• 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: Sean Williams on Geodesica

Some time ago, I asked Sean Williams if he would write a piece for the Voyager blog, and he agreed to write on the Geodesica duology – made up of Geodesica: Ascent and Geodesica: Descent, two books which make a whole that I found amazing to read. So, in two parts, here is Sean’s piece, a wonderful exploration of writing these two books and the themes explored within them.



What’s Geodesica about? Perhaps I should start by describing where the idea for this story came from. As a young boy I spent a lot of time on buses, going back and forth between my home in Adelaide and the small country town where my grandparents lived. I’m sure I’m not the only such kid to have day-dreamed about taking a bus to another planet. In 1992 I tried to write a story about just that.

“Cloverleaf” detailed the escape of a criminal into a vast, space-bending maze that connected all the far-flung worlds of humanity’s future empire. He’s chased by cops and ultimately falls foul of an intelligence that has taken root inside the maze, an emergent property of the minds of all the commuters travelling through it like him.

No one bought “Cloverleaf”, and so the idea languished. It wasn’t until 2003, when I was looking for a series to follow Orphans, that the idea came out of the bottom drawer and leapt back into the forefront of my mind.

This being an old story for which I felt a great deal of affection, I quickly decided that it would be a “Williams with Dix” rather than “Williams and Dix” project–meaning that it was something I would work on alone, through development, pitching and writing, with Shane coming onboard much later to give me vital editorial support.



Having decided that, I proceeded to ditch almost everything about the original story except the central conceit and the title–and soon enough even the title went too. The duology was originally pitched as Cloverleaf, with individual volumes called Bedlam Watch and Palmer’s Wake. They then became Geodesica and Geodesica Falling before evolving into versions that ended up on the shelves.

Next I had to invent a new space opera milieu for the maze to intersect with. The one I settled on featured waves of progressively more advanced post-human sorts expanding outwards from Earth, each taking over territory controlled by their predecessors–something I’d never seen in fiction before. I made the maze of alien origin, something stumbled across and exploited, rather than built, and set the story off-Earth instead of starting at home and moving elsewhere–because sometimes the view over our shoulder is more terrifying than that ahead.

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.

Part two of this piece will go up tomorrow, but below is the list of further reading that Sean sent through.

Further reading:

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

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