Te Kōrero Ahi Kā and the Spec Fic Community in New Zealand
By Sally McLennan
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā is a book born from a group. That group is more than our legion of writers, editors, fans and publishers. We are supported by families, film-makers who love our genres by association, and hoteliers who host our conferences. We are supported by those who work to make those conferences happen. I’ve been supported by a friend who came and did housework for me, and walked my dog, so I could write. We are supported by people in every trade and every part of the world: the poor souls who we email with random questions when formulating our work. What is the effect of two moons on a habitable planet? What do you consider the worst way to die? How would you get different coloured sky? These are questions I’ve asked total strangers. Though the work is utterly Kiwi in flavour, notice how gleefully we rope people from other nations into our work even while we invite them into our world.
The group that helped make Te Kōrero Ahi Kā is broader and more blurred around the edges than we generally ever think about when picking up a book. Like New Zealand’s society it is diverse, and we are inclusive.
How lucky we are that community includes those who have worked to make Te Kōrero Ahi Kā happen. Our heroes are Juliet Marillier, Lee Murray, Grace Bridges, Paul Mannering, and Aaron Compton. These people treasure our literature and give it voice. Yes, I said the L word. New Zealand has a rich tradition of speculative fiction that it doesn’t seem to recognise as such. Our classics include The Halfmen of O, The Bone People and the writing of the late, great Margaret Mahy (most of which is speculative fiction though she did some fine writing on history and astronomy, too). We have a film industry nearly entirely built on the genres we write in and it brings in billions. Yet it seems that often New Zealanders are incredibly unaware of the talent in speculative fiction writing in New Zealand and the greatness of the speculative fiction community. We struggle to attract publishers, mostly being published overseas, and cannot attract funding. Media is just starting to cotton on to our existence which seems so strange in our genre-loving society.
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā: We speak of the home fires burning. This book fans the blaze beautifully. Please, pick up this sparky book, and join us around the fire. We have a story for you…
Amazon Paperback and Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079QHH1F7
Other ebook sites including Apple and Kobo: https://www.books2read.com/u/mgrdz6