Anna Caro writes in to say:
The place of speculative fiction in New Zealand is full of contraductions. On the one hand, it has a history of being marginalised, and writers face the dual challenges of local markets which tend towards publishing literary fiction, and international markets which can (though there are notable exceptions) be reluctant to publish work with New Zealand content or setting. But despite that there is a long history of notable speculative fiction authors, particularly when it comes to children’s writing, a captive audience (which is sadly mostly limited to fiction from overseas) and a rich landscape and history which has acted as an inspiration to many writers because, as one blogging week participant put it, “frankly, New Zealand is pretty weird”.
In the absence of a nationwide organisation for speculative fiction writers, writer Ripley Patton began grouping together a committee, or “core” as we became known, with the intention of building one. SpecFicNZ is scheduled for formal launch in 2010, though we already have a strong network and newsletter (to go on the mailing list or contribute items, you can email give_a_rip AT yahoo.co.uk). Quite early in our discussions it came up that we needed to not just gauge what was out there, but get people talking, networking, reading. And that was how we came to initiate New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week.
The concept was simple: one week in September when we would invite readers, writers, publishers and editors to blog about any aspect of New Zealand Speculative fiction. The links would be collected on a central page so everyone could read and comment.
The week exceeded expectations, with 52 posts by 24 different authors. Bloggers shared thoughts on local influence on writing, announced publications and posted examples of their own work. They delved into history for examples of New Zealand speculative fiction from the nineteenth century and predicted what the future may hold. Immigrants and expats (and even someone who had never visited the country) brought unique perspectives. Events were announced and reported on. Writers and publishers were interviewed, frustrations aired and plans made. Many shared their first experiences of reading or writing speculative fiction, others examined the influence of the landscape in writing.
If you have an interest in finding out a little about speculative fiction in New Zealand, then the New Zealand Speculative Fiction Blogging Week post is an excellent place to start – and keep your eyes open for the launch of SpecFicNZ next year.