News and reviews

Congratulations to Joanne Anderton whose collection The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories is shortlisted for the Silver Falchion Best Single-Author Collection category. Also appearing on the shortlists is our friend “Livia Day” with her book A Trifle Dead from Twelfth Planet Press. Other Aussies on the list are Max Barry with Lexicon and Amie Kaufman (and Megan Spooner) for These Broken Stars. Well done all!

Speaking of Jo Anderton, she answers Three Questions over here at Maggie’s Blog.

I noticed this lovely review of “Flower and Weed” by Margo Lanagan on Goodreads – thanks Figgy!

To Spin a Darker StairAnd this comprehensive and wonderful review of To Spin a Darker Stair by Intellectus Speculativus, in which he says: To Spin A Darker Stair is an excellent example of how fairy stories can be told in a revisionist manner, and come out of the process truly fascinatingly. 

As Tansy and I are working away on Cranky Ladies behind the scenes, Alex Pierce proves it’s never too late to talk about favourite Cranky Ladies, blogging about Alexandra Kollontai this week! Don’t forget you can catch up on all the posts in the Cranky Ladies blog tour here.


Have some #FakeCon fun with Photoshop!

On Friday night a little fun started on Twitter amongst us poor sad plebs (aka Team “Not At Loncon3”), with the hashtag #FakeCon getting some traffic. It’s certainly cheered ME up, and we’d like to spread the love! FableCroft (“official” sponsor of the #FakeCon Dealer Room…) is giving away FIVE FableCroft ebooks to the best (most fun) #FakeconPhotos you can come up with! You’ll be up against tough competition. Kathleen Jennings has already given us “photos” of the #FakeConCom…

To enter, just tweet your images with the hashtag #FakeConPhotos, or upload and tag as #FakeCon on Flickr!

#FakeCon is FREE to attend, so join in the conversation!


I’m a bit under the weather, and I’m watching jealously as so many friends are making their way to Loncon3, this year’s Worldcon, so I’ve decided to express my pique with FREE BOOKS!

For the duration of Worldcon, the following FableCroft ebooks are ABSOLUTELY FREE to all readers! Go! Fetch them! 

Worlds Next Door (anthology)

Focus 2012: highlights of Australian short fiction (reprint anthology)

Splashdance Silver (Mocklore Chronicles #1) by Tansy Rayner Roberts

The Aware (Isles of Glory #1) by Glenda Larke

“Flower and Weed” by Margo Lanagan

“Sanction” by Dirk Flinthart

Disclaimer: I’ve made the discounts on Smashwords only for the top four items (all formats available here!), but these will probably filter through to Amazon etc via price matching, if that’s your preference. “Flower and Weed” and “Sanction” are only available on Amazon, and the free pricing will kick in tomorrow for five days! 


Snapshot 2014: Daniel O’Malley

Dan O’Malley graduated from Michigan State University and earned a Master’s Degree in medieval history from Ohio State University. He then returned to his childhood home, Australia. He now works for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, writing press releases for government investigations of plane crashes and runaway boats. His first novel, The Rook, was released in 2012 by Little, Brown and Company.

108367281. Your first novel, The Rook, won the Aurealis Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 2012 – that’s one heck of a debut! What can you share about your journey to publication?

Thank you, winning the Aurealis Award really was a tremendous honour. I’m so delighted that people have been enjoying The Rook.

I’ve followed a fairly traditional route in publishing – write a story, approach agents, suffer rejections, tear hair out in despair, somehow luck into finding an agent (an outstanding one!), work with her to  improve the book, submit it to publishers, get accepted by a publisher (an outstanding one!), work with editor (an outstanding one!) to improve the book, watch the book emerge into the world with a sense of astounded and joyous disbelief.

It doesn’t seem overly complex (heck, it fits into a grammatically worrisome single-sentence paragraph), but people who are interested in getting their work published traditionally are often startled and disappointed by how long it takes. First you have to write the whole book. You really do – it’s not enough just to have an idea. Then, you have to put it out to the industry. I always recommend that people seek out agents rather than publishers. I tried approaching publishers directly with an earlier book, and while I had some interest, it was never going to pan out. With an agent, you’ve got someone knowledgeable, on your side, hustling for you, pushing your book and chasing it up, rather than letting it fester it away in the slush pile. Plus, my agent did a phenomenal amount of work on the book, helping me to make it better before she put it before people.

But even once you’ve got a publisher, it still takes time. My saint of an editor worked with me on The Rook for months. She identified parts that needed to be cut and parts that needed to be expanded. She gently pointed out places where I’d made assumptions, and that I’d used the word ‘freakish’ several hundred times.

And then, when you finally reach the final version, it may be months before the book actually comes out. So, it was a lot of work and a lot of time.  And, yes, a big emotional investment.

2. I understand you are working on the sequel to The Rook – can you tell us anything about it?

Surely! So, I had originally written The Rook as a book that could stand alone. I’d hoped that it would be published, but I didn’t quite dare to hope that people would want to read a sequel. As soon as I’d finished it, I began working on some different projects, but eventually I realised that there were people who actually would like a sequel and, you know, immediately, if at all possible. Which I was more than fine with. Not only did I have a ton of ideas that I’d never had the time or space to include in The Rook, but I was very keen to explore what happens after the last page.

Book Two is titled Stiletto. It follows on a couple of months after the end of The Rook, and explores the ramifications of that book’s ending. For those who have read The Rook, you’ll know that significant changes are being made to the Checquy. (For those of you who haven’t read The Rook, you totally should. The author is extremely tall, handsome, urbane, and impressive.) Stiletto really explores those changes, and how different people deal with them. Rook Myfanwy Thomas is a main character in this book, but she’s not the main character. There are two new protagonists, thrown together by duty, and they have every reason to loathe each other. So I’d characterise Stiletto as a story of hatred, supernatural diplomacy, and very expensive hats.

3. Are you focussed entirely on novels or would you venture off into short storyland at any time?

You know, I’ve never been very much about short stories. I always want more! More detail, more description, more of everything. I love big books, and I love long series. I have read some great short stories (I especially enjoyed China Mieville’s collection Looking for Jake), but I always find myself wishing they were longer. And when it comes to writing them, well, I haven’t written anything like that since highschool. But it might be entertaining to give it a try.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

I always have several books on the go, and currently a goodly number of them are from Australian authors. I’m mid-way through Dirk Flinthart’s Path of Night, which is keeping me chortling, gasping and flinching. I’m re-reading Kerry Greenwood’s Death by Wicket, which I love, even though I am not at all a cricket man (when I was made to play as a child, I asked if I could take a book to the outfield. They were not impressed.) Also, I’m re-reading Sulari Gentill’s Rowland Sinclair series, in preparation for the next one in the series. And I’m revisiting the classics of my youth, so I’m currently hip-deep in Victor Kelleher’s Green Piper which is as terrifying now as it was in Year 7.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing in five years from now?

As everyone is always remarking, we’re seeing significant changes in the publishing industry. However, those developments haven’t changed what I’m reading or writing, or how I’m reading or writing it.

Self-publishing and e-publishing weren’t as big a thing when I was starting out (or if they were, I wasn’t aware of them), but even now, I’m not at all certain that I would pursue that route. I’m willing to invest my time in writing and editing – that’s what brings me pleasure and satisfaction. I’d do it even if I weren’t getting published. The logistics of design, publishing, marketing – to me, that’s time that I could be writing and editing. I like having experts who will guide me in those areas, and who I can be assured will be doing their best.

Of course, there are further changes, not just in the way that we read books, but in how publishers, authors, readers and booksellers are interacting. It’s extremely complex. For instance, my American publisher, Little Brown & Co, is part of Hachette and, at the moment, they are in protracted negotiations with, which is using various forms of leverage. As a result, at the moment, if you buy my book in hardcopy from, you’ll have to wait 1 to 3 weeks, whereas another website will ship it immediately. The position of the individual writer in this sort of situation is difficult. The publishing industry is evolving, and I don’t know enough about it to say where it will lead, but I like having experts who will guide me here too.

Hopefully, in five years, I’ll be working on a variety of projects, including more Checquy books. I also hope that there will be a couple more Dan O’Malley books already out there by then, and that people will be enjoying them. And while I think the growth of eBooks is cool, my love for hardcopy books means that I hope that my work will be on people’s shelves. For me, a book on paper is more real.

Plus, in a pinch, you can use it to beat someone to death.

Or so I’ve heard.

SnaphotLogo2014This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

Snapshot 2014: Gitte Christensen, in memorium

Gitte C
Image from Gitte’s blog


By Steve Cameron

I didn’t know Gitte anywhere near as well as I would have liked. She lived in country Victoria and I didn’t, which meant we rarely saw each other. Even though, within the Australian Spec-Fic Writing scene I knew her better than most.

I can clearly remember the first time I met Gitte, and read her work. We were at a Sean Williams’ workshop, and Gitte had submitted an extract from a longer piece. It was a stunning scene that described the docking sequence of a burnished ceramic spacecraft, crewed by a long-lived spacefaring race. I remember the picture she painted using only words. It had a beautifully measured pace, but was highly descriptive, rich and decadent in imagery. Gitte told me it was part of a space-opera trilogy that needed re-structuring and editing. I’m saddened we shall never see it.

We stayed in touch. We emailed each other and managed to steal the occasional half-hour to chat at conventions and workshops. It didn’t matter what was happening in her life, and none of us knew much about her illnesses, she was always cheerful and optimistic.

Whenever I made a sale she would quickly email me to congratulate me. If I posted about a rejection, she was just as quick to commiserate and encourage. Her own blog was as honest as she was. At the end of each month she would post statistics on how many stories she’d completed, how many had sold, how many had been rejected, and how many were out in the wild.  She wrote about her writing, her dreams, goals and self-doubts. She also wrote of her life; the ongoing battle with the doof-doof neighbours, the imagined adventures of her wayward chooks, her ‘arvo’ job and the writing she managed on her commute, life in her local neighbourhood, and her great love of horses and riding the trails with her sister.

She was proud of her Danish heritage and culture. She loved visiting Walhalla in Victoria, and its connection to its Viking namesake. She recommended Danish movies stories. She loved writing. She was delighted by her achievements, her sales and her reviews. And she had some fantastic credentials. Andromeda Spaceway Inflight Magazine, Aurealis, The Tangled Bank, the Bram Stoker nominated Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations, Aliens: Recent Encounters as well as her inclusion inThe Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror 2010. Despite all these, and others, she was largely unknown in Australia. She was a quiet achiever.

She wrote to me after one rejection in which the editor informed her he loved her story, he loved the writing. I doubt I could describe her work any better.

“Yours is one of those stories that, if I had more room in the book, would definitely be in. I found this to be very thoughtful, atmospheric, and it held my interest to the end. As always, you have proven yourself a talent for creating descriptive and emotional prose”

Her response:

“You win some, you lose some 🙂 There were more, nice comments, but that paragraph summed it up best – I almost sent him an email telling him not to worry, that I’m okay with it, but of course it would be unprofessional to respond to a rejection.”

Gitte, as always, was more concerned about the feeling of others than the rejection, of how this editor must feel in not selecting her work. And then she signed off with her characteristic optimism.

“Onwards and upwards.”

I knew she was having health issues, but she would never go into details. I would ask how she was going, and she’d always tell me things were improving, that she’d had some issues, or some surgery, or some pains, but they were pretty much passed now, and she looked forward to being clear of the illness and getting back to work and more serious writing time.

Here’s what she wrote to me in November, 2012:

“I’m well enough – my brain is working again and returning to old habits now that it’s not drugged, but I’m still low in the energy department, and a lot of what I have gets used up at the Arvo Job.  But I’m slowly getting there, thank you, and the writing is picking up again, thank goodness, though I constantly have this horrible feeling that I’ve fallen behind by not getting much done this year. Behind what, I’m not sure. Just behind.

Mostly I’m just hanging out for 2013 and hoping THAT will be the year it all comes together :)”

What I only found out recently is that around this time she was told she wouldn’t see Christmas.

In April of this year her blog fell silent. I knew something was up when the end of the month passed without her stats update. Emails were unanswered, and although I knew roughly where she lived, I had no other way of contacting her. I even questioned whether she wanted to be contacted, being as private as she was. I finally managed to get a message to her sister and learned Gitte was having more surgery, was weak, but there was hope she’d be up and about a few weeks later. But, as usual, Gitte didn’t want anyone to know what she was going through. I asked that my thoughts be passed on to her.

A week later I received word that Gitte had little time left. Her life support had been switched off and it was only a matter of when. Determined as always, Gitte vowed that despite the doctors’ prognosis she would continue to fight. She had aggressive cancer. Gitte passed sent me a message of thanks for my thoughts, and congratulated me on a minor success I’d written about. Even at that point she was supporting, encouraging Gitte. Only two months before this Gitte attended Supernova convention, and around the same time went horseriding.

On the 13th June 2014 at 2.15 a.m., Gitte passed peacefully. “Typical Gitte,” said her sister, “waiting for Friday 13th.”

Since then Gitte has sold at least three stories. Her blog will be updated by family from time to time as these become available.

Her writing is still on my shelf. I have our emails filed away. She will not be forgotten by those of us who love her. She’s no longer here on Earth, but Gitte the brave, Danish warrior now feasts in Valhalla.

SnaphotLogo2014This post is part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

Snapshot 2014: Paul Collins (Ford Street Publishing)

Paul CollinsEMPaul Collins has written many books, mostly for younger readers. He is best known for his fantasy and science fiction titles: The Jelindel Chronicles and The Quentaris Chronicles (co-edited with Michael Pryor). Paul has edited many anthologies which include Trust Me!Metaworlds and Australia’s first fantasy anthology, Dream Weavers. He also edited The MUP Encyclopaedia of Australian SF&F.

Paul has been short-listed for many awards and has won the Inaugural Peter McNamara and the A Bertram Chandler awards, both of which were for lifetime achievement in science fiction, and the Aurealis and William Atheling awards. His current adult horror novel, The Beckoning, is available from

Other than his writing, Paul is the publisher at Ford Street Publishing, publishing everything from picture books through to young adult literature, and he manages Creative Net, a speakers’ agency.

Paul’s websites are: and

The Beckoning _Draft1. I’ve noticed some fantastic picture books from Ford Street in the past couple of years – what do you find are the challenges and opportunities in producing picture books as opposed to novels for the press?

The first step is choosing them. It’s so much harder than selecting novels. With novels you can soon tell whether the writing is good, bad, medium, or whether it’s salvageable with good editing. Picture books have few words, so it’s more the concept a publisher looks at —  certainly more so than the writing, in my opinion. There’s no room for telling not showing. Every line must contribute to the overall book. Text must work in conjunction with the illustrations, too. So for example, there’s no point in saying, Sally was wearing a green dress, because the illustration will show this. Another challenge is changing the text once the illustrations come in — sometimes the illos replace the text. Another focus for me is multi-layered plots. Metaphors are great in picture books — the teachers’ notes can alert librarians/teachers to deeper meanings behind what seems an easily read picture book. Having said all that, our picture book sales far outweigh our novels.

2. Ford Street is producing around ten titles per year at the moment – how do you decide which books to take a chance on?

First of all, for me, it’s the writing. And then the plot. A great writer can get away with a lot — a poor writer with a great plot can’t. It also seems to me that straight out SF/fantasy doesn’t sell as well as contemporary novels. Fantasy is fine if you have a marketing department to get behind that genre, but without that extra push it appears Ford Street’s genre fiction is lagging behind. I also take note of authors who are good self-promoters. If you have someone who can’t public speak, for example, they won’t be good ambassadors for their books. I once had a fear of public speaking, so went to Toastmasters for two years to overcome it. Appearing there at first was quite traumatic, but I knew I had to get over that lack of confidence were I to promote my books as publishers expected me to.

3. On a personal note, your Maximus Black series   wound up last year – what’s next on your writing horizon?

TOASTINATOR COVERMacmillan NZ just published my latest book, The Toastinator. I also have a couple of chapter books from Macmillan Aust in the Lucy Lee series. That will bring that six-part series to its conclusion. I also had an old horror novel of mine publisher by Damnation Books US. The Beckoning actually crept up on Stephen King’s latest novel —just six spots behind him on the Top 10 occult list. I do have a Jelindel novella sitting here, but I’m not sure what to do with it. It could be published as a sampler to The Jelindel Chronicles, or it could be part of a short story collection, an addition to the quartet.

As for what next, I’m not sure. The publishing, speakers agency event managing have all taken their toll on my time. Since February I’ve been renovating a warehouse/office, too. So once I’m in there I will have slightly more time to ponder writerly stuff. Satalyte Publishing is releasing a book I compiled 30+ years ago, though. It contains perhaps A Bertram Chandler’s last piece of unpublished writing. I approached him and many others to write an episodic novel called The Morgan Pattern. It’s a humorous novel for adults, now around 90,000 words. Many of Australia’s biggest names from the 80s are in it, including Jack Wodhams, Wynne Whiteford and David Lake. Later contributors include Sean McMullen, Russell Blackford and Patricia Bernard. So that will be my next “book”, although I only have a chapter in it.

4. Last time we chatted for Snapshot, you told me almost all your reading was for Ford Street – have you had a chance to read any other Australian works recently?

None at all, if I’m to be honest. As you know, I juggle many balls, and as it is these past few months I’ve dropped a few. I daresay if I took time out to read I’d drop many more.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing in five years from now?

The main changes are of course the e-book/POD phenomenon. I haven’t gone down the print-on-demand route as yet, and certainly won’t contemplate it unless I lose mass distribution. Right now I have Macmillan Distribution Services and INT Books. I can still comfortably print 1200 copies of every book I publish, and gradually see all of them sell. As Ford Street’s brand name gets better known, I’ve seen sales climbing gradually. I’m guessing that I’ll be pretty much sure that my publishing MO won’t change during the next five years. With luck, if sales keep climbing, I’ll be able to employ staff. I think this is the next step I need to take.

SnaphotLogo2014This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:


Cover teasing

This is me, teasing you with snippets of the gorgeous covers we have coming up for Insert Title Here and Phantazein. Full cover reveals soon!

ITH snip1
Design by Amanda Rainey
Design by Amanda Rainey
Design by Amanda Rainey
Art by Kathleen Jennings
Art by Kathleen Jennings
Phantazein Unicorn
Art by Kathleen Jennings

Roundup time!

It’s been a busy busy couple of weeks for interviews, with the 2014 Australian Spec Fic Snapshot taking place. Many of FableCroft’s creators have been snapshot already, and it’s been great reading the interviews from all facets of the Aussie Spec Fic scene! I particularly enjoy seeing what people are working on, and what they’ve been reading.


Katharine Stubbs (our wonderful intern!)

Jo Anderton

Tansy Rayner Roberts

Dirk Flinthart

Kathleen Jennings

Amanda Rainey

And many many more writers we have published are part of the Snapshot – check out the hashtag #2014snapshot on Twitter or follow the tag links in one of the posts to see them!

Some other reviews and interviews around the traps! Dirk Flinthart is interviewed as part of Simon Petrie’s Use only as directed series.

There’s a lovely review of Ink Black Magic by Tansy Rayner Roberts new on Goodreads, which says:

Tansy Rayner Roberts has a gift all her own that sets her apart from all other fantasy writers.


…it is a story marvellously complete in itself. So do read and love the Mocklore Chronicles in any order you like, because that’s what I intend to do.

Thanks Carol on Goodreads!

If you’ve reviewed any of our books, please let us know! And we really appreciate cross-posted reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Snapshot 2014: Anthony (Mitch) Mitchell

STPMitch is an Ex-man. No, not a member of the super hero group of mutants and friend of Hugh Jackman, but an ex-wrestler, ex-publisher, ex-con chair. He’s been in and about the Australian sci-fi/fantasy fandom scene for twenty years.

He was the first (and only) Gratuitous Interstate Guest of Honour at Swancon 25 in 2000.

He published four volumes of his vainly titled Mitch? anthologies, collections of short stories, one of which even won a Ditmar in 2002. 

GDudesIn 2006 he (with STP co-host Ian Mond) co-chaired Continuum 4: Retrorama.

Mitch now seems to exclusively exist via podcasts; you can find out about them here if you are interested:

MAP1. Although your blog hasn’t been updated since 2009, indicating a distinct lack of online presence (Twitter is the best place to find you, it seems), you are co-hosting not one, not two, but THREE geeky podcasts, Shooting the Poo, GeekDudes and the MA Podcast. How the heck did this happen, and how do you find the time?

Yes, I pretty much fail at social media. I am only just OK at re-tweeting on Twitter and sharing on Facebook.

It’s that whole writing or typing of words. Takes too long and opens yourself up for criticism, judgment and trolling. Ain’t nobody got time for that. That’s why I podcast so much.

How’d it begin? Well for that I think you will have to blame @mondyboy.  A few years ago now podcasts were slowly becoming my biggest form of entertainment consumption.  Listening to Podcasts was something I could do Sitting at the computer at work, driving, cleaning the house and even mowing the lawn.  I found I was running out of episodes of podcasts compared to the time I had to listen to them so I was constantly trying new podcasts based on random searches.

I think the first podcast I heard was from somebody I actually knew was Terry Frost’s Paleo-Cinema. He got into the ‘casting game very early indeed. He was quite the pioneer. The next local ‘cast would have been Galactic Suburbia closely followed by good friends @fearofemeralds and @mondyboy with their Writer and the Critic podcast.

I think Mondy was on a podcast high because he spoke to Dave Hoskin and myself separately about us all doing a podcast together. We all hung out often anyways and our discussion generally got heated and what we thought of as entertaining, so why not record it and share with the world?

We had a meeting at a Borders one night discussing the podcast over a frappuccino, discussing what it would be about, the format it would take and what we should call it. I can’t remember any alternative titles but Mondy suggested Shooting the Poo. I didn’t have a problem with it and I don’t remember Dave saying anything against it at the time. He has said plenty against it since. He hates the name, as does our producer Kirstyn, and just about anybody else who knows about the podcast. I still don’t have an issue with it but to try and appease people I have tried to rebrand the show the STPcast, but it’s still Shooting the Poo to me.

Cut to a short time later and we are piggy backing Writer and the Critic. Just the three of us sitting around talking shit with Writer and the Critic co-host Kirstyn McDermott as producer (and might I say thank god. If it wasn’t for her and her big stick to keep us (mainly Mondy) in check and her magic turd polish to edit the heck out our show to make it sound good…)

While this was happening, a friend of mine Chris Fresh from my old wrestling days was doing a podcast called Fresh Factor Online, which was a lot more of an entertainment/gossip based podcast, very much in the vein of Chris’s hero Howard Stern. When the Fresh Factor had run its course and finished up, Chris and I for a period there were walking once a week to try and lose some weight, and during the walk we would chat all things geeky. This went on for a while and one day Fresh said he wanted to start up the podcasting again. I asked if he was bringing back the Fresh Factor and he said no, he wanted it to be like the Fresh Factor but all about the geeky stuff we like, so from that the Geek Dudes was born: a fortnightly round table with @chrissfresh, the Bravest of all Daves, Producer Paul Jones and myself (who somehow got the moniker ‘dirty uncle Mitch’ on the show…I don’t get it myself) breaking down all the geek news from the previous two weeks. There are plenty of reviews, heated discussions and wild speculation. It’s not for the faint of heart. The STP cast earns its explicit tag on iTunes; Geek Dudes generally take explicit to a new level. We don’t try to be explicit and we aren’t proud of it, it just kind of happens.

The final podacst I do is the Massive Attack podcast or the MApodcast for short (not that it’s that much shorter). This is a podcast I do with my best mate and is not to dissimilar from the Geek Dudes except we travel down to wrong town a hell of a lot less and it’s just the two of us. We record monthly and basically chat about what we like, TV, movies and computer games. We discuss what we have been doing, watching, reading and playing. It’s essentially what we do on a regular basis at each others house anyway; the only difference is we record it.

If you want to listen to me in particular, I would suggest the MA podcast as I say a lot more in that than the other two.

2. I know it’s like asking you which is your favourite comic, but you can tell us… who is your favourite co-host?

Favourite comic would have been easier. I’m not sure I can answer that. It’s pretty tough. They all have their own things that make them special and bring so much to each show. One is funnier, one cleverer while one is more generous and another is more entertaining. Then you have one that is scarier and another that is more impulsive while one is temperamental and another is more emotional. I’m not going to say who’s who. They can stress over what they think they are amongst themselves.

If you had to force me to choose though, I would have to say Joe from the Massive Attack Podcast, and that’s only because he lets me speak more than anyone else, so that plays into my vanity the most.

3. You aspired to publishing once upon a time – any thoughts in that way these days?

Not really. I mean sure, I would with unlimited funds and time. But to make a project really successful you need to not just produce a book but to sell them all and pay the contributors appropriately and I am just not in a position to do that properly right now. I think podcasts is scratching the itch of producing something for others to consume. What I like about it is the delivery system is well established, it’s very cheap to produce, and free for the end users. I’m not finished with podcasts either. I am not saying I have another one coming out or anything but it wouldn’t take much to convince me to do another one. Who knows, maybe I’ll just become a producer and create an empire of podcasts and be the new Chris Hardwick with his Nerdist empire…

4. Are you reading or listening to anything Aussie that you love?

Not reading a lot at the moment but what I am reading is whatever Tom Taylor is doing. He is kicking goals in the comic industry at the moment and has been shaking up the DC universe with Injustice and Earth 2. Earth 2 also had Aussie Nicola Scott on art duties doing some great work. Tom also has a great creator-owned all-ages comic called The Deep that you should check out. Big news of last week was that Tom has just jumped ship to the Marvel universe and is writing a bold new direction of Marvels current it-guy, Iron Man. I’m looking forward to that.

I am always dropping old podcasts and looking for new ones to take it’s place and find I am partial to Australian podcasts. Here’s a few that are currently on my playlist:

PaleoTerry Frost has two podcasts; Paleo-Cinema and Martian Drive-in are great movie podcasts, even if he is totally wrong on every level about the Star Wars films. Paleo-Cinema is a show produced by Terry by himself, and he thoroughly researches two films per show and talks at length about each one. They are all films of Terry’s choosing and he has one stipulation; the film has to be at least 20 years old.

MartianMartian Drive-in is similar to Paleo-Cinema but the films are more of the sci-fi bent and can be from any era, no time limit stipulation, and from time to time Terry gets in a guest which mixes things up nicely.

AFBThe Action Figure Blues podcast is exactly what it says on the packet; a podcast about action figures and toys from guys with way too much money. Seriously, the amount of stuff these guys buy on a regular basis is ridiculous.

HellHell is for Hyphenates is “a film lovers podcast”. The hosts Paul Anthony and Lee Zahariah (from ABC TV’s The Bazura Project) are joined monthly by a different guest each episode to discuss recent viewings of films and explore the career of a particular filmmaker of the guests choice. It’s can get pretty high-brow with its chatter, which is never a bad thing. It has definitely expanded my knowledge and appreciation of certain films and their makers.

Non CanonicalNon-Canonical was a fantastic Australian comic review podcast that included some choice interviews with some great names in the industry. They produced 208 epsiodes before calling it quits as a regular weekly show a few months ago, but have sworn it’s not over and will be back with specials in the future. I am hoping for to this be true.

RadLoungeTwo of the hosts from Non-Canonical were obviously not ready to give up yet, as Lucas and Larry decided to keep going by starting up a new podcast called Radioactive Lounge. It’s obviously not the same dynamic without the other hosts but they are more that capable of filling the void Non-Canonical left. They record a live show from the Melbourne Comic shop All-star Comics once a month with a live band, which adds a very different dynamic,

Something WonkySomething Wonky podcast is a left wing weekly satirical look at news and politics. Thank god they are funny otherwise it would be pretty depressing.

EmpireEmpire of Enthusiasts is a great little week in geek round up with a bunch of Melbourne comedians. It’s actually a YouTube show they release as an audio podcast. I like the show but find the audio version so much easier to throw onto my phone and listen at work or driving.

SupermanFinally there is Radio KAL, the official podcast of the Superman homepage. It’s a weekly news show related to all things Superman and with the new movie not far away they are never short of things to discuss. Not an Australian podcast exactly but one of the co-hosts is an Aussie so I think it counts.

5. What do you think you might be working on in spec fic five years from now?

Hopefully still podcasting. I am digging catching up with my mates on a regular basis and passionately talking about things I love (and hate) and while we are all still enjoying that and it’s not imposing on us time wise or financially, I don’t see why we can’t keep it going. Who knows? Five years ago I wouldn’t have thought I would be doing three podcasts so anything could happen. Look out for me on TV or something!

SnaphotLogo2014This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at:

Snapshot 2014: Wolfgang Bylsma (Gestalt Publishing)

Wolfgang serves as Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director for Australia’s leading independent graphic novel publishing house, Gestalt.

He has a passion for encouraging creative endeavours with both individuals and communities. 

Wolf has also acted as an industry mentor through the Australian Society of Authors and served as consulting editor for two other graphic novel publishing endeavours.

The-Deep-V2-Here-Be-Dragons--470x7201. The Deep series by Tom Taylor and James Brouwer has been very well received – what can you tell us about the success of this series, and how far do you think it will go?

The Deep has been one of our strongest titles in terms of both critical and popular acclaim. It has certainly helped raised Gestalt’s profile overall, and opened up the all-ages market to us whereas we had previously been specialising in titles for mature readers (15+).  There’s a great sense of adventure in The Deep, and something of a purity that goes with that.  These are stories about the kind of family we WANT to have ourselves – where each member is accepted and respected as an individual, and yet can come together to overcome the peril they are faced with.  Last year I took The Deep to the Asian Festival of Children’s Content in Singapore and the Li’l Lit Festin Manila, and they received great interest. Being inclusive of the world we live in and developing characters that go beyond the traditional ‘caucasian hero’ narratives has also helped The Deep find a wider audience.

I’m also immensely excited about the animated television series that is in production, especially having negotiated securing key roles for both Tom Taylor and James Brouwer on the series, in an effort to ensure the integrity of the storytelling and the ethos behind it remains intact in the translation from print to screen.

My greatest hope is for The Deep to achieve a mass-market audience, whether from the TV series or from some other activities we have in the works, it’s one of the titles that I’m most proud of having been involved with.

2. Since you started Gestalt Publishing in 2005, you have published some of the biggest graphic artists and writers Australia has to offer – you clearly have your finger on the pulse of the industry, and I’d love to hear about how you carved out this position for Gestalt?

Our approach with Gestalt was always to help foster new talent that we saw as being worthy of greater recognition, and whilst we have battled immensely limited resources at every step in order to accomplish this, it’s a wonderful feeling to have been involved with some of these creators.

It’s always been about being open to talent, and to find new ways to support writers and artist whose work resonates with us personally, as well as artistically.  As we fund the majority of our work from our day job income, we are essentially publishing the kinds of books that WE want to read but find lacking in the market place.

Beyond that, though, there are a great many creators in Australia that we would LOVE to work with, but just don’t have the resources to approach. As much as we strive to help bolster the idea of there being a graphic novel industry in Australia, there is still some way to go before we have a plethora of creators working full-time on their projects and surviving financially from doing so. I remain hopeful for the future, however.

3. You and Gestalt have been the subject of a documentary, Comic Book Heroes (aired on the ABC in August 2013, and recently won four WA Screen Awards!), which doesn’t happen everyday! What was that experience like, and has it affected the way Gestalt has operated?

CBH-WASA-WEBThe Comic Book Heroes documentary filming process really involved a love/hate relationship with the director, Nick Dunlop. There was a great deal of trepidation at first and some of our creators continued that concern throughout the process, unsure of how much to trust the camera and the story that was going to be told.

Throughout the process, though – it became apparent that Nick was, in essence, one of us – in that he had to employ similar tactics to raise funding to create the documentary (before getting a producer or broadcaster attached) and I think a certain sympatico developed out of this.

I still have some issues with the version of the documentary that went to air – in that some elements were presented that could easily be misread or misconstrued – but overall, I think it was a relatively accurate portrayal of SOME of the stress that we find ourselves under.

One of the great outcomes from the broadcast of Comic Book Heroes has been the outpouring of support for what we’re doing.  We were inundated with messages of support from people around the country, and I’ve had people come to the Gestalt booth when we’re exhibiting at conventions around Australia wanting to let us know how much they appreciate what we’re striving to achieve.

4. What Australian works have you loved recently?

It’s an unfortunate by-product of running Gestalt alongside the day job and raising a young family that I have little time to read much of anything these days, other than the books I’m editing.

5. Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing in five years from now?

The way we work has certainly been impacted by the shift in publishing, especially in relation to the digital domain offering additional opportunities to the traditional market.

To that end, we’ve been developing more titles than previously – with the specific focus being to offer them as digital titles first and foremost before potentially producing them as print. For some of the longer works we have in development, we’ve been releasing individual chapters as digital issues in order to create more exposure, interest, a trickle of revenue and a level of pre-awareness for titles ahead of their print runs.

As for what we’ll be publishing five years from now, I’m reluctant to guess! Our approach to story will remain the same, but who knows what changes to the market may mean for digital and/or traditional publishing. The one thing that we’ll continue striving to do, however, is to offer our stories in whatever format people want to read them in.

SnaphotLogo2014This interview was conducted as part of the 2014 Snapshot of Australian Speculative Fiction. We’ll be blogging interviews from 28 July to 10 August and archiving them at SF Signal. You can read interviews at: