• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Dreaming Again: Jack Dann

Jack Dann is going to join the Captain of the Starship Voyager for a Q&A session in a little while, and in the mean time suggested I put up his introduction to Dreaming Again, a new anthology that follows in the footsteps of Dreaming Down-Under, showcasing Australia’s greatest fantasy writers and cutting-edge new talent. Dreaming Again comes out in July this year. This is the first part of the introduction, there’s more to come over the next few weeks before we chat to Jack.

Janeen Webb and I co-edited the prequel to Dreaming Again ten years ago. That book was called Dreaming Down-Under. Publishers Weekly compared it with Harlan Ellison’s classic Dangerous Visions; Peter Goldsworthy thought it was probably “the biggest, boldest, most controversial collection of original fiction ever published in Australia”; Neil Gaiman said, “Ignore it at your peril; it’s the book your friends will be talking about”; Jonathan Strahan, co-editor of The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, wrote that “It may be the most important anthology of Australian speculative fiction ever published”; and Gardner Dozois, editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction annuals said that it “may well be the best overall anthology of the year.” It was the first Australian volume ever to win the World Fantasy Award, and it also won the Australian Ditmar Award for Best Anthology. Stories from Dreaming Down-Under dominated both the Ditmar and the Aurealis awards: All six short story nominations for the Ditmar Award came from Dreaming Down-Under, and stories from Dreaming Down-Under won the Aurealis Award in both the science fiction and fantasy short story categories. Two stories in the volume were optioned for film, and others were chosen for American Best of the Year collections. And in the recently published reference work Australian Speculative Fiction: a Genre Overview, Donna Hanson writes: “This collection has been credited with putting Australian writing on the international map. It brought to the forefront Australia’s best-known authors and launched a few others. This anthology is so pivotal to the Australian scene that it is still being talked about and is still in print.”

Not bad innings!

Since Dreaming Down-Under was published, Janeen and I have been constantly queried as to when we were going to do another volume. Our refrain was consistent: “When the time is right.” We wanted to wait until the climate had changed…until new authors started writing the stories that would shock, astound, and delight us; and we wanted to give the established and up-and-coming authors showcased in the original volume time to develop new styles, themes, and audiences.

Well, that time is here, and Janeen and I were supposed to co-edit this book, but circumstances—damn all the fates, Norns, dark angels, doctors, germs, miasmas, and especially hollow-headed bureaucrats who gather like storm clouds just waiting to mix a multiplicity of metaphors and rain on our respective parades—have forced her to sit this one out. Janeen is a private person. Her ‘circumstances’ are nobody’s business. But, dammit, she should have had her name on the cover of this book.

Instead, she has looked over my shoulder, constrained me from my more florid idiocies, provided support, wisdom, and critical feedback. After all, she was an internationally known critic before she became a novelist.

So…what about this book? What about Dreaming Again?

Well, for a start, this is what I wrote to the authors:

Dreaming Again will showcase the very best contemporary “wild-side fiction” (those stories that have an edge of horror or fantasy, or could be categorised as magical realism) and the very best genre fiction, which includes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. We are looking for brilliant writing, style, and fresh ideas. Our only criterion is quality. Your story can be “new-wave,” or cyberpunk. It can be a “New Yorker story”, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, magic realism, contemporary fantasy. It can be a quiet vignette or ground-breaking extrapolation. We’re looking for the brilliant stories that we’ll remember in the years to come.

Dreaming Again will cross genres to showcase a combination of the very best Australian genre and non-genre short fiction. It will contain the cream of Australian science fiction, fantasy, horror, aboriginal fantastical fiction, and mainstream magical realism. This is the anthology that will shake up the established thinking about the “shape” of contemporary writing in Australia…that will open up—and redefine—the literary canon.

We are very interested in science fiction, fantasy, horror (dark fantasy), and stories of magical realism that use the Australian experience and geography; but that is secondary to good story. If your killer idea takes place in the far future, or in space, or on an alternative world—fine. Again, our criterion is quality.

This is an invitation to participate in the making of literary history. If you have a story that represents the very top of your form, we’d love to see it.

Keep an eye out here for more from Jack’s introduction to Dreaming Again, and our Q&A. The star-studded line up of writers for Dreaming Again includes: Sara Douglass, Garth Nix, Trudi Canavan, John Birmingham, Cecelia Dart-Thornton, Terry Dowling, Margo Lanagan, Isobelle Carmody and many more …