Kaaren Sutcliffe’s Launch Speech

Welcome everyone. I am pleased to be invited to launch the second anthology of the CSFG.

The CSFG. An unusual guild. My pet name for the guild and its members is the ‘Creative Species that are Furtive Group’. I can see, however, that with the launch of a second anthology I will need to redefine the F word. This group has evidently shed its furtive habits and is well on the way to becoming the ‘Creative Species that will be Famous Guild’.

The first anthology Nor of Human received warm appraise from reviewers and was nominated for 4 Aurealis awards. I have no reason to be sceptical that the 2nd anthology will not do equally as well.

Machinations. My dictionary defines the word as a noun, meaning ‘a scheming move intended to accomplish some usually discreditable end.’ I’ve read the stories, and they do not conspire to achieve a discreditable end – no indeed not – cumulatively they contrive towards an exceptionally creditable end – a witty, entertaining and well-crafted collection of short stories based upon the concepts of scheming and machines – a grand mix for science fiction and fantasy.

Nineteen writers, nineteen stories. And, of course, one hard working, skilled editor in Chris Andrews. Too many to give due credit to them all in one short speech, but allow me to try to convey a sense of the variety and the depth of skill portrayed throughout the anthology with some examples.

No quiet hum for the beginning. No warming of the engines or warp drives for this anthology. It starts with a roar – with the opening lines from Robbie Matthews’ story the aldrin vial. Read page 8.

There is even a true classic in here. See if you can recognise it in Tansy Rayner-Roberts’ story. I just love the easy flow of this story too. Read page 75.

The stories have a depth of scientific theory and play with complex twists and turns — these were a little harder to choose a snippet to read from – but rest assured, the anthology is also deep with these. Antony Searle, Allan Price, Stephen Thompson, Nicole R Murphy and Hal Judge delve into the complexities of science and automation and deftly weave this into their stories. Maxine McArthur travels deep, deep into the abyss, further than sci fi has gone before.

Adam (the original) is a key character in Valerie Toh’s story. Why, JC himself even scores a political and marketing move in Alison Venugoben’s story For Christ’s Sake. Here’s how: read p119.

Speaking of Gods, I would not like to meet Tessa Kum’s Techgod. Here’s what happens when Peter rings to complain about a faulty machine ? p 168.

Machinations. But even the machines have depth of feelings, from Tessa’s sulky Techgod to Les Petersen’s robot Tantor. Read page 49. Les deserves a special mention as he is also the truly talented artist who drew the cover art and all the illustrations throughout the anthology. Publishers will tell you it is very rare to have a human who can writer and draw equally well. They may wish to clone Les.

As for Donna Hanson’s WWPRO – I have only one question: Where can I get me some of that? Here is what it does. Read page 128.

There are also stories with fantasy settings and hints of magic, such as The Price by Paul Ryan, Cory Daniell’s story with a fantasy cum detective bent, Nigel Read’s exotic fantasy about a hologram lover, David Bofinger’s story with cultural components, Edgar Crook’s love machine and Peter Frankis’ wooden guy.

Nineteen talented writers, nineteen intriguing tales. I commend the CSFG’s second anthology Machinations to you. Now go buy a copy for yourself and for everyone you know so that when they become the Creative Species that are Famous Guild you can proudly say, ?I know them. I’ve read that.?

I declare the anthology launched!

Kaaren Sutcliffe, 10 August 2002