1. Tangled Bank Press has just released its first publication, ‘The Tangled Bank: Love, Wonder, and Evolution’, celebrating the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. What gave you the idea to produce an anthology inspired by Charles Darwin? Was this your first foray into editing?
I studied science before moving into fiction writing and editing, and early last year out of interest I searched for fiction projects connected to the 2009 Charles Darwin anniversaries. I couldn't find anything. I thought it worth commemorating, not only because of the scientific and historic significance of Origin of Species, but also because, as I explain in the introduction, the theory of evolution has been a big influence on the development of the science fiction genre. I had already thought about starting a small press, so a themed anthology seemed like a good place to start. Before I knew it, I had a website and a call for submissions.
I've edited various things over the years, but this is my first book-length project.
2. ‘The Tangled Bank’ contains short fiction, non-fiction, poetry and artwork. Why was it important to you to include all these forms in the anthology?
The title of the anthology and the theme of evolution both seemed to lend themselves well to all the different forms. A conversation between different genres also seemed well-suited to an ebook and online culture in general. It's a path I see a lot of zines and publications heading down. The decision to make the anthology an ebook (POD will be available, but it was designed as an ebook) was primarily a financial one. But having made that decision I think it's worth working out what ebooks can do that print books can't (or don't) and exploiting it as much as possible, and mixing media is part of that. The Tangled Bank is only a small exploration of the possibilities offered by ebooks (text, hypertext, and colour images), but for my first anthology I wanted to focus more on the editing side of things. I'd like to push it a lot further in future.
3. Does Tangled Bank Press have any other projects on the horizon? What do you personally have planned for 2010?
I have several ideas for anthologies. But I'm refocusing on my own writing for the rest of 2010. I have a number of short stories I need to redraft, and I'm working on a non-fiction book about a six-month walk across the length of Japan in 2008. By the time I've done that I'll have a better idea of what did and didn't work with The Tangled Bank, and take it from there.
4. Which Australian writers or work would you like to see on the Hugo shortlists this year? What have you enjoyed reading?
I spent a lot of time reading slush over the last year, but I did get time to read and enjoy Peter M. Ball's Horn. I'm looking forward to reading some of the other suggestions between now and Aussiecon 4.
5. Will you be at Aussiecon 4 in September? If so, what are you most looking forward to about it?
I'll definitely be there, soaking up the international flavour and speakers. Kim Stanley Robinson is a favourite. But I'm probably most looking forward to catching up with the Clarion South gang, many of whom I won't have seen for years. With any luck I'll get to meet some of the authors from The Tangled Bank as well. It's going to be a blast.
This interview was conducted as part of the 2010 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We'll be blogging interviews from Monday 15 February to Sunday 22 February and archiving them at ASif!: Australian SpecFic in Focus. You can read interviews at:
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