By Austin P. Sheehan.
That’s what it’s all about. Everything is in a constant state of change, that’s true of our planet, ourselves, and our communities. Is change always good? No. But neither is resisting every change, and spending your days longing for a return of “the good ol’ days.”
Before I continue, I have to let you know that while writing this piece about change, I am listening to ‘Around the Fur’ by Deftones, which has been one of my favourite albums since I first heard it in 1997. And the entire entertainment industry has changed since it’s release. Digital streaming of TV and music, the vinyl revival, e-readers and the ease of self-publishing your own books online, and the increasing influence of social media.
One of the biggest changes though is the diversity of the creators. Of course, People of Colour have always been creating and contributing, but now they are no longer on the periphery. Well not as far out as they used to be. The success of Tomi Adeyemi’s ‘Children of Blood and Bone,’ Kevin Kwan’s ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ Angie Thomas’ ‘The Hate U Give,’ and N. K. Jesmin’s Hugo Award Winning ‘The Broken Earth’ series are each stunning examples of this. And it’s amazing and wonderful that this change is happening, that we can all enjoy these stories. And I’ve got no way of knowing how it would feel for people of African or Asian heritage to have these books and movies where the characters they can identify with are the main characters, not just token, stereotypical side characters. But that’s got to be powerful. That’s got to be revolutionary.
Let’s go back to 1987’s ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)’ by R.E.M. I once subscribed to a theory that with every second, with every breath, the world as we knew it ended. Every new piece of information that we received changed the world, or our perception or what we knew about it. Change on a much smaller scale. My own life has changed. Three Septembers ago I got married to an amazing, funny, beautiful woman, and my life changed. Two Septembers ago my wife and I had just brought a house. And my life changed. Last September I had almost finished writing my first novel, and this September, this very group (Aussie Speculative Fiction) is getting ready to publish an anthology of short stories. Submissions are still open, so if you’re a Australian Speculative Fiction writer, feel free to go to the website and submit a short story (obviously check the guidelines first).
Despite the submissions still being open, the other panel members and I have announced our first successful submission.
Every book, every story, is about change. The characters change, and perhaps through their actions, they change the world. Or the world changes, and the characters need to find their place in the new world. The change in ‘When The Lights Went Out’ is subtle, unnerving, wonderfully thought out and executed. It’s a short story that keeps you guessing, and stays with you after you’ve finished reading it. I am really excited about getting this anthology out there, and sharing a selection of wonderful stories with the world.