Saturday, 24 August 2019

The Futures Women Spin: Interviews with the Distaff Authors part 3

The Distaff anthology had its formal launch last night, so now seems like a good time to post up the last set of interviews. Thanks again to the authors - I've enjoyed reading their answers almost as much as reading their stories.

First up is Rosie Oliver, author of many a short story and editor/publisher of SFerics 2017anthology - and one of Distaff's editors too

1) This anthology came about from you all being members of the SFFChronicles forums. What brought you to the community and what does being part of it mean to you?

RO: Its welcoming friendliness for all things science fictional! I can let my geeky hair down without having to apologise and do truly experimental science fiction without being ridiculed for being outlandish (who else would write stories from a robo-cat’s point of view?).

2) Of course, Distaff isn't just about Chrons, its about celebrating the many female writers who are part of it. When people talking about "Women in SFF", what do you think of?

RO: Sadly, the lack of female science fiction writers. At the sciency end of science fiction, it seems publishers get about one in five submissions from ladies. At the fantasy end, it is more like one in three. The reasons for this are complex and interwoven, and extend to other science-based areas of life.

This is why I was so happy to see Distaff grow out of a few comments posted on SFFChronicles – it goes a little way to help redress the balance.

3) Onto the stories! Where did the idea for your particular contribution come from?

RO: Which idea are we talking about there? I have quite a few in my contribution.

I suppose it’s fair to say my story grew out of my fascination of the Ice Hotel in the Swedish village of JukkasjÀrvi. What could I do with the ice? Could I make a few tweaks out of it to solve problems? What are the incidental consequences? By the time I started typing, I was in avalanche of ideas from which to pick out a suitable story line.

4) Finally a question just for funsies - if you could be any female character in SFF, befriend any female character in SFF, and get to bring righteous retribution of your choice for any female character in SFF, which three would you pick?

RO: Being a science fiction author I have the wonderful luxury of writing about lady characters I would like to be! Of my published ladies, Nikita, a female robo-cat with taser whiskers! My favourite, as yet unpublished, lady is Paola Osmanski, a Service space pilot with some unusual attributes that I haven’t read about anywhere else in the genre. If I have to go for a lady written by another author, I would pick Rowan by Anne McCaffrey. She has some real backbone in her character!

Female characters I would like to be friends with? Private Investigator Alma in Adam Roberts’ duology, Real Town Murders and By the Pricking of her Thumb. I wouldn’t want her hellish lifestyle, but would certainly enjoy joining her on her bizarre investigations – fits in with my warped sense of humour.

As to which women I would like to act as their Nemesis? Any woman who is in the story just to give a male protagonist some kudos! Such wimps! They annoy me intensely. Real women are not like that at all!

Rosie's not one for fence sitting! And hurrah for more Anne McCaffrey love. If you want to find out more about Rosie's writing, or ways to contact her and convince her to turn her story into a series, visit here website here

Now for EJ Tett, author of Otherworld, Shuttered, and more books than I can conveniently mention right now

1) This anthology came about from you all being members of the SFFChronicles forums. What brought you to the community and what does being part of it mean to you?

ET: Well, I joined the forum in 2006 and I can't remember that far back to know what brought me there! I love being part of the community though, the members are great - really knowledgeable and helpful. I've met several members in person, and made really good, close friends with people who I've never met at all (although we plan on meeting up at some point).

2) Of course, Distaff isn't just about Chrons, its about celebrating the many female writers who are part of it. When people talking about "Women in SFF", what do you think of?


ET: To be honest, there's so few 'women in SFF' that I struggle to think of anything. I guess I think there needs to be more women in SFF!

3) Onto the stories! Where did the idea for your particular contribution come from?
ET: I had a short story published in Mischief Corner Books online magazine. That story was called 'Athanasia' and was about a spaceship janitor called Silver who discovered that the spaceship she cleaned toilets on was actually alive and in love with her. 'Holo-Sweet' is a really a follow-on story to that, though it stands on its own.

4) Finally a question just for funsies - if you could be any female character in SFF, befriend any female character in SFF, and get to bring righteous retribution of your choice for any female character in SFF, which three would you pick?

ET: If I can be any character it would be Aeryn Sun from Farscape because she's complex and badass. She's one of my all time favourite characters in anything ever, let alone a favourite female character, or favourite sff character. If I could befriend anyone it would be Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer because she's hilarious and honest and an ex-demon. As for bringing righteous retribution, I don't think there's a female character I dislike enough!

Might have to try that Athanasia and see where Silver's story started. To find out more about EJ Tett's writing, visit her website here

And to close it all out, Jo Zebedee, author of the Abendau trilogy, Inish Carraig, and a few other bits and bobs


1) This anthology came about from you all being members of the SFFChronicles forums. What brought you to the community and what does being part of it mean to you?

JZ: I came here for the critiques! It was my first ever forum experience and I thought I’d stay for 30 posts, get told I was a writing genius, and go home. Eight years and nearly 17000 posts later I’m still here.

I like that I know most people here and that many of them are now friends. I also like that it’s less cliquey than many of the sff forums I drop in and out of and much much less of a bearpit.

2) Of course, Distaff isn't just about Chrons, its about celebrating the many female writers who are part of it. When people talking about "Women in SFF", what do you think of?

JZ: I think I shouldn’t be thinking anything - that it should be perfectly normal to have women in the genre. It’s a big genre - there’s room for all of us. In terms of writers I think of, people like Pat Cadigan are heroes to me, as well as Lois McMaster Bujold.

3) Onto the stories! Where did the idea for your particular contribution come from?

JZ: Well I normally don’t do well working to a brief but this time I actually managed a pure sci fi story as directed! I have two points of view in mine and it was the AIs view that came first and was almost mythological in its feel. Which led to be want to explore the myth behind it and to de-mythologise it. I’m convinced most of the myths we know involve people who were as boring as paint drying. Once I knitted both strands together it then changed the AIs story too, which is always fun when that happens.

4) Finally a question just for funsies - if you could be any female character in SFF, befriend any female character in SFF, and get to bring righteous retribution of your choice for any female character in SFF, which three would you pick?

JZ: Oooh, 1 and 3 might be the same answer! But no, let’s see...

I would be Servalan in Blake’s Seven (tempting to say Barbarella, actually). Maximum power! Who could resist?

I would befriend Cordelia Vorkosigan cos she is smart, funny and insightful. Although Max from the St Mary Chronicles also appeals. The chaos she causes would be huge fun to watch.

Retribution - for me it’s on one of my own characters: the Empress in Abendau. She hurt a lot of characters who I love. She ruined more than one. Yep. She’s the one.

I think technically Jo does kinda get retribution on the Empress. To find out more about Jo's work, visit her site here 

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