Speculative fiction means more than just science fiction, fantasy and horror; it has to include cross-genre writing (such as science fiction romance or science fantasy…), dark fantasy, the ‘new weird’, and sub-genres…
Whilst Australian Speculative Fiction does not focus on defining just what speculative fiction is, this brief definition (from the book’s introduction) will help those who are unfamiliar with the term. In fact, many readers of speculative fiction may not even realise that is what they are reading. Speculative fiction is, as Van Ikin says in his introduction to the book, in the midst of a ‘boom time’, with more writers producing wonderful writing and more readers buying the books.
Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview provides exactly what the title promises – an overview of the Australian speculative fiction scene. The first part of the book provides biographies and interviews with some of the leading writers of the genre. In each profile there are quotes from the author, a url for their author website (if they have one), a list of some of their books, quotes from reviews of their books, and more. Following this is a section devoted to outstanding illustrators, with colour reproductions of some of their works and bookcovers. The third part of the book is devoted to short fiction – speculative fiction magazines and anthology. There are publication details for each title, some background to its publication and an exploration of its focus. The final section of the book provides slightly shorter biographies of some new and emerging authors.
This is a comprehensive guide to the genre for readers, writers and editors. It provides an easily accessible reference to those who work in the industry and could be used as a reading guide for those wanting to explore the genre further.
Australian Speculative Fiction: A Genre Overview, edited by Donna Maree Hanson
Aust Speculative Fiction, 2005