Welcome to the inaugural episode of Sci-Fi Sisters! Here, we'll be talking to women who write Science Fiction for a living. We'll be getting to know them, their work, and what it's like to be a woman in the world of Sci-Fi.
So without further ado, let's bring out our very first guest!
1. Mary Shelley — very first Sci-Fi Sister or madam of the macabre?
LW: Both. She was writing science fantasy/Gothic, IMO.
2. So I binge-watched Altered Carbon when it came out on Netflix, even though I’ve never read the book. I really enjoyed it, and loved the technological concept of ‘cortical stacks’. Even though it’s set in 2384, society is still predominantly heterosexual, with rich white men ruling society. Can we accuse Altered Carbon of what feminist SF author Joanne Russ called ‘galactic suburbia’?
LW: Yeah, I have read the book, but a long time ago. Depressing. I have a feeling that Richard Morgan would kind of like it this way. Even more depressing.
3. Which of your secondary characters / extras would you most like to have a nice sit down and a cup of tea with and why?
LW: Hmmm, difficult question. Not Dreams of War (Banner of Souls), I don’t think, because I suspect her small talk is limited. I would like to sit down with Eleres (Ghost Sister) because he’s been with me for so long, but he’s a main character. I’d like to drop in on all the main characters in my next novel, Comet Weather, but for a secondary character I should like to take either Ward Garner to the pub, because he is basically me channelling Alan Rickman, or Ace from the sequel, Blackthorn Winter, as he was a real person whom I would have liked to have met (with reservations).
4. Your first book, The Ghost Sister, was published in 2001. How did that event change your writing process?
LW: My now-agent made me rewrite it substantially: I had the prose and the worldbuilding and the characters down well, but not the structure. I’ve had to work hard at structure and Shawna’s advice taught me a lot.
The Sci-Fi Sisters Quick-Fire Round! No thinking! Pick the first answer that comes to you. Feel free to explain your choice if you like, but it’s not essential.
Captain Kathryn Janeway (Star trek Voyager) OR Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Babylon 5)
Red Dwarf OR Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
LW: HHG (but I did love RD)
Galadriel OR Queen Amidala
Detective Inspector Chen OR Gov-corp Detective Carlos Moreno (Emma Newman’s After Atlas)
LW: DI Chen of course! He's my Snake Agent!
CJ Cherryh’s Cyteen OR Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea Cycle OR JK Rowling’s Harry potter series
Last but by no means least: how can people track you down in the vast expanses of space?
LW: They can’t – I am too slippery. Think Jim DiGriz.
Thank you, Liz, for launching the Sci-Fi Sisters series - what a great way to start off the New Year!