• 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!



Little Brother: a message from Cory Doctorow

Little Brother

Little Brother

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow is available across Australia right now. We caught up with Cory earlier in the year and he scribed the following to describe why he felt the need to write Little Brother.

Since I was a kid, I’ve seen computers as tools of liberation. When my father brought home our first PC, an Apple ][+ in 1979, and a modem card to go with it, my life changed forever. Suddenly, it was possible to go more places, learn more things, access more tools, ideas and communities that even the most powerful, sophisticated grownups of the previous decade would have dreamt possible.

And for decades, it only got better. The networks got faster. The pool of people I could communicate with got larger. Storage got cheaper. The variety of information got broader. I became a technological triumphalist, convinced that my beloved machines would be the world’s salvation, the end to centuries of authoritarianism and control.

Today, I’m not so sure.

If I were a kid today, I think that I’d be justifiably scared to death of computers and what they can do. It has never been easier to threaten the privacy and liberty of children than it is today. Sleazy censorware companies peddle junk software that is supposed to block out all the bad stuff and let the good stuff through. It does neither. There just aren’t enough cavernous sweatshops filled with badly trained censors to look at and evaluate every page on the Internet and class it as bad or good, so our children end up being blocked from millions of legitimate pages and being exposed to millions of dangerous ones — with the added risk of allowing these companies to get a record of every page our dis look at on the Internet.

Kids are spied upon by CCTV from the time of infancy, fitted with anti-truancy GPS ankle-bracelets designed to track paroled felons, tracked around the web by marketing creeps, chased out of public squares with high-pitched “mosquito” tones that adult ears can’t hear. Their phones and video-game consoles are fitted with “DRM” — digital rights management designed to control their copying and use of software — which allows remote parties to set and enforce policy on their property, without their consent or knowledge.

It’s enough to make you want to live in a cave.

But kids are fighting back. They understand that by taking control of the devices — seizing the means of information — they can tilt the balance of power back in their favour. The difference between a dystopia like 1984 and a utopia like I, Robot is whether we control the machines or the machines control us.

There has never been a more important time to seize our technological freedom. The spectre of terrorism is the all-purpose excuse for every conceivable power-grab. Architecture is politics: the machines we put in place today will determine the society we inhabit tomorrow — and that is why I wrote this book: to give kids the tools they need to take back that heady power that comes from being the master of your machines, from making them dance to your will. I hope you’ll share it with the children in your life, and I hope they’ll share it with their friends, before it becomes impossible to do so.

So there’s something to think about in 2009: the year of taking back the tools for liberation.From all of us at Voyager Online, Happy New Year! We hope all the books you read this year give you something to carry away with you and think about.