BRISBANE writer Robert Hoge has never had a job that didn’t involve writing. His first job was working on a sports newspaper at the University of Queensland where he spent time interviewing future Olympic gold medallists before they were famous. Since then he’s worked as a full-time journalist, a speechwriter, a science communicator for the CSIRO and a political advisor. Robert has had a number of short stories, articles and interviews published in Australia and overseas. You can visit him at www.roberthoge.com.
You had a beautifully poetic short story in last year’s After the Rain anthology and there’s a similar atmosphere to other shorts: is that a preferred mode or just what best suited those yarns, a space you were in at the time…?
Glad you liked it.
I kind of hit on a series of shorts about the elements – especially water – almost by accident. I certainly didn’t plan it that way but I think I kept coming back to it because it was simple but brutally powerful at the same time.
I like taking the elements we’re so familiar with – water, rain, fire – and throwing them onto the page and seeing what happens.
You’ve got an autobiography occupying your time — where to after that, writing-wise?
Yep, I haven’t finished any new short stories in a while because I’m still really focussed on that. But by the end of the year, I want to knock a few new short stories out and get stuck into a novel about civil disobedience that keeps rattling around my head.
After the awards ceremony at Perth’s natcon last year, you wrote an open letter to the spec fic community about ensuring access to such ceremonies. What was the response?
The response was very heartening – especially from the event organisers themselves. Everyone seemed to immediately understand and acknowledge that we need to do better – as a community.
I think the community has a tremendous capacity to self-organise and self-correct when we need to. We can get an awful lot done when we put our mind to it.
What Australian works have you loved recently?
Well, if I keep it to the last year or so…
The Courier’s New Bicycle by Kim Westwood; the collections by Paul Haines, Angela Slatter (2) and Lisa L. Hannett; and a lot of the really high quality stuff that’s coming out from Twelfth Planet Press.
I’ve also really been enjoying the artwork Kathleen Jennings has been producing – it’s great and you can tell almost immediately that it is a work produced by her.
What have been some of the biggest changes in Australian speculative fiction in the past two years since Aussiecon 4?
That’s a hard one. I think it’s so much easier for everyone to organise now, to communicate, that the changes seem – and probably are – less pronounced. And I think some of these things would have happened without Aussiecon 4 anyway, but I’m really impressed with the development of some of our independent presses. The people running them are doing great but I’m also really impressed with how much it is allowing other creatives like Amanda Raineyand Dion Hamill to develop as well.