Interview by Marisol Dunham.
Alexandra Pierce, co-editor of the award-winning Letters to Tiptree, reads, teaches, blogs, podcasts, cooks, knits, runs, eats, sleeps, and observes the stars. Not necessarily in that order of priority. She is a Christian, a feminist, and an Australian. Alex can be found at her website, on the Hugo-winning Galactic Suburbia podcast, and talking about food at Acts of Kitchen (www.actsofkitchen.com).
Letters from Tiptree seems to have resonated with many people. Why do you think that is?
With all the ‘discussion’ and frustration around things like Gamergate and the Sad/Rabid Puppy saga, there’s still a lot to say about the place of women in the science fiction community. While there had been many, many women in the science fiction scene before Alice Sheldon, the fact that her work got accepted as the work of a man was a really important moment for a lot of women, in particular – that writing by women could be seen as meeting some sort of male standard. All of which makes me eye roll a bit in frustration, but there it is. The fact that very few other venues seemed to be wanting to recognise Alice Sheldon in her centenary year – the University of Oregon had a weekend symposium, a few places had articles on the day – made such a project really necessary and important. I think it’s also resonated because we as a community like reflecting on who has impacted us and how!
Galactic Suburbia Podcast won the 2015 Hugo for Best Fancast. (I’m trying really hard not to fangirl here). How has it impacted the work you do? What does it feel like?
At the time it was surreal! I’ll admit there were tears. Since… well, having a rocket in the house is pretty incredible, but honestly it hasn’t affected the podcast much. We got a boost in audience as a result, but most of the time when we’re recording we’re just having the conversations we would be having if we happened to live in the same city, rather than spread across the continent. So in that sense, it hasn’t affected us.
What upcoming project you’re really excited about?
I have a few fuzzy plans but they’re exactly that – fuzzy. The definite things are continuing to podcast (and I’ve started a new one, this time about cooking, called Acts of Kitchen!), as well as reviewing at my own blog and writing a monthly column for Tor.com about the Australian spec fic scene.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I binge-read a lot of Angela Slatter earlier this year: Sourdough and Other Stories and The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings are both amazing collections of short stories with intricate connections, while Vigil – which is just out now – is a great urban fantasy set in Brisbane that I just devoured. I’m reading Ben Peek’s Children series at the moment, which is epic, and I hugely enjoyed Kate Forsyth’s The Rebirth of Rapunzel, which kind of gives context to her process in thinking through the novel Bitter Greens as well as giving background to the Rapunzel story.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip and why?
This is pre-supposing that I can overcome some fairly major shyness and star-struck silence, correct? In which case, to absolutely no one’s surprise, Ursula K Le Guin. I love almost everything I have ever read of hers (Lathe of Heaven is the exception. Could not stand it). I’d love to talk to her about Earthsea and the Hainish universe and about whether she is optimistic for humanity and the role of crones in fiction and reality and… hopefully I would enough of a conversationalist that she would be interested to keep talking to me!