• 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!



Of Polished Steel & Burnt Ice

This month  we’re launching a brand new Voyager author, Steve Wheeler, and his epic Science Fiction novel Burnt Ice. It’s been a while since we had some new pure science fiction gracing the blog, so we’re very excited about this one!
Burnt Ice is set in a distant future where the Sphere of Humankind is a vast interstellar empire ruled by The Administration and wars are run & televised to entertain the masses by the omnipresent Games Board. Featuring rogue AIs, massive Space Urchins, a rag-tag squadron of soldier-engineers and genetic engineering, Burnt Ice is the beginning of fantastic new series A Fury of Aces.
Read an except here.
In his other life in New Zealand, Steve Wheeler works as a metal worker and has crafted knives, swords and props for The Hobbit movie ( How awesome is that?).  He’ll be launching Burnt Ice at the Weta Cave at Weta HQ on April the 14th and we’ll be sure to post pictures afterward!

Cover illustration by John Howe ( yes THAT John Howe!)

Science Fact or Fiction?

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation is organising an event called  Science Fact or Fiction at University of Technology Sydney on the 20th August. It  is about “engaging the general public in science via the format of watching popular science fiction films and is part of National Science Week and the Ultimo Science Festival.” Sounds pretty awesome! 

They’re screening movies and discussing the science of things like telekinesis, light sabres & time travel. See their website and facebook page. Tickets are being sold through Moshtix at $15 for adults, $10 for children and $35 for families (two adults and two children). See www.moshtix.com.au

Science Fact or Fiction

Science Fact or Fiction 20th Aug @ UTS

Welcome to Moxyland

What’s really going on? Who’s really in charge? You have no idea ...

What’s really going on? Who’s really in charge? You have no idea ...

In the near future, four hip young things live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one.

Getting disconnected is a punishment worse that imprisonment, but someone has to stand up to the government, inc., whatever the cost.

“It’s what you get when you take your classic 80s deracinated corporate alienation sensibility, detonate about six kilos of semtex under it, and scatter the smoking wreckage across 21st century South Africa — full of unselfconscious spiky originality, the larval form of a new kind of SF munching its way out of the intestines of the wasp-paralysed caterpillar of cyberpunk.” Charles Stross

Kim Falconer: Archetypes, Agents and Oracles—Where Myth and SF Meet

Flycon, the online speculative fiction convention, offered a chance for authors, editors and fans from all over the globe to meet and discuss SF/F topics. One subject of particular interest was Mythology and Science Fiction, moderated and hosted by Nyssa Pascoe from A Writer goes on a Journey. The panellists were Dave Freer, Amanda Pillar and the transcripts are still up for viewing.

At first glance myth and SF seem opposed. Myths happen in the past and usually involve the numinous where science fiction happens in the future and involves speculative technologies, environmental shifts, space travel, or life on other planets. Amanda Pillar summed it up by saying mythology is the metaphorical framework which a culture uses to understand the world around them and science fiction is basically stories set in the future. But how do they work together?

Dave Freer gave an example. ‘I borrow heavily from the symbolism common in many mythological stories. I think this helps to quietly get under the reader’s skin. Issues like stories beginning at dawn and finishing at dusk. Issues of the trickster – a common myth figure – who is so often the bane and saviour of humankind.’

Joseph Campbell, a hero of mine, used the term monomyth to describe this archetypal portrayal of characters. Monomyths are enduring stories that reach a broad audience, archetypal in that they occur in all places, in all peoples, in all times. These stories touch something inside us—giving us as sense of meaning—something science doesn’t always do.

Star Wars—Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher 1977

Star Wars—Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher 1977

George Lucas’ Star Wars is an example of a monomyth/science fiction blend. In Obi Wan and Yoda we see the archetype of the Wise Old Man and spiritual Guide. Luke Skywalker is the young Hero and Darth Vader is the archetype of Death. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung believed these characters emerge from the Collective Unconscious, a deeper level of our personal unconscious that links the minds of every being—even back into our animal past.

He said, ‘This deeper level manifests itself in universal archaic images expressed in dreams, religious beliefs, myths, and fairy tales. The archetypes, as unfiltered psychic experience, appear sometimes in their most primitive and naive forms (in dreams), sometimes in a considerably more complex form due to the operation of conscious elaboration in myths.’

Keanu Reeves in the Matrix plays 'The One', a contemporary interpretation of the savior archetype.

Keanu Reeves in the Matrix plays 'The One', a contemporary interpretation of the savior archetype.

Another film that blends myth and SF is the Matrix Trilogy. Neo is the Hero called to adventure. Morpheus is the Wise Old Man, and the Oracle, like Yoda, is the numinous guide. The animas figure—the sacred feminine that tutors through love (or lack of it) like Medea, Ariadne and Princes Leia—is characterized by Trinity. It’s interesting how the hero’s journey hangs not on strength or knowledge but ultimately on a relationship to love. (Remember what happens to Jason when he rejects Medea?) In the Matrix, Neo is unable to overpower agent Smith until he is awakened by Love—a wonderful mythic theme woven into a post-apocalyptic SF tale.

Do you have a favourite SF/monomyth? Please share it here.

Kim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette (Quantum Enchantment Book 1), which was published in January by HarperVoyager. Kim lives in Byron Bay and runs the website Falcon’s Astrology as well as a website dedicated to the Quantum Enchantment series.

Follow Kim on Twitter

Writing the Poetic Apocalyptic – Kim Westwood guest blogs

The Daughters of MoabThe Daughters of Moab — my first novel, out in August — began with a single luminous image that sat in my mind a long time, unexplored. That image I knew was post-apocalyptic: a lonely railway line spearing through a devastated landscape, and two figures working on it, padded against the elements. In it I saw danger, and hopelessness, and camaraderie.

Engaging fully with the scene was like stepping onto a passing train — a train that wouldn’t release me back onto the platform until the journey was done, the tale told to its unknown end. From there the story unfolded in bright, perplexing pieces thrown like lures from my subconscious, asking me to bite. And so I did, writing each initially as a fragment of poetry without knowing how it might connect to the rest, but trusting I would find out. Then the Eureka! moment would arrive, and that which had always lain beneath the surface appeared as a pathway through the narrative, calling me, This way! This way!

A while ago I coined the term ‘poetic apocalyptic’ for my writing, because many of my short stories reveal a preoccupation with humanity’s capacity for destruction and equal instinct for survival, while the rhythms and nuances draw inspiration from the language of poetry. And so I see The Daughters of Moab as a poetic work stretching across a long narrative arc, but retaining a certain spareness — my aim being to limn the heart of that world, not interrogate its every corpuscle.

The journey has been beguiling, all-consuming. Just as events and experiences from the ‘outside’ have worked their way into the fabric of the story, the ever-developing lives of those inside it have bled through to superimpose themselves on external reality, leaving me with a sense of floating perpetually between the two. But finally the train is nearing the station. And now is the moment of stepping onto the platform.

Kim Westwood

The Daughters of Moab is out in August 2008. You can also get an early reading copy by signing up to the relevant Books Club at www.booktagger.com