Rowena Cory Daniells Interview

Interview on Rowena Cory Daniells’ Blog, with some great questions from Rowena. Also an interesting discussion in the comments on cover design.

Rowena asked: Do you believe genre books have a place in spreading ideas and provoking thought?

‘Yes, very much so. Speculative fiction in particular is increasing in importance almost by the day. Lis Bastian, the head of Varuna, has spent fantastic amounts of energy and time trying to raise awareness about climate change; she was one of Al Gore’s ambassadors. She was telling me the other day that presenting facts to people just isn’t working; they have to engage their imaginations, really feel what it might be like to live in a different world. Orwell’s 1984 has done that, Huxley’s Brave New World did that. I’ve just read The Windup Girl, set in a post-peak oil, post bio-plague world where the cities are drowning. I loved it; it made me look at our world with new eyes.

When We Have Wings is also set in a post-peak oil world where we can’t be so profligate with our natural resources. This is one reason being able to fly is so important in the story. When We Have Wings tackles urgent contemporary issues, such as how will parents use the powers that reproductive technology and genetic engineering put into their hands. Contemporary events prove that such powers will be used to the utmost; they already are, as the history of sex selection and surrogacy shows us.’

Carbon Nanotube Muscles Strong as Diamond, Flexible as Rubber

A key element in humans being able to fly in When We Have Wings was engineered carbon fibre bones and muscles of greater explosive power. Seems like the science has caught up with me already.

From the article: 

‘Baughman and his colleagues have produced a formulation that’s stronger than steel, as light as air and more flexible than rubber — a truly 21st century muscle. It could be used to make artificial limbs, “smart” skins, shape-changing structures, ultra-strong robots and — in the immediate future — highly-efficient solar cells.

“We can generate about 30 times the force per unit area of natural muscle,” said Baughman, director of the NanoTech Institute at the University of Texas at Dallas.’

2SER Final Draft interview broadcast Mon Dec 19 7pm

Had such a good time yesterday returning to my alma mater, the University of Technology, Sydney, for an interview with Stephanie Coombes for Radio 2SER’s Final Draft program. I won’t be able to listen to the broadcast – I’m too far away – but I’ll put up the date and time as soon as I know it and link to the podcast when I can.

I felt so nostalgic walking into the great grey-brown tower again – I love that place. It may look ugly on the outside but inside was functional and fun. A great university and I loved doing my two degrees there.

Stephanie Coombes was lovely to do an interview with and very professional – she read my book on very short notice and had thought a lot about it. I loved your comment, Stephanie, about enjoying the voices of the children so much and how well captured they were. I love that aspect of the book too. There’s something wrong, as you said, when you read pages of dialogue between small children and adults and you can’t tell who’s talking. Yes, famous writer of westerns who’s dabbled in post-apocalyptic sci-fi, we’re looking at you!