Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.
The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …
This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.
We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.
Today, we’re chatting with Nicky Taylor.
Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?
Pumpkins was written at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and is one woman’s story of the aftermath. The protagonist has moved to a small town, based on Leeston, where she unwittingly causes the release of the virus. To me it is a story of hope, despite the devastation, with an altered but bright future.
How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?
I think we’re gutsy and tough, and we kind of knuckle down and make the most of a crap situation, kind of like we’re doing these days.
What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?
Being able to cook anything on a camp-cooker, and if I don’t have a cooker, being able to cook on a fire. And I can walk a really long way.
They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?
Writing a gentler, pleasanter future where people were more important than money and greed wasn’t a word in our language.
Tell us a little about your other writing?
My earlier writing has included a lot about mental illness and addictions and suicide. It was all a bit grim, but I did like it. There’s stories in everything if you look for them. My sister keeps telling me to write ‘something nice’. I’m trying!
What are you working on now?
A novel, of course! And more short stories because they’re easier to finish :-/