12 July 2009

Chapter and Verse: Podcast Discussion on New Zealand Science Fiction and Fantasy

This afternoon I took part in a live discussion on science fiction and fantasy writing in New Zealand. Chaired by Radio New Zealand's Lynn Freeman, it featured writers Helen Lowe, Russell Kirkpatrick and myself, and publisher Larain Day - see below for further details.

The podcast of this 13-minute discussion is now available in MP3 format at http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/art/art-20090712-1430-Chapter_and_Verse-048.mp3

I enjoyed taking part - and thanks for inviting me, Lynn - but I felt we were just getting started on the discussion when we ran out of time. All the same, we covered some interesting territory, including whether New Zealand SF&F readers are willing to read SF&F written by New Zealand authors and published in New Zealand, and where these genres may go in future. Worth a listen, I think!

3 comments:

Meliors Simms said...

Good interview, I would love you to explore further what you said about reading science fiction requires less of a cognitive leap/suspension of disbelief these days than it was even 20 years ago. I'm finally getting used to the sensation but I went through a long time of feeling dislocated when cellphones and the internet etc started to be so integral, feeling like I was living in a sci fi novel.

Andrew said...

I don't think I agree with the comment that someone made, was it the publisher from HarperCollins?,that only about 1500 people in NZ read scifi-fantasy. I just think that the range on offer in the majority of book shops is so appalling (ie snall, narrow and there's never anything NEW) that most who are interested, like me, buy online these days. And I agree with whoever said that sticking it in the NZ section or putting a NZ author label on it is the kiss of death. To me it's like saying "second class" or "needs special treatment", which is not necessarily the case at all.

Tim Jones said...

Thanks for your comments, Meliors and Andrew.

Meliors, at the time I said that, my mouth was, Cordelia Chase-like, saying precisely what had just come into my head at that point in the interview, so I was very much making it up as I went along! But another way of saying this may be that, with the exception of space opera, SF is no longer an escapist literature - perhaps this accounts for the greater popularity of fantasy at the moment?

Andrew, I didn't agree with the "1500 people" comment by Larain Day either. From what I've seen, public library borrowing figures show a high percentage of people borrowing SF&F. But perhaps she meant "1500 people who buy SF from NZ bookshops"? And as more people buy their SF&F online, so the selection in bookshops will get worse, and still more people will buy online ...