In 2005, a lone writer called Ben Peek decided to interview a selection of authors, editors, publishers and artists working in the Australian speculative fiction community. He called it Snapshot, and in a frantic week, he blogged over 40 interviews. In 2007, a slightly less insane group of people affiliated with the Australian Specfic In Focus (ASif!) reviewing website undertook to repeat the exercise. This time, they covered 83 subjects from all areas of the speculative fiction community.
In February 2010 – in the lead up to Aussiecon 4, Australia’s fourth hosting of Worldcon, the international science fiction convention which also boasts the Hugo Awards – six interviewers, including myself, decided it was a great time to Snapshot again. In the space of a week, we managed to publish 90 interviews, covering internationally reknown authors, artists and editors including Margo Lanagan, Sean Williams, Jonathan Strahan and Nick Stathopoulos alongside up-and-coming writers such as Thoraiya Dyer, Felicity Dowker and Jason Fischer, as well as book bloggers, reviewers, publishers and commentators relevant in the specfic scene.
The Snapshot is a fascinating insight into publishing in Australia at a given point in time. To consider the perspectives of some of the interviewees over a period of five years, to see the progression for some authors from the first interviews in 2005 to the third set in 2010 (such as Margo Lanagan and Kaaron Warren, both best known for their short fiction in 2005 but having progressed to international stardom with their novels by 2010), to critically examine new additions to the interviewees, and to see who has lost prominence or relevance in the intervening years, is an absorbing process for anyone interested in the speculative fiction publishing scene in Australia.
In addition, the 2010 Snapshot served to shine a spotlight on Australians at the time when Hugo nominations are happening, showcasing the plethora of excellent Australians eligible for some of the biggest awards in specfic. In a few days, we’ll see how many Aussies make the ballot this year, with the winners announced at Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne in September. At the same time, readers can get some insight into their favourite writers, artists and editors, which is always fun!
The Snapshots are a worthwhile way to spend some time reading online – you’ll come across gems of information, some new writers to try, and some great recommendations of fabulous Australian stories to discover. Find all the Snapshots at the following locations…
Snapshot 2005: http://www.tabula-rasa.info/Snapshot/
Snapshot 2007: http://asif.dreamhosters.com/doku.php?do=search&id=snapshot