• 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!

     

     

The great rise and fall part II: Sean Williams delves into the heart of Geodesica

Here we have part two of Sean William’s piece on Geodesica, really getting to the heart of what has been explored. I really recommend reading the duology – two very different books that make up our story. Feel free to admire the way the covers sit together :). Click here to read part one of this piece.

AscentDescent

The future history of humanity helped define the shape Geodesica took. It could never have been a trilogy. Book one, to my mind, represents a rocket launching pad and book two the entire trajectory of the rocket, going up and then going in a beautiful parabola. That’s why Ascent and Descent have such different flavours and structures: Ascent is about a time of crisis in an “ordinary” interstellar empire, while Descent covers the entire span of Coevality–the million-year regime that comes about because of the invention of time travel.

Geodesica is a love story spanning nearly the full length of human history but it’s also, like all of my space opera novels, an exploration of what people might be like in the far future. Geodesica takes that latter inquiry in a direction I’d never gone before, that being: what will post-humans fight about? (See “Further reading” below for more on this.) Ultimately it’s a quest for selfhood and identity–the very same quest that occupies us in every stage of our lives–with giant explosions.

Of the latter, the teenage me and I agree, there can never be enough. Where aliens are concerned, though, I’m undecided. They make for great scenery, and they raise important philosophical and scientific questions. But in Geodesica, I decided, the issues I wanted to deal with were human issues, and so adding aliens to the mix would deflect attention away from where I wanted it to be. There are aliens in the books, but to a much lesser degree than in Orphans, say, where presenting humanity as a fragile species struggling to evolve in a hostile, alien universe was very much the point.

My favourite character in Geodesica is Isaac Deangelis, whose name means “he who laughs” but who has very little to laugh about through the course of his life. (Names are important to me. His surname, “of the angels”, was chosen deliberately.) Bred to be a ruler, he routinely juggles more concerns than we ordinary humans could bear, but he falters at simple interpersonal relationships. Only on losing everything does he realise that he has never been free. Ultimately he must confront himself and his own obsessions, and thereby learn how to live with himself.

That seems to be a universal lesson. It’s certain one I’ve grappled with myself, and I will continue to explore it in my fiction as long as I’m able. You can dress them up as space opera or fantasy as much as you like, but every story is really about us. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about writing, that’s it.

Sean Williams is the author of twenty-nine novels and over seventy short stories, and won an Aurealis this year for his collection of short stories in Magic Dirt (link below). To find out more about him, go to www.seanwilliams.com.

Further reading from Sean:

2006 Conjure GoH Address (the million-year romance)

“A Longing for the Dark” (the future of fighting), presented in podcast form, read by me, courtesy of the Terra Incognita Australian Speculative Fiction podcast:
www.tisf.com.au or
www.keithstevenson.com/terraincognitasf/tisf005.html or
www.keithstevenson.com/media/TISF_005.mp3

Lastly, “Night of the Dolls” (lots of the themes mentioned here), in my best-of short story collection Magic Dirt:
http://ticonderogapublications.com/publications/magicdirt.html
(Like “A Longing for the Dark”, this is a standalone excerpt from Geodesica: Descent)

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