Fantasy on ABC. In Australia!

So, if  you’ve been following me for any length of time, then you will know that I’m a secret . . . well not secret at all supporter of the Australian horde of writers who have stormed the fantasy scene for the last ten years or so. Probably longer, but that’s when I became aware of them.

Here is a link to an interview show on ABC.net.au that featured what I think is a great discussion of fantasy and how it is seen in the wider world of literature.  It’s only up for ten days or so, so if you think you’d like to watch it, take half an hour now. Or read the transcript.

The show is hosted by Jennifer Byrne, and is called First Tuesday Book Club.

The panelists were Fiona McIntosh, Jennifer RoweMatthew Reilly, and Lev Grossman. 

I thought the variety of backgrounds and writing experiences the panelists brought to the discussion really contributed to the discussion.

For anyone who has every wondered why fantasy books and authors sometimes labor under a cloud of literary disapproval, you may enjoy this discussion.

And, of course, I didn’t mind at all that my name was mentioned several times . . . .

8 Responses to Fantasy on ABC. In Australia!

  1. Thanks for this link Robin.

    Because I live in Australia, I often watch this show, but due to the current school holidays, I had managed to miss this completely.

    We (my kids and I) just watched this, while we pottered around. The older two are big Emily Rodda fans, so they loved listening to her speak.

    You deserve the mentions you got, your books are amongst my all time favourites.

    I agreed with the panelists about accessible Fantasy writing, with the exception of “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” by Susanna Clarke. It is among a short list of books that I didn’t bother to finish – I really didn’t like it.

    I would also add Guy Gavriel Kay to their list of writers who write wonderful Fantasy that happens to be very accessible to non-fantasy readers.

  2. Nice discussion – a bit fluffy, but it found some of the key conscious reasons I read fantasy. Character depth, complexity and uniqueness come into play for me more than anything. I want to think in new ways, to cover new ground, to open up my mind and imagination to new ways of thinking. It’s much like social innovation. Thanks for sharing, Robin!

  3. Very interesting video.

    It is something that hadn’t really crossed the radar for me as a Fantasy/Science Fiction reader. I’d noticed it but not given it much thought.

    It was good enough that I saved it for viewing again later.

  4. “Robin Hobb, if you don’t love her, you need to see a doctor!” 😀

    It’s always interesting to hear famous fantasy writers’ point of view on their own work.

    I love how one book can generate a diversity of interpretations among the readers!

    I was actually smiling during the entire show on Tuesday night, especially when your Farseer trilogy got mentioned!

  5. I think that all fantasy authors, and most fantasy readers encounter this literary disdain at some point. I hasten to add that it is not universal, but that it is prevalent.
    When I talk to new fantasy/sf writers who are thinking of joining a workshop or writers’ group, I always caution them to find one that is ‘genre friendly’. There are two reasons for that. One is that no one needs to be slapped down with ‘I don’t read that sort of stuff’.

    The other is that what is acceptable in, say SF (I’m going to drop the reader into a completely unfamiliar word, use twelve words from an alien vocabulary in the first three pages, and trust that the reader will land on his feet, figure out where he is and enjoy the story.)can give a mainstream editor or reading group indigestion.
    Recently I spoke with an author friend who had a piece of SF work accepted at a literary publishing house. His editor was making him go back and ‘tell’ everything that he had just ‘shown’. (How do readers know this is happening on a differnt planet with different gravity? You have to tell them. Which leads to those ‘As you know, George, we are on Planet Gizmo, and your pack is much heavier than it would be on Earth. Not that we care as we never lived on Earth . . .’ )
    Ah, well. Here I am, preaching to the choir again. And avoiding my work at the same time . . .

  6. Very interesting discussion, although I certainly missed some finer points, as I only read the transcript. I read fantasy almost my whole life and to that effect my bookshelf is, hm „colourful“. In earlier years I sometimes got a bit ashamed, when I could see the eyes and thoughts of the people, looking at my bookshell. I mean, looking at the old covers of i.e. Anne McCaffrey’s Pern-series, it is in a way somehow a bit disgusting (bare-bosomed amazons riding on dragon monstrosities, the guys all look like Conan, etc.) Many fantasy-covers are like that, at least in Germany. It has become better over the years though, but too many people still think that fantasy is trash. I can see it on their reaction, when I say that I read fantasy. And one really important reason for me are the covers. They don’t look respectable and therefore the book is not respectable. And it’s probably altogether dubious for grown-ups to read about something that is not real and complete „fantasy“ without a reference to the „real world“. Anyway, coming to a certain age, I feel old enough to say that my favorite genre is Fantasy and to proudly present people all my wonderful and beautiful „Beloved“.
    “Robin Hobb. If you don’t love her, you know, you need to see a doctor, really, don’t you?” Indeed ! What a splendid statement ! 😀

  7. Interesting stuff. I can happily report in following up on my interest in getting into fantasy writing I have added to the important aquisition of a “writers cat”, an introduction into my local writing scene.
    Thankfully the East Midlands has an active fantasy/SF writing scene – with a local publisher specialising in these genres and picking out exciting new authors. I attended a seminar yesterday and met four successful published authors and a publisher, gaining some really valuable insight into not only getting started by making a life of it – also got signed up for a genre friendly writing group locally!

    It definitely helps to have friendly and likeminded people around you in this, especially when starting out and taking baby steps like me – I even got one lady saying she would read my blog for my progress on the back of my asking an interesting question, lol

    Now, on to google and looking into the australian fantasy scene..