wherever, I suppose?


A: Wow these bounty hunters are magnificently stupid. Um, their costume is a bit problematic though?


K: Just a tad.


A: Aeryn gets a personal message from Crais! Offering an honorable retirement if she turns in Crichton etc! Um, how uncomfortable for her.


K: Tempting when he’s being such an ass and just assumes so much – I’d certainly first be wary that it wasn’t enough to make her at least consider it.

I love that her title is quite excellent in full. I wonder if Crais can be trusted, though. And would Aeryn even like to retire? I’d love to know more about the other elements of their race, and what people do other than be Peacekeepers, and what happens after.


A: Stupid, these bounty hunters, but apparently quite good at catching people. And D’Argo is just a bit stupid – or perhaps it’s reckless.


K: I’d go with reckless. Cool rock music though.


A: nicely done there, John, to get D’Argo’s blood running clear and get the bounty hunters to trust you.


K: Hence title of the episode, woo!


A: Someone interfering with John’s ship! Oh no! And Aeryn comes to the rescue… getting knocked out for her pains. AND she’s blinded. That must be truly terrifying for her.


K: At least Magna wasn’t trying to scam them. Aeryn’s going through hell lately, poor thing. Certainly not ringing endorsement to stay with John and go to this Earth place, surely.


A: Zhaan freaking Rygel out about being nude is fantastic. Yet again another example of this not being a kids’ show.


K: Rygel is such a snobby old man.


A: How many shuttles ARE there on Moya??


K: Well it does have 20+ levels we don’t often see, I suppose. Does it ever say how many people can be housed on Moya? Do we ever know what they’re usually used for? Cargo transport? Seems a lot of things can mess a Leviathan up so… doubtful. But then they’re also reliant on a crew… so who knows.


A: Oh Aeryn, having to admit to a disability and needing help. This is going to be hard, given your desire for self-reliance.


K: I guess to even out how John had to ask for her for help before.


A: Zhaan can make herself unscented??


K: Any excuse to have to get more photogasms!


A: This D’Argo/John fight is a just a whole lot of willy-waving. Interesting that they suggest they can never be friends – I rather thought that their relationship was already progressing to that. Maybe I see ‘allies’ and think ‘friends’.


K: I assumed friends from previous lines in the show how D’Argo was being all buddy-buddy with Aeryn and so forth. You’d think if he could say that about a ex-Peacekeeper, he’d be able to say it about some alien idiot. Kinda seems like some lazy lines in this episode.


A: And Aeryn walks out, hot as all get out (btw why is she not having heat issues?), and she saves the day without having to fire at any of them because it turns out, using your brain is sometimes a better option. Who’d’ve thought?


K: That’s an interesting point. Maybe it’s a cold desert? Some people seem to be dressed for warmth, and then John’s walking around in his shirt sleeves…


A: I really did wonder how John was going to pay for the mechanic’s labour and parts. Parting with the tape with all the data? That’s quite a price. At the same time: what were you going to do, John? Just bail with your debt unpaid??


K: How have they paid for anything at this stage? Zhaan’s mentioned a few odd jobs sometimes maybe for food cubes etc… surely they have credits from that?


In summary, sunlight can be really good if you’re Zhaan, Magda Szubanski should have a cameo in every second episode, and the boys are jackasses in this episode. More so than usual.

Join us next week for episode eleven, Rhapsody in Blue

Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas 2016 anthology, edited by Paula Guran

YBSFFNovellas2016-600Published by: Prime Books
ISBN: 1607014726
ISBN 13: 9781607014720
Published: July 2016
Pages: 528
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Publisher Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Five out of Five

Novellas are currently my favourite thing. Longer than a short story so you get some meaty character development and/or world building, but only need half an hour to a few hours to lose yourself in before it sets you free to go flail about it to a friend.

This is a collection of the best of the best, and it shows. Highly recommended.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

This piece I’d already read previously, when reading for voting for the Hugo Awards.

This novella packs such a powerful punch in around 100 pages. Binti is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University – an amazing place of study that has a human population of 5%. To say that leaving her family and her people behind is hard is an understatement, it simply isn’t done and there’s little chance of going back thanks to the shame she’s now brought her family for leaving, and utterly ruining her marriage prospects. This is soon the least of her worries though, as the journey to the uni takes a turn for the worst no one could have expected…

This is a powerful piece of work as one can expect from the author. Binti is such a strong and amazing character, who somehow manages to defy everything yet remain humble and as though it is possible to do something for yourself without being an awful person, despite what her people may think.

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls by Aliette de Bodard

Suu Nuoc travels on a ship called The Turtle’s Golden Claw, which has an artificial intelligence on it who was once the empress’ youngest daughter. She wakes him in a panic in the middle of the night, worried that she can’t contact grandmother who disappeared in the middle of a call, a fact so worrying Suu Nuoc dresses and leaves immediately. As a military man, he has a mind for strategy whilst being utterly careful; experience that seems like it will serve him well in this case.

Upon a quick check of the last whereabouts of Grant Master Back Cuc (grandmother), who should be in the laboratories, Suu Nuoc is forced to use his privileges earned through spectacular battles to dismiss the protective seals that have been left, to see if there’s any trace or clue as to what happened, even if it means looking into her private notes…

I’m not sure of how much of De Bodard’s work I’ve read up until now – though I’ve certainly meant to. This is nothing but encouragement, the novella being both engaging and intriguing to read. Both the relationships between the characters is simply explained and easy to follow, and the history flows effortlessly from the little titbits we’re given or casual references made by the characters.

When this one was over I was suddenly reminded I was reading a novella rather than a novel – I felt so immersed that I’ll probably keep remembering to reach for that novel I was enjoying.

Gypsy by Carter Scholz

What an epic opening.

‘The launch of Earth’s first starship went unremarked. The crew gave no interviews. No camera broadcast the hard light pulsing from its tail. To the plain eye, it might have been a common airplane.’

And then this line is able to perfectly sum up the current status of the world:

‘The U.S. was no longer the global hyperpower, but it went on behaving as if.’

We meet Sophie of the year 2043 who has seen the best of life as one of the privileged before the world fell down around her, so she knows how far she’s fallen, and how lucky that these few slivers of remaining privilege mean the separation that saves her from having to fight a war in some country far from home. Instead, she works for a defence system in IT and it’s here that she receives a special invitation…

This piece has some very creepy parts ‘say it’s not, Roger’ and some very beautiful, and it’s incredibly interesting to see Scholz’ take on what happens physically after a long journey of a certain nature. These people are brave and it’s a scary and hyper-realistic option of what could happen in the very, very near future. I’d love a novel of this, really.

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik

A boy is told stories of a pauper princess by his Gramps. The Mughal princess Zeenat Begum, lost her kingdom to British rule and her great-great-great Grandfather King Bahadur Shah Zafar exiled. This all seems a world away to the boy in humid Florida, but they move him to tears and he takes it all in regardless and begs for more even when others laugh at the stories and call them only that – stories.

Gramps demands that they are true, and that he bought tea from the princess herself. Drank it under the Eucalyptus tree and knew of the jinn that protected the princess and her sisters, and didn’t always react too well if other children nearby didn’t respect him enough.

I’ve read and enjoyed Malik’s work before, so I went into this piece with high expectations and they were met with flying colours. Especially with the idea of the eucalyptus, which I’m very familiar with being from Australia. The characters felt utterly their own and lifted off the page in a way where I don’t want to leave them. I’m really loving what Malik does!

What Has Passes Shall in Kinder Light Appear by Bao Shu (translated by Ken Liu)

Xie Baosheng was born on the day the world was supposed to end. He’s four when the Olympics come to China, a story he one day tells his son, who finds it almost impossible to believe China could have been so prosperous.

The story follows Baosheng through his childhood with a close friend, Qiqi, until she moves away, and then the other friends and classmates he meets throughout his school life. We get comments about what he notices about the world as things deteriorate around him, the wars, the loss of technology, the adults around him becoming poor or divorced and angry and frightened.

It’s an interesting and captivating view of culture and boundaries as we see the terrible things that happen to characters we really grow quite fond of, despite some of the decisions that are made. We hear about the awful things that happened at Tiananmen Square and how the world inflicts certain results within China, and it all over shows how rough life is, and how little we’re taught in school sometimes… A huge eye-opener, and very, very well translated.

The Last Witness by K. J. Parker

This novella is about a particular man blessed and/or cursed with both a photographic memory and the ability to take thoughts out of the minds of others. He can’t read your mind – that’s not possible, he says. He takes the memory, as in, the original owner loses all trace of it.

This means the man has seen literally everything – the darkest and cruellest thing man has ever thought of or committed. It also means he’s quite handy in eliminating someone, as then all traces of the crime can be wiped out. Other than himself, of course, but he assures his clients that it’s not a problem.

He’s an engaging main character to follow. He has power and he knows it, unflinchingly happy to haggle hard without remorse. After all, they’re pretty nasty people he’s dealing with half the time. He also has a good voice that’s wry and both road-weary but still amused at the hell of life. I’ve been meaning to read Parker’s work before, and I really need to follow up on that now!

Inhuman Garbage by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

This one certainly had the title that made me the most intrigued, and it certainly delivered. We have a detective and a mention of Armstrong, the largest city on Earth’s moon. Awesome.

Detective DeRicci is investigating a body that’s turned up in some waste disposal, and interviews the owner himself who’s strangely compliant and helpful. It turns out its not the first body to appear in the disposal, though they haven’t had one for more than a year… both human and alien, he says. The company has been in his family for a while, and bodies appeared when his grandmother was in charge – that’s why they brought in certain technology to scan for such irregularities.

This was an engaging piece, because both DeRicci and Ansel (the boss) are highly capable and interesting characters, and I especially liked how DeRicci was quick to admit certain things – like how squeamish she is with organic stuff. I haven’t heard of the author before, I have to admit, but I’ve put The Disappeared (Retrieval Artist #1) onto my to read list now! (Miles Flint has been called one of “the top ten greatest science fiction detectives of all time” by io9 and one of “14 great sci-fi and fantasy detectives who out-Sherlock’d Holmes!)

The Bone Swans of Amandale by C. S. E. Cooney

Dora Rose, Elinore and Maurice are shape shifters that go through ‘fleshing’ and ‘downing’, where it’s possible to catch them in between and kill them with an arrow. Dora and Elinore are swans, and Maurice, our narrator, is a rat. They have a history among them, and no love lost there, though they still come together in part when the hunters arrive.

We have a mayor full of trickery, who won the position through deceitful ways, and a world where animals have one last song before they die. Overall this felt like the most magical piece, as it certainly takes you somewhere else entirely.

Johnny Rev by Rachel Pollack

Jack goes by many names. Jack Shade, Rebel Jack, Jack Crazy… and he’s a Traveler. He studied with Anatolie, who once scared him so badly that it set him straight and he learned a valuable lesson of knowing who to be reckless with, and who to respect.

In the ‘now’, he’s now called Jack Shade and we’re dropped into an adventure almost immediately, complete with the always epic line, ‘Oh fuck,’ ‘You’re dead! I killed you, goddamnit. I killed you!’ Now, who can resist a line like this?

This is another epic and excellent novella, with a sparkling lead and subtle little hints of the magic and power of their world and the abilities they have. I would certainly love to read a novel set in this world also.

Series Rewatch: Farscape – Season One, Episode Ten

Farscape rewatch

Each week on a Sunday afternoon, join Alex (of Randomly Yours, Alex) and Katharine (of the unpronounceable Ventureadlaxre), as they re-watch the Australian-American sci-fi show Farscape, notable for the Jim Henson animatronic puppets, the excellent mish-mash of accents, and the best OTP ship of all time.

Times Aeryn saves the day: 3

Times John saves the day: 4

Times Zhaan saves the day: 1

References Star Wars: 1

Times John compares someplace to Earth: 1

Season One, Episode Ten: They’ve Got a Secret

Peacekeeper issues are still on board as fits with the plot when it suits. It may have infected D’Argo, who is then hurled out of an airlock. All in a day’s work when you’re on Moya.


K: I wonder how this conversation started – ‘John, come here, I need a ladder I can order about?’


A: Oh I HOPE so. Plus, D’Argo is a right little whinger. “Wah, I’m doing droid work!”


K: And I wonder if Pilot can regenerate just so it’s easier to have his puppets back to normal after the last episode…


A: what, you don’t think it’s narrative-driven?!

That hole didn’t look big enough for D’Argo to crawl through.  


K: And D’Argo continues to think that yelling solves everything. WHY wouldn’t he just go back out to the passage and ask again? Hasn’t he ever had a mobile phone?


A: I used to think I liked D’Argo, but he is really not winning me over on this rewatch. You galumphing goon, just yanking on cables? Seriously?

K: Sometimes Moya seems massive. 20+ levels?


A: Yeh that’s unexpected.

K: And D’Argo still hasn’t learnt from his mistakes… This is what happens when you cut off one of Pilot’s limbs, D’Argo!


A: AHAHA. Surely you don’t think Pilot is that manipulative? (insert joke about limbs and manipulation)

Aw, first indication of D’Argo’s old life. I am still unimpressed with him though. Also unimpressed by John just YELLING at Pilot to get a response. Zhaan, however, is all Scientist Mode and I love it.

Pilot, you are terrible at being subtle.

K: Interesting discussion between Aeryn and Crichton about slavery and otherwise.


A: huh yes, just in passing – it’s a really interesting further indication of this not being a kid’s show.

K: Aha, Aeryn is awesome. I’d be a bit cranky stuck to the floor too, I wouldn’t like to be low either when things are going weird.

Does Aeryn have a happy place?


A: And having to rely on John to sort things out. Pretty sure Aeryn has never needed a happy place until she met these people.

K: Bwahaha.

…Why does John need to help Aeryn wash her hand?


A: Solicitous. So cute. Also, continuing their conversation, right? I don’t think John KNOWS why he did it, to be honest. John’s serious face is so little-boy.

K: D’Argo thinking that Zhaan is Lo’Laan is sad and sweet and aww.


A: And a bit ew.

I love Aeryn being all scientific! She’s so proud of Peacekeeper tech.


K: I’m sure there would be some uncharted world space market that has technology that works properly at seeking out Peacekeeper technology. There would be in the Firefly universe (though I should stop comparing sci fi worlds).

Earth does sound pretty awful when you speak about it in generic terms and facts. But then, chocolate. Crichton has a point. We just got a Max Brenner where I live, which is amazing.


A: mmm now I want chocolate.


K: And things are starting to fail around them.

A: DRDs as symptomatic of problems on Moya are TOO CUTE. Also, no refrigeration is very bad.


K: I love seeing Aeryn start to become closer and closer with Pilot. It’s such a powerful role and one so healthy and helpful, too. Like, the opposite of a Peacekeeper. Taking the role of who is apparently the ‘servant’ on board, as D’Argo said last episode?


A: OH Aeryn. Using the skills she gained as a Peacekeeper – she is a pilot after all – to help Pilot in the first place, and everyone else by extension.

Oh and then Rygel turns up. I was enjoying the episode without him. I just loathe the way Rygel reacts towards D’Argo here.

K: D’Argo is still behaving oddly, Rygel still isn’t funny, Zhaan isn’t seeming too well now, Pilot is out… things aren’t looking too great and we’re only halfway through the episode! Who’ll save the day, Aeryn or Crichton?


A: Aeryn the Scientist!

K: Careful Crichton! Who’s D’Argo going to see when he looks at you? Also, how exactly will D’Argo be helpful anyhow?


A: John just never seems to understand situations before him; he thinks that if he keeps talking things will just come right.

K: Poor D’Argo, though I’m still cranky with him for the last episode.

A: This is the most earnest I’ve ever seen D’Argo. It’s good. And then it’s back into Amnesiac D’Argo.


K: So Crichton’s going to save the day. I wonder how he’s keeping his hair so short and all shaved nicely after so long in space anyway? I wonder if space has some easy ‘don’t have to shave’ thing on offer, like how they have different ways to look after your teeth etc


A: I wondered that about Aeryn’s armpits at the start of the ep, actually :P  Maybe they have magic depilation.


K: Maybe Sebaceans suffer from… what’s the lyric in the Tim Minchin song? ‘suffers neck down alopecia’?


A: SWARMS of DRDs! How terrifying!

This is very weird cinematography during the confab about exactly who is responsible for the DRDs getting apparently evil. And Zhaan’s offense at John thinking her body carries bacteria is hilarious.

K: Suitably dramatic plot development. Having to shut down Moya where it’s possible they won’t be able to revive her again?


A: How distinctly unpleasant, and a bit too much like the cutting-off-the-arm-of-Pilot.

K: Poor D’Argo. Though that is one creepy looking child.


A: Playing D’Argo like this is a bit unpleasant, too. Finding out D’Argo’s past is quite traumatic… and basically an info-dump  :P  Cross-species family being destroyed…  :(   

K: Just in the nick of time, D’Argo comes back to them. Aeryn having to do the unthinkable because it’s the only option, regardless of whether everyone else agrees with her or not.


A: Although they do all seem to agree, which is also, well, a bit despicable actually.

K: So why are the comms working again? Or was that explained by something else they’ve broken?


A: nah comms are essential to the narrative. Can’t lose those.


K: Bwaha. If I ever write a sci fi novella you’re checking it for shit like this!


A: Aeryn cutting Moya’s brain is awful.

K: Yup. Argh.

OH! It’s this episode! I didn’t think it happened this early!


A: seriously? That’s hilarious!


K: Poor Aeryn getting yelled at though, chill out guys.


A: so panicky, much freaking out.

K: Aeryn does seem to be favouring that one button. Or maybe it’s the only one they have that moves. I like how she doesn’t seem fussed that something may be really, really wrong, she’s just like eugh these idiots…



I love the way John talks to Moya/ the DRDs; it’s so cute.

K: Aeryn and D’Argo have a nice little moment, and D’Argo finally has some character development after a few episodes of being a pain in the ass.


A: Aeryn bucking ingrained traditions! Breaking freeeee!

In summary, as with humans, if someone starts behaving oddly it’s possible they may be pregnant. Make hot chocolate and order in some cushions.

Join us next week for episode eleven, ‘Til the Blood Runs Clear

2016 Snapshot – Alisa Krasnostein


alisaAlisa Krasnostein is an award winning editor and publisher at independent Twelfth Planet Press, a creative publishing PhD student and recently retired environmental engineer. She is also part of the Hugo award winning Galactic Suburbia Podcast team. In 2011, she won the World Fantasy Award for her work at Twelfth Planet Press. She was the Executive Editor and founder of the review website Aussie Specfic in Focus! from 2004 to 2012. In her spare time she is a critic, reader, reviewer, podcaster, runner, environmentalist, knitter, quilter and puppy lover. And full time mum.
1. You are part of the multi-award winning podcast Galactic Suburbia – in recent times you’ve joined Patreon and last year broadcast another live episode at Continuum… what else is on the cards for Galactic Suburbia, and what other avenues would you like to see the podcast branch out into? Would your answer be different if money and time weren’t an issue?

More of the same is our schedule for the moment. There’s so much still to talk about and dissect. Our listeners love the spoilerific episodes so we’ve been trying to work on bringing a few more of those out a year. Personally, I’d love the chance for us to record more live episodes. Sadly though I’m not sure that’s on the cards for the near future.

LetterstoTiptree2. Last year in August, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Alice Sheldon’s birth – Alexandra Pierce and yourself brought out an anthology titled Letters to Tiptree which is currently appearing on shortlists all around the world. What’s something you discovered whilst doing this project, that’s either the most interesting to you or the most surprising?

There were so many highlights for me working on this book. I loved discovering how great it is to co-edit with Alex. I loved delving into Sheldon’s and Tiptree’s letters and immersing myself in Julie Phillips’ bio of Sheldon/Tiptree. She’s just the most fascinating person. And I was equally fascinated with how intimate some of her letters were, particularly to Joanna Russ. I don’t think I would want my personal letters archived for just anyone to come along and read afterwards. Even long after I’m dead. I was also surprised to find out just how hard a non fiction book is to edit. I found it far more challenging or maybe just a completely new learning curve. This book involved working with more than 50 people and it was pretty frenetic at times. And completely exhilarating. We got the chance to meet and work with really amazing people and that’s always thrilling.

3. Can you give us any hints about a work that may be in current planning stages, but isn’t yet announced? Maybe something that’s a little like Letters to Tiptree?

I’ve wanted to have a nonfiction line at Twelfth Planet Press for quite some time now. I’m pretty excited that we’ve finally started to publish nonfiction and we do have some more titles in the works, currently not yet announced. I can’t say more than that really but we are working on something to follow up Letters to Tiptree. And I’m very excited watching the co-editors start to develop it.

Defying-Doomsday weightless4. What Australian work have you loved recently?

Defying Doomsday. Holly and Tsana completely delivered on their remit for this project – to present a diverse array of empowering stories with protagonist with disabilities or illnesses. It’s an amazingly uplifting anthology despite being stories in apocalyptic settings. And the Australian authors featured also wrote some of my favourites in this book. I’m truly proud and privileged to have been able to publish this book and work with these two editors.
I’m also going to give a shout out to Angela Slatter – her debut novel Vigil is currently on my nightstand and I’m enjoying getting stuck into it.

5. Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?

I think I’d have to say James Tiptree Jr. I still have so many unanswered questions and I’d love to be able to just bask in Sheldon’s vicinity and observe her mind in action. I think someone who wrote those stories would be thoroughly fascinating to just chat with and get to expand some of the ideas to a more overall worldview.


This interview was conducted as part of the 2016 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 August to 14 August and archiving them at our Snapshot headquarters

2016 Snapshot – Joanne Anderton


Joanne Anderton_photo_1

Joanne Anderton is an award-winning author of speculative fiction stories for adults, young adults, and anyone who likes their worlds a little different. She sprinkles a pinch of science fiction to spice up her fantasy, and thinks horror adds flavour to just about everything. Her science fiction/fantasy novels have been published by Angry Robot Books and Fablecroft Publishing. Her short story collection, The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories, was published by Fablecroft Publishing. It won the Aurealis Award for best collection, and the Australian Shadows Award for best collected work. You can find her online at

I’ve heard whispers that you’re currently working on something that will take us by surprise – what can you tell us about it? 

My forthcoming work is a bit different from the norm! It’s an illustrated book for kids, and it’s not even genre. It’s called The Flying Optometrist, and is being published by the National Library of Australia next year. I’m so excited about this one! It will be illustrated by the amazing Karen Erasmus (you can check out her facebook page here: and I feel incredibly lucky, because her artwork is gorgeous.

The Flying Optometrist is inspired by my dad who, in his “retirement”, flies to remote outback areas in the little red plane that he built (yep) to help provide eye health care to people who otherwise wouldn’t receive it. He’s not the only optometrist to do so, thanks to the visiting optometrist scheme, but he’s the only one with the little red plane! Rural healthcare is a real passion for him. I went out with him on one of his trips to Wanaaring to research the book, and I can see why. I’d be lost without access to glasses, and I can just go down the road and find any number of optometrists vying for my business. But if you live in a remote location you don’t have that luxury! There are people all around the world, and in this country, who are blind simply because they don’t have access to glasses.

You can see some of that passion has rubbed off on me. I’ve learned a lot researching for this book, and I still think an optometrist who arrives in his little red plane to test your vision is cool. I’m super excited about this project!


‘Bullets’, your short story from ‘In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep’, won the 2015 Aurealis Award for best horror short story. Where did this story come from, and what can you tell us about it? (Some say it’s quite dark?)

Yep, it’s just that little bit dark… Surely you’re not surprised? I think of Bullets as a kind of a dark, Australian fairytale. It was an idea I had rattling around in my head for a while, and writing for In Sunshine Bright and Darkness Deep finally helped me give it form. I was so surprised and thrilled when in won the Aurealis Award!

The idea came from an article I read about the aftermath of a bushfire, and the farmers who had to search the decimated landscape putting down their stock or wildlife who have been horribly injured in fire. In the article, one of these farmers talked about running out of bullets. I thought that was such a powerful and horrible image, and one tied closely to the Australian experience and our relationship with the landscape. Tie that in with a bit of shape shifting, some dark magic, loneliness and isolation, and you have Bullets.


 What’s something you’re working on currently, and what do you have coming out in the future? The last time we spoke, you were telling us something about another series involving dragons, the Aussie outback, and the royal flying doctor’s service?

For forthcoming see question 1 :)

Things are still a bit slow going for me. If anyone has any tips about writing books while working full time, I’d love to hear them! This year on the writing front my goal is to establish a new routine — a realistic one — so I can write consistently and not suffer from writers guilt and/or exhaustion. Wish me luck with that :)

But yes, the RFDS with dragons is still on my list of books to work on! Close to the top of the list, even.


What Australian work have you loved recently?

I really enjoyed Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti. I just finished reading How to be a Writer (who smashes deadline, crushes editors and lives in a solid gold hovercraft) by John Birmingham, which was great fun! Currently on my bedside table is Vigil, by Angela Slatter and Summer of Monsters by Tony Thompson. I CANNOT WAIT for Thoraiya Dyer’s Crossroads of Canopy. And I’ve had a bit of a sneak peak at Cat Spark’s forthcoming Lotus Blue (it is so awesome!)


Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?

Haha this is an impossible question, because I know so many amazing writers and I want to sit next to all of them on the plane. Really, right now that’s what I’d like the most. Except, maybe not on a plane. Could we be having drinks instead?


This interview was conducted as part of the 2016 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 1 August to 14 August and archiving them at our Snapshot headquarters